20 Years of Writing and Not a Single Publication

Image credit: UNE Photos, Creative Commons.

When I started writing 20 years ago,  I did it to express my loves and frustrations in life. Later I did it to sort out my own thoughts. I never thought about pursuing a writing career. Then, a few years ago I started toying with the idea, but the timing was way off. Fast forward to February this year and the timing still wasn’t perfect, but it was certainly more prime. 

The upside to pursuing a writing career now is I have 20 years experience under my belt. The downside is none of those years involve any “professional” work i.e. magazines, newspapers, books etc., so I’ve never had “my work” professionally critiqued. It’s kind of a scary thought. 

The public could love it, but the professionals could tear it apart. That’s probably partially why self-publishing has become so popular these days. Authors have the opportunity to bank on themselves while maintaining creative control. Building a fan base on your own, and growing a market from nothing sounds pretty bad ass. I can’t wait! 

I’ll shop my work around to publishers, and I’ll contact a few magazine publications in my field (I’ve already started actually), but I won’t set my hopes on it being picked up. I recently attended a workshop for directors in Hollywood, and one piece of advice one director gave to the mixed audience was “stop asking for our attention. You have to take it. You have to build your own platform and following, and through that get us to notice you”.

That idea stuck with me, and I’ve been chewing on it since. Where do I start? How does one become a successful, in-demand, published author?  The answer… Besides having a product people want?… Social media. Duh! My 12 year old cousin could have answered that one. 

The only challenge with social media is having to compete with the existing relentless torrent of information constantly tearing through everyone’s feed. 

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My girlfriend suggested I contact other writers and producers (for screenplays). I realized immediately that I didn’t have a finished product to present to them. Approaching anyone would be a waste of everyone’s time. That’s a down-the-road action step. 

For now. Not only do I have to finish the two book projects I’m working on. I also need to get more up to speed with social media and tracking analytics. That stuff is gibberish to me. It gives me a headache. I don’t understand it. I feel old. I was “in the know” until about 2 years after Google blew up. Now I feel like my mom did when I got my first computer. 

-This is Life in the Leap

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