- Ten years ago you could pitch an idea at a conference and get a request for a full, even if you were unpublished. Now, it’s best to have a finished, polished manuscript before you approach an editor or agent.
- Ten years ago, websites were optional. Five years ago if you had a blog and a few followers, you were doing great. Now it helps to have a presence on all the social platforms, a professional website, and an active blog.
- Do You Really Want to Be a Writer?
Let's start with the biggie: should you be a writer? If you’ve been toying with the idea, but just don’t know if you’ve been called to write, take a look at these websites. Although they’re mainly for non-fiction writers and speakers, they can still help you find your genre niche or brand.
Before You Decide What You Want to Do With Your Life, Do This First by Jeff Goins. This is all about looking at the way God has guided you through life to help you decide what kind of writer you are. In fact, Jeff Goins’ website is a great resource for anyone who needs a peptalk about career choices.
Michael Hyatt’s website focuses on how to become intentional. It’s not just for writers, in fact, if you’re unsure about what to do with your life, Michael Hyatt has some pointers for that, too.
Blogging Your Passion University by Jonathan Milligan, again, is for those who are motivational speakers or non-fiction writers, but it’s also great for anyone who wants to build a platform and a tribe. Jonathan’s videos, posts and graphics focuses on integrity and building a successful platform.
One more and I’ll stop: Kevin Kaiser and his 1KTrueFans site are all about building a fan base. It’s good for those who are multi-pubbed or pre-pubbed because publishing houses want to know about your influence. Kaiser teaches you how to build that by building community.
And speaking of community: writers’ online communities are filled with those who have made the same decision. One of my writer friends told me recently that people who aren’t writers are called, “normals.” Writers need others who speak the same language.
American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) – If you write Christian or inspirational fiction and you aren’t a member of ACFW, you need to climb down from your ivory tower and join the land of the living. You’ll find moral support, lots of resources, workshops, classes, and reference information from others who write your genre. In addition to their considerable online presence, ACFW-er’s also have access to local groups and an out-of-this-world conference.
My Book Therapy - If you have an idea, but you don’t know how to complete your book, MyBookTherapy is the place to start. Susan May Warren founded this site that has tons of videos and posts to help you write your novel. There’s subscription-based advanced levels, too. They have intensive workshops, mentorships and a terrific community. You can check them all out at the link above.
- Professional Writers Need a Professional Website
If you want to create a professional website, but just don’t have the funds to hire someone to do it for you, these are the links for you.
How to Launch a Self-Hosted Wordpress Blog in 20 Minutes or Less by Michael Hyatt – This post has everything you need to build a website on Wordpress.org (also called a self-hosted website). If you’re starting from scratch, you can do it all from the links in this post.
(This is different from a Wordpress.com (free) site. If you want to know the difference, here’s a post (along with a great infographic) to help you decide which is for you.)
Hyatt's post recommends using Bluehost to set up your website. In fact, they’re running a special until the end of March: $2.95/month for the domain name and the site. That’s about the cheapest paid site I’ve seen. You do have to pay for the whole year when you sign up. Please note: This links to Hyatt’s affiliate site. I don’t receive anything if you sign-up.
Moving to Wordpress.org from Blogger
I just changed my personal website to one self-hosted on Wordpress.org. I like the clean templates and the tools that are available to get my website “out there.” After I created my site on Wordpress.org using Hyatt’s video, I moved my posts – comments and all – from Blogger, using the instructions from this post on WPBeginner.com. You can use their Search bar to find more tutorials, plugins and anything else you need to customize your website.
More Website Resources
Looking for an inexpensive, start-to-finish course on Wordpress? Here’s one. This link (One Million Lines) is to a free course on how to code. (Scroll down to Start Learning.) If you really want to customize your website on Blogger or either sides of Wordpress, these will help you understand HTML and CSS. W3Schools.com has more free tutorials with lots of code examples to help you add to or customize your website. And if you want a custom font, get it here (free!): Google Fonts.
Just because your funds are skimpy does not mean your website should be!
- Social Platforms
Social networking can be the bane of your existence or the key to your success. There’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Reddit, Instagram, Tumblr and loads more are being created every day.
So how do you decide how much to share, what to post, which to join? There happens to be someone who can help you with all your questions. Edie Melson offers Social Media Coaching Services and if you subscribe to her blog, The Write Conversation, you'll get social media hints delivered daily in your inbox.