I started a blog a while back as a kind of test-the-water exercise before I wised up and set up this one. That first blog was written from the POV of a foul-mouthed cat called Ziggy who lived in an old folks' home, and who'd taken it upon himself to save all the residents when Death came calling with his scythe a-blazing. I know - it sounds effed up, and it was.
I gave up on Ziggy after writing a few entries a) because it really wasn't achieving anything anymore, and b) well, it sucked balls. But it was still useful in that I learned how to set up and manage a blog (I can be a bit of a tech-tard at times), and it helped me figure out what I didn't want to do with one.
Once I'd decided to start querying agents with my first finished manuscript, HELLFIRE, I knew that if I was lucky/good enough to land an agent, I would need to show that I was willing and able to promote my own work. So blogging became a must, as well as using Twitter and other social media to put myself out there as a writer and learn more about the business-side of writing and publishing.
And there really is a lot to learn.
The first thing I did was to consume as much online info about the publishing / agent-finding process as I could, checking out all kinds of sites (some helpful, some not-so-much) and try to filter the good advice from the bad. I started making a list of contacts - agents who were accepting unsolicited queries in my genre, publishers who would accept an unsolicited MS, writers' forums, writing competitions and publications I could submit my work to so that I might get some writing experience and credits under my belt. I also bought The Writer's Handbook, which was a really helpful resource and contained a lot of information about all aspects of getting published as well as agent/publisher listings.
I made a LOT of notes on how to actually write a query, which was a real eye-opener for me. I can't say with any certainty whether I've got this part down, but I've at least gotten to the point where an agent has requested my full MS, read it, liked it, and is currently on a second read-through. I can't adequately describe the feeling of getting that positive response from an agent (probably not a good thing for a writer to admit!) but I'm not counting my chickens just yet.
Another critical thing I did was to check out what other authors in my position were doing, which is when it really struck me what useful tools blogs and the whole social media thing are for any new writer trying to get their work out there. A lot of the writers' blogs I've read have given me an insight into the obstacles and opportunities for first-timers like me, and I wanted in on the action. Ziggy became my toe-in-the-water, so to speak, where I could wrap my head around actually writing these snippety bits and sending them out into the ether.
So, I'll keep blogging about writing (my own and that of others) because I see how important it can be for an author - whether they're just starting out or have managed to carve a career out of writing. And because I've benefited from the experience of other bloggers, I thought I'd write this as my own meagre offering to others who are just starting out.
But I know I've still got tons to learn - about blogging, writing, getting published and a whole heap of other stuff I probably don't even know about yet. Please send me an email (my addie's at the top of the page) or leave a comment if you have any pointers.
Thanks for reading!