Yeah man! I’m safely home on the Nature Island after visiting my family in Ohio and attending the Antioch Writers Workshop, “How to Get the Most Out of Your Writing Life.”
The lovely Cathy Day www.cathyday.com was the keynote speaker. She talked about various ways to earn capital (not necessarily monetary) from your publishing experience whether it be trade, university, academic, small press or indie/self generated. According to Ms. Day, economic, human, social, intellectual, and symbolic capital all have value, and she sighted Merchants of Culture by John K. Thompson as a reference.
She also discussed literary citizenship www.literarycitizenship.com where authors are encouraged to become part of a literary conversation—share what they are reading and express interest in other writer’s work via the internet, twitter, offering reviews, and by becoming guest bloggers on other author’s websites. As a member of the fledgling Dominican group Waitukubuli Writers, I was especially interested in this approach. It’s easy to be put off by the Buy my book, buy my book attitude that prevails on social media these days. Hello! It’s not all about you!
Another helpful suggestion was to find a simpatico writing partner with whom you can trade work. Any volunteers?
As far as getting noticed by agents and publishers, she agrees with my editor—submit, submit, submit. Compile a list of 20-30 literary magazines per Duotrope, Poets and Writers, The Review Review, New Pages, Brevity and start with the most difficult. Follow the submission guidelines exactly and keep your fingers crossed. The powers that be do indeed read these magazines and after a while might recognize your name. Meanwhile, scour the Association of Authors’ Representatives data base (aaronline.org) according to your genre and highlight new and hungry agents.
*Warning. Be prepared for rejection* But, hey! Lightning does strike and you’re writing and learning in the meantime.
The afternoon session “Finding Your Writing Tribe” was kicked off by Ryan Ireland. www.ryangireland.com He talked about platforms and brand building with your website as your hub, the point being that “You” should be instantly recognizable via voice, feeling, and iconic photograph that are literally bursting with hype about you being an interesting, dimensional human being. (Of course most Indie authors inherently introverted and busy writing, so this is a bit of a problem. Wouldn’t it be great if we could afford someone like a PUBLICIST to do it for us?) If all else fails, put out a consistent blog on the same day of the week.
According to Cyndi Pauwels www.clpauwels.com , who quoted The Social Media Guru: Jane Friedman www.janefriedman.com , there are endless do’s and don’ts when it comes to promoting yourself. At www.writerswrite.co.za Amanda Patterson shares 9 Habits You Need for Social Media Success.” I was especially interested in Sharon Short’s www.sharonshort.com take on how to pitch your book to a publisher or an agent one on one, let’s say at a writer’s conference. You get approximately eight minutes—2 to say everything you need to say and 6 minutes of interaction. I also had the pleasure of meeting Fred Marion, who puts out a newsletter www.daytonlit.com . Check it out as an example of what one committed person can do!
Meanwhile, keep writing and dreaming of a nod from the publisher in heaven.