I blame Jim Butcher. And Tolkien, J. K. Rowling, Arthur Conan Doyle, Neil Gaiman and Mark Twain.
And a dozen other writers.
I love a good story. It’s why I’m an aspiring writer.
But the crafting of a good yarn is only part of the hard work today’s writer must endure. With global technologies and the so-called “new media” there is a lot more a writer must do to make herself heard above all the noise.
A case in point.
Back in the days of typewritten pages, an agent would receive maybe a few queries a week.
With the advent of computers and electronic communications, agents now receive HUNDREDS of queries weekly–from all corners of our wonderful planet.
How does an aspiring writer distinguish himself above the other millions of wannabe authors submitting their work every day?
Well, there is no fixed formula. But I’ll share what’s been working for me in the hopes that some of what you read may help you with your writing.
You’re reading this today because of Twitter.
A social (and sometimes narcissistic) tool, this social media outlet has connected me to hundreds of writers both published and breaking into the field–as I am.
I’ve found online writing competitions and advice. Critique partners and a sympathetic ear. Smart, yet demanding “friends” who savage my work—but knit me nice scarves as a consolation.
But beyond that, Twitter has helped me learn more about the actual business end of writing than any book has to date. Why? Real-time feedback.
From a community of like-minded souls.
From my venture into the twitter-verse, I began to read writers blogs. You know, those online diaries that many people consider a waste of time.
They’re not. Again, I’ve learned from them. So much so that I’ve created my own (www.rbwood.com). It’s a great way to provide the internet-connected world samples of your work. I also find it good therapy–and a lot cheaper than an analyst.
I’ve also joined a series of websites for book lovers and writers alike. Goodreads is a fantastic site to manage what you’re reading, friend other authors, and to get literary recommendations that increase your own writing skills and scope. I use QueryTracker to find agents who work in my genre (Urban Fantasy & Sci-Fi) and LinkedIn to connect with professionals of the industry. (I recently posted a detailed commentary about LinkedIn on Kait Nolan’s blog).
Crazy man that I am, I’ve also started up a podcast called “The Word Count” (you can find links to it on my site or go straight here to give it a listen: THE WORD COUNT). It’s another outlet for me, to be honest–but I’ve had the opportunity to provide writers a medium by which they can showcase their own original works.
If you’ve guessed by now that I use all these online tools for networking, you’d be correct. Meeting people and learning from them has been a fantastic experience…and beyond befriending people in the world of writing, I’ve learned a thing or two that’s only made my stories better.
Now, these are my suggestions. Take them as you will, but I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get your voice heard. Keep writing. USE online social media. Get your name out there.
The Indie Book Collective (IBC…you know, the site you’re reading this on right now?) has free workshops. The next one on social media is 09 November. They also host community forums, a weekly blog talk radio, and are extremely active on Twitter (@indiebookibc ).
You never know when something you do online might tip the balance in your favor with an agen.
R.B.Wood is a writer of Urban Fantasy and Science Fiction who is currently seeking representation for his first novel The Prodigal’s Foole. In the meantime, he’s won a few online writing competitions and is host of The Word Count podcast. You can find him at http://www.rbwood.com, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or chat via twitter: @rbwood.