Hazel Edwards’ Hints for Emerging Writers

This morning well-known Australian author Hazel Edwards guest blogs. She shares her hints for emerging writers keen to develop their careers.

How To Self-Promote Without Sounding Egotistical

1. As the ‘brand’ you are promoting the ‘work’ by sharing ideas with potential audiences, not necessarily being egotistical about yourself as the creator.

2. If you haven’t had anything published yet, list your WIP (Work in Progress) e.g. ‘Making a Killing at the Pokies: 30 minute audio script satirising gambling addiction. (Workshopped mid 2010)

3. Experiment in different formats or lengths e.g. a script from a short story.  

4. Have available a 50 word bio (written in the third person ‘s/he’ not ‘I’). List your skills if you don’t have publications yet.

5. Consider yourself a professional. Have a business card with contact details in a colour & font that’s readable. No tiny, curly, pale green font on unreadable pale blue.

6. Add an e-signature to all your emails with your website address and/or image of your latest book cover. (But NOT a hi-resolution cover, which will annoy recipients.)

7. Who are you writing for, apart from yourself? Craft it with apt vocabulary for THAT audience.

8. Titles are vital. Match the tone to the content. A funny article needs a witty title as the first clue.

9. Use the same book title for any talk or workshop title. E.g. I offer ‘Writing a Non Boring Family History’ talks as well as having written the book.

10. Be brief. If you ramble when you talk, listeners’ll fear you are the same in your writing and refuse to read it.   In one sentence, what’s your work about? (Use the title here too, not ‘my book…) e.g. Internationally  ‘f2m: the boy within’ is the first YA novel about transitioning gender & punk music, with a co-author who has transitioned.’ 

11. Prepare, so that generic things can be used more than once. (Like this list of hints.) 

12. Always include Title, ISBN and where the book can be bought online.

13. Give added value. Have ready on your computer, or web site well labelled activities which relate to that book title which can be sent to schools, libraries or bookshops which have newsletters or events to which you are invited. E.g. I have free downloadable scripts, finger puppets and posters, all related to specific titles.

14. Book trailers publicise your book via new media, and force you to convey the essence of that story, briefly. Even if you don’t create your own, having to storyboard the ideas for the designer is a discipline.

15. Network by joining professional writers’ organisations (like the Australian Society of Authors) and keep up to date on electronic markets by attending seminars. Invest in your writing career. The Australian Society of Authors provides contract advice, mentorships and advice on responsible self-publication.

16. Make sure your website address is on your business card, as long as the site is updated monthly. Time spent on this is saved from answering other requests for bios and photos etc. for school projects. 

17. Be wary of what you put on social media sites, as this may later reflect on your finished work and can be lifted and copied out of context.

18. If you provide publicity in a format that others can use easily, they are more likely to use it, tomorrow. Make sure it reflects positively on your work.

And finally, a well-thought-out web site is your the best investment in PR. It is your shopfront. 

Hazel Edwards and Ryan Scott Kennedy

Hazel Edwards & Ryan Scott Kennedy at the launch of f2m: the boy within

Author Hazel Edward writes for adults and children and has several ‘How to Write … articles available for free download on her website.  Hazel’s latest book is f2m;the boy within with co-author Ryan Kennedy for whom it is his debut YA novel. Hazel’s a panellist at the Emerging Writers festival in Melbourne.