Thanks to Simon for last week’s blog. It sounds such a simple thing to write a short biography of yourself (and more and more publications are requesting these) but it’s surprisingly difficult when you actually sit down to it. It has to be done, though, as it’s just one of the increasing number of tools that writers need to use if they want to promote their work.
As a minimum you should consider having:
A website where you can tell people a bit about yourself as an author and plenty about the books you have written/are writing. It also gives you the opportunity to sell your books or link to Amazon and other sites if you are distributing your books through them. You can showcase a couple of chapters for people to read, and write a blog where you can keep people updated on your progress.
For promotional purposes you could run competitions where you offer one of your books as the prize – and then follow this with a virtual results event as we do each year when we announce the winners of our Short Story or Poetry Competitions.
A blog – if you don’t want a fully functioning website, a simpler way to start is with a blog. But if you start one, you should really aim to keep it updated on a regular basis. You’ll have to provide interesting, relevant content if you want to keep your readers coming back. So don’t just waffle on about you and your interests – offer useful advice and links to interesting sites you’ve visited. If you’re a novelist, you could even have one of your main characters blogging to draw readers into the plot.
However, no matter how great your blog is, if you don’t promote it, no-one will know about it!
Facebook and twitter give you the opportunity to do this and I assume most of you have a Facebook page and twitter account. You can give short updates on the progress of your writing, any new pieces you’ve had published and promote your website or blog. To be effective, though, you do need to keep a regular presence and unless you’re a famous footballer or an X-factor celebrity you need to have something interesting to say to build and retain friends and followers.
LinkedIn is more of a professional networking site, but you can still make some very useful contacts. Also, whether you’re a non-fiction writer or a novelist specialising in a specific period or genre you could ‘push’ your work by becoming recognised as an ‘expert’ in that area by the community.
So, try to think of some of the more creative ways you could give yourself a ‘plug’ as a writer – there’s no room for shrinking violets in this business!
Could this be the next writing craze?
And before I finish for this week, I couldn’t resist including part of an email I received requesting submissions for an anthology entitled Love, Lust and Zombies – here goes…
Let’s face it: zombies are hot, and baby, they’re getting hotter. Although not the most traditional of sex symbols, zombies are truly coming into their own, even landing on the silver screen in romantic roles, not to mention ambling and shambling across the pages of novels and television screens. Gone are those one-dimensional gut-munching characters from George Romero’s grim and gruesome flick Night of the Living Dead. Zombies now have a lot more to offer, and thank heavens we non-zombies are finally beginning to recognise this… So isn’t it about time they had their more…err… romantic and sexy sides showcased?
So, if you’ve had enough of sexy vampires and feel drawn towards the lusts of the flesh (in every sense of the word) this could be your opportunity. The submission deadline is 1st February 2013; word count is 3,000 to 6,500 and payment is US$50-70 plus two copies of the anthology. Click here for full guidelines.
My guest next week is Writers Bureau tutor, Esther Newton, who’ll be talking about how to make your entries really stand out from the rest when you enter short story competitions.
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