Dear Writer. Thank you for considering us, but unfortunately we are not accepting submissions at this time.
In the dinosaur days of black Remington typewriters and snail mail, this was the all too common rejection slip that many aspiring writers found in their mailboxes after countless weeks of pacing, nail biting and anticipation. In one simple and concise sentence, the hopes and dreams of publishing the next Great American Novel or selling a story to a literary magazine had been dashed against the Sisyphean rocks of defeat. Even if your short story was the next incarnation of F. Scott Fitzgerald, J.D. Salinger or Raymond Carver, there is a good chance you didn’t have the literary or commercial pedigree for the cutthroat, highbrow and insular world of hotshot New York publishing. So be it. Times have changed, and with the rapid rise of the E-Book, this is a heady and unique era in which to be a writer.
Say Goodbye to a Room of Your Own
In our postmillennial, tech savvy world, anybody can write and publish an E-Book. However, if your slim volume of experimental poetry or collection of French recipes is going to be the next Fifty Shades of Gray, then you’re going to have to create some buzz. Hype is the name of the game, and modern writers are tapping their creative wellsprings to dredge-up all sorts of wild and avant garde marketing schemes. From crowdsourcing and crowdfunding to hosting editing parties and throwing character costume events, writers need to play the role of agent, publishing house and campaign manager. Virginia Woolf may have wanted a Room of Her Own, but if you want to succeed as a writer today, then you need to extend yourself far beyond the quiet confines of your study and deep into the digital world of social media and content marketing.
The Buzz Machine
If you want to market that detective novel you labored over, then you need to consider content strategy. How are you going to sell yourself? What are you going to do to make your E-Book stand out in a continually growing library of E-Books? In other words, having a Facebook and Twitter account is not enough. Having your own blog is as archaic as that Remington typewriter collecting dust in your closet.
Today, publishing and content marketing has become like a 1960s Happening. Part theater, part performance art, two of the popular content strategies that have made headlines are crowdsourcing and crowdfunding. Crowdsourcing enables the online community to edit and contribute feedback to your work. Crowdfunding, on the other hand, is a sort of communal approach to writing. For example, an author might charge the online community $10 to create a sentence for their book, or $25 for a chapter.
The end result of both of these marketing techniques is the same: Buzz, hype, Internet hysteria and borderline propaganda, all of which you need if you want to successfully be an agent, publishing house and ad campaign.