Monday, October 24, 2011

The Writer's Platform, Part II

By Michelle Gwynn Jones

For a writer, getting accepted in the publishing industry today means having a presence in the literary world before you are published. If you are famous in your field, are a household word or a serial killer you can consider yourself known. For the rest of us, it’s not so easy.

The first step for most is a web presence, unfortunately the problem many writers face is that they don’t believe they have anything to say. They ask themselves, “Have I published anything substantial, no, so why would or should someone listen to my expertise? Everything I have to say is second, third or fifty-eighth hand. The last thing needed on the net is more information by people who are just regurgitating something that may have been said by someone even less qualified than I.”

The number of websites offering writing advice is too high to count, the number of websites by those with no expertise in the field is nearly as high. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t write about writing, but write about your writing. Tell the reader how you approach your work. Do you outline like crazy (as I do) or do you just sit down at the computer letting the words flow from your fingers and see what comes out? Do you plan your characters out in advance or is your character formed as your story develops? Have you any idea how the story will end before you start or do you like to be surprised like the reader? Get personal, tell your story.

When I say tell your story, I mean the story of how you write, be very careful in sharing the story you are writing. There are many writers who rush to build their platform before they have the necessary experience and knowledge of their craft. They place work of poor quality on the net, only drawing attention to an inability to write well. This often occurs when a section of the novel or a short story is posted that is not ready for public display. Unfortunately the website does not have the intended results. Instead of drawing in a loyal reader who will return to read you again, the chances are you will turn off your target, or worse, get many unwanted hits when the first reader refers your site to others for a good chuckle. My advice: before you post a portion of your manuscript, make sure it has been edited and edited and edited to death.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this blog and look forward to the next installment