My goal for this series of blog posts is for writers to save themselves a lot of time and frustration. This series is meant to get you on the path toward publication, provided you put in the work of writing and revising. Don't worry if you don't follow all these recommendations--who could? I'll be the first to admit that even I'm guilty of sometimes not using my time wisely--look for my tip on social media! But overall this series contains hard-won truths on how to make writing a bigger part of your life. I hope it clarifies the publishing guidelines, professional etiquette, and protocols you may have been unsure about in the past. More than anything, I hope it puts you on track toward opportunities you may not have imagined.
By nature I'm a modest person. I've been told I can't take a compliment. I hate talking about myself and drawing attention to myself. However, I love to listen to others. But writers need readers, don't they? I've always felt like my poetry gains a new life once it is out in the world. It's been hard to reconcile those contradictory aspects of my writing career: the need for quiet and solace in order to create and the need to also be a minor spokesperson for a book I wrote. I just don't like telling people about me, but I have come to see that I need to be more forthright about my publications and books.
It's a fine line to walk--telling people about something you've done that you're proud of without coming across as self-important or showy. When trying to decide how to tell my friends on social media some good news I always first consider how I would react if I were the audience. I've come up with some basic guidelines. For one, you don't want to mention your publication multiple times on the same media platform--that just gets on people's nerves. Try to only mention something once just so that people can be aware of it. After all, there may be some people who follow your work and are interested in subscribing to the journal your work was published in, or reading it online. If we're talking a book publication, you need to at least make people aware so they have the chance to support you by buying a book.
Here are some other good practices for getting the word out on a new publication:
- If you have a new literary journal publication, mention it on twitter, tagging the journal in your post, if they have an online presence (many do).
- You can post a publication update once on Facebook.
- If this is a book publication, get the book on Goodreads and update your profile on Goodreads.
- If you are publishing a novel, make sure to set up your Amazon Author Central page, so readers can learn more about you and your work.
Tasha Cotter, @TashCotter, is a poet and fiction writer based in Lexington, Kentucky. She is the author of two chapbooks of poetry and the full-length collection, Some Churches (Gold Wake Press, 2013). You can find her online at www.tashacotter.com.