It is a truth universally acknowledged that every writer wants to be famous

In this ever-increasing self-publishing explosion, how can you get yourself noticed?

GUEST POST : Angela Foxwood is a budding author, singer, poet, part time student at University of Nottingham and mum of one.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that every writer wants the world to know how brilliant they are. This used to involve people, paper and print. Now writing can be broadcast in cyberspace by pressing a button. But just how do you get to be read by the digital masses, when you are just one in the millions of others out there?

Despite my resistance to the possibility that my beloved books may soon become relics of a tree-destroying time, even I have to concede the growth of the technological world. The fact that I am tapping this article into a computer, rather than reaching for a pen, is proof of that. That I have signed up for a module entitled: ‘Writing for the Web’ is further evidence of my reluctant acceptance. So, having admitted that this digital malarkey is not going to fade into obscurity I have to ask, ‘So exactly how can I turn this new media to my advantage?’

My first toe was dipped into the water that is Twitter. Within a few minutes of trial and error I was ploughing my way through Stephen Fry’s copious Tweets (how does he find the time?) and various other celebrities whom I had managed to find through the wonderful search button. Believing that these famous people actually gave a damn about me personally added to my short-lived illusion. If I could talk to someone who sounded pleasant in electronic form that may also be able to tell the world about me, how awesome would that be? Awesome yes. Likely, no. I began to realize, after ‘replying’ to some of these Tweets, that nobody famous was actually going to reply to me. The final nail was when I checked out the number of followers that these celebrities have, in some cases six figure numbers. Not much of a chance that my little comment would even be seen.

Next, Facebook. This prooved to be much more fun. Now I can have ‘friends’ whom I actually know. In my real world. And what is even better, they talk to me. And they talk to their friends. And their friends talk to their friends. Hooray- it’s like a spreading virus of the most pleasant kind. And this, I believe, is a more likely way to get my name in lights. My lovely friends are starting to ‘share’ some of my Facebook ‘Posts’ too.

So, where am I at now? Right here-blogging. This is my latest toe in cyber-water. To date I have only composed a few entries, and I’m hoping that everybody who ‘lands’ on this page will tell all of their friends about me. And their friends…and so forth. It may take a while though, so in the meantime I am looking up other sites, that I can become part of. New cyber ‘communities’. People out there who share my interests, which of course are mostly centred around writing. But those people are also trying to get their names out there, exactly the same as me. Which is when they become the masses that I am competing against.
My question is, I suppose, is it better to go down the traditional route, find an agent (tricky in itself), get a publisher. wait a year until your book is produced, if you are very lucky, and then, if you are even more lucky, get an advance. But you still may end up gathering the wonderful dust I spoke of in my last post. Or, do I keep plugging away at this computer world, joining every community I can think of, subscribing to every site that has a competition I can enter (so far, no prizes) and hoping that one day, somebody out there may just feel that I’m worth the risk.


Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.


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