Too often I hear an author say their social media efforts will come after the book is out.

Too late.

Authors, especially if they are working on their first book, need an audience platform built before they can interest an agent or an acquisition editor in their book concept. If you are a talk show host, national sports figure, political candidate, or star on stage or screen, then you already bring an audience platform to your book project.

The first step in writing any good book is knowing your audience. Who are you writing this book to? Identifying the audience is also the starting point for a book proposal, specifically the marketing plan.

The marketing strategy section of your book proposal needs to include your social media metrics and a sophisticated strategy for converting your readers into book buyers.

So bite the bullet and get busy building your website and begin blogging before you start writing the book manuscript.

Putting together a business plan is the process of creating a book proposal. It is a feasibility study before you invest your time, effort, and resources. Don’t wait to write a book proposal until you have finished your manuscript.  Figure out from the get-go whether there is an audience for this book concept and whether or not someone else has already written the book. Your book proposal is a business plan that you submit to publishers and they will consider it in terms of whether they can make a profit from investing in your book.

Start with an understanding of the marketplace for books: readers. Using the social media networking tools of and you will learn about the current marketplace for this kind of book, what readers like and what they don’t, and build online relationships with the future buyers of your book.

Finding others on Facebook who share your interest in your book’s subject is a good place to start hanging out. Find online communities for people who share your interest in the kind of book you are writing. Do the same on Twitter and other social media platforms. Build a network of associates who will become your book’s best advertisers. They may also send you some of the best research leads, introduce you to important sources, offer advice, and become your friend.

There are a few curmudgeons left who believe they can still be the kind of author J.D. Salinger was, but forget he was a one-book boy wonder. This romanticized notion of the hermit author is dead on arrival in today’s publishing world. It’s like the mythical “slush pile” that no longer exists because printed manuscripts no longer come “over the transom.” This, ladies and gentlemen, is a new era. No transoms, no hermits, no slush piles.

It might help authors to know that the entire first decade of this millenium, I lived off the grid. No electricity, no internet, no telephone. If this 50-something Luddite can use social media for research, writing, editing and publishing, you can too.  It is all about knowing the tools of the trade and how to use them effectively. Figure out what works for you, but don’t wait until the book is out.

Embrace social media platforms that can assist you in your research, writing and publising initiatives.

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