Back in September 2017, I won the Summer Writing Project. The prize was publication.
Granted, my experience is not typical of most. I didn’t write query letter after query letter, and I didn’t get a full manuscript request. But before you write this off as irrelevant and click away, my acceptance may be more relevant than it first seems, and I learned things that can benefit every writer regardless of whether they are taking the traditional route or the self-publishing/indie route.
For one, the criteria for winning was that I had to have the most readers who read my story from start to finish. A query letter would, in essence, be trying to convince a publisher or agent your story is marketable and viable, but in this contest, I had to prove it with results – I had to show I could gain readers and keep them interested. This meant being savvy in promotion, marketing, and social media.
What many don’t realise is that even if you get accepted by one of the Big Five, unless you are one of their top grossing, big name authors like JK Rowling, or Stephen King, you’re not going to get much help in the way of marketing and promotion. You’ll get the bare minimum and probably more connections than most (depending on the publisher), but most of the work will be up to you until you prove you’re worth investing more in.
So while my experience may initially seem unconventional, irrelevant, and perhaps backwards at times, it does have relevance whether you’re going to take a more traditional route of sending out manuscripts and query letters, or if you’re thinking of self publishing.
This is the first in a series of posts I will be making about my experience. Over the summer I will be covering:
- Working with the editor
- Negotiating the cover
- How to run a virtual launch party
- Facebook ads
- Marketing/publicity techniques I used
If there is another aspect anyone wants to know more about, or there is something specfic you want me to address in an upcoming post, leave me a comment.
All being well, I’ll be posting every other week. The first post will cover working with the publisher. Stay tuned!