Grow Your Nonfiction Author Business in September

This month’s tip to grow your author business:

Pitch an article idea to an industry blog or website.

Even better – write a series of articles and pitch a column idea. If your articles don’t get picked up, you can publish them yourself on

Do you write regularly for an industry blog? Share the link in the comments section so I can check it out.

The Series


Persistence and Regularity Are the Keys to the Marketing Marathon

Watching traditional advertising all our lives, we’ve learned the lie that marketing = big splash.

Advertising, a small part of marketing, can benefit from a big splash.

We’re talking about marketing, your ongoing efforts to connect with people who’ll benefit from and appreciate your message. Like any relationship, it takes time.

More than that, it takes persistence and regularity. No friendship ever came from a single interaction, or meeting three times a year apart. Close connections come from regular contact and conversation. It’s work. That’s right, having relationships is work (you knew that) and marketing is about relationships, therefore, marketing is work.

You knew that, too.

Show up every day. That doesn’t mean blog every day, or do any one thing every day. Blog regularly. Weekly is better than monthly. Chat on Twitter, Facebook, wherever you hang out. Ping an old client or another author who writes like you. Give away a book at the coffee shop. One of yours, or someone else’s even.

Persistent regular activity is the endless dripping that makes marketing effective.

Do You Really Need to Be Online?

The Dream

Every time social media as a marketing tool for authors comes up, someone mentions that famous author who doesn’t blog, the rich author who has no online presence whatsoever. The argument is that you don’t need an online presence, blogging, social media, to become rich and famous, or succeed in whatever way you define success, as an author.

Back to Reality

Yes, it’s possible to become a best-seller, rich and famous, without ever going online.

It’s also possible to cross the ocean in a rowboat. I’ve read about it. It’s not fun.

If you truly deeply hate social media, find other ways. But if you just don’t want to do the work of blogging and interacting online, or if you’re just being contrary, you’re making it so very hard on yourself.

Speaking in absolutes is always counterproductive (oh, I see what I did there.) But as a general rule, it is best if an author has a blog and posts regularly. It is best if an author has a social media presence and engages there regularly. It is best to make use of the tools that will engage with your potential audience where they are: online.

Catch Up. Reset. Continue.

As you can tell from the 4 week silence, our travel interrupted our blogging. Work went on, clients were pleased, clients were acquired, all those aspects kept on rolling.

It’s tricky, isolating priorities and staying focused. Entrepreneurship is a juggling act; there’s not a single day where you get everything done. (Sue keeps saying “I have so much to do and I’ll never get it all done!” and I keep saying “Good; that’s how the bills get paid.” I am an expensive dependent so I need her to stay busy.)

Now that we’re home (okay, now that we’ve been home for 13 days) I’ll be making sure one of us posts something at least weekly (instead of posting weakly. Yes, I crack me up.)

Sue spent some time filling the pipeline with a pair of live events. Check ’em out:

Blogging, Your Social Media Platforms, and Finding a Literary Agent for Your Nonfiction Book

Blogging, Your Social Media Platforms, and Finding a Literary AgentA freelance editor emailed me for advice on an author’s view of blogging, social media, and finding a literary agent for their nonfiction book.

“I’m writing to ask for a bit of advice from a social media expert’s point of view. I have a client who is getting ready to shop their nonfiction book. I’ve been encouraging this client for a year to build their social media platform, but my client was resistant to doing so until they finished writing the book and proposal.”

The author’s only social media presence is on LinkedIn, though they plan to start using Twitter – tweeting only twice a week! They do have a blog – only four posts in the past year with a plan to post a new blog weekly. The author is considering having their web designer create a section where guest bloggers could post – without first being vetted. The author thought having a guest blog post section should be mentioned in the book proposal.

Another blogger had approached this author offering to be a guest blogger. However, the editor noted that this blog looks like a small, personal blog—no mailing list, no way to contact the author.

“I don’t think this blogger is an asset to my author right now – they have two old blogs posted [both over a year old], that’s it. I’m inclined to tell my client not to do this, but mostly I don’t want any guest writer to hurt my client—would posting their guest blog potentially do that? I’ve encouraged my client to contact you for help, but so far, he’s been resistant to doing anything except wait. I’d appreciate your advice about this.”

This author’s approach to blogging, social media, and attracting a literary agent is not unique. Many authors I work with start out with these:

Common Misconceptions

  • “I don’t need a website, blog, or social media platforms until I finish my book.”
  • “Blogging once or twice a month is plenty. I don’t have much to blog about anyhow. I’m busy writing my book. I’ll have some guest bloggers for additional content.”
  • “I’ll start tweeting and get on other social media platforms once my book is published.”
  • “My book proposal is enough, and I don’t need a large following on social media to get a good literary agent.”

Literary Agents Expect Nonfiction Authors to Have in a Book Proposal:

  • An established website, including a blog (consistent blogging on a weekly basis for a year or more). Guest bloggers are tricky (more about that in a bit).
  • Established social media platforms with a decent number of followers on each platform. Learn more about that in this article posted by a literary agency: “7 Ways Agents Measure Social Media.”
  • A marketing plan in your book proposal that includes your social media marketing and book promotion plan.

Blogging has impact on your social media presence. However, blogging just once or twice a month won’t get you noticed. The more you can blog, the more impact you’ll have. And tweeting only twice a week won’t get you noticed at all. There are some good tips and interesting statistics on this found in the article “The 5 Commandments for a High Impact Social Media Presence.” If you can be a guest blogger on a well established blog, this can have a very good impact on your efforts.

However, having a guest blogger on your own blog can be tricky if not done right. There are some rules to follow. I do not recommend allowing guest bloggers to post on your site without vetting their posts first. Be sure anything they write is relevant to your topic. Your guest blogger should also have a well-established blog (over a year old) with at least weekly posts. It’s not beneficial to have a guest blogger who doesn’t already have a solid blog themselves and in fact, it can be harmful to allow a guest blogger on your site when their own site is outdated. A guest blogger should also be willing to share the blog with their own established social media networks. For more rules about guest blogging read the article “Don’t Accept Guest Posts Unless You Follow These 7 Rules.”

To learn more about what to include in your Social Media section in your book proposal, read editor Candace Johnson’s guest post on our site: “Your Social Media: What to Include in Your Book Proposal”.

My advice to the editor was to provide all this information, including the links to other sources, and encourage the author to start blogging regularly and establish solid social media platforms before reaching out to literary agents. I discouraged the idea of the guest blogger since they had only two blog posts of their own – both over a year old. If an author wants to get noticed, they need to ensure a solid social media presence.

If you’d like to ensure your social media presence is what a literary agent is looking for, contact me for my “Peace of Mind Social Media Audit & Consultation”.

You might benefit from Joel’s follow-up to this post.