So you’re a writer who’s finished a manuscript and successfully published your book. Congratulations! Now it’s on to the hard part: making sure people read it.
The most effective ways for authors to market their masterpieces are through personal websites and on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, says literary agent Elizabeth Lucy Pomada of Larsen Pomada Literary Agents.
“Speak whenever and wherever you have the chance,” she ads. “Build your network in your genre. Be a relentless advocate for your work. Never give up!”
The co-director of The San Francisco Writers Conference recently offered her expert insight on the smartest things every writer should do to turn their ideas into finished books.
Hi, Elizabeth! Can you tell us about The San Francisco Writers Conference? Why should writers attend?
The San Francisco Writers Conference focuses on craft, commerce and community for writers or all kinds, from amateur to professional.
We offer around 50 sessions on everything from romance and literary fiction to nonfiction to social media to promotion/platform, to choosing to publish traditionally or self-publish. Writers should attend to learn how to be successful and how to polish their craft and learn from each other.
What’s your best piece advice (or pieces of advice) for someone who wants to make a living (or at least make a side income) by writing?
My best piece of advice is to do your homework. Learn about the profession you plan to enter. Read our website – and any agent’s website – before submitting.
Every aspiring author should build their platform and write religiously.
What are good habits every aspiring author needs to develop?
The three golden rules of writing that Ernest Gaines teaches: Read Read Read and Write Write Write.
What are bad habits they should make sure to ditch?
Whining, having impossible expectations, expecting to succeed and not working at it. Grammar counts! Don’t wait for inspiration to write. Write regularly.
Describe your dream book pitch.
One page addressed to me personally telling what the book is (romance? thriller? other?), followed by a brief description including setting, characters and plot, and then a brief bio, along with a two-page synopsis and the first 10 pages or your finished, polished novel.
In other words, the Hook, the Book and the Cook.
What are your biggest pet peeves when it comes to submissions from writers? What causes you to send the rejection letter right off the bat?
Pet peeves: sending something I tell people I’m not interested in, such as children’s books, scripts, plays, poetry or misery memoirs. I do not accept anything about abuse of any kind.
I reject submissions sent to a slew of agents (You can send many submissions, just don’t tell me) in one email. Bad spelling or grammar is an instant no-no, too.
What’s the current climate in publishing these days? How easy is it to get a book published?
The current climate in publishing is positive – it’s just harder to get published. There are more opportunities than ever. Self-publishing offers new possibilities, but if you do that, you have to do it right. Hire an editor, a cover designer, a marketing manager. Be as professional and committed as you can be.
What genres/types of books are trending these days?
Trending is an awful word. What you see on the bestseller list is decisions made months ago, so it’s impossible to predict. Young Adult books are still popular. Publishers want smaller books AND bigger books, depending on the genre. Good writing still wins the day.
How important is it for authors today to have some marketing savvy?
Authors have to have great marketing savvy. They have to know how to use social media to build a platform.