Ask a Mermaid: What Do Editors & Agents Want in an Author’s Online Persona?

Ask a Mermaid is a monthly advice column for writers. If we don’t have the answers, we’ll find them for you. Send in your questions to Ask a Mermaid.

Dear Mermaids,I’m an unpublished author and am overwhelmed with the blog, Twitter, Facebeook, Pinterest, website things that everyone says I need to have. What are editors, agents and publishers really looking for when they say to develop my online persona?

Thanks for the help,
Treading Water

Great question Treading! Our short answer would be an engaging persona that fits with the type of books you write but doesn’t talk only about the books you write. 🙂 For a more complete answer to your question we pulled agent Sara Megibow with the Nelson Agency and designer Tara Green, the creative director for Eye on Romance, into the lagoon for a little chat. 

 

Sara:

Your follower here asks a good question that unfortunately warrants a verrrry long answer. I’ll try to give a short two cents, but the honest truth is that my response will be different from another agents and from another publicist and from another author. Each author’s career is different and what works for one author won’t work for another.

1. Only do social media that you enjoy. If you enjoy blogging and not twitter, then blog and don’t tweet. Followers will smell it a mile away and these thing stake up too much time to not do them.

2. Be authentic. If you want to write about writing, do so. If you want to write about beer, that’s fine. Don’t moan and complain, but other than that – go for it.

3. The writing MUST come first. So, stop blogging and posting on Facebook as much and make sure your writing time takes priority.

4. I don’t personally look at platform when authors submit a query letter. I used to, but I’ve found it’s irrelevant to my ability to sell a book. So, don’t start a bunch of social media just to get an agent (again – some agents will have a different opinion on this – this is just. my. opinion).

5. ind authors, agents and editors you enjoy following and read what they post (on blogs, on twitter, on Facebook) and hopefully that will provide some nice networking and inspiration for how to communicate with followers.

6. You don’t have to network only within your genre. Write romance? Great – feel free to learn from the horror authors, literary authors, sf authors – anyone and everyone who is out there connecting to readers = go for it.Hope that helps!SaraFind Sara on twitter at @SaraMegibow, Facebook at Facebook/ SaraMegibowNelsonAgency and on Romance University.

Tara:

An online persona is the voice you present to your readers. Many authors choose to be quite personal with their readers, sharing day to day events, personal pictures, and thoughts and feelings reading current events. Other authors choose to use online mediums to only share news about their latest books and author news and tour events. Whatever you decide to present to your readers as an author, choose the level of comfort when sharing and decide how often you will post to your online media. Publishers are impressed with reader counts and developing a community – this in turn gives you an audience to self-promote your own books.

Good luck!

Tara

Find Tara at Eye On Romance and Author Web Designs By Tara.

Ask a Mermaid is a monthly advice column for writers. If we don’t have the answers, we’ll find them for you. Send in your questions to Ask a Mermaid.