Get used to the idea of selling yourself
Emma Mactaggart did not speak at the CYA Writers Conference about how to write a novel, she talked about marketing yourself as a product. Emma knows a fair bit about marketing and self-publishing, she currently works on a project of publishing kids books written by kids.
As a writer you would be aware that it is no longer enough to simply write. You must turn yourself into your brand, because readers buy a writer, not just a book.
Emma suggests doing up a SWOT analysis. If you're not familiar with this term, a SWOT analysis is a plan that a company will do to identify its strengths and weaknesses hoping to recognise any opportunities and threats they will be facing. It's simple, here's how you do one:
Simply divide a page into four sections with a cross (+) or draw up a chart with four sections and label each one:
Being as objective as possible, write up the skills and traits that you see as your own strengths as a writer, and so on. Here is an example of some of my own points I did for this exercise:
- Financially able to spend time on my writing
- Studies in literature and creative writing
- Social networking (Twitter, blogging, Facebook)
- Marketing background
- Working in education
- Afraid of flying
- Not confident talking to strangers
- Start more projects than I could ever finish
- Self-publishing more acceptable and achievable now
- Publishing for Kindle and e-devices is easy
- Internet for marketing
- Many Beta-readers in the perfect age-group
- Building contacts and markets online
- Travelling by air may be necessary for promoting books
- Undoubtably, I will HAVE to talk to strangers, agents, publishers, etc
- Time management
Hopefully from the above example you can see the value in examining yourself as a product and drawing up your own SWOT analysis. You will see how some points will link with points in another section, for example, working in education (strength) means that I have beta readers available in the age-group I write for (opportunity). You can also use this information to overcome or avoid potential threats or problems, for example, knowing I have time management issues means I should schedule my writing time and stick to it. I can also overcome the potential threat of not enough confidence by taking on more writing courses (which I'm currently doing) and just put my work out there more.
Give it a try - do you find any points that surprise you?
If you would like to learn more about the talented Emma Mactaggart, you can check out her sites and blog:
So, besides my fiction, this is the product I need to learn to sell: