When I first became published with Second Wind, I was just beginning to build a presence on the Internet, one baby step at a time. I didn’t know a lot about blogging and promoting, at first, but I am the type of person who, when faced with a challenge or something new, goes out an finds information on the subject. So I began to read articles on blogging and promoting, took the advice of people like our own, incomparable Pat Bertram and all of my other fellow authors, and I applied it to my promotional campaign. What I learned can’t be contained in this one little blog post, so I won’t even try. Instead, I will highlight how things have changed for me in the past year.
I think the biggest change is a personal one: Confidence. By contacting blog owners to set up interviews and/or guest posts and just posting and tweeting on a semi-daily basis, I have gained a confidence in myself and my work that I didn’t have a year ago. And for someone who grew up in the shadow of ultra-talented siblings and suffered from a crippling form of shyness into adulthood, this is no small achievement. To be able to speak for myself, albeit through the written word, when I spent the first years of my life in relative silence is a major feat.
Another change: I’ve become more bold and adventurous; I’m taking more risks. No, I’m not bungee jumping off skyscrapers, but what I am doing can be almost as frightening – and adrenaline-pumping. I am entering more contests as part of my campaign to gain more exposure for my writing. As some of you may know, I met my publisher (and several other Second Wind authors) through a contest, which was the first time I’d taken such a major risk with my writing. Through that experience, I’ve learned how valuable contests can be. So, since that time, I have entered the Amazon Break Through Novel Contest, which is now closed, and a handful that are still open: the Dorchester Best Celler Novel contest over on Textnovel.com, the Scarlet Boa Contest on Stella Cameron’s blog (this is my second year participating; I finaled in last year’s contest), and the Romance Junkies Contest. What makes these particular contests unique is that they are reader-friendly in that readers come to vote on their favorite entries. And what I have learned from this experience is two-fold: one, it’s a great way to test an idea for viability in today’s market and two, it’s an even better way to establish a following and create a relationship with your readers. And it’s fun! It’s reinvigorated the joy I felt in writing when I was younger and my friends all clamored for a chance to read my book. Although I have never stopped loving writing, I haven’t felt that pure joy in it since my teens.
Perhaps one of the most important things that has happened to me since I first set out on this adventure as a published author nearly a year ago is that I’ve met so many wonderful people along the way. It has been an absolute pleasure to connect with people who are interested in what you have to say. People who have read your book and passed it along to someone else to read. Bloggers who make you feel right at home on their blogs and invite you back when your next book comes out. Authors who share the joy of writing and publishing with you. All along the way, the people I have met on this journey have been nothing short of amazing and I just want to thank every one of them for making my first year as a published author such a memorable one.
If you are interested in seeing what I’ve been referring to, here are the links:
Dorchester Publishing’s Next Best Celler Contest over at Textnovel.com. My entry is The Jane Austen Society Pages: http://textnovel.com/stories_list_detail.php?story_id=1347
The Scarlet Boa Contest: http://www.stellacameron.com/entries.html My entry is number 133
The Romance Junkies, my entry is Sloane Wolf: http://www.romancejunkies.com/rjblog/?p=611
You can also find me here:
I look forward to seeing you all around the blogosphere! ~ Margay