Write On! The Quest to get Published
by freelance writer Danica Davidson
I’ve been telling stories as far back as I can remember and even as a child I knew I wanted to be a professional novelist. However, it’s one thing to think about being a professional novelist, and it’s another to make it happen. I’m doing what I can to turn my dream into a reality. Likewise, there are steps other writers can take, along with me, to make things happen.
1. Set a goal. Right now, my main goal is to publish my Young Adult novel. I’d like to concentrate on writing YA and adult books, starting with YA. I’m querying agents, but I’ve decided to branch out beyond that with such things as networking and building my résumé. What’s your goal? Freelance? Novels? Memoirs? (Post your annual goals on Write On Online.)
2. Add to your résumé. The more you can show that you’ve written professionally, the more it helps. I’m a professional freelance writer. This does the job of paying my bills, letting me do something I enjoy, and getting my name out there. I work on my freelancing every single day (yes, this includes weekends and holidays) writing three to seven articles, all of which are published. I’ve published a few hundred articles now in more than thirty publications, including MTV News, MTV Geek, Booklist, Ms., Publishers Weekly, and About.com. I also had an interesting job where I wrote the English version of Japanese books published in America.
3. Get yourself covered. The first place to cover my novel-writing was the Burbank Leader, and that was when I was in Middle School. Back then, I was finishing novels and had the same dream as I do now. After the Burbank Leader, the Los Angeles Times covered me as an up-and-coming writer. Both of these happened after teachers who’d read my work called the newspapers and suggested they contact me. Sometimes you can get people to help you out, and sometimes you have to do it on your own. Which leads us to the next part of the list . . .
4. Self-promote. Now that I am out of school, I write to various publications, describing what I’ve done and what I want to do, hoping they might be able to cover me. Self-promotion is admittedly awkward, but it’s something writers have to do. Sheila Bender interviewed me for her online literary magazine Writing It Real, asking me questions about how I started and where I am today. Chuck Sambuchino let me write a guest column about my writing for his Guide to Literary Agents site, which gets around 100,000 readers a month. I’m also writing posts on other people’s writing-related blogs, such as Write On! Online. Figure out ways to get your name in print and people talking about your writing.
5. Do social networking. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. You meet more people or get a following on social networks.
6. Join writers groups—and/or websites. I’m not part of any physical writing groups, but I have joined some online. These sites include She Writes, YALITCHAT, JacketFlap, WEbook, Writer’s Digest Community, and the Write On Facebook Page. But there are plenty more out there. I often post links to my latest articles on these places and do what I can to network and meet more people in the business.
7. Have your own website. There are website builders out there for people like me who need them or you can just create a blog. On my website I have links to more than 200 articles I’ve published, sample pages from one of the Japanese books I rewrote, and of course information on my novels.
8. Hustle. I’d like to spend all my time writing. Yet doing that does not get me out there. And anyone who wants to be a professional writer has to get out there and hustle. I do my fiction writing, but I also get in my freelance, my social networking, my publicity, and my querying. That’s what I try to do every day.
* * *Danica Davidson Write On! Writing Young Adult