Good Writing Advice: A New Segment

Hey gang. So as I’ve been discovering some great resources on agent-finding, query-writing, synopses, general craft, etc., I have been keeping a file. That file is a running Word document composed exclusively of advice cut and pasted from various literary agents, authors, book doctors, etc. in interviews, agency websites, and magazines, and is presently twenty pages. That’s twenty pages single-spaced, and growing.

Since it’s too much information to just pour into the ear and absorb, I’m thinking I’m going to break it down (not unlike a snazzy boy band) and share it here in portions. In doing so I’ll make a regular segment called Good Writing Advice. The segment, like the document, will cover a broad spectrum of topics but is generally aimed at helping authors, aspiring and otherwise.

So here you are– an appetizer. Today’s tip is on cultivating a successful author/reader relationship. It comes from author Matt Mikalatos in a Writer’s Digest article titled “4 Ways To Build Healthy Relationships With Your Readers“. And the tip is…

Be Accessible.

You can use any medium you like for communication, so long as your readers know how to contact you.

Makes sense, right? There are many ways to communicate these days: through social media, contact forms, email, or even good, old-fashioned letters. Find the medium(s) that work for you and tell readers, in an easily-found location (a website, a fan page, or even, as Mikalatos suggests, in the back of your book itself!), how you prefer to be contacted. This opens the line for impressions, feedback, and fun (not to mention valuable!) engagement with readers.

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8 thoughts on “Good Writing Advice: A New Segment

  1. I must admit one thing at the outset; I may be old-fashioned (or simply old -:)) but as much as I understand accessibility requirements, I cannot help but wonder how anyone (aspiring writer or otherwise) finds any time for real research/writing with all the constant demands for marketing, promotions, keeping in touch on endless social media, etc.? Or does it all count as ‘writing’ too? I often wonder whether many of great classics would have been written if their authors were faced with the same demands.

    • Daniela, this is an excellent point. I wonder about it, too. I think all us writers know deep down that social media/marketing/and both business and fun interactions with readers do not qualify as “writing” (and can, in fact, be a convincing excuse to avoid writing)– although it seems to me that such work has become a necessary part of the job description. It’s hard to say whether those classics we love today would be the same, or even have emerged at all if writers of those times faced the same challenges.

      But can you IMAGINE the likes of Wilde and Dickens on Twitter? Hahaha 🙂

      • Simply old, is what we used to be, but now even getting old is becoming more and more complicated. What we have to decide is whether we are wrting for our own pleasure, a pastime I used to follow by keeping a diary – in which I wrote about 600 words a day – or whether we want to be read by as many people as possible by getting on the net.

        The second option also brings the possibility of financial reward into the equation.

        Sad as it may seem, the fact most of us will not face is that most people are just not interested in what we are writing, so we must write for self-gratification first, and foremost, Start to see writing like baking cakes or gardening: you can eat them all yourself, or share them with a friend or two who happen to pop by.

        It´s very hard for someone like me to think of joining Facebook or Twitter when I can just as easily talk to the bloke standing next to me in the pub. Or used to be able tob before they started to one to talk to people that weren´t there on Twitter and Facebook, I find it very disturbing and extremely odd. Apart from being exceptionally rude. I find the thought of Dickens on Twitter extremely objectionable, Besides, he would have more that likely called it Mrs Twittertwatter and dodged out of its way by turning the nearest corner,.

        • Yep. Like many things (especially artistic professions), writing is balancing act: we have to weigh our options and sometimes choose between writing for ourselves and writing for others (and money). I like your analogy of writing like baking, and sharing our work with friends or neighbors.

          Agree on the social media. It is a strange time when a group of friends who are “hanging out” are all at the restaurant table not talking to one another because they’re doing something on their cell phones. It IS hard to imagine Dickens on Twitter (that’s part of what makes it so funny to me), but, if in some crazy theoretical reality we entertain the notion, I can’t help but wonder the sort of Tweets he would drop.

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