I must start by saying I feel very guilty posting here today; for the past ... um, do I really want to put a number on this? ... maybe three - maybe four - months, I've ignored my own blog. All the great writerly advice I've given people for the past two years on building an audience and online presence has been ignored while I deal with life: writing a new 200,000 word serial, adapting to my new full time job, continuing to settle into a new city, and all the general things of life. So I wonder if it is hypocritical of me to appear here now to offer advice.
But perhaps not.
Perhaps there is some invaluable piece of advice hidden in my experience.
Well, now you mention it...
It all comes down to: promote now, because later you're going to be even busier.
If you want to be a writer, start as early as you can building up your online presence. No effort is wasted. Put everything you can into it at the beginning, because the internet is very forgiving, as long as you get in and start. And, as I learnt, the sooner you get in, the more credit you'll have in the bank in case you need to back off later.
For the past few months I've done absolutely no book promotion. I didn't blog, or tweet, promote my facebook page or do any tours. I didn't even bring out a new book. However, I continued to get sales. My books continue to sell at roughly the same rate they have been for the past six months, which I admit is not a huge amount, but has been consistent for over a year, which is more than a lot of people can claim. That was all possible because I had done so much at the beginning.
For the first year I did everything I could. I listened to podcasts on self-publishing, internet marketing, platform building, and writing. Then I implemented as much of that advice as I could. At times it seemed a bit silly; I didn't even have a book out when I started. But luckily I didn't let that stop me.
So no matter where you are now in your writing journey throw yourself into promotion, because by the time it comes to actually promoting your book all these efforts will pay off. And they will continue to pay off even afterwards, when you may be too engrossed in writing the sequel to keep it all up. Trust me, if you're in this for the long haul, you're not going to have more time later, just more drafts to edit and books to promote.
So stop reading this and do one thing today to promote yourself as a writer. Or if you need more ideas, drop by my blog for the two years' of great advice (and eventually something new).