I don’t think there is such a thing as shameless self-promotion for anyone who is serious about selling anything to the public. In a world of tweets, Facebook updates and iEverything it is only with self-promotion that you can hope to stand out from a very noisy crowd. The days of being the reclusive writer who never ventures out are gone. Now you need to understand and leverage off media other than just books or even traditional print.
Here is a great example of what I am talking about:
This is a book that is being released on July 1st by Kirstyn McDermott from my writers group. I love this idea of a movie-like trailer for a book, and had already scripted one for my own book Paragon (yet to be picked up, so if you are in the market for a post-apocalyptic YA novel, please contact me). Little did I know that people had already carved out careers creating these things!
So now for a little self promotion of my own… I have just opened a twitter account, so if you would like to follow me, please just look for ‘nataliejepotts’ and I promise I won’t tell you when I’m getting myself a coffee or going to bed. It will be writing stuff only!
On the writing front; I have a short story in Aphelion (June/July edition), so read it here for free until mid next month. I also have a flash fiction piece coming out in the Short & Twisted anthology – volume 3, being launched today.
So, now all I have to do is finish building my new website, learn how to eBook my novels and create my book video for YouTube. Hmm I’d better get moving if I want to have something to show you by next week!
A few weeks ago I talked about the importance of keeping your eye open for accidental homonyms, but I realised that piece of advice was really most important for those of you who want to get published. What about those of you who are just interested in getting started in writing?
Well for you I would like to pass on this piece of advice, perhaps the number one golden rule for writing; give yourself permission to write crap. Yes, you read that correctly. The most important thing about writing is… writing. So if you want to write, then you need to… (you guessed it) write. Getting words on the page is the only thing that will make you a writer, and it is the only thing that will get your story finished.
If you start editing and labouring over getting the perfect turn of phrase from line one, after several hours of ‘writing’ you might find yourself with one lovely paragraph and not much more. To make matters even worse, the next day when you look at that previously perfect paragraph, you will see that it is very overwritten, you will hate it, and spend your next night’s writing trying to fix it up.
Even if you do still love that paragraph, a perfect paragraph does not tell the story (unless you are writing flash fiction). You will still have a long way to go and will more than likely burn out before you get to the end.
If you give yourself permission to write badly, then you can concentrate on getting the story out of your head and onto the page where it belongs. Only once it is finished should you go back and start your edit, and let me stress here that you SHOULD go back and edit your work.
So I guess really there are two golden rules here; give yourself permission to write badly, and never send off a first draft! Editing can be tedious and frustrating, but it is also necessary if you are serious about making your writing the best that it can be.
By the way, my ‘fear’ that I faced this week was signing up for my new web hosting service. So now I’m committed to my new website, very exciting!
Following on from J K Rowling’s excellent speech (see previous post) I have been thinking a lot about taking risks over the last week. It is so easy to look back on the past risks of successful people and dismiss them as being minimal. But the truth is it takes a brave person to turn their back on safe and head into the unknown.
Every time you send out a manuscript you are taking a small risk. You are putting your work out there and seeing if someone likes it enough to publish it. You risk being told you can’t write, you risk being told your story is lame, you risk being told to give up. But these are all very small risks, and if you can’t take these, then you have no place in the world of publishing.
It is becoming apparent to me that these days if you want success in publishing, you need to take bigger risks. You need to fund your own marketing, you need to be prepared to get out there and push your book, you need to become more IT savvy.
I’m ready to take those risks, so to that end sometime before the end of this month I’m going to move my website and blog from my current ‘copy-paste’ templates to a new platform that I design and maintain. So please stick with me, there may be glitches, I may lose all my current content, but keep checking back if you suddenly find that I’ve gone off line. I will be back!
And do stay tuned, I have some exciting big risks coming up and I would love to bring you along for the journey. Life belongs to the brave, and I’m at the point where the fear of everything staying exactly the same has finally outweighed the fear of failure.
So let’s take part in a challenge, do one thing this week that you are afraid of, and please tell me about it. I’ll do something too, and it won’t just be turning off my website template. Let’s be brave together!
Taking risks, if Little Chef can do it, so can we;
Yes, it sounds like something that would be said by a member of the generation that were given participation awards at school, but I can assure you that I’m firmly in the Gen X category where the ribbons only went down to third place and sometimes a wooden spoon was handed out for coming last so you had a memento of your humiliation. However the statement about great writers is true. But perhaps I do need to tack a little bit on to the end of that… All writers are great to someone.
I am amazed at how often I can be glowingly recommended a book which I cannot force myself to finish, likewise a book I love is slagged by others. It is uncanny how often a writer taps into the global ‘love’ list while also squeezing themselves into the dreaded (but apparently profitable) ‘hate’ list as well (Dan Brown, Stephenie Meyer, anyone who has a number 1 bestseller basically).
So what am I saying? That you don’t need to try, someone will love the words you chuck together? NO! What I’m saying is that if you love your stories, then others will too, just not everyone. Rejections will come, people will slag and stories will be placed forever in the bottom drawer… But someone will love your work, someone will want to publish your work and someone will silently thank you for inventing a story that resonated on such a personal level with them. It might just take time. After all, there must be some truth to the oft’ quoted saying (attributed to so many people that I just had to pick one from a long list):
“There is a word for a writer who never gives up; published.”
– J. A. Konrath
Finally, love her or hate her, I think J. K. Rowling wrote some great books and here is a commencement speech she gave at Harvard University in 2008. If you haven’t seen it I think it is well worth watching: