Writes and Wrongs: Online Advice for Aspiring Authors

Best-selling author Shiloh Walker pens this bi-monthly column of online advice for writers. Walker is a full-time author who is published in both e-book and traditional print formats. Now she shares her experience and advice to help aspiring and published authors figure out the "Writes and Wrongs" of the digital world.

Promo, Marketing…do I have to…and how do I? 

Howdy. Welcome to an interesting project of mine…where I attempt to talk about something I hate. Yep. Hate. Things like promo. Marketing. Words that make me want to shudder and cringe in horror.

But there's a lame little joke that rolls around every once in a while…it goes something like…

Did you hear about the author that didn't promo…neither did anybody else.

So…back to… Promo…marketing…do have I to…and how do I?

Promo and marketing--naturally, no, you don't have to, but it will help your career if you can find the right route for you.

We have to face facts. The way publishing is now, the author has to help build her platform--or rather, the author has to build her platform. If you hit that publishing lotto and hit the early breakout, yeah, the publishers are going to step and help out, but I'm not much on relying on luck. You want something to happen? Make it happen.

In other words…even though I hate it, I figured out a few years ago that I have to do the promo/marketing thing.

There's no secret ingredient to promo and marketing, either. It's a matter of finding out what works for each individual author. 

Some of us love social media, Facebook (I hate it), Twitter (I'm a Twitter fiend), Myspace (for authors, I think this is going the way of the dinosaur) while some of us have built a fairly decent platform using something as simple as a blog. Author Lynn Viehl/S.L. Viehl has an enormously popular blog-- http://pbackwriter.blogspot.com/. Between her blog and the free reads she offers, I feel she's developed a platform uniquely her own, one that entices readers to try her work out, first through the free reads, then through her available works.

Some authors have a unique and clever online voice--authors like Meljean Brook and Carolyn Crane--and that alone becomes a promotional platform, via their blogs, Twitter, etc.

No magic secret, no tricks…it's just a matter of finding what works for you…and not mimicking somebody else, not jumping on every bandwagon that comes along.

Things I plan on talking about are usually social media, blogs, etc. I'll also talk about some of the offline promo type stuff that some people might want to try. I'm open to answering questions, assuming it's a question I can answer. I'm by no means an expert. I just know what works for me, I've seen what works for others…and um…well, I've also seen the things that can really serve to annoy readers, fellow writers…which isn't exactly the ideal way to promote and market yourself. At least I wouldn't think so…

Until next time!

- Shiloh Walker

Check back for the next installment of Shiloh Walker's column in two weeks. Seeking more specific advice? You can ask the author any questions about the "writes and wrongs" of online behavior here. Your question might even get featured in an upcoming article. And of course, you can also follow the Shiloh Walker online daily at her website, on her Facebook page and via Twitter.