How Can I Help?

That’s a viable question since I’m unpublished. I can tell you what to avoid, what didn’t work and where you might want to go.

If you’ve created a page you blog on regularly, had a poem or article accepted on Facebook or have a website, you’ve been published! You’re not a New York Times bestseller, yet, but you’re on your way. When I submit a bio now, I mention that I’m from Texas, give my web address and say I’ve been published on Facebook and Pinterest. It’s not much but it’s better than no creds at all.

This is where you start, though! Launching your boat in social media is a way to show editors, agents and publishers you know what it takes to get readers and you’re prepared to work for your book.

Unless you’re a trust fund baby you probably don’t have much cash to get that boat. It’s okay. Pinterest is free. Subscribe and they’ll ask you what your interests are. What you choose creates your “boards.” Hundreds of contributions will be shown and each has a stickpin on it. Click the pin and it’s saved to your board. What you’re reading now is the first article I’ve created for Pinterest. If I do it right you can pin it. If not my “say something about this pin” description will lead nowhere and I’ll have to save face by removing it.

This isn’t easy. At least for me. I’m 60 and new things aren’t as quickly grasped. Sometimes what I thought would work, didn’t. I did quite well on Facebook. The Disenchanted Poet’s Society accepted my membership and those dear people have said nice things about my postings. My page about elder care for those with Alzheimer’s/dementia, Their Own Little World, is read by others but I have had only one person contribute. Thank you, Joyce Prejza.

See? By bringing up the names of the sites that I’ve written for, I’ve pointed to my writing. https://uneasywriterblog.wordpress.com is the link to my website. You must be seen. That’s what it’s all about, how to do the hokey pokey.

Proper English is usually required. Save the incomplete sentences for your second book. Bad punctuation and spelling will get you tossed in the trash. I like WPS Writer as my word processor. Libre Office is also a good one. Both are free and both will point to grammar mistakes. I downloaded Grammarly and when I ran it they corrected things like “comma needed here” or “remove blank space” but I noticed many more hadn’t been. Ah, you need the premium version to correct those. Ginger is another program that will pull the black rabbit out of the hat. Just because you ask to download a free program doesn’t mean it is. It might be partially free or just free to download with an investment required to make it work.

I’m attending a free creative writing class at Purdue University online. Also a smart idea is getting your hands on English textbooks and refreshing your communication skills.

Don’t forget hashtags. Read more about them here: https://www.takeflyte.com/hashtags-explained

Finally, when you do submit something be sure you’ve done your research on how to get accepted. Pinterest has loads of advice from those who know. What makes an interesting cover letter, query and bio are covered. I got a ‘regrets email’ telling me to pay attention next time because I used a font other than Times New Roman or Courier New. Always use 12 point. Don’t double space between sentences. That was hard for me to do because that’s now how I was taught in high school typing class.

Be sure to read back copies of the journal or magazine you’re submitting to. They’re usually available online at their website. If you don’t you’ll likely get an email, as I have, that they appreciated the chance to read my work but “it’s not a good fit for our publication at this time.” I was going to send some poems to a British nonprofit magazine of modern poetry before I checked a few of those they’d printed. I thought to myself, ‘What the heck are they talking about?’.  I’m sure they’d have sent them back with a big red C at the top, judging them trite and sappy. Modern poetry doesn’t hold pretty rhymes in high esteem.

Subscribe to Pinterest, get on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter. Don’t get so involved in marketing yourself you have no time to write. Download a good word processor and brush up on your grammar. I built my website at WordPress.com for $39 per year and that’s the only money I’ve invested so far. Naturally, you get what you pay for and I’ve found it less frustrating to type on my word processor, copy and paste the blog.

Last thing: don’t use profanity on your public pages. It’s unprofessional and could cost you the chance to hook

an agent or editor. Save it for your second book.

#dcaples, #uneasywriter, #writingadvice, #grammarcorrection, # dcaples7195     

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