Well, it only took the masterminds of the Insecure Writer's Support Group to come up with the cool idea for the anthology/writer-help-guide in celebration of their three year anniversary to get me to finally sign up for the group. So, yeah ... guess I'm an official IWSG member now. Kind a sweet ....
And in honor of all that, I wrote my very own entry for their writer's guide book. For information on how you can send in an entry - deadline is Oct. 2nd - go HERE. Without anymore mumbling from me, feel free to read it below:
What to Do While Riding the Submission Train
Write something new is the obvious first answer to my title thought. Even better, create a piece of work outside your normal writing arena. Don't write poetry? Try it. Sci Fi not your thing? Jot down a scene from your comfort zone, but add Sci Fi spice from out of your comfort zone. Feeling a little internally disconnected? Journal your thoughts and feelings. Better yet, do that for a potential character.
All this is great and even productive, but what else can we do while waiting on the rails of our subs? Whether your words are already out there between a hardcover or you’re awaiting on your first book baby, whether your agent is subbing for you or your trenching it on your own, waiting is waiting. And it stinks.
Writers need a diversion from the insane sting of anxiety assaulting our stomachs or the mounds of chocolate we’d like to eat. NOTE: dipping chocolate into a jar of peanut butter can curb the sting, though you’ll have to burn off the calories from that peanut butter later. Greater evil? You decide.
Marketing our writer selves is my simplest answer. Now, don’t be intimidated by the vastness of social media. Yes, it’s big and fast and ever-changing. But so are you. You’re a writer, existing among a barrage of shifting markets and living, breathing language. Let’s see how we can tame the beast.
STEP 1: Understand the reality of social media and use it.
Even the most cautious social media users find themselves dazed into an extra hour or two of surfing interesting posts after sweet-treat dessert ideas. Then those posts must be shared. After all, we do need our Twitter fix. And we definitely have opinions about what we’ve viewed or read. Why not share them as your writer self? Show your supporters and fans—even if they are still potential future fans—who you are as a writer. Let them see you, your likes and dislikes, your hopes, dream, and struggles, the elements of life that inspire you to write what you do.
STEP 2: Define your writer self.
Readers don’t just want the characters they fall in love with to be real. They want to know the mind behind the creation lives in the same world they do, has struggled and been stirred in similar ways. They want to relate to you, just as they want to connect to your characters. They want to cheer you on and revel in your successes, ensuring you continue to create beloved characters and worlds that whisk them away. Of course this suggestion comes with a note of caution. Be wise with what you share on a personal level. Share from your writer self, not you the person.
Think about you, the writer. How do you differ from the person outside the writer title?
Are you a grammar freak? Do you see in pictures or are you a verbal person? Are you funny and do you incorporate comedy or snark in your writing? What subjects do you touch upon in your stories? Futuristic machines? Otherworldly beings? Life issues such as domestic violence or world hunger?
Once you develop your writer self’s identity, sharing and interacting with the world will grow you as a writer and as a person. Dress your writer self in the words and scenes, topics and social perimeters, emotions and fears you share through your stories. Don’t stress about it. Be natural. Be you, just in your writer’s attire. How do you do that?
STEP 3: Find your writer self in daily social media venues.
Seek events, videos, and posts that interest your writer self, articles that could inspire a scene or a character. Expand upon those by either directly sharing or commenting. Engage in comment conversation.
Sharing your writer self on a personal level will promote you without flooding media sites with links to your work. Continual interaction will intrigue others, which will lead many to seek you and your work out.
Ever read a comment under a blog post and thought, “That is a great point. Who is this writer?” I have. And guess what? I clicked on their profile and found their site.
STEP 4: My favorite – Be a balanced social media-rite.
Sometime ago, I discovered the number one way to market my writer self. Funny thing was I didn't even know what I’d stumbled upon. It all had to do with being a full-fledged member of the undefined yet universal writing community.
Show appreciation by sharing others work—fellow author, TV producer, or activist. Share what moves your writer self to move others.
Cheer fellow writers’ successes.
Offer understanding during their valleys.
Lend your eyes as a reader of their work. Give solid advice as both reader and writer. Accept their help in return, and be humble.
The truth of a person is found within his /her inner motivations. Be true to your writer self and pure in your social media motivations, and writerly blessings will find you.
Social media is a perfect place to exercise all of the above, which in turn markets you, not to mention it’s a great antacid to dull the sting while waiting on submission. I give full permission for this article to be used in the INSECURE WRITER'S SUPPORT GROUP Guide to Publishing and Beyond.