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So we’re going to change gears (sorta) for a second here. We’ve talked a lot about writing, as you might expect from a writing blog, but I’d like to talk about what comes after. That’s right, now that you’ve wrote something you’re proud of you have to show it to people.

Cringe, gasp, heart palpitations, rising blood pressure, glee, confidence.

Okay. Finished? Take a minute. Take a deep breath. Get a glass of water.

Better? Good.

So let’s talk about publishing and finding an agent, or, at least, one part of it. Most publishing companies, and some agents, will ask you about your marketing platform. Don’t get all sweaty over the jargon. What they’re asking you, basically, is what are you willing to do to promote yourself and your work.

I know, you thought that was their job.

So one of the ways you can respond, if you’ve been doing that, is that you have exposure. This means you and your work are out there. For instance you have a blog, even if you just review books you’ve read on it, you have a Twitter following (again talking about writing or books or daily thoughts/ideas about your writing) where you interact with your fans. Some of you might want to start a YouTube channel where you dispense advice about writing, rant about your writers’ block, or do quick reviews of books (I hear some people are very successful at the YouTube).

Part of the reason for this blog is to put me out there so agents and publisher can see that I’m out there. I don’t do book reviews because I’m not really in to telling you how I didn’t like a book. I get yelled at enough by my wife when I do that with her. Plus, I like to feel like I’m contributing, so I try to put some (reasonably) good advice.

The oldest way to expose yourself, and the one I recommend, is getting your writing (the shorter stuff obviously) in print. Who would have thought you could get fans by doing what you’re good at?

Yeah, so getting your work out there is just as useful (and I would say the most useful) as getting your name out there. It has the benefit of putting your name out there, and your work at the same time. Also it keeps you writing. This is always a good thing!

So the point is this: there is more to being a writer than just writing. You have to be “out there.” You have to be willing to be out there. There’s old saying about you being your best promoter, and it’s just as true now as it was when whoever said it said it.

I know for some of you this might be scary. I still worry that I’m doing something wrong whenever the cursor hovers over the publish button. You have to get over that. Being a writer is about putting yourself on the page; about putting yourself out there anyway. So put yourself out there.

Until next time: Be you, be well; write you, write well.