If you’re serious about making a career out of writing and want to create fantastic fiction for a living, you’ve got to be proactive. It’s going to take more than luck if you expect to be discovered. A publishing contract probably won’t fall from the sky and land in your lap. You’ve got to be willing to put yourself out there and work for it.
Some of you may be asking, “What can I do?”
While I don’t know what will work for each of you, I can share some of the things I’ve done this past year. Maybe some of these things will work for you too.
1) Connect with other like-minded writers.
Reach out on places like Twitter, blogs, chat rooms, or anywhere else you can find other writers you can relate to. You’d be surprised how many writers are looking for you just as much as you are looking for them. Don’t just throw yourself on any old writer though. It’s cyberspace. People are weird. Try getting to know people slowly so they can see you’re not one of the weirdos. After time you may even develop a meaningful relationship. *snaps picture* How cute.
2) Participate in writing showcases.
I’m talking about contributing short stories to blogs with other writers. It can be a great way to meet new writers who may be interested in some of the same things you are. Think of showcases like Chynna-Blue Scott’s The Zombie Project and Pen and Muses’s The Dark Carnival. Get out there and mingle. Your next critique partner may be out there waiting to discover how awesome you are.
3) Apply for an internship.
Ever wonder what goes into a literary agent’s decision to represent an author? Perhaps you’re looking to understand some of the business side of the writing equation? Maybe you should try interning. You may even discover you’d like to be an agent more than a writer. Stranger things have happened. There are plenty of different kinds of internships out there–editorial, social media, literary agent. Find one that suits you and expand your horizons!
4) Write, and submit, a handful of short stories.
Short stories take less time to write. Submitting them usually isn’t too difficult either. Find an appropriate magazine or anthology, follow their guidelines, and send away. If you don’t mind a little rejection, you may make a new connection or two. It can be a great way to get your name out there as you’re waiting for news on your book.
5) Writing contests.
You probably won’t find a better atmosphere for budding writers than writing contests. Most of the time a bunch of aspiring writers get together and cheer each other on as literary agents wait in the wings to find their next client. I’m talking about contests like Pitch Wars and PitchMAS. As long as you follow the rules and play nice, contests can be an excellent opportunity to get your writing in front of a whole new audience.
Yep, I’ve done all of each of these things in the past year. My first published short story will be arriving soon, my contribution to The Dark Carnival will be up on Pen and Muses’s website shortly as well, I have a few months left on my internship, and I was an alternate selection for last year’s Pitch Wars. I’ve met so many wonderful people this past year. I truly am grateful.
The most important thing to remember on your writing journey is to be yourself. Nobody likes a jerk. Always follow the rules/guidelines for whatever you decide to do with your writing. Don’t forget to thank everyone who has helped you along the way too. No writer ever gets where they are on their own. There’s one last thing to keep in mind…HAVE FUN!