Sunday, January 20, 2013

So, you want to be a writer...

As everyone knows, when it comes to a product, whether it is widgets or writings, promotion is everything. And, unless you are a Koontz or a King, that promotion falls squarely on the writer’s shoulders. This can be rather trying because, as most writers’ will probably attest, besides finding the time in this fast paced world to write that next great novel, the writer will also be consumed with having to write various other things. These may be as simple as a quick snippet about their latest tale posted on a social media site, or as extensive as an article for their blog or personal website. It could be a query letter proposing your next idea or re-editing a recently rejected piece for resubmission elsewhere. The point being, that with writing, it’s never simply the tale.

While I do contend that overnight success does happen on occasion, please realize that it is rare and has odds equating to winning the lottery. Therefore, for those writers’ out there that think it is only a matter of plopping down in front of a computer, putting together a college of words you now call a novel, shipping it out to a publisher expecting that publisher to return within the week expressing delusions of grandeur and all of a sudden becoming a New York Times best seller, be prepared for a massive letdown. Of course, I commend and even share your optimism and hope, but, you should know that typically it is not that easy. Rejection is the norm and a writer needs to maintain leather skin. Otherwise, these rejections will play on you and gradually decrease self-confidence. Remember to never let it get you down. Take it with a grain of salt and know that, while the letter may sound dejecting, it more than likely isn’t personal. Maybe the piece doesn’t fit quite right with their current format or needs. Or maybe the publisher recently published something similar and doesn’t want to revisit the subject. Regardless, when this does occur, be sure to give it a good re-look, ensuring that all the t’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted and send it out again. Also, don’t be surprised when you realize that you suddenly came up with additions or subtractions too.

In a nutshell, this is how the writing process works. Don’t fool yourself, its hard work and the lazy need not apply. For, besides the tale itself, along the way there will be so much more that will need to be done. So, as mentioned earlier, the hardest will probably be that little matter of promotion. After all, what good does it do to write anything if no one knows about it.

Promotion can be relatively simple, or it can be excruciatingly hard, depending upon the individual. For the tech savy, the time frame will decrease drastically and for the technologically challenged, this may become an exercise in fear.

In today’s day and age, it is a given that most writers’ have at least a blog that the consistently contribute to. But, simply writing a piece and posting it usually won’t do. A blog doesn’t create itself and it is the blogger that will need to design their web presence layout. So much for just writing, huh? While I won’t go into detail on this, know that a blog represents the writer and shouldn’t be taken lightly. This is where a writer should start. It is a central place where the writer can, besides posting various pieces, broadcast any other information they want fans to know. Of course, while a blog is an excellent place to start, a writer shouldn’t limit themselves to it. Things like a professional website with a personal domain and having several social media accounts will only increase exposure. And, once all this is in place, the promotion comes relatively easy.

Welcome my world…

Besides working anyway from 40 to 50 hours a week, I somehow manage to fit in daily writing. I should probably add that this doesn’t come without some extensive pre-thought and a hefty dose of tight organization. Anyways, my day starts at 5:00 am (off days vary from 6 to 7 am), where, while ingesting as much caffeine as humanly possible, I found myself banging on the keys by the light of a nearby fish tank. What I write will depend upon whether I feel an impending personal deadline approaching or whether I’ve had my mind firmly fixed on another idea. It could be a short story, blog piece, article, chapter in my latest novel or any number of other pieces. But, the point is, that I write.
An hour and a half later, finding myself in the shower, I plan out the next pieces which, coincidently, I have already had the pre-thought to create a file for, and they now quietly wait as a blank sheet on my computer. Although, sometimes (and it is funny to me how the shower seems to cause this) I’ll come up with another idea for a tale. And so begins the process of hurriedly lathering and rinsing, making every attempt to not let the burning soap sensation in my eye distract from keeping the idea at the forefront of my mind, rushing through toweling off, teeth brushing and deodorant smearing, in order to quickly get back to my computer to jot it down. Typically, all this occurs while tightly watching the clock ticking away, ensuring that I won’t be late for work.

And the day of work begins…

While I’m constantly hopeful of getting done early so I can make more time to write, I also know that this will probably be moot optimism and, just like any other work day, I will end up dragging my tired butt back through the door somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 or 8 pm, not wanting to do much of anything except become part of the couch. However, being a piece of furniture won’t progress a writing future, so this is the time that I use to promote either on my website, blog, social media, or any of the other established outlets. Finally, around 10:30 or 11 pm, I make my way to the bedroom.
But, the day is still not over and since, on my nightstand, I have a rather substantial pile of books that my better half cannot seem to avoid complaining about (God Bless her), I try and tackle one of them through drooping eyes, most of the time not getting through more than a few pages. Of course, since I’ve previously had the pleasure of awakening, face down on a drooled upon book and now having to unstick myself before washing off the temporary tattoo of words that now litter the side of my face, I keep myself in check and now set the book aside before the inevitable happens.

Whodathunkit! Then the alarm goes off and I do it again.

And, while I suppose I could have summed this whole article up in one single word…dedication, the idea never occurred, being the writer I am. And besides, you know what they call a writer that never gives up? Published!

This week I created, designed and launched my mobile app. It’s called The Dark Web of Horror Writer Thomas Scopel and includes this blog, as well as many other associated links, and a few creepy goodies thrown in for good measure.
Available in all mobile formats, get it here. (Note: Be sure to allow it to load completely before pinning to your desktop.)

Hey EC horror fans, there’s a new comic coming soon from Evil Jester Press, that will take writers’ tales and put them into graphic format. How gruesome would it be to see your tale drawn by some wickedly good artists? Yours truly has submitted and is anxiously waiting whether it is accepted or not.

And, the new article for my ongoing Land of Shadow & Substance Twilight Zone column is posted at Horror News Net. It's called "Where Is Everybody?"

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And so ghouls, have a gruesome week and remember to stay scared!


1 comment:

  1. Yes, spot on. I am amazed at those people writing to me and asking me to write their sure bestseller for a cut of the profits. People have no clue! Cheers.


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