Adventures of a Debut Author - Where to Begin?

As luck would have it, this week I had the great pleasure of enjoying a phone conversation with one of the most delightful individuals I know – Andrea Cascardi. I first met Andrea when she was working as an agent with Transatlantic Literary Agency. I was serving as Regional Advisor for the Austin SCBWI chapter at the time. She was an esteemed guest during one of our most awesome annual conferences. As an RA, you relate with agents and editors on a personal level all the time. Getting to personally know Andrea was a sheer pleasure, to be sure.

During our phone conversation, Andrea and I chatted about successful marketing strategies for debut authors. Like many others, I wonder . . . what avenues are most effective in spreading the word about our books – blog tours, paid publicists, social media marketing, and speaking engagements? Where does a debut author start?

According to Andrea, one the most effective ways to promote your book is to connect with community – be it on the local level, a professional level such as with SCBWI or library associations, and/or through social media. She said to go out and personally meet local booksellers and librarians. Sure, let them know that soon there will be a book to buy. But let your intention be get to know one another. Become genuine friends.  Not what’s-in-it-for-me type of friends. The real deal.

Andrea said that people want to be invested in a writer’s success. They love being a part of grassroots campaign supporting an individual and a project they believe in. By reaching out and connecting in this way, we’re giving a community the opportunity to do just that.

She also said start early, well before publication. Don’t wait until you’re holding the book in your hand. Let the process of genuinely connecting with others begin right away!

I can do that.

Speaking of connecting, this week author pal and former SCBWI RA Erin Dealy shared a blog thread about debut authors from her website. The thread title is What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Book. In it, she toys with a pregnancy theme. It’s fun, clever, and insightful! Check it out.

So, the debut author tip of the day is to reach out to others in a genuine, friendly, and personal way locally, professionally, and in cyber space. Build authentic relationships. Also, don’t wait until publication. Begin today!