A question came in yesterday about how some names of people who comment are links to their websites/blogs and some are not. That is a profile setting. When you log in to the site, there should be a link next to the "Log Out" link that reads "My Profile." If you click on that, you can do things like add a URL (in the Contact Info section where it says "Website").
Research Live Events
For today's platform-building task, research live events. I know we've been focusing a lot on online connections and platform, but live events are a great way to make very strong connections too. And I've found that some of my very best connections are those people I know both online and in person (even if we've only met once).
Speaking of live events, Writer's Digest hosts an annual conference (and usually one on each coast) that is super-focused on the business of writing. The 2016 information is not posted on the site yet, but there is sure to be a summer/autumn conference in New York City and likely a spring conference in California.
These conferences offer talented panels and power-packed workshops, but the real draw is the ever-popular pitch slams in which writers get to pitch their book ideas to agents and editors and receive on the spot feedback. And while it shouldn't be expected, there have been more than a few success stories born directly out of these pitch slams.
Benefits of Live Events
I know many writers are like me and are terrified of talking to strangers. I actually love being around people, but I have a great fear of making small talk. But live events have benefits for all writers (even the socially awkward).
Here are a few:
- Live events energize writers. Even as live events wear me down psychologically, they do tend to get my creative juices flowing. I end up writing more, submitting more, and ultimately propel myself to new levels of success as a result.
- Live events connect writers. You know those strangers I'm afraid of having small talk with? They're usually pretty nice people (and sometimes in the same boat as me). Once we get over the initial awkwardness, we usually find a lot to talk about--both at the live event and later on via social media and e-mail.
- Live events educate writers. I've attended many helpful workshops and panels over the years. That's an obvious education experience, but I'm learning even at open mics and book readings, because I'm studying what works and doesn't work for other writers when they present their poems and fiction.
So as you do research, look for national events, sure, but also look for things in your town or region (if you live in a rural area). Sometimes the best connections are made right in your own back yard. And if there aren't any, this could be your opportunity to start one.
Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which includes editing Writer’s Market and Poet’s Market. He regularly blogs at the Poetic Asides blog and writes a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine. He also leads online education, speaks on writing and publishing at events around the country, and does other fun writing-related stuff.
A published poet, he’s the author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53) and a former Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere.
Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.