Scribble City Central will know that this is mostly due to that wonderful thing, The Author Platform. Those of you who are new here--well, welcome, and hold onto your hats for the whirlwind tour!
Very briefly, The Author Platform means that published writers in all genres are out there in the virtual world of blogging, social networking and even on YouTube. No longer are we stuck in a tiny garret, blowing on our frozen fingers, wrapped in shawls and never communicating with anyone except the characters in our heads (and occasionally our editors or agents). No. We are now get-attable. Well, some of us are, anyway. There are still those who think that all this internet stuff is the Work of the Devil, and prefer to stick to the old methods of pencil and paper and smoke signals. I'm not one of them. I've embraced my author platform with great gusto (possibly rather too much gusto in fact--but that's another story entirely). So. How can published writers help you? How does all this authory wisdom benefit you, the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed undiscovered voice?
- Author blogs often have great advice, both on writing itself, and on the business of being published. If you look to the right of this post, you'll see a page titled All the Writing 101 Productions. That's my own rather odd and eccentric writing advice. A couple of the very best 'getting published' author bloggers to check out are Nicola Morgan at Help! I Need a Publisher and Jane Smith at How Publishing Really Works, and of course there are all the other blogs on this tour to explore too. If you comment on author blogs, and ask short, intelligent and relevant questions about the post or something related to it, most authors will reply 9 times out of 10, and it can be an interesting and helpful dialogue to get into. However, when I say relevant, I mean relevant! Please don't go off on some long-winded spiel about your own manuscript here, as it won't be appreciated.
- Twitter is a great place for chatting to authors. Lots of us hang out in the enormous bookie community there (I'm at @lucycoats if you want to chat to me!), and there are publishers, agents, illustrators, booksellers and loads of other booktweeps as well. Don't be afraid to jump in and comment on a conversation if it interests you. That's what Twitter is, a big public conversation--and I have huge fun 'talking' to loads of people both about writing and other stuff--I find my Twitter friends a great source of support and comfort. For you as an undiscovered voice it can be equally nice to have some positive encouragement from the wider writing community, and also to see that us published people moan on about really crap writing days too (fairly often in my case) as well as talking about the happier (and considerably rarer) stuff like getting a new contract or a foreign rights deal! By the way, if you want to see this year's Undiscovered Voices story as it unfolds, why not follow @UndiscVoice2012 too?
- Author websites are always worth checking out. Who do you admire as a writer? Type their name into Google and see if they have their own site. Quite often there'll be a FAQ section which can have some interesting insights into the writing process. You may also be able to email your favourite authors from here. However--another piece of 'don't advice' here, I'm afraid--if you send an email about your own work, don't expect a busy author to spend time critiquing your manuscript for free. There are other routes for that, so please don't ask or expect any author to do this for you gratis!
- Facebook is where lots of authors have 'fan pages' as well as personal pages. I'm not sure it's particularly useful in the context of this piece--though perhaps you might like to keep up with where various authors may be speaking or bookshop visiting if you want to go along and meet them.
- YouTube may seem an odd place to hang out for an author, but it's where more and more of us are putting book trailers, or readings of our work, or, in my case, short video clips of school visits. It's one to watch (excuse the horrid pun), because I think a lot of writers will be using it more and more to promote themselves. There's no reason why an undiscovered writer shouldn't do this too. If you're good at the techy film stuff, why not make a short video piece about your book or story? At the very least, it is an exercise in how it sounds read out loud! If you make it quirky or witty or viewable enough, you never know who might be watching! Stranger things have happened.
The blog tour continues tomorrow when Keren David will be giving more helpful advice to aspiring writers at Almost True
You can find out about the submission rules for Undiscovered Voices HERE