Marketing Yourself, Or: My Life
as the Queen of Promotions
Cheryl Wright – All rights reserved
ago I was a total unknown; I wanted to change that completely, but didn’t know how.
my friends all said; I had no idea what they were talking about. Besides, I’m 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 didn’t have
anything to sell; I didn’t 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
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?
understand it at first, until I analysed what I’d been doing. What I discovered amazed me; just as I had come to trust
those more experienced writers in the egroups I’d joined, other writers were connecting with me – because I was
I was still rather
shy about ‘coming out’ – I’d rather write than anything else, and I sure as heck didn’t want
to market myself; going to the dentist was more fun.
A few years later,
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 couldn’t even conduct an easy search. (How I ever managed forums I’ll never know!) How could
I market myself if I couldn’t get around? So, I spent many months learning as much as I possibly could about using the
And still, those
same names I’d 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 wasn’t happy.
Then, out of
the blue, an opportunity arose to have my website reviewed by the editor of a large writer’s ezine. I did something
I would never have done before; I grabbed it with both hands.
In less than
a week, I had 350 hits on my site. Word got around – I had freebies! Within three months I’d had one thousand
hits. I couldn’t 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. What’s more, I took them! And they were working.
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 writers.
Cynics said I’d
never do it; making money from writing was impossible. But they didn’t have my tenacity, and they weren’t marketing
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.
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.
I had 180 subscribers. I did the occasional ad swap with other ezine owners, and then I decided to run a contest.
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 or owner.
an ongoing task, and after a while, it becomes second nature. You can’t afford to let your guard down for even a minute.
Unless you have the money to secure a publicist, baby, you’re 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.
know about you, but I’m worn out!)
I strongly acknowledge
that if I hadn’t marketed myself, none of this would have happened. And what’s more, editors are now contacting
me, seeking me out. (Not bad for someone who was a virtual unknown May 2003.
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, you’re well on your way.
About the author: Cheryl Wright is an award-winning Australian author, freelance journalist, copywriter,
and editor. In addition to an array of other projects, she is the owner of Writer2Writer.com and the Writer to Writer monthly
ezine for writers. Her publications include novels, non-fiction books, short stories, and articles. Visit Cheryl’s