All writers who have taken on the incredible responsibility for getting their work in front of the public, whether through self-publishing or strictly digital publishing, must know the importance of marketing oneself and maintaining an online presence. Without this valuable step, publishing one’s own work is akin to scribbling it on the wall of a very dark cave.
But while most indie authors know that there are many ways to market oneself through blogs, author websites, social media networking, and the like, many authors forget to pursue publishing credits outside of their full-length manuscript writing as a means to put their names in front of potential editors and publishers.
Hope Clark, founder of the extensive author newsletter TOTAL FundsforWriters, brings a wealth of knowledge to her subscribers on a monthly basis with everything from grant funding—yes, grant money for writers who wish to pursue their craft—to writing contests that allow authors the opportunity to let their work speak for itself to a panel of judges. She also devotes a section to full-time and part-time writing employment opportunities, most of them in the field of journalism or human interest reporting, but there have been a few surprises, such as the recent classified she posted for an editor to the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon.
“Writing for money comes with the added perk of building a platform at the same time,” says Clark. “When I could not sell my mystery years ago, I reverted to creating FundsforWriters. I wanted to be a writer, be in the writing business, become knowledgeable. What could it hurt? I would network, become known, and learn how to handle myself in a room full of successful authors, editors and agents. A decade later, people know me more for FundsforWriters, that little effort I fell back on when I couldn’t sell my mystery.” And it has paid off. Clark’s novel, the first in the Carolina Slade suspense series, will be released by Bell Bridge Books in early 2012.
“Don’t rush to publish, but do rush to make a name for yourself. I’m speaking in terms of years, not days or weeks. Establish yourself, your wit, your personality, your expertise, your talent, in whatever ways you can.”
Some of the ways that Clark encourages authors to build their platforms include starting a blog and devoting serious time to it on a weekly basis, forming an online newsletter about something in the field of the author’s own work, taking on freelance writing or editing jobs, anything that will put the author’s name in front of the publishing industry, and ultimately, a devoted reading audience.