Thursday, June 17, 2010

Chapter Two: Getting Your Name Out There

This may seem like a strange topic to consider at the beginning of the process of getting published but it’s one I didn’t know about when I queried agents for my Young Adult Mystery. I assumed the publicity campaign got underway after I was published. Wrong!

I became aware of the need for writers to establish an online presence during a long, interesting, and fun lunch last month with Glenda Beall, former Netwest Coordinator for the North Carolina Writers Network. Glenda has a distinguished career as a published poet (Now Might As Well Be Then published by Finishing Line Press), writing teacher, publicist, and all-around good friend to writers.

Because it takes time, thought, and technical skills or help to get your name out there, it makes sense for all writers to start thinking about it now. In the competitive world of publishing, it’s imperative to distinguish yourself. You should begin by posting online about anything you’ve published.

If you’re unpublished as I am, you can show literary agents, editors, and publishers that you’re serious about writing by blogging about what you’re doing to improve your skills - taking writing classes, joining writing groups, attending regional or state conferences, and networking with other writers through Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Anything that says you mean business - you’re not in this for a hobby.

Publicizing myself doesn’t come easily to me. I’m a very private person but I recognize the necessity of forcing myself to do it. This blog plus joining Facebook and LinkedIn are part of my personal campaign to get my name out there. It’s encouraging that I made some interesting and unexpected contacts from my first blog. In addition to their comments, questions, and suggestions, Glenda Beall has been kind enough to mention me on her blog so I’m reaching another group of writers. Thus, the circle grows.

I’ve only been at this for a few weeks but I’m learning daily about the scope and possibilities of building a public record as a writer. As new ideas emerge, I’m going to give them a shot. I encourage all writers to consider my suggestions as well as look for other ways of “getting your name out there.” If you’re already involved in publicizing yourself, what are you doing? Do you have ideas I didn’t discuss? I hope you’ll share them through this blog.

Although writers are creative creatures who prefer to be seated at their laptops churning out dynamic sentences and well-crafted dialog, publishing is a business. If we want to be successful, we must approach it as such. When you market your novel to an agent, it’s business.

Let’s get published!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chapter One: On the Path to Getting Published

I began writing a couple years ago because I love words and mysteries. Naively, I expected to get published right away and earn big bucks for turning out, in my opinion, a pretty gripping page turner.

When I deemed my Young Adult Mystery ready for print, I began querying agents to find someone to represent it. Over a period of months, my efforts yielded many no-responses and auto-rejections, some requests for more material, and a few personal, favorable comments but no offer for representation. At one point, I thought I’d snagged an agent but, to my sorrow, she bailed.

Not surprising, numerous agents cited the downturn in the economy as a reason for not taking on new writers. Now that the economy is showing some signs of recovery, I’ve decided to give publishing another shot.

I’m starting this blog as a forum for serious beginning writers to pool information about the frustrating and confusing task of finding a literary agent. It’s true that a lot of sites and books offer such advice but I’ve found many are outdated, contain erroneous information, or offer useless tips on topics such as spell-checking and repeated editing. I’m assuming that anyone who seriously expects to publish is aware of the basic fundamentals of polished writing and practices them zealously.

It’s my intention to share my querying experiences through this blog with other new authors. In turn, I hope they will share their efforts with me so that we can weed out querying tactics that don’t work and identify and promote those that do.

As I renew my attempts to get my novel published, I welcome the input of not only beginning writers but established writers, agents, editors, and teachers who can help us negotiate this seemingly hopeless phase of our writing careers.

Let’s get published!