Out of the Shadows – Be Seen and Build a Platform

Some people won’t jump into the Indie Writer movement. They’d rather keep all their writing for the higher end publications… You know, the publications that pay full price for everything. Now, granted, there’s nothing wrong with that, we should all strive to get the best for ourselves and our writing. But for that to make a difference, you would have to be published with those higher end publications constantly. You’d have to have a column in a widely read magazine/newspaper or something, and be turning out something weekly that would have to appear before readers. That’s not going to happen, but for a few. And no one is going to hire a nobody for that job, unless you were birthed into the world through shiny, glittery unicorn poop.

So unless you’re some major guru, and we all read those publications, you aren’t going to build a name for yourself or gather fans/a following if you can’t get your writing out in front of the reader.

You can sit on your writing unless the exact publication you want is willing to take it on, or you can work with what you have. There’s nothing wrong with doing a “for the love” publication or throwing a short story at an anthology once in a while to gain some readers.

At least the Indie Writer is out there building a platform, gathering fans and readers, having a blog that someone actually reads, and a social media profile people actually want to follow and interact with. You know what? Those big publications you’re after will want you to have those things (with decent numbers) when they take you on. They’ll want you to show them that people like you and your work. They’ll want to see that you have fans and a following.

Sitting on your hands (and all of your writing) is not going to get you in front of the masses.

Oh, it may if you’re super lucky (see unicorn poop reference above), or have the best writing in the universe. But, with the way the economy and everything is working against everyone today, what are the chances of you being the “chosen one” for that big publishing house? Especially when you haven’t been building a platform/name for yourself?

Not very likely.

You can ask anyone who has been published with a bigger publishing house, who has an agent, and they’re going to tell you you’ll need the platform. And, if you get picked up without having one, you’re going to be told really fast that you need to build one.

Why not start building your name now, while you’re waiting?

Did you know that if you’re an Indie Writer or self-published writer and you sell or give away thousands of copies of your work, it will increase your chances of an agent or big publishing deal? Yes. It’s true. You know why? Because you’re not invisible and people want what you’re putting out into the world. Granted, that happens about as much as being the magical “chosen one,” but you’re not completely invisible to the world if you’re getting a few hundred readers to read your stuff.

At least someone will know your name. At least someone will have read your story(ies). Keeping them all to yourself is doing absolutely nothing for you.

I believe it’s better to stand up and be noticed, even a little bit, rather than sit in the corner and be invisible. You don’t get any fans that way. No one is going to ask you to dance and sweep you off your feet (agent/publisher) if they don’t even know you exist.

Another thing you’ll bring to the table when the time comes for that big contract, if you’re in the Indie Writer movement… You’ll have a general idea how publishing actually works. You’ll have seen various types of contracts. You’ll have worked with various editors. You’ll understand the professionalism and respect that go into the transactions of publication. You’ll know what to expect and have a realistic perception of the reality of what writers do, what editors do, and what publishers do. How are you going to get that experience waiting for just the right deal to come your way? Sitting in the corner, knowing nothing?

The point of this post? Yeah, you’re awesome with all your good writing, but no one can see you unless you stand up and show yourself and what you can do. Readers want to see you. And agents and publishers want to see your following. So, against the risk of staying a no one forever, throw something out into the world and build your platform.

Stand up! Make some noise! Show the world what you can do, and what you can be. Don’t keep thinking good things are going to come your way when you’re not trying to build yourself a platform and a name. All the experience, and networking, will help you in the long run. I promise.

 

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©Rebecca Besser. All rights reserved.

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