Hello Children’s Writers and Friends,
I am writing this blog post today from a lovely cabin in my husband’s family home town of Traralgon, Victoria so my time and Wifi is limited. Nonetheless, I had to post about the terrific workshop by Aleesah Darlison which I attended last week. I have already spoken on Facebook about what an interesting, knowledgeable and able presenter Aleesah is and how much I always gain from attending anything at which she speaks. That said, today my post is about some of the new wisdom I’ve gleaned, as that is after all the reason I write this blog, to share my experiences and learning along my road to publication. I won’t mention the many things Aleesah spoke of in her introduction which were more about how to become a writer than about how to be published as I have discussed many of them myself in previous posts e.g. Attractions on the Literary Highway, Win! Win! Win! It’s Competition Time, Fun at the Festival and The Write Group.
Instead I will use this post to focus on some of the finer points, some related to the posts above, some not, which a writer should be aware of if they wish to make the move from writer to author. These are perhaps the next steps along the path, perhaps the reasons a writer should undertake the earlier foundation building exercises. After all you would not begin a marathon, which this journey is for most of us, without doing some stretching, some shorter distance running, a half-marathon first, would you? I think I’ve covered the ‘stretches’ pretty well so far; join writer’s groups, enter competitions, go to Festivals, Conferences and other writing related events. I’ve even touched on the shorter distance runs; read, read, read, write, write, write, critique and have the courage to submit. What I hope to look at today is the half-marathon, one day I hope and intend to come back to this post and tell you all about how to run the marathon, but for now…
Aleesah informed us on how and why to build a writer’s CV on the importance of industry magazines and the names of some, about budgeting, about blogging and about better use of your email. To avoid this being an extremely long post, I’m only going to share information on the last two with you today and I’ll discuss the other two in a fortnight when I post again. These last two are more on the business of writing, which we creatives sometimes overlook, forget about altogether or simply glaze over at the thought of. The thing is that publishing is a business and if you have a handle on these Aleesah says it actually frees you up later to allow your more creative side to flourish and to do what you enjoy; school visits and spending time with your family and of course, write.
As writing for publication is not only a creative outlet but a business enterprise as well, a writer needs to seriously consider their image. What do you want people to say and think about you as a writer? Decide and then pitch! That’s right, pitch. Write an elevator pitch about you! And memorise it. You do it for your manuscripts to prevent you sounding like a bumbling idiot, so why not do it for yourself – “My name is Artelle Lenthall and I write for children, my passion is Picture Books, but I write short stories as well”. Done, simple, concise, clear and prevents the stuttering, mumbling ramble of which I for one, am usually guilty. Don’t forget to do the same for your manuscripts now that people see you may actually be quite capable of being professional they’re more likely to want to hear about them. The above is of course your one sentence or ‘elevator’ pitch about yourself, be prepared with your one paragraph pitch and maybe even one page synopsis of yourself, just in case someone asks. In this you should include points which can also be found on your Writer’s CV. More on this next time.
Another important part of your business is making people aware of it, bringing traffic to your blog, for example. You can of course include paid ads although this is not ideal and not necessarily the right sort of traffic. You want to attract people from the industry and a supporter base; other writers, publishers, teachers and of course family and friends especially if they’re parents or grandparents of your target age group. Some ways Aleesah suggested were blog tours, sharing other author’s blog posts or articles about them on your blog, linking to other blogs, with their permission, of course and interviewing authors about their latest book or writing and publishing in general. Have an email list too and when you send out those emails include your own email signature. This could simply state that you’re an author or better still list the names of some of your latest publications or best of all have a row of thumbnails of those publications. Now you look really professional, please come back next time to find out about some of the more practical steps you can take to improve your writing business.
I do hope that was helpful and I didn’t ramble too much,
For now, it’s farewell fellow travellers,
Savour the Quest,