Today’s quick tip is about the three things you should do to lay the foundation for your career as an author.  So you’ve decided to write a book. You’ve invested countless hours in developing your talent. But there is something you need to do before you publish or query or even begin to write. So, first things first…

1. Create your identity

It is important that you establish your pen name, if you are using one, before you go out in public. If you are not using a pen name you  still need to establish your name. It’s you brand, and you need to own it on every level. This means: e-mail addresses, Goodreads profile, Linkedin, profiles on websites that matter to writers, etc.

I also recommend having two e-mail addresses. One e-mail address is your main address–you use this to filter all of your authorly interactions. The second e-mail address is solely for querying. I cannot stress enough that you need a separate address for all of your queries. The last thing you want is to spam your potential agent you with Facebook invitations and junk e-mails–and yes, this happens a lot and it will do you no favors.

Also, own the dot com of your author name. Website addresses like: scream lack of planning and forethought. By registering your URL now, you can check your chosen pen name in Google–always a good idea to make sure you won’t share a name with a stripper or serial killer–and you can choose a name that is available and not attached to another author.  Also, by establishing your identity ahead of time and securing it, you do not have to worry about some unscrupulous person coming behind you and swiping your online identity and selling it back to you at a premium.

2. Create a presence online

Like establishing your identity, it’s important to have a vibrant social media profile in place way before your novel is published. In fact this is a selling point with publishers. If you can boast about your Twitter and Facebook followings and marketing connections, a publisher may be more inclined to take a risk on you. They will see it as an established marketing platform. Remember, you are not just selling a book but your persona as well.

So go out there and secure your profiles on Twitter, Pintrest, Facebook, YouTube, etc.

After you have that done, it’s time to start “movin’ and shakin’” with others. Get a blog up and start talking back.  Involve yourself in writer’s groups. Begin making connections with authors and soon-to-be authors.  The point is to get your name out there and to make friendships that will last.

3. Make connections

Don’t undervalue online friendships. These people will become your cheerleaders, your support, and your biggest promoters. Now is the time to form these friendships. So get out there–guest blog, review and pimp books, and lend a helping hand wherever you can. Foster goodwill because it will be paid back to you in spades. Being a part of the vibrant fan community that surrounds the publishing industry will put you ahead of your competition.

 It is much easier to market your book when you have tons of followers on various media than it is to try to establish these connections in the small window of time between the acceptance and publication of your book. Book marketing is still a word of mouth industry. Never forget it. You need to lay the groundwork now.

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