Here I shall stand upon my Writing Platform, doing…er, writing platform-y things…Vote for me based on my platform, and I'll give you four years of awesome.
Being an unpublished writer has its drawbacks. I don't have any material to push in order to say "buy from me!" I don't have my VOTE FOR ME pamphlet that I hand out to all yous guys. I feel if I had even one tiny insignificant piece pub'd somewhere any-goddamned-where then it would be easier to sell me. The writing "me" as a persona could then be traded, and promoted.
This is most obvious when I submit to pro and semi-pro markets that ask for a cover letter (usually listing your publishing credits) with a short bio. I've had a helluva time writing my bios. They're damned excruciating considering that most editors are looking for 1) a sentence or two about what makes you mildly interesting as a human being, and 2) your most recent and/or most impressive publishing credits.
I ain't got none of those, kids. (And no this isn't a pity party…Okay, maybe a little).
And I feel like I need at least four or five different bios based on whatever genre I'm submitting. I try and inject a little humor and/or sarcasm into my bios no matter the genre, because hot damn, that's who I am at heart. I've finally got my crap together and instead of altering a single bio each time, I'm writing and saving about five different ones. Dark Fantasy and Horror? Evil hell-yea. Science Fiction and Fantasy? Sindarin word for yes. The couple of Light Romances I've written? Sexy yes-OH GOD YES. Literary with the barest whisper of SF? Of course, I'm glad you inquired.
I'm selling me. And it's hard. Because I'm not a brand yet. I'm not even sure what my brand is. Do I have a voice specific to me? Do I have a style? I'm sure I do. But I'm not certain what the hell that is yet. I feel like my persona is splintered between whatever genres and subgenres I'm writing in and exploring. It's like I've got multiple personalities, and they're all struggling with what façade to put forward in order to sell sell SELL!
There are venues to try promoting yourself out there. Hello, my old friend the Internet! But again, it's difficult if you've got squat to sell. My granpappy always told me I could get by on ma' charm and personality, and man am I tryin'. At some point I plan to have a real live legit website, all tricked out and purdy, because I've seen some terribly designed websites for authors before. There's actually one paying horror market I refuse to send work to because their website is such a unprofessional looking mess that it makes me cringe. Hopefully, I know enough HTML (and IT Crowd types to help me) and have enough aesthetic sense to put together something clean, good-looking, and easy to use.
In the meantime the best thing I can do is to work on is the writing itself. And send more stories out into the submission aether. And deal with rejection woes. And then write even more after that.
This topic brought to you by the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, where other profesh-n'-noobie writers are all standing up on that platform. I'm sure they're not gonna' fall off. I'd VOTE FOR THEM. Really, I would. Your Candidate for tomorrow's tomorrow is Senator Gilroy Cullen over at Swords vs. Pens (The Senator part is really more of a honorary title, I'm sure).