I’m often asked for advice for writers in waiting. And for the record all writers are in waiting. I promise you. At this moment, I am waiting to hear back on a YA manuscript on submissions. A sweet romance on submissions. From my editor of Death by Chocolate – (contracted and coming in 2 months – there’s always another step we’re waiting on). And from my agent on a new project. It doesn’t matter where you are in the writing life. If you’re a writer, you’re waiting for something. So, if you’re waiting, pat your back and take a bow. You must be a writer! LOL
Writers chewing nails to hear back from their submissions wonder what to do while they wait. Today I want to suggest writing a writer’s resume. Not for an agent, per se, but for you. Getting your successes on paper will build your confidence, remind you you’ve accomplished plenty and keep you focused on the next step. When the time comes to talk to an agent, or pitch at a conference, you’ll have those successes ready for quick reference in your mind.
Ideas for your resume:
If you have these, give yourself another pat on the back. If you don’t, you might consider adding them to your list of accomplishments and square up those shoulders. You’re making progress and every step matters!
1. Do you have an active blog? This is fun, easy and free. It shows you understand the importance of an online presence and it give you a chance to write every day or so, gain readers, make friends and gives agents and editors a place to stop and learn a little bit about you. We arent’ the only ones who stalk you know!
2. Make a twitter account. A FaceBook Page. Join G+, GoodReads, etc. Anywhere you have a profile will help with your online presence.
3. Guest blog! What an awesome opportunity to help out another writer and gain exposure for your charming smile and showcase your personality. Offer to guest post for another blogger. Lots of them. I love guest bloggers! Especially at times like these when it’s hard to find time to write posts for Musings. Guest posting is GOOD!
4. Write shorter. Look up opportunities to enter your short story into anthologies and other collections online. The minute you get published in anything you can set up an Amazon author page or a GoodReads author page too. Taking part in an anthology is a great way to gain exposure and it feels great to see your work in print!
5. Consider small presses. Don’t be quick to discount presses you think are too small. This is faulty thinking. Try considering every opportunity as exactly that. Opportunity. Small presses often accept novellas or short works for publication. You can take a month or two and polish up a 20K-40K word story. You have time, especially if you’re waiting on a submission. Submissions take up to 6 months. It’ll keep you busy and distracted. Then, if they accept your novella, you’ll have another publishing credit for your resume, and be building readers too. Working with an editor is experience. And who knows, you might fall in love with your new press and want to stay Some small presses are the bomb-diggidty *cough* Turquoise Morning Press. What?
6. Enter free online contests, especially ones hosted or judged by your dream agent or publishing house. Get your name and writing in front of them. The more they see it, the more it’ll stick out when your query comes across their desk Plus, ALL writing counts toward perfecting your craft. Writing in all forms is good for a writer. So, keep writing. But since you’re already writing…why not turn something in? <– see how that works
7. Check your local library, college or writer’s guild for workshops. Attend a conference. Find ways to get your face, name and work out there. Its can be free and local. Don’t use money as an excuse. Where there’s a will there’s a way. Can I afford to get a babysitter for a week and travel to NYC to take part in BEA? No. But I don’t throw my hands up and say, well, that’s it. I can’t go to conferences. I find opportunity I can afford or attend and I go.
Important note here: This is your dream. No one’s going to reach it for you. If you can’t find an opportunity – Make One.
Who else has a great suggestion for gaining experience in this industry?