Preparing Your Toolbox

Every writer needs a toolbox. At the COFW conference earlier this month, the toolbox was discussed by a panel of best selling authors. Are you thinking “What do I need a toolbox for?” Well, all writers need a toolbox. Guest blogging is one place this will come in handy right away. If you aren’t already guest blogging, you should think about it. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t published YET. Guest blogging is a great way to get more comfortable talking about writing and it adds to your web presence too. We all need more friends on this side of the manuscript. :)

If you are published or have signed a contract, you will need the same few items again and again. No matter where you are on your writing journey, a toolbox is handy dandy writing tool.

Looking for or rewriting a bio every time you post somewhere new stinks. It’s the reason we have email signatures. No one wants to write it over and over and over. Make a folder on your computer called ToolBox and put in your tools. W

What goes in your toolbox?

1. TWO bios. You need a short one like you use on your twitter profile- a tag line of sorts, and a longer one. Samples:

  • I am a mother of three, wife to a sane person and Ring Master at the Lindsey Circus. Most days you’ll find me online, amped up on caffeine & wielding a book.
  • As an only child I always had plenty of time to people watch and make things up. When I didn’t think I could make a living at the latter, my love of people led me to a BA in Psychology instead. A few years and three kids later, I discovered the thrill of writing. Writing lets me harness my seemingly endless supply of energy and enthusiasm and create something of value in the wake.  My sweet romance novella Bloom will launch the Turquoise Morning Press’s new Honey Creek line in Jan 2012. I’ve contracted three novellas for my Seeds of Love series with TMP and will be planting those seeds throughout 2012. My humorous women’s fiction Death by Chocolate will be available for download December 2011, and it hits shelves in April 2012 as the first in my Killer Confections Saga! I blog about books and writing at http://blog.juliealindsey.com and Tweet @JulieALindsey Say “Hi!”

2.  If you have a blog or website or links to other ways people can get to know you better, put those in a nice little list or paragraph and save them in your toolbox.

3. Your pitch blurbs. Pitches are like your query letter. Pull out a strong  paragraph describing what you’ve written. Title, genre, and a paragraph like you’d put on the back cover – of you don’t already have a cover. If you do, then save that.

4. Keep all your contact information together too. Its a big time saver to have the list ready to copy and paste. Save it in your toolbox.

5. Keep a list of your awards or writing credits. You never know when you might be asked about these or who would be interested in knowing. Make a list and keep them in your toolbox. For example, I won the 2010 Alien Vampire Bunny Contest Scott Eagan has every year. I wouldn’t list that on my submissions normally, BUT in the event I needed to contact him, this would be of interest to him. It’s a familiarity issue. He knows I’m not a cold call. I’m someone familiar with him and his work and I’ve even participated in his events in the past. So, keeping a ready list for reference is a great time saver. Add it to your toolbox.

A toolbox is a great time saver. I highly recommend you put one together now and then find ways to use it. Guest post. Participate in Wow! Women on Writing’s Friday Speak Out, or features like it. Contact online magazines. Get in the game and don’t forget your toolbox :)

6 comments to Preparing Your Toolbox

  • I LOVE this idea! OK, that’s enough chit-chat. I have a toolbox to create. Thanks.

  • I’ve never really thought of it as a toolbox before, but I have longer and shorter bios depending what the publication I’m submitting to asks for. I update the journal titles I have been published in with the most recent few. I have all of my previous publications/writing projects stored on my FB page where it is useful for me to refer to but also available to readers who might be interested. I also have yearly spreadsheets for my submissions (I have one by journal title and one by story/poem title). During the year, it’s useful to keep track of what’s out for consideration and what has a response. After that the by journal list is useful if I am submitting to a journal I have submitted to before to make sure I don’t send the same work, and the by title list is useful to tally up what the responses have been to any given piece.

  • great post and list for the toolbox, I use evernote to keep this organized. thanks!!

  • Great idea, Julie! Lord knows, I need all the help I can get when it comes to organizing my info ;-)

  • Very nice post. I never really thought of how necessary it is to keep all my writing and contact info organized in one place. Thanks for the suggestions, I’ll put them to use right away.

  • Excellent post. I’ve got work to do!

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