|By Antonio Litterio
Writing is a dream job – most people would kill to spend their days just thinking about stuff, then writing some of it down. The internet offers so many ways to connect with readers and get feedback, it’s tempting to think that the more time you spend in social networking, the better your sales will be. That’s one good way to measure your success, but it’s a pretty narrow one. Broaden your outlook, and you can widen your horizons. Formulate, Focus and Feed to give your self-esteem a boost.
1 – Formulate A Plan
Set yourself long term, intermediate and short term goals. What do you want to achieve 5 years, 1 year, and 6 months ahead? Make these objectives as specific as you can – “Earn (name your own price!) from writing within the next five years”, “Write at least two books within the next twelve months” or “Finish my novel by Christmas”. You may need to readjust your timescale, but don’t alter your dreams. Keep your eyes on the prize. Print these plans out on paper, and pin them up by your writing station. They’ll act as a spur.
2 – Think Quality as well as Quantity
Spend as much time as you can writing. That sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how much time gets eaten up by promotion and, let’s be honest, surfing the net while you’re on line typing up or researching. Every self-publishing site will tell you the best way to drive sales is by publishing another book (incidentally, notice how this nugget of helpful advice is most often pushed by people who then offer to edit/format or illustrate that next book for you – at a price). While frequent releases keep your name in front of your readers, don’t sacrifice quality for the sake of quantity. Work towards both. Once your work is out in the public domain, it’s there forever. Spend time and care perfecting your work, and only release your very best work.
3 – Feed Your Friends
Not literally, although chocolate cake (real or virtual) always goes down well! Think beyond the boundaries when promoting. Don’t just flog your book: too much of that is an instant turn-off. Market yourself, your whole canon of work and maybe even the genre in which you write. Interact with your real, face-to-face friends as well as your Facebook friends, Twitter followers and other online contacts. Make sure you can be easily found online: if you don’t feel confident setting up your own website, contact your local college. They may run courses, or have students who would relish the challenge of developing a page for you (when was the last time you tried getting a teenager away from a keyboard?).
Create a Pinterest Board for your book, offer to guest blog, maybe even as one of your characters! Comment on other sites, and join in wherever you can. Be enthusiastic, be helpful and be open to every opportunity.
Above all, write – all the time. Using your skills will hone and improve them, day by day.