How to Promote Your Writing Even If It Hasn’t Been Published
We all know as writers it’s difficult to get our work out there. Here are 10 things you can do even before your work has been published. Not in any order.
1. Develop a Bio/Something to promote
It is difficult to promote an idea or a piece of writing that has yet to be published. You can still promote yourself. In this case a website or blog is invaluable. Write a bio and the things you are working on. When you do get your first publication you have somewhere to make a big to-do about it. You won’t have to go to a message board and type out a huge explanation; you can simply direct people to your site.
2. Circle of friends
Try to develop some community of people to deal with as friends. These can be “real” life friends who you see everyday or it can be friends from myspace or other sites. What you are looking for is feedback and word of mouth. It’s much easier said than done, but networking sites like myspace have made it clear that even never published writers can develop a huge following.
3. Message boards/communities
Find friends and places where you and your ideas are accepted. Put your website in your signature, and let people know about your writing. You can gain some exposure, and it is an overall part of the whole presence on the web. See Joshua Minton’s article on our site for more information.
Do real readings! See if your local coffee house will let you do a reading. Do they have open mic? I am always shocked at how many people get interested in a writer’s work through seeing that writer give a reading.
Learn the craft of writing with others. This basically means you get feedback and some pointers. You also get to meet fellow writers with similar interests. Online workshops are good. “Real” workshops are helpful as well. Let people know you and your writing.
Get your work out there. Find book publishers or magazines that will take your work. Post your bio and links with what you’ve written. You might want to send your best work to print magazines, but publishing online could bring you 1000s of people reading your work. It also gives you an opportunity to direct readers to your blog or website. Publishing on the web alone is not enough, but when each piece published points back to you or your product it can be affective.
7. Web presence
This is the all around most important issue when it comes to promoting your writing. You must create an overall web presence. A website or blog, a myspace, places you’ve been published, communities you are a part of your overall web presence. One of the best ways to promote your work on the web is to develop this presence and keep it up. Joshua Minton does a nice job on this subject in his article.
8. Writing Program
An MFA or BFA program is a big commitment. I do not recommend this for everyone. Certain writers will be drawn to this path. There are a lot of really good writers out there, successful writers with MFAs. This doesn’t mean it is necessary, but it is one avenue of honing your work and creating a better product. I’ve met some writers who simply use this time to “getaway” from their day jobs and back to writing. It is one more tool that can be used if needed, but it may not be necessary.
If you are trying to publish a fiction manuscript an agent is usually a must. Check up on agents. NEVER PAY the agent. NEVER PAY for editing and simply NEVER PAY. If your agent asks you to pay for postage, find another agent. An agent is meant to be someone who knows the business that can negotiate on your behave and be honest with you at the same time. Their job is to promote your unpublished work. They do this because they feel your work is worth money. They will make money when you publish, and there is no need to charge you up front.
10. Keep Writing
This is simple. Keep writing, keep creating, keep publishing, and keep trying. Writers, especially young writers, do not understand a writer’s career is generally a long one. If you love writing, you just need to keep writing. I know and am always hearing about writers over the age of 50, 60, and 70 publishing for the first time, and then going on to have successful careers. It can and does happen. It just takes perseverance.