To become a successful writer you need two things: credibility and a reading audience. If you’re an emerging writer like myself you may not know where to begin. Performing a search on either of these topics can leave you feeling frustrated and overwhelmed.
But I found a few things that can help.
#1: Free Online Webinars
I’ll admit it: I never thought I would gain anything from free online webinars. They always seemed to be promising to help aspiring writers but turn out to be upselling a product.
Well, that’s only partly true. Over the past two weeks, I signed up for three different free online webinars on how to make a living as a writer. What does that have to do with building your credibility, you ask?
One of the webinars actually touched on the topic of building your credibility as a writer. But let me back up for a minute. I am in the process of sending out query letters to agents to get my book published. Each agent has different submission requirements, but they all want to know what qualifies me to write a book.
This can be a problem if you’re an emerging author with no previously published works. Building credibility as a writer is going to give you a leg up in a very competitive industry.
So how do you build it? Well the webinar told me one way: guest blog posts. The hour and half webinar was very helpful, but that one tip was worth the price of admission (okay, it was free, but you get my point).
After that webinar I found ten different writing sites, some that I read daily, and others that I found through Internet searches. A couple I never heard back from, two said they only invite guest bloggers that they have established relationships with (I’ll touch on that more in a minute), and one got back to me.
And they said yes!
This is a writing site whose daily emails I read. I am also participating in their year-long short story writing challenge for the second year in a row. They have a social media following of over 500,000 people.
Think about that. That’s huge. So I get to give back to a site that has given me so much over the year and I get exposed to a large writing audience. All I have to do now is wait for the post I submitted to be published. If that’s not building credibility, I don’t know what is.
Now let me get back to that point of established relationships. What I learned — very quickly — is that even though I came from the standpoint of how I can contribute to their site, a few of these sites don’t want guest blogs from people who aren’t regular visitors. So when you’re looking for blogs to pitch proposals to, keep this in mind.
I got this tip in the same webinar. Medium.com is basically an online blog, but there are tons of categories. Think of it as a place to post what’s on your mind, but with an already built in audience.
You can join for free and post as much as you want for free, but if you can only read three articles written by other members. After that you can pay five bucks a month or fifty dollars for the year.
Is it worth it? Well you have to answer that. I joined (paying monthly to see how I like it) and I’ve written a couple of articles on the writing life. In the week since I’ve joined, I’ve had one follower a day find me and since my website is listed at the top of each article I write, that means possible exposure to my site and possible new subscribers.
Building credibility and a potential readership? Score.
#3: An Author Website or Blog
You may or may not have one of these. If you have one, great. If you don’t, I highly recommend at least a blog if not a full website. You don’t need to pay someone to do it. Here’s a great article on how to choose a blogging platform.
Once you have a website or blog, you need to contribute to it regularly. There’s nothing worse than going to a site that seems like it’s been abandoned. You need to show the writing world that you’re here to stay!
I post to my blog on Mondays and Wednesday. Heck, I even read a an article today on how to plan out a year’s worth of blog posts. If you have no idea what to blog about read this. It will give you some great ideas.
I hope these tips and resources have started your writing wheels turning.
Are you working on building your credibility as a writer? Let me know what has worked for you in the comments!