Monday, 10 February 2014

Soliciting Myself. A New Writer's Realization.

I caught a hint of this when I attended my very first Writer's Conference in October 2013 - the SIWC or Surrey International Writer's Conference. Introducing myself to people at the same table or workshop, they almost ALWAYS would ask "Amanda ..." It took a few goes at it until I realized giving your last name was the norm when introducing yourself to other writers. Who knew? And, that wasn't all. People were passing out business cards left right and centre. There were a couple tables with business cards and bios splayed around amongst front covers of some latest releases. Being completely new to the writing world, it was somewhat a surprise.

Okay, let me clarify. I have been writing for nearly a decade and a half. Other than a couple college classes - which confirmed my apparent talent - that writer's conference was the first time I took that next step forward: to learn more, to become a part of what I am quickly learning is a beautiful community and to see if I really have what it takes. It's one thing for me to think I am a good writer. Another for my creative writing professor to insist I never stop writing - and for classmates to demand to know what happen next from short story entries...all of which was very warming and encouraging. It's another altogether for online readers to rave that they still can't believe I am not a published author. That was an awkward pill to swallow. And while that may have been a few years back, but it still warms my heart that readers out there do believe I have what it takes to be a published author.

So, delayed response as it may seem, I finally am pursuing this could-be career. I want so badly to see the cover of my story, to hold the paperback in my hands, to inhale that new book smell as I turn the pages. This is what I truly want.

What I wasn't expecting in all of this was the self-promotion that is part and parcel to bringing this dream into reality. It is as necessary as having the ability to put the words on the paper, as I am quickly catching on. For me, while I am not quite at the stage of business cards or bios and front covers to share, I am already feeling the need in something so simple as finding some beta readers.

Hahahahaha. Okay, so if you are a pre-published author like myself, as Jane Porter called us in the footnote at the SIWC, sounds so good right? You will know that finding a Beta Reader is not simple. At least I haven't found it to be so. And, here I find myself completely soliciting myself as a person: as a writer, selling the product: selling the characters and their story all in hopes of baiting the right person. Hook Line and Sinker. I have so far emailed my first 3 chapters to 4 people over the course of a month. I have yet to have a response back one way or another. Let me say this, my chapters are not 25 pages long. They are short and sweet. Or so I think. The lack of response does tend to fuel the doubt. They all hate it, I'm sure that's why they aren't responding. Or the worry, great, now I've sent my story off to some strangers across cyber space...what will they do with it?

They don't mention this in school. No one ever suggested that sales skills were a pre-requisite to finding success as a writer. I have never really thought myself any good in sales. It's why I steer clear of any commission-type jobs - fear I'd end up owing money instead of earning it! But I need to dig down and channel my inner Sales Superstar, because even if I sometimes doubt my skills as a writer as I am sure many of us do, I believe in my characters. I want to introduce them to the world. Share their stories. I need to! And since I know introducing myself to other writers and fetching beta readers is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to soliciting myself as an author, I am quite prepared, if needed, to sell myself like a pro.

1 comment:

  1. One day, Amanda - you'll have great news to share. Keep writing. We're all learning in our own ways. Cheers! :)