It’s a wrap! How often have you heard that? It usually means a film or a scene within it is “finished”. For writers, I guess our “wrap” is when we’ve written our draft, edited it and polished it, and then finally sent it off to a publisher for their consideration. At least you’ve got that stage done!
Even if a publisher accepts your book (or short story or article), does that mean your work is over? Oh no. You need to build on writing credits and successes, no matter how small, if you want to develop any kind of writing career, for a start. So it is a case that you’ve done it once, can you do it again and again and again?
The good thing with this is you do discover different markets for your work. You learn to target what you write to the market you’re aiming at (and the “trick” here is to write what you want to write and then find a publisher who likes that kind of thing. Easier said than done maybe? Perhaps but resources such as the Writers’ and Artists Yearbook and the Mslexia Indie Press Guide are wonderful aids to have by your side. You have to know what is out there and guides like this are invaluable. Oh and bear in mind the libraries will often have copies of the Yearbook in especially).
I know in my case when I wasn’t specifically looking for publication, what I did want to do was to prove to myself I could write and keep writing. And that’s fine. I think it is a good thing to want to push myself here and to see how I can do things better. There’s always room for improvement.
And a writer that seeks to keep developing will never run out of things to write. It’s also fun to keep developing. It also stops you from becoming complacent (and that to me is always a good idea. Writing should keep you on your toes and I think that would apply to any of the creative arts. You don’t ever want to think you’ve cracked it. Wouldn’t that be boring? Where would you go from there? Only downwards. I think I’ll give that a pass!).
Discovering More About The Writing World and How to Market without Annoying People
The more I’ve written, the more I’ve discovered about the writing world and indeed, given I didn’t start out writing flash fiction, had I not been writing short stories, I would’ve missed out on that format of storytelling altogether.
And even when you’ve found your niche and are developing nicely, the other side of the writing coin is telling people about your work and finding creative ways to do that without annoying them. There is an art (and a lot of hard work) to marketing and the best kind engages with people. It is why, for example, every so often I share a new flash fiction story on my Facebook pages or on my website.
For my recent cyberlaunch for Tripping the Flash Fantastic, as well as the book trailer, where I share a story from the book, I also recorded some videos reading stories from my new book and then sharing a little of how I came to write them.
See the book trailer and then the video for Judgement Day below for more.
My task over the next 12 months will be to juggle marketing two books, creating new fiction and non-fiction, and seeing where else I could be published. I have two major long term projects on the go at the moment (I’m never one to do things by halves!) and I am hoping to get one finished by next summer so I can then edit it and start pitching it to potential publishers.
One thing that can come as a bit of a shock when you are first published is how much work there is to be done after that! The joy of publication is wonderful and you rightly want to tell the world about it but you need to find ways of letting people know about your pride and joy so they will want to find out more.
There are so many different ways to market books and you have to find the ones you like the most. You need to keep your “campaign” going so if going on blogs etc is your thing, then it would pay to prepare blog posts in advance, invite people to your own blog and see if you can get on to theirs for guest appearances. The good news here is most writers do reciprocate.
But you do need a kind of plan of campaign for whatever marketing you decide to focus on for your work.
Having an Online Presence
Publishers also like to see an author has got some sort of online presence and a website that is attractive and is updated regularly is pretty much a must. So put on that website things you yourself would want to see on there if you were a visitor to it.
On my website, my blog consists of a twice weekly round up of what I’ve written where (and indeed includes links to my Chandler’s Ford Today posts). But every so often I will put up a story trailer for one of my flash tales and other content and flag up it is on there. It keeps the website topped up with fresh material and, of course, this kind of thing is part of a long term marketing plan.
Writers need to decide where to focus their energies when it comes to marketing. I don’t believe it is possible to do it all. I think it is far better to focus on what you enjoy doing and know you can keep going. That last bit is important. If you decide to set up an email newsletter, for example, you need to know you can keep on producing the content for it.
Wrapping Up 2020
Yes, I know. We’d all say a hearty “yes please” to this one! But I guess, even in such strange times as we are living in now, we still need to make the most of the time available to us. I’m about to resume work on a major project I would like to submit sometime next year as well as continuing to write for CFT and sending in flash fiction stories. (Oh and I do have a third flash collection to edit and polish and get ready for submission at some point).
I do believe it is a good idea, where possible, to plan out what you do with your time. I think it is more likely you will achieve these things if you set them down.
Mind you, I’m all for the other kind of wrapping up now the weather is turning cooler and the nights are drawing in. Just where did I put that nice big cardigan and cup of hot chocolate?!
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
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