Market Your Writing The EEASY Way
Marketing your writing is a skill. The great news is that anyone can learn how to do it. I don’t care how shy, nervous or introverted you are, you can learn how to market your work and have great fun doing it.
I’ve boiled marketing for writers down into an acronym: EEASY. It stands for Enthusiasm and Enjoyment, Application, Self-Confidence and Yell.
=> Enthusiasm and Enjoyment
Enthusiasm is the key to writing, and it’s also the key to marketing your work. Editors will forgive you much if you bring real enthusiasm to your work.
Enthusiasm and enjoyment go together. You must discover, if you don’t already know, the kind of writing you enjoy. This is the kind of writing you would do for your own pleasure, even if there were no possibility of getting paid. Your enthusiasm will come through in your writing.
What do you like to read? What you enjoy reading is a good indication of the kind of writing which is fun for you, and to which you can bring real enthusiasm. If you find it difficult to read in an area, you’ll find it difficult, if not impossible, to write in that area.
I enjoy copywriting. I also enjoy tinkering with technology, so I like to write about technology.
What you enjoy changes over time. When I wrote romance novels, I read romances. These days, I prefer mysteries and thrillers, so that’s what I write.
Think about your life. If you have children, you could write for parenting magazines. If you like cars, write for car magazines. If you like to travel, cook, take photos — are you seeing a pattern here? When you write about what you love, you increase the likelihood that people will be happy to pay you for your writing.
Enthusiasm is not a commodity. You need to find someone who’s enthusiastic on whom you can model yourself. Who’s the most enthusiastic person you know? My role model for enthusiasm is Peter Cundall, who presents a gardening program on Australian TV. He’s in his seventies, and he loves gardening. His enthusiasm is infectious. If you’re in Australia, watch Gardening Australia, and see how Pete conveys his enthusiasm for what he does —
You’ve discovered what you love to write. The next step is to write it. And then write some more. (We’ll deal with marketing below.)
Let’s see how this works. You love to read mystery novels. One day it occurs to you that mysteries might be fun to write. All you need is a crime, and a detective. How hard is that?
You start to write. Oh shock, horror and utter woe — this is difficult! It’s much harder than you expected, and after writing 20 pages you decide your work is so much dreck and give up.
Slow down. You performed like a professional writer, until you gave up. The only difference between you and Ruth Rendell or Reginald Hill, is that they didn’t give up.
Writing is messy. Everyone expects artists to make a mess as they paint, but oddly enough, no one expects a writer’s first draft to be a mess. This is where beginning writers come undone. They expect that when they write, it will look like the published work of their favourite author.
Expect to make a mess. Expect your first draft (and maybe even your second and third and fourth) to make you cringe in embarrassment. It’s OK.
Just keep working.
At this stage, you may want to take a course, or read a book or two. Couldn’t hurt. However, it won’t help either, unless you continue to write. So remember — Application!
Now you’re writing, you need the confidence to offer your work for sale. Yes, now. It doesn’t matter if you’ve only been writing for a few months. You need to format your work in the right way for the kind of work you’re writing, and send it off.
You’ll find thousands of markets at Writersmarket.com; it’s well worth the subscription:
In the meantime, while you’re waiting for a response, keep writing. If you’re writing enough, your confidence will grow with each word.
Expect to get a few rejections. Be pleased with the rejections you get. It’s good for you to be rejected, because it will increase your confidence. This doesn’t mean that when you receive a “thanks but no thanks” email message or letter that you’ll dance around the house humming happily. You’ll be downhearted. Allow yourself to feel truly depressed — for ten minutes, 20 minutes tops — then send your work out again to the next market on your list.
Why do I say it’s good for you to be rejected? Because it is. Trust me on this. Editors and agents are not gods. They are as human as you or I. You need to discover this for yourself, and the only way you can do that is by offering your work for sale. After you’ve been writing for a few years, you’ll know that rejections are just as valuable as acceptances, and often more so.
For more on self-confidence, read: “Five Ways To Become A Confident Writer”:
“Yell” means to promote your work. That is, send your work out to markets constantly. Plus, communicate with agents, editors and other writers. Become a part of the writing community.
The need to promote your work comes as a shock to new writers. However, it’s a fact of the writing life, and one you need to accept not only with good grace, but also with enthusiasm. You can only be enthusiastic about promotion, if you’re enthusiastic while you’re writing.
It comes full-circle: you start with Enthusiasm and Enjoyment, and you end with it as well.
So there you have it. The EEASY way to market your writing. It seems simple. It is.
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