Marketing Yourself, Or: My
Life as the Queen of Promotions
Copyright: Cheryl Wright
All rights reserved
Three years ago I was a
total unknown; I wanted to change that completely, but
didnt know how.
Marketing my friends all said; I
had no idea what they were talking about. Besides,
Im not the kind of person to get up in front of a
crowd and start spouting my mouth off, nor do I enjoy
tooting my own horn. And anyway, I
didnt have anything to sell; I didnt have a
book published. What was I going to promote?
So I procrastinated, did
nothing, just waited for editors to come to me. Ha! As if
that would ever happen.
But I wanted to write, I
wanted to get published, and wanted editors to call me.
I joined a writers
egroup and I lurked. I read what they had to say, melded
into the background, and learned. I began to see the same
names time after time. I started to trust the knowledge
of those more active members, and I was learning a lot of
new information about writing.
I joined more online
groups, and was actively involved in a few forums for
writers. Over time, writers began to ask me questions. I
was getting private emails from writers on the forums; I
was being seen as a mentor, someone to trust. But why?
I didnt understand
it at first, until I analysed what Id been doing.
What I discovered amazed me; just as I had come to trust
those more experienced writers in the egroups Id
joined, other writers were connecting with me
because I was visible.
I was still rather shy
about coming out Id rather write
than anything else, and I sure as heck didnt want
to market myself; going to the dentist was more fun.
A little over two years
ago, I resolved to really get into this writing thing,
but I was still a virtual unknown. My biggest problem was
I could barely use the Internet. I couldnt even
conduct an easy search. (How I ever managed forums
Ill never know!) How could I market myself if I
couldnt get around? So, I spent many months
learning as much as I possibly could about using the net.
And still, those same
names Id seen a year or so earlier were popping up
all over the net.
I was told I needed a
website. Boy, was that a challenge! Eventually, I built a
website; it was small, very ordinary (extremely hard
work!) but functional. Then I added a few freebies for
writers to my website. I searched the internet for great
links and helpful ebooks. I subscribed to some really
good (and really bad) ezines for writers. I was still
learning, and growing as a writer. But I still
Then, out of the blue, an
opportunity arose to have my website reviewed by the
editor of a large writers ezine. I did something I
would never have done before; I grabbed it with both
In less than a week, I had
350 hits on my site. Word got around I had
freebies! Within three months Id had one thousand
hits. I couldnt believe it.
I was beginning to see the
advantages of marketing myself.
One of my short stories
was accepted for publication. A link back to my site
lifted my profile again. I was beginning to get my work
published bit by bit and very slowly.
I looked for marketing
opportunities. Whats more, I took them! And they
February 2003, I decided
to write full-time; many people told me it was impossible
it would never happen. March 2003 I contacted the
editor of a website for women; I secured a regular humour
column. May 2003 I had secured another regular column, a
monthly travel article for a print magazine. I was
ecstatic. That same month, I was appointed editor for a
local newsletter. I was selling more and more of my
writing. Each month I sold at least one or two articles
a lot of those were to websites or ezines for
Cynics said Id never
do it; making money from writing was impossible. But they
didnt have my tenacity, and they werent
An English friend
suggested I start an ezine. After all, I was already
trying to help other writers with my freebies and links;
why not take it one step further? So I did; May 20th
2003 my first issue went out. I started with ten
subscribers mostly people from the egroups I was
on. When the next issue went out, there were thirty
subscribers, and the number slowly grew with each issue.
I began to get requests
for interviews. I was extremely nervous, even though it
was all done by email.
My confidence grew, and I
actively searched out marketing opportunities. Each day I
spent an absolute minimum of one hour on marketing
myself. I was writing articles, looking for markets to
sell my work, and I was actively pursuing what ever
avenues I could find to lift my profile.
August 2003 after constant
suggestions from other writers, I decided to set up a
website for writers. Not just a tiny little concern, but
a large site with a ton of information and resources.
Work was started on the site October 2003, after securing
a trustworthy host. www.writer2writer.com is constantly
under construction, and growing steadily.
November 2003 I had 180
subscribers. I did the occasional ad swap with other
ezine owners, and then I decided to run a contest.
I advertised my no-fee
contest for writers everywhere I thought writers might
congregate; I flooded the Internet with my contest
advertisements and ad swaps for my ezine. Almost twelve
months after the inaugural issue of "Writer to
Writer", more than 650 writers were subscribed. This
number continues to grow - December 2004, over 1000
writers were subscribed to the ezine.
If I see a new website for
writers advertised, I write to the editor/owner. If I see
an appropriate market for my ebook, I contact the owner.
If I see a good home for my free articles, or anything
else that will bring me recognition, I contact the editor
Marketing is an ongoing
task, and after a while, it becomes second nature. You
cant afford to let your guard down for even a
minute. Unless you have the money to secure a publicist,
baby, youre on your own. Over the last five months
I have sold a short story to a major magazine in the US,
released a non-fiction book, signed a contract for a
novel, and have run a number of short story workshops
(including one for a new writers website). I also
have requests for four short stories from various
magazines. A number of editors have contacted me for
interviews, and in a two month period, I have been
interviewed four times. I was even contacted by a
Hollywood film company to submit a writing sample to
possibly ghost-write a novel based on an upcoming movie.
(That one still leaves me gasping.)
I also continue with my
monthly travel column and regularly sell articles to
websites and ezines for writers.
(I dont know about
you, but Im worn out!)
I strongly acknowledge
that if I hadnt marketed myself, none of this would
have happened. And whats more, editors are now
contacting me, seeking me out. (Not bad for someone who
was a virtual unknown May 2003. <g>)
What Ive learned
over time is that writers are a commodity, and like any
other product or service, we have to sell ourselves.
Marketing your book is fine, but the most important part
of marketing is to sell yourself. Gain the trust of your
readers, your followers, let them know you will deliver,
and evoke name recognition.
If you can do that,
youre well on your way.
author: Cheryl Wright
is an award-winning Australian author and freelance journalist. In addition
to an array of other projects, she is the owner of the Writer2Writer.com
website and the Writer to Writer monthly ezine for writers. Her
publications include novels, non-fiction books, short stories, and articles.
To keep up to date with her publications and new releases, visit Cheryl’s website