Scary things, panels. They make you stand up and talk about stuff as if you're an expert. And you have to exude some kind of zen calm while you're doing it, and try not to sound like an idiot. Anyway, today I am at the 10th SCBWI UK conference in a dampish Winchester. And I talked about how, as an author you can sell yourself and your books on the internet. I think it went well (people said nice things, anyway). So, for those of you who couldn't be there, I'm going to put up my talk here in 6 easy-to-digest parts over the next few days. And for those of you who were there and didn't bother to take notes--well shame on you, and here it is again.
But first, some badges...SCBWI do a great line in badges. My favourite is top left. Because children's writing IS a proper job.
Ok...now to the serious stuff:
Listen up, authory and aspiring authory people. In the modern technoworld we live in,, having an internet presence is essential. It’s not like the old days when authors were basically cut off from everyone except local booksellers, a few schools and their publisher’s publicist, (who was the one everyone had to go through to get to you). Now we are all as accessible as we want ourselves to be—the internet has brought authors both freedom and burdens, and publishers are now actively encouraging authors to have what is known as an ‘author platform’ which looks kinda like this.
Let me be very clear about this: it is highly unlikely that you will be able to sell a million books or even a hundred books as a direct result of anything you put out on the internet unless you say or do something which gets you on the front page of all the newspapers (streaking at a Manchester United match waving a copy of your latest title will work nicely) or your book trailer (see part 6 later in the week) goes viral on YouTube. It is virtually impossible to give you a quantifiable link between internet presence and books sold— but that doesn't mean you should ignore all this digital stuff. For me the author platform is about building an internet presence, so that people are more likely to buy my newest book when it comes because they feel they ‘know’ a bit about me and what I am offering to my readership.
It has to be you who establishes your internet presence in the first instance because it is unlikely that your publisher will have the budget or staff resources to do so.
So where do you start building your potential book-selling ‘author platform?
Well--I started with a website...(it's a very good place to start). But you'll have to wait till tomorrow to find out my pearls of wisdom about how having one sells books for you. I have a mass book launch to attend. There will be champagne.
I'm sure you understand...this panel stuff is hungry and thirsty work. The Inner Author must be fed and watered....