By C. Hope Clark –
I have a story to tell, and I want to do it in one-liner bullets. The lesson is clear. See if you note the trend:
=> Began writing mysteries.
=> Finally published a mystery.
=> Joined Sisters in Crime (SinC) to be with other lady mystery writers.
=> Became a moderator for SinC to “be seen” and remembered as a lady mystery writer.
=> Was invited to help start a local South Carolina chapter of Sisters in Crime.
=> A year into the local chapter, the president said libraries were seeking authors to speak.
=> I immediately applied, spending much time on the application.
=> The library had a grant to hire writing teachers. I knew grants and volunteered time to get it off the ground.
=> I was selected by four county libraries to teach five classes – for payment.
=> The SC State Library asked me to do videos for a website for those who could not attend – for payment.
=> Another county library heard of me and asked me to teach their group, expanding the grant – for payment.
=> One of the librarians suggested I apply for the SC Humanities Speakers Bureau for when the grant was over.
=> I applied and was accepted for the Speakers Bureau . . . because of my new library reputation.
=> A library in the next state heard of the library program and invited me for four (paid) appearances.
=> Another library not on the grant asked me to appear, at the recommendation of the State Library, and applied to the Speakers Bureau to pay for it.
. . . and that was just up to this week. I’m sure the momentum is still in play.
All too often we become one of two types of writers when it comes to our platforms and self-promotion:
1) The control freak who thinks they’ll keep a grip on every turn in the road and determine all outcomes, or
2) The uncertain soul who lets their journey flap in the wind, headed in whatever direction someone else steers them.
The best situation falls someplace in between. Keep your options open, but when you see an opportunity, snap it up. Every person in my SinC group had the opportunity I did. None capitalized on it. I saw an opportunity to spread my name in South Carolina in an attempt to saturate local notoriety, instead of thinking I have to become known nationally first. I didn’t wait for them to tell me what to do as a speaker. Instead I suggested topics, aiding with promotion, and becoming friends with the librarians who are always seeking opportunities for their members. That friendship resulted in joining the SC Humanities Bureau. And the ball keeps rolling.
Do not think you know everything about your writing career. And don’t be afraid to try something new to aid your cause. Opportunity is everywhere . . . just everywhere. The art is seeing it, and courting it, and putting it in your pocket instead of wondering for days and weeks if you ought to do something you never have before.
Trust yourself. Be excited about stepping out. Watch your confidence soar, and amazingly, those around you will want to soak up that confidence and invite you into their world.
BIO – C. Hope Clark is editor of FundsforWriters.com and author of The Carolina Slade Mysteries and The Edisto Island Mysteries. www.chopeclark.com