Welcome to break time. You've finished for first, most grueling editing, you've done background work on finding copy editors and/or critique readers, so now it's time to back off the manuscript, and resume marketing.

Readers should focus on the rabbit, not the false bottom and trap door that got it there. Credit

What's that, resume? You don't remember doing this before? Well, you should; Marketing 102: 1-A was important. In that phase you started joining story sites, uploading free work, and garnering a fan base. If you didn't do that STOP EVERYTHING AND GO DO THAT NOW. Put editing and future marketing aside, and don't come back for six months

Why was Marketing 102: 1-A so bloody important? A fanbase serves many functions: you get honest feedback and criticisms, you network and make friends, and you start building a resume. Networking is 100% vital if you self publish or go the more traditional route (we'll cover why in future lessons). Like most things in life this is a business, and in business it's almost never what you know but who you know. Lastly, free writing sites often have contests, and nothing looks better on your resume as a writer than nominations and awards. 

Sorry, but any schmuck with a $50 check can join the Romance Writers of America or some similar group, agents and publishers roll their eyes at that. So groups like that do not pad a resume, they weigh it down. Not everyone can present feedback and ratings, nor awards and nominations. That is what will set you apart. So if you haven't been doing that, go do it now. Drop everything and go do it!

If you don't garner a fanbase, this is what you will look like pursuing publishers or agents. Credit

In the last century that's the route most authors took: you published short stories in small magazines but it built up your resume. It's the future and free writing sites have taken the place of small magazines. Learn the system, promote yourself, and network. And live in the moment, pursuing smaller writing magazines will make you feel like your writing heroes, but the rest of us are working in the 21st century. Adapt or perish.

Now, for those of you who already did this and are right on schedule, it's time to build your website. If you have a loyal fanbase, you want to keep them abreast of news. typing this is so meta, here you are on my writing website, in my blog...so the short of it is: DO THIS. 

More specifically, go for a free site. Use Yola.com, Wix.Com, something like that. They give you easy-to-use website builders, free unlimited pages, and are very user-friendly. Right now it's not worth paying big bucks and hiring a designer or pounding out the CSS and HTML yourself. Save that for when your writing career really takes off and most people will never know you personally, but only know you through your writing. Right now, most people know your personally, so it's not worth spending money trying to recast the image of you they already hold.

So sign up, and register your URL as your name or pen name. Whatever will appear on your books. If you have a very common name like Mary Smith use your middle name or initial, or think of a punchier pen name.

Don't make yours too silly, or it calls up images like this. Credit

Now, what do you need on the site? The first thing is a quick little bio. This bio will be used a thousand times. This is the one that will go in your books, go into profiles and interviews in later promotion. Get familiar with bios from other authors and build yours. We like to mention children or pets, don't ask me why we do, but we do. Past jobs are good, or when you started writing. Aim for quick, telling, and funny if possible. The bio can be its own page or your front page. If it is its own page, make a front page with just your name, the title of your forthcoming novel, and a quick little picture.

Next you want pages for the free stories you've published. Put them up here so people have one easy place to find them. if you write multiple genres for example, a free site usually sticks to one. So someone may be a huge fan of your science fiction, but they may want to read your urban fantasy. Make sure they can on your site. Your site should be the hub of all your writing.

Lastly, a blog. Please understand a blog is a commitment. You should post at least once a week. I'm bad at that myself, and nobody's perfect, but try. Life gets busy, things happen...but try. Make your best effort. Write about updates and ETAs for writing projects. Then, think of what you can offer. I once taught creative writing and these lessons are all based off old lesson plans just tailored with my brand of sarcasm. I have that. But I also am an avid reader (right now I am reading the last Sookie Stackhouse novel, re-reading The Shining by Stephen King and reading a book on the Bermuda witch trials of the 18th century. See, you probably found that interesting, so it's worth mentioning: interesting things should be mentioned). Just remember, if you do talk about other authors, measure your criticism.

I am not always a very nice person. I am polite, but blunt. I hate shit writing.  E. L.  James is retarded, and frankly, if you liked her tripe of slashfiction I don't want you reading my blog, buying my books, anything, please go away. I mean it. If you hate her like I do, you're in the right place! I say these things because I don't care about making friends with other authors. If I do, great! But it's not a goal. I am just passionate about the written word and want to maintain some sense of decorum about it. People like E.L. James should be shipped off to Antarctica and abandoned with some canned food, an opener, and all the copies of her books for kindling, along with a lighter. You may not want to be so blunt; decide before you ever start a blog.

Remember, fans, agents, editors, and publishers may all see it. So be yourself. This is me, I have 0 patience for stupidity like poorly written herp-de-derp BDSM slashfiction of retarded sparkly vampires. I have problems with many other authors' works too, and I think it's important for publishers to know this. Ask me to ever review someone else's book and write a blurb and you can't say I didn't warn you.

Be aware that a blog makes a statement about you. It opens you up for deep examination. That brings you closer to fans but its a double-edged sword. If you're as blunt as I am, memorize the laws regarding libel and never cross them. Dance right up to that line but never cross it.

Like Ya Do... Credit

Now that you've built your website it's time to post it on your facebook, google+, or myspace profile. Put it on every profile on every writing site. Promote it, promote it, promote it! Anywhere you can! Email every friend and family. There may be someone in there that will find it interesting or have someone to pass it along. 

Once you have it up, maintain it well. Keep pages consistent and simple, don't make it too flashy. Make sure to post the free writings when you can, and check the site traffic often. Every time you put the link up on a site or into emails, check over the next couple days to see what's effective.

Take your time with this, you need some downtime. However, this concludes Writing 103: 1- an the next step is the final selection of critique readers or copy editors. You can do this at the same time, particularly if you did sign up a while ago for free writing sites and began premarketing. Good luck!