Yes, dear writer, social media is a plus, although you probably could get away without it, but it depends on your goal

In the past writers became famous through their books, today it’s more likely their books become famous because of an existing website, which is why most major publishing houses want you to have a website (actually they want you to have blog) to which you post regularly (3x a week) which basically turns you into a marketer, drains your creative talent and time, and forces you to give away content . . . uh, wait, why are you doing this again? Oh yeah, you want a major publisher.  Or maybe, just a publisher.

Your website represents your professional image (your brand).  Today your online image is “that dude that writes the Drunken Puppies blog” or that “Gluten Free Girl” or  . . . But now, before you start agent hunting, or sending out solicited submissions, is the time to start building your brand (especially if you’re going self-publishing or become a publisher to publish your own and others work, or looking to find a big publisher).

We recommend you pop over to Michael Hyatt‘s site and take a look at some of his posts on publishing, but in particular Seven ways to build your author brand online. It’s basic, but trust us, most authors won’t even do the basics.  Michael is the chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishing, so he knows of what he speaks.

Yes, we hate to be the bearers of bad news, but while you’re writing your book, you probably need to be quietly going about putting together a website under your own name (or pen name). List your accomplishments, get some nice photos of yourself up. You needn’t share your new site or make it public right away, but there will come a time when a publisher will expect to see / know the real you, because that’s who they’ll be marketing.

Bigger houses will want to see a blog.  Big authors, recognized ones, can get away with colorful sites and no blogs. New authors, not so much. And unknown authors . . . they really need to stick to plain websites that showcase their writing to build up a following, which always looks good to marketing at big publishing houses.

At that point “Drunken Puppies Dude” will become simply become the blog of newly published author ” your name here.”  And do read the books of Gluten Free Girl!  She’s a classic example of how blogging and being true to yourself can lead you to authoring your best life (and help a lot of other people in the world at the same time).

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