As I was re-reading the excerpt about using social media to connect with editors and agents, I realized prepublished writers and published writers benefit in the same way from using social media. Lisa hit the nail on the head: “Bloggers do follow their commenters; as a regular (and interesting ) commenter, the editor might very well recognize your name.”
As a working writer, I know nobody is going to give me an award, put my book on a notable list, or offer me a huge contract, simply because she recognizes my name. And nobody is going to offer you representation or publication just because you connect on social media.
But name recognition helps. Really Many, many writers who go on to hugely successful careers have early commercial and critical flops. They don’t sell. They don’t get reviewed. They don’t get awards. Are the books bad? No. The books just aren’t NOTICED!
A key thing about networking as a published writer is that, in addition to building rewarding relationships with other people who are passionate about books, you build name recognition. When awards committees and other influential groups meet, your books might at least get considered. Do they say, “Oh, I like Laura. Let’s give her this award!”? Or, “Let’s invite Laura to do a keynote speech, because she Retweets my Tweets.” Of course not. But one person you connect with online might put one of your titles forward for consideration for some recognition And another person on the committee might say, “Oh, I know her. Haven’t had a chance to see her book yet. Can I look?” And then more people actually read and consider your book. That DOES happen. In fact, it happens frequently.
If you’re a prepublished writer, connecting can help you in the same way. An editor won’t say, “We must publish this book. She comments on my blog all the time.” (If only!) But a relationship, even one built through casual social media, is a kind of deal between two people. And part of the deal is that an editor or agent will likely (and subconsciously) feel a bit obliged to actually read your letter and manuscript when it crosses her desk.
It’s like on American Idol when they show the heartwarming video package about a contestant, and then they cut to the contestant entering the judging room during auditions. Do you find yourself saying, “I hope he’s good!” I do. And if your work gets in front of an agent or editor, and that person is actually hoping that your work is good, that is an excellent state of mind!
So connect online because it’s fun, teaches you things, expands your network, and offers you support. And know that a side benefit is that as people get to know you, they will be rooting for your work to be good.
For more information on this tactic and some off-the-beaten-path journeys to book publication, you can buy our Kindle ebook ($2.99). To read a bit more about the book itself, just click here to visit the book’s page on our site.