For The "Unknown" Author
I have this experience over and over so I know it is common among many writers. They have a dream to get published so they write a book (fiction or nonfiction), then pitch it to me at a writer's conference or through an email query or a printed pitch that comes in the mail. Yet when you look at the section "about the author" you find they have little visibility in the public eye and if pressed they would confess to being "unknown." They may speak (every now and then) or write a magazine article (every now and then). Yet there is a disconnect because one of the keys to selling books into the marketplace (and to a publisher) is visibility. Yes, it is about the craft of telling a good story or shaping a good idea with a need in the market. If you have ten or 100 great stories in your office as an editor or literary agent, which ones are you going to champion? It's the ones from the author who has built an audience.
In fact, some of the writers who shrug the most about this topic are the fiction writers. In fact, some of them freely admit they are writing fiction because they don't have to have a platform or visibility to write fiction. Yes, storytelling is key with fiction but visibility in the marketplace and an audience who loves your writing is also important. That built audience is what drives readers to the bookstore when their favorite author has released another novel.
In this instant world, many authors shrug when I encourage them to carve out their specialty and build that audience in the marketplace.
"Too much work," some of them think.
"I don't know where to begin," others cry.
If you are looking for some insight about where to begin or need some more ideas for visibility, I recommend you get a copy of Get Slightly Famous by Steven Van Yoder. The book is not specifically targeted to writers but every author can gain ideas from it.
If you are overwhelmed with the competition in your area of the marketplace, how do you stand out and shine? Steven Van Yoder provides a cornucopia of ideas to move anyone from their anonymous unknown position to becoming a slightly famous stand out. He defines "slightly famous" as "Just famous enough to make their names come to mind when people are looking for a particular product or service, and let them reap the benefits. They get more business--not only more, but the right kind of business--and they don't have to work so hard to get it." (page 3)
While the marketplace may seem crowded (pick your market), there is always room for innovative communicators who will gain visibility, credibility and become a thought leader. Through dozens of case studies and stories, Van Yoder proves his points. The first section helps the reader think through their own distinctive, then the second portion explores different media strategies (for different types of media such as print, online, broadcast) and the final section gives a wealth of ideas for anyone to expand their own reach.
The book is well-written, easy to use and one that I'm certain you will use a highlighter and go back to review the concepts and apply them to your own business. I recommend Get Slightly Famous.