by Laura Backes


Admit it, haven’t you wished that authors could be “discovered” just like old-time movie stars? You’re sitting in a coffee shop, typing away on your laptop, when the woman at the next table taps you on the back.


“Excuse me for bothering you,” she says, “but I’ve been reading over your shoulder and I think what you’re writing is brilliant.” You glance at the business card she hands you: Ellen James, Executive Editor, Big Time Publishing Corp. Your heart skips a beat.


“Call me and we’ll do lunch,” the woman says as she leaves. “I’m going to make you a star!”


While that fantasy is a bit far-fetched, in today’s social media age authors are actually being actively discovered by publishers via their blogs and YouTube videos. That’s right, you can get a publishing contract before you even write word one. Publishing today, even children’s book publishing, is all about the platform. Publishers want to know that you have a way to reach your audience, and if you’ve built a strong following though your own distinctive personality or subject matter, book sales will be a given. Check out this article from Publishers Weekly, Book Publishing Comes to YouTube, and learn how many publishers are trolling cyberspace for future bestsellers.


What these authors have done (before they were authors) was to build a brand. And even if you’re still old school and think of yourself as an author first, and an online personality second, your brand will ultimately give your book the heft it needs to stand out from the crowd. If the thought of creating a brand or platform feels tawdry (we are lofty writers after all), fear not. In my video editorial for Children’s Book Insider, the Children’s Writing Monthly, I explain how building your brand is really just a matter of connecting with your readers on different levels. It’s revealing your voice through your book, your blog, your Twitter feed, and even YouTube. And it can be creative and fun.



In the end, though, the books by social media celebrities won’t endure unless they’re actually good. Even the editors looking for the next new talent online know this. And that’s where the true writers have an edge. So make sure every blog post showcases your best writing. Create YouTube videos that actually say something. And keep working on your craft. We have lots of articles right here on writeforkids to help pave your way to stardom.


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    Jaynie Higgins
    8 years ago

    Thank you Laura.

    Jaynie Higgins
    8 years ago

    Beautifully shared.
    Thank you Laura.

    Mary Ann Duke
    Mary Ann Duke
    8 years ago


    I really liked this article webcast. I have a character I “perform” periodically called Miss Lamebrain, The Queen of Corn Pone County. Maybe she’ll be my “Zoella.”

    Thank You,
    Mary Ann Duke Ed.D.
    Sarasota, FL

    Diane Landy
    8 years ago

    Thanks, Laura! You articulated this topic very well. My branding is in the works so the timing of your post was perfect. Brava!

    MG Author Kiy Weathers

    This is an excellent post. I’m working on my second draft of my MG novel, and I’m launching in June as my author platform and to accomplish my mission of getting more kids to read. At first, I thought I was starting too early but now I know I should’ve started much earlier. Thank you!