Justine Larbalestier takes some questions from an audience at a writers’ festival, quickly realizes that the questions are focused on getting the attention of publishers before a manuscript is even completed, and has an epiphany on how to address those questions. You should link through to see her solution.
I’m largely in agreement with her. I think it’s important new writers understand the state of publishing and get smart ideas on how to draw attention to their work — but I think before you worry about any of that, you need to finish your work, and get your work to the point where it is genuinely publishable. Otherwise, all the concern about how to market yourself is just the writer nerd equivalent of trying to decide which shoe endorsement deal you’ll have when you make the (W)NBA, based on the fact you once put a ball through a hoop on a playground. Getting ahead of one’s self may be fun, but it’s not really all that useful. And anyway, there’ll be plenty of time to worry about all that stuff, after you have a completed manuscript.