NaNoWriMo has begun and might look like a daunting task at present, so today I have a guest post to motivate you into thinking about what you might do after the 30 days are up. Scottish writer Lynsey May is in charge of Marketing and Events at the Edinburgh Review, and she’s also a freelance copywriter. Here she gives her tips on how to start out digitally.
Dipping into publishing digitally
Squeaky clean new writer or dab old hand, there’s a lot to be said for plunging into digital waters. Starting out can seem daunting, especially when you look at all of the literary content already out there, but don’t let that put you off. Strap on some armbands, grit your teeth and prepare to get your toes wet.
Read until your mind spins
The first piece of advice that has to go to anyone who hopes to be published is read, read far and wide, and it’s exactly the same online. Read blogs, read interviews, read short story sites, read extracts in online magazines, read stories posted by friends. Read until your brain feels like it’s exploding and get a taste for the kind of writing that works well online.
Explore all your online options
There are online homes for writing of all sorts. If you’re new to the game and are simply looking for ways to start sharing, setting up a blog to post some of your fiction to can be a good way of testing the waters.
The next stage is to approach digital literary sites, such as Metazen, The Pygmy Giant and Gumbo Press, and try your luck. Established writers will also find plenty of esteemed venues to approach, such as Carve and McSweeney’s.
Don’t leap without looking
If you’re thinking of publishing your work online – either on your own blog or through a journal or literary site – you need to be sure that’s the best home for it. Many magazines, competitions and anthologies only accept material that is previously unpublished, meaning that if you’ve shared a story online, you’ll have limited its chances of appearing elsewhere.
Only share what you’re sure you want to and you might want to consider holding some stories back for future competitions or placements.
Consider publishing your own work
For some writers, the best thing about the digital revolution is the way it’s opened up publishing to everyone (for other writers, this is their least favourite thing about it!). If you have work you’d love to make available digitally immediately, and you’d like to price and package it yourself, then ePub could be just what you’re looking for.
Both Kindle and iBooks make it (relatively) easy for you to turn your work into an ebook, and then all you have to do it upload and start selling. Bear in mind though, without good advertising skills and an excellent product, your sales are likely to be pretty small!
Start making new friends
One of the most wonderful things about digital publishing and online writing opportunities are the chances they give you to make connections with other writers. Hook up with literary lovelies from all over the world and seek out people who write in your genre no matter how niche it is and don’t be scared of saying hello, lots of writers are always on the lookout for new friends.
Most of all, don’t let yourself be put off diving in at least once, even if digital waters feel like they are running to deep for you, you’re sure to find a friendly literary lifeboat online to help you out.