One of the most important things a writer needs to do before their book is started or finished is to market themselves and generate interest in their product. Writers need to show readers why they should care about their work and what makes them unique as an author. While we know what we have to offer, it is not enough to rely on that alone and hope for the best once our finished products hit the sale shelves. An author whom I admire not only in terms of her work, but also in her ability to show who she is as a person, interact with fans, and generate interest in her work is Jenna Moreci*. Another writer who is not published yet, but whom I also admire for her ability to market herself and give helpful writing tips and motivation is Bella Rose Pope**.
A relatively simple way to start getting your name out there and generating interest in your work is to answer some questions about yourself and your current project on social media. Below are some questions and answers I find important to my identity and how it has shaped me as a writer, as well as details about my current work in progress (WIP). Feel free to use these questions for yourself as you begin to market yourself as a writer and create a brand!
1. Basic Info…
I’m Lindsay Bilgram, a sophomore creative writing major at Ithaca College. I originally did not want to be a writer, but once I started writing, I fell in love. Throughout the past few years I’ve really been developing my own unique style as well as discovering what type of writer I want to become.
2. So what type of writer am I?
I love writing YA and that comes from my love of reading the genre. All writers are readers first and foremost, and so it’s important to me to never lose sight of the fact that if I don’t write what I want to read, then no one else will want to. There have been times when I’ve been embarrassed about being a YA writer, as there can be a stigma around it for not being “serious” literature. However, I’ve overcome this by remembering that I write YA because I like reading YA, and I should never be ashamed of what I like.
3. YA is very broad; what type of YA is my WIP?
Currently I am working on a YA manuscript that takes place in a distant future after humans have destroyed the environment, and rebuilt what was left of the world from the ground up. Don’t worry though, it’s not another dystopian about a post-apocalyptic world, Reina’s (my protagonist) world is very lived in and has been for centuries. Reina is a princess and future queen, but most of the book takes place in another country where Reina will be forced to learn how to navigate court politics and uncover secrets that could undermine her future reign. I’ll leave it there because I don’t want to spoil anything!
4. What makes my perspective unique?
There is the easy answer that every human being is unique with different life experiences and therefore any story can be told from a distinct point of view. With this particular story, there are a lot of obstacles Reina must overcome, and the ways in which she and the other characters attempt to solve their issues is a reflection of their backstories, which are shaped by my own.
A big factor in shaping my outlook in life, and my overall life experience thus far, was my parents divorce, and the perspective I’ve gained through that experience comes through in my WIP. If put in different hands, Reina’s journey would have been vastly different. I believe the stories I have to tell and the lessons I’ve learned along the way are worth sharing, making my perspective as a writer (and a human being) unique from every other writer.
5. Who are some of my biggest writing influences?
In terms of actual published authors, I admire J.K. Rowling, whose work I’ve been reading (and rereading) for as long as I can remember. In recent years I’ve also found inspiration from Kiera Cass, Jane Austen, Victoria Aveyard, and Leigh Bardugo.
Other mediums I draw influence from are theatre, television, and film. My biggest theatre inspiration is Next to Normal; television is Game of Thrones, and film is Shakespeare in Love.
The person who inspires me the most in everything I do is my mom. She is a single mother who went back to work and earned her master’s degree after the divorce. She has always encouraged me in everything I pursue (which has been a lot) and has shown me firsthand the hard work and perseverance that go into attaining success.
6. How has my WIP evolved from when I first started it?
My WIP has gone through a lot of changes since it first began. As those of you who have read my Full-Time Student, Full-Time Writer post know, I started my WIP my senior year of high school, and averaged around 2,000 words per night, completing the first incarnation rather quickly. Since then, Reina’s story, her world, and the people in it, have all evolved tremendously. When I first began, writing was the most important thing to me, and I made the mistake of figuring out my characters, and the world along the way. I’ve now created detailed character charts for each of them, came up with a world history, created maps and identities for each of my countries, figured out the relationships between all of the characters, and wrote down a detailed version of each character’s personal plot (these don’t occur in my character charts). The result of all this planning is that my WIP is very different (a lot darker with more details and more at stake) and nowhere near being complete.
7. Seven Rapid fire questions:
1. Favorite character in my WIP?
Meir or Conrad
2. Favorite Book?
Series: Harry Potter; novel: Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
3. Theme song for WIP?
4. Favorite author?
Leigh Bardugo and J.K. Rowling
5. Dream publisher?
HarperTeen (HarperCollins imprint)
6. What would you be if you weren’t a writer?
7. What keeps me motivated?
Being a part of the writing community and seeing the hard work and passion of other writers…and A LOT of coffee!