No matter what stage of writing you're at, it's a good idea to periodically do an Internet search of your author name.
By author name, I mean the name you plan to publish, or do publish, your books under. It could be your real name or it could be a pen name. Either way, enter it in a search engine to see what comes up.
You'll typically find one of the following:
- Nothing relevant to the name
- A slew of references to someone else by that name
- Incorrect information about you
- Sites offering illegal downloads of your book if you're published
- Tons of legitimate references to you, the author
Performing and Internet search of your author name is valuable for several reasons.
1. You'll know exactly what other people, including agents and editors, see when they type in your name. If nothing shows up and you're actively querying, maybe you should consider building a web presence.
2. You'll know if your pen name, which you slaved over but haven't registered the domain name for, is already in use by someone else. You may want to consider using a different name.
3. If you're published, you can issue a cease and desist order to any sites illegally offering downloads your books.
4. If you've been working hard at building a web presence, you'll know your efforts are paying off when page after page of references to you, the author, appear.
Agents and editors do perform Internet searches on authors who submit to them. I hope I don't sound like a broken record, but I am convinced authors shouldn't wait until they get published to start a blog, website, or join online social networks.
Yes, every agent and editor will tell unpublished authors to focus on their craft before worrying about a web presence, but the facts show it takes a long time (a couple of years) for most people to build an average web presence. Authors who are submitting should be simultaneously building their platform.
Get your craft to the highest level, but also work on your web presence so you'll have an audience to promote your book to when you get published.
Every few months, do an Internet search of your author name. You might be surprised what shows up.
Join me on Wednesday when we'll talk about writing organizations and how they can help you.