Today, I talk to poet Jackie Hosking about the ways she promotes herself and her work.
Jackie, do you have an agent?
No I don’t have an agent but then again I haven’t really looked for one. I actually enjoy the submission process, though I imagine that an agent would be extremely useful if you found yourself strapped for time. As I tend to write short and sweet, my time is not as scarce as it might be for others.
Have you spoken on radio?
Yes I have – I did an interview with Elaine Harris (ABC Tasmania) a few years ago and a local Melbourne radio station.
Have you performed your poetry in public?
I’ve done a few public readings of my poetry and as far as I’m aware, they went pretty well. I get very nervous at the prospect of reading my work aloud in public but once I get started you can’t stop me.
Have you spoken to school groups?
I have spoken at small local primary schools, usually because I’ve been invited – I don’t tend to seek out this type of work but am happy to do it if asked. My talks so far have been about the art of rhyme and rhythm where we use a rhyming dictionary. I’ve also taught children how to write limericks.
My poetry has been described as old fashioned but not outdated – I like that description.
Do you market yourself to teachers, librarians or any other groups?
This is my next big challenge. I’ve not taken this road yet I think because my internal editor is being too strict. I’ve started to look at designing some workshops but the perfectionist in me is being very restrictive. I need to put it in a box and leave it outside for a while.
Tell me about your online strategy. How did you decide what components to use?
I used to have a website though GeoCities but they closed down this year so now I use a WordPress blog. For me it’s all about networking, getting your name out there and connecting with like minded people. I think of the ones you’ve mentioned above, I use Facebook the most. I only really tweet once a week to let people know that I’m editing the next issue of PIO. Facebook is a bit more casual and very friendly. It is full of useful information and allows you to befriend people in the industry that you may not be able to otherwise. Like all online sites though you have to be careful what you choose to share – once you’ve hit the send button it’s out there for a long time.
These things can also be big time thieves if you’re not disciplined – I like to have them buzzing in the background as I work because being a writer can be a very lonely profession and they remind you that you’re not the only one staring at a computer screen.
I use the internet to promote the newsletter, to ask for news, to find things of interest, to search for artists to profile, to research – the list goes on and on.
Do you target different audiences with each of the online channels?
No not really. The children’s writing/illustrating industry is mostly where I spend my time and my blogs reflect this. The wordpress blog gives information about PASS IT ON, my writing and my rhyming manuscript editing service. The versatility blog gives examples of my poetry and the CBI blog showcases children’s illustrators. Facebook covers everyone, while Linkedin acts as more of an online CV.
What method have you found to be most effective in promoting yourself as a writer?
Well I guess having a list of publications is helpful – I have a page on my blog that shows where I have been published and the type of writing that I write for both children and adults. When I get an acceptance I like to share it with my colleagues – it’s always nice to have your work validated. And like I said earlier, if I’m asked to give a talk or something similar, I usually do.
I get very nervous at the prospect of reading my work aloud in public but once I get started you can’t stop me.
Are you a full-time writer? How do you structure the days that you write?
I think most writers are full time, in that they are constantly thinking of things to write about. My days however are pretty unstructured except when I’m editing the newsletter. Entering competitions is a good way to keep me writing or editing things I have already written. I definitely have a one track mind – if I have to do the accounts for hubby’s business then I can’t work on my writing. I’m very black and white – all or nothing.
How would you describe your ‘brand’ as a writer?
I am a rhyming poet. My poetry has been described as old fashioned but not outdated – I like that description.
If you could travel back in time to the moment before you sent off your first manuscript, what advice would you give yourself?
Knowledge is power. This advice will save you lots of time and money. Be sure that you send your work to the right people. Be informed.
Thank you, Jackie!
Jackie has been writing for children for about 5 years. She likes to write in rhyme and runs a manuscript editing service where she helps others to write in rhyme. She is also the editor/publisher of PASS IT ON, a networking newsletter for anyone interested or involved with the children’s writing/illustrating industry. PASS IT ON has been in circulation for over 6 years.
For information about Pass It On and Jackie’s Rhyming Manuscript Editing Service, click here.
VersaTility – Rhyme & Rhythm: Jackie’s blog about poetry for children (including samples of Jackie’s work).
Children’s Book Illustrators – A Showcase. This blog showcases the work of children’s illustrators who have appeared in Pass It On.
This weekend, I’ll be posting a list of resources for beginning writers. The list was compiled by Jackie with the assistance of Pass It On subscribers.