Want more money? Then memorize this phrase: “Writers promote.”
Think you don’t have time to organize a marketing plan for
yourself, your books, your website? Try this six-week plan to a sustained program of self-promotion and you, too, will find new friends who will help you, editors who approach you, and readers who will follow you throughout your writing career.
Week One: Focus on online message boards and lists. Yahoo, MSN,
Topica and Smartgroups all have online discussion lists that you can
search by topic. Sign up, read past messages, then decide whether
you’ll stay with the list or move on. Some lists have nothing but
spam messages; others are packed with information. Register with
message boards that focus on writing. Do the same with these as you
did the lists. Choose at least five to participate in. Choose two
days a week, at a minimum, on which you will send messages to the
lists. Be aware than many of the same writers will be on more than
one list so don’t just write a canned message and send it to
all. Show that you’ve read previous messages – answer a question, ask
a question, share a valuable link. Once in a while you can mention a
favorable review or a “Hurray, I got the assignment” message.
Week Two: Keep up your week one efforts. Study local newspapers,
both daily and weekly. Investigate any magazines published for local
readers. Keep a running list of local media contacts. Some of the
things you should note: who is writing about food, what type of
stories are turned into juicy features, what kinds of announcements
run in the business section, how many food articles are syndicated
from another source? This list of media contacts will save you time
when you have an article you want to write or you are seeking an
article to be written about you, your business or your book.
Week Three: Weeks one and two plus a trip to an office supply store.
Buy some great paper – matte, two-sided coated paper, color or
white. Write a brochure for yourself. Don’t feel it’s
appropriate for what you are writing about? Then design a business card and print it up. Or ask a graphic designer to create a unique look for
your business card. I was at a business fair, manning the table for
my employer at the time (a college), and I realized that I could
have networked my own writing business if I’d only had a business
card to hand over to the advertising and web design businesses. Get
some business cards.
Week Four: This is the week when you take your writing business on
the road. Go to the local Chamber of Commerce’s Business After
Hours event. Chat with people, and hand over a brochure or business
card when you meet someone who can hire you, or who can connect you
with a publisher or editor. Keep posting on those message boards and
lists; have fun with them.
Week Five: Write a press release about your recent success. Did you
publish an article, finish a workshop, win an award, or open for
business? Write your press release in third person as if you are
writing an article. Send it to someone – your discussion list
buddies for a critique, a local weekly that runs news releases
unedited to fill in the news holes, post it on your website
(don’t have a website that’s what you can do on week seven). Need
help? Visit prwire.com for advice on writing press releases.
Week Six: Two tasks this week: This is the week you make contact
with three new editors. Call the local food editor or features
editor and take him or her out to lunch. Email a magazine editor
with an article pitch. Contact an online newsletter editor and see
if you can trade ad space for an article you’d love to write for
him. Your second task is to subscribe to online newsletters for
writers – www.writesuccess.com, and www.fundsforwriters.com are only
two that consistently provide essential information for writers.
Throughout these weeks, you should also be writing, researching
markets for publication, and submitting your work. Keep up with the
list discussions. A great one for information and markets is
Keep up the good work – network with writers online and potential
clients and editors in person to sell yourself and your writing.
Free to reprint in all no-fee publications and websites. Please limit editing to corrections and the resource box at the end must be included.
About The Author
Pamela White is publisher of Food Writing, an online ezine for writers and food lovers. Visit her at www.food-writing.com . Her popular 6-week class is now a self-study ebook “Make Money as a Food Writer.” She also teaches a new, expanded 8-week online food writing class.
This article was posted on December 14, 2005