With the help of social media and the internet, aspiring writers have a new avenue to share their stories and make themselves known to audiences and publishers. Many successful authors today actually started their writing careers online. Bestselling book authors like E.L. James and Anna Todd wrote their first published books as fanfictions online. Meanwhile, Lang Leav’s poetry initially became popular on social media platforms like Instagram and Tumblr. The Martian by Andy Weir also started as chapter installments on his blog. These authors showed that having a well-established online presence helps build professional writing careers.
There are also writing communities online that help writers jumpstart their writing careers, especially for underrepresented writers. For example, the Space to Write Project is an online initiative to support writers from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities. By providing them opportunities to attend various writing courses and workshops, they can further develop their skills in writing and become future bestselling authors.
However, beyond joining communities, building a strong professional writer presence online for yourself is still important. Here are three tips you can easily try today:
Craft A Unique Personal Narrative
One of the best things about having an online presence is that you can craft and define your own story based on your experiences as a writer of Asian heritage. When scouting for authors online, publishers will likely scan and review your personal information and portfolio online. Most recruiters, or publishers and editors in the case of writers, claim that writers who have taken the time to build and share their personal narratives online are likely to get offered an interview.
It’s important to remember that a personal narrative is different from a resume. You need to describe your past works, add in stories about your greatest work successes, and relay the things you learned along the way. You can also include personal but relevant anecdotes of your life as an Asian writer residing in the UK. This will help potential publishers understand who you are as a person and writer.
Create a Professional Website
Another way to boost your online presence as a writer is by creating a website for professional use. This means mostly sharing the works you’re most proud of and creating a page on the site where you can introduce yourself as a writer. Apart from being able to share your written pieces online, having a website means that you are visible and reachable to readers and publishers who might be interested in your works. You can insert your professional email address on your contact details page or contact form extensions on your site.
You might be hesitating to create a website because you have no background knowledge in programming or website design. However, there are various website builders on the internet that can help you get started. For example, Wix and WordPress are popular website builders that require little to no money to maintain.
Maximise the Use of Your Social Media Accounts
Although websites can help you become visible online, social media platforms strengthen your presence online since it promotes engagement with your audience. Besides letting you be discoverable, social media platforms are the best places to build a community. By interacting with fellow aspiring writers and enthusiastic readers, you can form a bond online over shared interests. You can read and comment on other people’s blog posts to show your support, and you can reply to readers who shared their insights about your work to show your appreciation.
Christina Lauren, the writer of the book Love and Other Words and The Unhoneymooners, showed how authors can maximise the use of social media to connect with readers. On their social media accounts, they actively ask questions and start discussions with their followers, and they like and retweet posts from people who tag them and their books.