In this day and age of stingy promo budgets, cutbacks, low (or no) advances and the necessity of making a big splash in order to sell book 2, 3, 4... it's come to my attention that a lot of authors simply don't know how to promote themselves. It's not something they ever expect to do, and if they were raised to be humble (like I was) and smacked for boasting, it's usually something they dread doing.
But it's necessary.
Even if you haven't even started the outline of your first novel, it's a good idea to build a 'platform'. Yes - even for fiction writers. Get your name out there, make friends, develop relationships and 'brand' yourself. Get yourself a blog. Get yourself a Facebook page. Invest in a website. Get out there and join writing forums and genre reader forums. This is something you've probably already heard. It may sound false and dreadful, but let me put it into perspective: I buy books by authors who's voices I enjoy, relate to and can hear in my head as naturally as the voices of my childhood - the ones that taught me to speak myself. It doesn't matter the genre, the plot, or even the skill of writing. I read for the voice.
What better way to find an audience who identifies with your voice than by starting a conversation?
As an author, your voice is the biggest part of your 'brand'.
More on author promotion coming...