A Marketing Team reason for rejection

Now that I’ve badgered you into getting yourself online (see Reason #38), I do want you to know that there are dangers involved. If you treat your internet presence as an afterthought or as something that can just be thrown together and subsequently forgotten, well, you take a pretty big risk. 

You see, your presence on the web is your claim to credibility. It’s your business card. It’s your customer promise. It’s your product brochure. It’s your company catalog, your product samples, your magazine advertisement, your author billboard—everything that makes you look attractive as an author. And it’s accessible to anyone. If you allow your internet presence to be poorly displayed, you’ll make it easy for your book proposal to be rejected.

Look at it this way. Let’s say you are hiring for an executive position at your company. You read two resumes and think they both look strong, so you invite both these candidates in for an interview. 

The first candidate comes in dressed like she belongs in your company—professional, clean, stylish, and ready to interact with customers. She’s energetic, attentive, and presents an intelligent, confident manner. The second candidate comes to the interview wearing a stained, ratty old T-shirt and sweatpants that say “Juicy” across the butt. She’s obviously hung-over, red-eyed, slack-jawed and distracted, barely able to muster responses to the questions you ask.

Assuming the qualifications on their resumes are equal, which applicant are you going to hire?

That’s the way I’m looking at your book proposal—comparing it to the other “applicants” for publication. When I and my Marketing VP check you out online, you’ll have a much better shot if we see an author who looks like the first candidate above instead of one who can’t seem to get her “Juicy” sweatpants through the wash cycle.

What You Can Do About It

1. Guard your reputation online. 

Remember, the internet is forever. Anything you post online is accessible—even after you take it down (thanks to the wonders of caching). 

This is great news if you are taking charge of your internet presence, because you can pretty much dictate what people read or see about you online. If the majority of what’s there is all praiseworthy and relevant, you’re in great shape. No matter when or where I look online, I’m going to see a consistent message that communicates your credibility, authority, and publish-ability—something that reinforces a positive opinion of you in the marketing circles at my company. 

Ah, but if you are lackadaisical about your internet presence, of if you allow incomplete or incorrect information about yourself to languish happily online, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. And the hard part is that you may not even know why you are failing. After all, my rejection letter to you isn’t going to say, “Your web presence was weak, so we’ve opted not to publish your book.” But that may indeed be the actual reason for rejection. 

2. Don’t ignore your Amazon.com AuthorCentral page. 

If you’ve published anything at all, you’ve got to keep your Author Page on Amazon.com looking current and professional. In fact, I have two authors who just use that Amazon Author Page as the landing spot for their web domain names.

You see, every author listed in the Amazon.com catalog automatically has an Author Page created for them and kept on the site. If you ignore that page, Amazon enters just a few automatic entries—some books you published, a call for information, and a blanked-out photo indicating no current picture is available. This is represents you poorly, and should be corrected.

Once you register, you control things like: which of your books are listed with your profile (and yes, Amazon often makes mistakes in this area), your author bio, your author photo, listings of your author events planned, promo videos, and even an author blog you can update regularly. 

Why is this important? Well, 66% of online book buyers spend their book money at Amazon.com. You do the math.

3. Point me toward your best side.

If you’ve taken care to manage your internet presence, then don’t take chances on my random search engine results. In your proposal, be sure to tell me I can discover more detailed information about you online. List your blog site, or the url for your Amazon Author Page, or the address to your bio on your website. Then, my Marketing VP and I will both go there first when we’re checking you out online.

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