Several weeks ago, I attended a weekend long writing workshop at the local college, presided over by Gail Anderson-Dargatz (The Cure For Death By Lightning). It was a neat experience, to be sure, listening to the opinions of one of Canada’s most well known literary authors. However, after the two days, it turned out I knew most of the things we discussed, and I’m already doing things right in terms of getting my name out there, but I’m going to quickly cover some of the things we discussed. Here, I’ll copy down the
meagre notes I took and add on to the ones that I found particularly relevant. Hopefully one of you will find it as helpful as I did!
On day two of the writing workshop, we talked about YA and kid lit (though I didn’t attend that part) and promotion for publication of your novel (which I did attend because I have a brain). So now I’ll share my notes and thoughts about the promotion.
Promotion & Publication
Getting your name out there
- promote the work of others to promote yourself
- put a manuscript away to understand it better
- let it stew a bit, collect some dust, so the next time you bring it out you have fresh ideas
- enter bits of the manuscript in competitions to gain more perspective
- agents are a little bit old school, but still a valid way of trying to get published
- agents take 15% royalties for local sales, and 10% foreign
- agents get the editor to read the manuscript, not the author
- they are basically the first editor and reader
- agents filter out the number of manuscripts for editors to read
- writers unions are worth it for a community and putting your name out there
- you can join them typically after you have had two books published
- agents shouldn’t ask for money upfront; if they do, find another one
- look at authors represented by an agency to get an idea if they will represent you
- check out submission guidelines and send a highly polished proposal
- try to be fresh and engaging
- less is more
- agent is the first cog in the promotion machine
- a good agent will guide a career
- don’t take it as a personal attack when the editor gives back notes
this is one thing that each and every writer has a hard time with
- editor isn’t the boss of the manuscript, but pay attention to suggestions; they gave them for a reason
- don’t rush into publication
- have a website
- website content should include:
- links to related sites
- discussion boards/forum
- post at least once a day on Facebook or Twitter
- never post more than three times a day
- make book trailers before publication
The most important thing I took from this day was how important it was to have an online presence. So much of the world takes place online nowadays, so it’s important to reach out to readers that way. Quite unintentionally, I was doing this already, as I already have a blog, Twitter, and Facebook. Being online is so important because most traditionally published books are made into ebooks, and so many self-published authors are going the route of ebooks as well, for money saving’s sake. That’s the way I’m going to go until I’ve got more of a demand, then I might do a POD service or print off a few copies at a time. Publication is well within reach for unknown authors because of the internet and everything that has come from it.
It’s a magical world we live in, all because of this.
That being said, I still might try for traditional publication. We’ll see. Listening to Gail discuss how the process is was more hopeful than anything else. With enough perseverance, anyone can achieve their dreams. Simple as that.
When did I become such an optimist?
So that concludes my two part blog series about the writing workshop. If you’ll excuse me, there’s a spider in my sink that I must fret about.