Guest Post: Five Simple Tricks

by James Roy Daley

Five simple tricks authors should use to make publishers notice them

1) Use your real name on message boards. Every time an author posts something using a handle such as ScaryDude, ZombieBreath, or HappyGirl, they are wasting valuable promotion time. You know who you are, and some people you communicate with know who you are, but most people do not, regardless of how popular you think you are. Talking about your latest project while using a fake name is like spearheading a marketing plan that focuses on writing your nickname in the sand.

2) Use your real name in your email address. Remember when you got that crazy haircut, you were dating a loser, and holding down that shitty job? Right around then you also decided that the most appropriate email handle was FearofDeath@whoever.com, SexyCute@whatever.com, or ROTF21@where-ever.com. Those addresses all suck. When you send out the story you’ve worked so hard on to a publisher using an email address like this, the very first thing you are saying to them – even before they open the bloody email – is: I don’t know the first thing about marketing myself, and because of this, chances are, nobody knows who I am. This means I have no fan base, and that stupid email address I came up with ten years ago – on the night I was getting my nipples pierced by that guy with a spider tattooed on his face – is more important than I am. I can not help you sell books.

3) Twitter. You don’t have to be a fanatic to use Twitter; it doesn’t have to take over your life. Just get an account, use your real name, start following some people, and post some things. You don’t have to do it all at once, but you should do it. If you follow a publisher, a lot of times the publisher will follow you back.

4) Blog. This one takes more work but if you are a writer, writing a blog should be no big deal. If you are not creative enough to make people want to read the free words you give away on the Internet, chances are, you’re not creative enough to make people want to pay for them. Being a writer isn’t about getting noticed. Being a writer is about writing something worth noticing. So start a blog and write something worth reading. If you can’t do this, writing is not for you.

5) Review the books your prospective publisher is publishing. Guess what a publisher reads, over, and over, and over again… Amazon reviews. If you want to ram your name down a publisher’s throat, review the publishers books – if possible, review every one that’s in your genre. Make sure you review using your real name, and remember, if you say nice things the publisher will want to help you. After all, publishers are people too. They want to support the people that are supporting them.

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James Roy Daley is a writer, editor, and musician. He studied film at the Toronto Film School, music at Humber College, and English at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Terror Town, Into Hell, 13 Drops of Blood, Zombie Kong, and The Dead Parade. In 2009 he founded Books of the Dead Press, where he enjoyed immediate success working with many of the biggest names in horror. He edited anthologies such as Zombie Kong – Anthology, Best New Vampire Tales, Classic Vampire Tales, and the Best New Zombie Tales series. This post first appeared on his blog.

2 Responses

  1. romsfuulynn

    Yes, no, maybeso.

    There are people with longstanding online identities in the genre community who probably should continue to use those names because of the substantial credentials they have built up. For those people they should start including their real name or pen name with that online identity.

    But for every Sea Wasp or Meerkat, there are a hundred people who need to follow your advice.