Last week, we talked screenwriting and I laid out some basic tips for anyone writing a movie or thinking about starting. This week’s column also applies to screenwriters, in that it applies to all writers who want to get their name out there into the big bad world. By which I’m talking about creating your writer profile.
Essentially the reason for having a profile is that so, when your novel or movie comes out, people who see your name on the cover/credits/poster will say to themselves – or, even better, to someone else – ‘Oh yeah, that’s the guy who….’ (By ‘guy’, I also mean ‘girl’ obviously.)
It might be ‘That’s the guy who is brilliant on Twitter’ or ‘that’s the guy who does those great reviews on GoodReads’ or ‘that’s the guy who writes features for the Herald. Whichever one it is, it’ll mean that they already know who you are and they’re more likely to take a chance with your book/movie.
Which brings me on to the first important thing to note – it’s not just about setting up a website and waiting for your adoring fans to flock there – although that’s an important step too. In the beginning, building your profile needs to be about contributing to the world-at-large. Below you’ll see that Andrew Nette tells us how building your writer’s profile is ‘not-all-about-you’.
Social Media – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, the list goes on – is now the easiest and fastest way to create a public profile for yourself – but should be undertaken with caution. Reluctantly setting yourself up on Facebook or Twitter, just because everyone else is doing it, isn’t really going to do you any good. You need to embrace these services – get to know them, how they work, the things they have in common with each other and how they differ. Novelist Laurence O’Bryan is an expert on social media and here talks about how his online presence helped him secure a publishing deal and how it keeps him feeling connected during his writing day.
In her blog on ‘How To Sell Self Published Books’, full-social-media-embracer Catherine Ryan Howard helps us use social media cleverly in order to give ourselves presence and how NOT to just use it to flog our wares.
This next bit mostly applies to novelists – apologies screenwriters. A very effective way to get yourself known to the book-reading community is to become a book reviewer. I know that this is still a bit of a touchy subject with everything that happened this year, but getting yourself noticed on GoodReads, HarperCollins’ ‘Authonomy’ and, yes, even Amazon, will be invaluable later on when you’re trying to build a market for your own book. You might have to start by reviewing on your own website or blog but once you’ve established a voice, an ability to offer unbiased and fair reviews, and a trusted following, you can then start reviewing on more public and better-known forums.
The website Essortments.com offers some good advice on becoming a reviewer. And if you’re a reviewer on Goodreads, it’ll definitely be worthwhile checking out their Author Program, which is specifically designed to help writers reach their readers.
A great way of making yourself a ‘household name’ is by branching into journalism, or more specifically feature writing. At a recent NUJ seminar for freelance journalists, Evening Herald Features Editor Dee O’Keeffe pointed out that she is always open to hearing feature ideas from new writers, not just existing journalists. I can’t think of a better way of getting your name recognised that being seen in a daily newspaper.
After that seminar, Dee posted on DublinFreelance.org, telling us how to effectively pitch feature ideas and, in doing so, explaining how to come up with features that would work for the Herald. For feature writing in general, you can also read ClearWriter.com’s very detailed guide to writing fascinating features. We also have a piece from Georgina Heffernan ex Fashion Editor for U magazine and Deputy Editor for Irish Tatler.
And lastly, you can become a contributor to this website writing.ie. It has hundreds of visitors every day, many from the publishing and production industries. If you’re a regular visitor here and there’s an area of writing you reckon you can contribute to, either as a one-off feature or a regular slot, why not drop us a line. We have a list of ideas just waiting for the right person to take advantage of.
Right, I better get back to that novel. Or maybe I’ll write a feature about procrastination.
“Being famous, that’s a 24-hour job right there.” Bill Murray
It’s Not All About You.
Andrew Nette give us advice on building the author profile.
“Whether we like it or not, most writers have to do an increasing amount of their own publicity. The end result is an awful lot of hungry writers out there trying to find a platform, trying to stand out from the crowd.”
Social media for writers – what works and what doesn’t?
Laurence O’Bryan on how writers should – and shouldn’t – use social media.
“Luddites will deny that social media has any relevance to writing. Social media lovers will say it will change everything for writers and writing.”
Be interested…and don’t be shameless.
Catherine Ryan Howard on why Social Media is about connection.
“I am evidence that social media does sell books, but only if you don’t use it to sell books.”
In my opinion…
Essortments.com advice on becoming a book reviewer.
“If you love to read, a job as a book reviewer might be perfect for you.”
Become an ‘Author’.
Do you review on Goodreads.com? Join their ‘Author’s Program’.
“The Goodreads Author Program is a completely free feature designed to help authors reach their target audience — passionate readers.”
Feature Editor Dee O’Keeffe’s advice on pitching feature ideas.
“I have a lot of admiration for anyone who chooses or finds themselves leading the life of a freelancer – it is terrifying and gratifying in equal measures.”
And if you really want to write features…
Clearwriter.com’s detailed workbook on reporting and writing features.
“Feature writing has long been the province of journalists, but government agencies, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and others also have found it an effective way to communicate with large and diverse audiences.”
Right here on writing.ie we also have an article How to Pitch a Feature Story by the Georgina Heffernan who previously worked as Fashion Editor for U magazine and Deputy Editor for Irish Tatler.
Be one of us.
You can contribute to this-here website.
“Writing.ie is a constantly updated online magazine site for writers and readers of all ages – if you are an author and feel you could contribute, do please get in touch.”