By Nichole Giles
When I first started writing, I believed it to be a very solitary thing. One in which it didn’t really matter who I knew or what my connections. I mean no one else can write for me, right?
Over time, I’ve seen the wrong in that way of thinking over and over again. Writing as an art form may truly be a solitary thing—that’s true—but the process actually requires the help of others. Lots of others. Writers, publishers, editors, mentors, publicity specialists, agents…all these people have a part in getting your writing into the public.
No, it’s not a lone effort. Because without a team of people on your side, chances are that no matter how much you write, or how good your writing ability, your story will never be seen by anyone else. At least, not a published version.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s totally okay to write for yourself and not care about sharing your work with others. If that’s your purpose, it’s been served by the simple act. Congratulations on your success!
But if you—like so many other writers—hope to someday see your work in print, it’s time to consider making those crucial connections that will help you succeed in your quest. How do you do this? Here are a few of my ideas. (I’m sure there are lots, lots more, but this is a blog, not a book.)
1. Attend writer’s conferences. This is a great way to connect with all the types of people you’ll need to know. Don’t be shy, even if you have to pretend. Branch out and introduce yourself.
2. Join a critique group or other writer-type group. Other authors and writers can help you find ways to improve your craft and make it marketable. Because no matter how good you think your work, there’s always room for improvement. Always more to learn.
3. Start a blog. Not only does regular consistent writing improve your skills over time, but this is a good way to create a following or fan base, which will in turn help generate future sales.
4. As much as it pains me to say this, popular social networking sites truly are a good tool. They have a way of extending connections across the world, linking you up with people you need to know and who may be important to your future.
5. Make public appearances. Again, for some of us this can be painful and scary, but it gets your name and face out there, where others can see and remember it. In this industry having a memorable name and face can be the difference between failure and success.
6. Follow other agent, publisher and author blogs. There is a wealth of information out there, and these people are publishing it for everyone to see, as often as weekly, and in some cases, daily. It’s like getting a free education or taking a free class.
All right, I know all this can be overwhelming. Don’t worry, though. It may require some dedication, but it’s not as hard as it sounds. I promise. Take a chance. You won’t be sorry.
For those authors in the western states, here are some links to popular, excellent conferences. I highly recommend them all.
League of Utah Writers (Or you can search for a similar group in your state.)
Romance Writers of America
Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
And these are just the ones I've discovered. I'm pretty well positive that there are lots I don't know about. If you've been to or heard of other conferences, please share the information in the comments! I'd love to know about it.
Monday, February 22, 2010
By Nichole Giles