Yesterday I suggested that in order to get published and begin to feel like a “real” writer, that you put away your current project and look at some alternatives. Today we continue with my final suggestions.
#4 Start a blog.
You don’t have to write a lot or every day but pick a theme and commit to it. Write regularly so your followers know that they can depend on you. Blogging allows the previously unpublished writer to have a platform and let the world know that you have a skill with words.If you manage to commit to it, you are also proving that you are dependable and, as I mentioned yesterday, can write to a deadline—even if the deadline is one you created.
I think blogging is one of the best things on the web. This option did not exist when we Write Sisters were getting started. Take advantage of this gift!
#5 a) Prepare a résumé.
If you haven’t been published yet, your résumé may include some related experience that you’ve had such as writing curriculum for a particular age group. Or, another way to break in is to send a writing sample. My publishing company, Apprentice Shop Books, specializes in non-fiction. We don’t accept freelance submissions as all of our series are developed in-house. So, how do you break in to this kind of publishing house? One writer studied our “America’s Notable Women” series. Each book tells the story of 25 outstanding women from a particular state. I generally hire 5 to 10 writers to complete each book. They write 1 to 5 of the profiles in any given book.
One person I did not know broke in by submitting an entry for a state that we had not yet covered. She modeled the word count, readability level, and required additional matter. I could see that she “got it.” I kept her work on file. Just a short time later, one of my writers faced an emergency and had to bow out of part of her assignment. I needed someone to complete two 550-word profiles in a very short turn-around time. Guess who got the job?
#5b) If you completed #2 above and managed to publish some short pieces, your résumé might include the clips you’ve started to accumulate. What if you’ve sold a piece but it hasn’t been published yet? Send a clean (unedited) copy of the work with a note that says, “This (article, story, filler) was purchased by Junior Traveler magazine for their September 2013 issue.”
So, in short, write something different. Doing so will serve a number of purposes. You will get some distance from the primary piece you’re creating. You’ll work some different parts of your brain. If you’re writing fiction, research some non-fiction topics. If you’re writing a novel, try some poetry. You’ll probably get to see your name in print much sooner and have the ability to feel like a “real” writer instead of a wanna-be.
Next week, I’ll put my publisher’s hat on and talk about how some writers shoot themselves in the foot and derail their careers.