Seek It. It Will Not Seek You.

I’ve written before about the power of persistence. Too often I speak to aspiring writers who tried something, got a knock-back, and gave up. I even ran across someone on a forum who wanted to get published but who objected to paying out for stamps and envelopes – my mind imploded at that. What about investment in your career?

Not just monetary investment, but time investment too. Researching, thinking, networking, marketing, pitching – all are necessary if you want this to be your income.

The internet’s deceiving a lot of people though. It is not enough to have a shiny website with some great examples of your work there. You still need to find a market and sell yourself to it! Editors are busy and they do not want to spend all day googling “really good writer” to find you. You need to find them.

Way back last October, I pitched to a gardening magazine. I wanted to write about a local initiative. It was people-focused and human-interest. Magazines love that. The editor got back in touch eventually, and we had some email correspondence, and sorted out the details. Then she asked me to get back in touch after Christmas, due to staffing issues. Fair enough.

So I did – no reply. I left it a month, and tried again. Still nothing.

I had a mooch around the newsagents. Which other publications might be interested in this story? Perhaps a glossy regional magazine. I found one which carried similar features, and emailed the pitch. I then stood up from the laptop, turned around to stretch, and the phone rang… “yes please!”

If you have a good story, keep at it. Find a market for it. If you believe in it, and you know there’s an audience somewhere, keep going. No one will come and ask you for it – you must offer it out. And not randomly, either – the more time you spend analysing the market and potential publications, the more likely you are to hit gold.

This month, Cycling Active are running my “big feature” on the Pendle Witches Vintage Velo ride. Again, this took some persistence – I had pitched to them about steel bikes and riding secondhand. Eventually, after some email tennis, the article became about the ride itself, featuring lots of interviews with riders on steel machines.

I subscribe to the Renegade Writer blog, and this recent post reflects exactly what I’m trying to say here – spend time marketing yourself, and you will reap the benefits.

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  1. #1 by Nimue Brown on May 26, 2012 - 1:07 pm

    True of all creative arts I think. It’s no good expcting the world to beat a path to your door, it never does. The netowrking, marketing and research can be almost full time jobs in their own right. But I guess there will always be people who think that they are the best thing ever and that success should fall into their laps. Stephanie Meyer aside, it mostly doesn’t unless you graft for it, and she’s no kind of recommendation for the other way.

  2. #2 by Phil on May 25, 2012 - 6:06 pm

    I’ve had a similar experience with a book offer (model making not fiction sadly). I’ve put in the proposal but as I wrote it, I refined the idea and found it going away from what I’d originally been asked for. I also talked to a few people about the offer and discovered a few more options. Maybe that proposal that fits ME will find a home eventually.

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