Every once in a while, I go to a website where I can listen to people tell stories about their lives. The tales are entertaining and inspirational and represent, to me, the ancient tradition of oral storytelling that is all but gone today. Sure, grandma and grandpa may share memories with their grandchildren, but the passing of information from generation to generation does not carry the reverence or importance that ancient peoples worked to establish.
Writing and publishing played a role in changing that perspective. When important events can be written down and mass produced, there is no reason to commit things to memory. You don’t even have to do the writing yourself. Journalists and authors fill libraries, websites, and all manner of e-media with accounts of the major happenings of the world.
But what if you want to add your viewpoint to the public record, or just have a good story to tell? You can share your observation and reaction in a short tweet. If you want to express more than that, you can write something longer in a blog. You can even self-publish a 500 page treatise with any number of e-book distributors. The thing is, once it’s out there, is anyone going to read what you have to say? Will anyone even find your story to read it? Will it be good enough for people to recommend to others and come back and read more things written by you?
If it’s important to you for your writing to be read and reread by other people, there are three things that will help you build your audience:
- Learn and practice your craft – If your writing is unpolished and you don’t take steps to improve, it’s unlikely that anyone but your closest family and friends will stick with you.
- Decide how you want to get your story out in the world – Are you after the traditional brick-and-mortar path to a book deal? Or, do you want to enter the world of electronic publishing? Maybe social media such as Twitter, Facebook, or blogging is where you want to express yourself. There are many options in today’s world and it takes some exploration to find what is right for you.
- Build an audience – Draw attention to your work through traditional marketing and social networking – today’s e-media enhancement to ‘word of mouth.’
My goal from this blog is to share ‘Food for Thought’ in these three areas. I want to foster a conversation that is as fun and helpful to you as it is for me. You see, I enjoy the discussion that comes from putting my words out for people to read. Whether it’s giving and receiving feedback with my fellow Deadwood Writers, or an exchange of comments between me and my Facebook friends, this is fun for me.
If you think about it for yourself, I suspect you’ll realize these interchanges are fun for you as well, because writing alone in a vacuum is a very lonely place to be. Come join me in the conversation and let’s enjoy the journey to being read and reread together.