What makes a person a writer? Jeff Goins answers that a writer simply writes. Many writers struggle with the transition from their current careers to writing full time. In his book, You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One), Jeff provides a guide on writing and marketing your work. Here is a summary of what I learned from the book.
Many writers get discouraged while struggling to find their place in the endless sea of emerging writers. Their mistake is that they are waiting for other people to discover them.
Don’t wait to be picked. Instead, pick yourself by creating your reader platform and launch yourself into your career as a writer. So, where to start?
Before starting your journey as a writer, you should ask yourself “What do I have to share with the world, and what makes me uniquely equipped to deliver this message?” The answers to these questions will help you determine where your readers are, and the medium you can use to reach them.
Look at your previous writings and try to figure out what they have in common. Perhaps you are an inquisitive writer - always looking for facts, asking questions, and answering them. Perhaps you see the world from a unique perspective.
The next step is to find where people with similar interests hang out and what kind of content they like.
Every writer needs a platform to showcase their work, and the internet, with all its glamour and ego-centric clutter, is today’s world stage.
Just because you are a writer does not mean you should only produce written content. You can also use audio (podcasts) and video as long as you keep providing value to your audience.
Before having your platform it’s best to learn as much as you can from an authority in your field. You can try guest posting or do some freelancing.
Once you have an idea, the next step is to build your website or YouTube channel. You can do it on the side at first. Never lose sight of how your platform will help you in your writing career.
Now it’s time to get people to hear about you. Start by participating in forums and social media groups and helping other authors and artists with their work. Professional karma and unique content will start getting people interested in you and what you have to offer.
People often associate ”brand” with a fake persona. When they do, it simply means that the brand failed. Your brand should be an extension of you. It will never represent all of who you are. However, it does represent how readers remember you. It is important to feel comfortable in your brand to keep it consistent. So, what does your brand consist of?
When choosing your brand’s name, you have to ask yourself two things: Is this name unique? Is this name memorable? For some people, it can be as simple as using their first and last names. For others, it might be more effective to have a pseudonym.
Do your homework. Check if the name you chose is already used, especially in your field. Remember that your name must be the same on all your current and future channels.
You can use websites like Namecheckr to quickly tell you if this name is taken on any social media platforms. When you find the right name, I suggest you create accounts on all the main platforms (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn). You should also register a “.com” domain name of your name if it is available.
Go to google, search for your favorite authors, and then click “images.” The first thing you’ll notice is that the images are consistent with the image you have in your head. You will also notice how the results are similar to each other, from the smile and wardrobe choice to their pose.
You might think that an author’s looks are not important for their success as writers. However, your brand is the sum of many factors – looks included. These factors come together to create a voice that readers can trust to deliver books that they love.
Choose a style that is suitable for your persona and content. It doesn’t matter if it’s elegant, authoritative, or goofy. What matters is that you stick with it. Get some professional shots and use them across all your platforms.
The most crucial aspect of your brand as a writer is your voice. This includes the voice you use in your books, your social media posts, your website, interviews, etc.
Most writers don’t get to choose their voice. Again, it is important to keep your voice consistent. After all, your voice is the reason why readers keep coming back to you. You can draw inspiration from all your favorite books and movies, but never try to imitate or copy another voice.
Imagine you are personally narrating your story to one of your readers. How would you talk to them? What would it sound like?
Once you’ve established your platform, designed your brand, and figured out your niche, it’s time to think about how to get people to come to you. Remember that no matter how relevant and important your writing is, it’s your job to connect people to your content through channels.
Become active on Twitter and Facebook and give your readers a chance to sample your brand. Go to conferences and events related to your niche. Write an email newsletter to give your readers a regular update on what is going on in your field and with you. Think of your pages as sign-posts leading your readers to your main platform.
This article is based on Jeff Goins’s elaborate guide to fulfilling your destiny as a writer in a very relatable and inspiring manner. If you found this article helpful, buy his book and check out his other work as well.
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