Mark Terry

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Putting Yourself Out There

March 1, 2009

Something somewhat unusual happened to me yesterday. An agent I've had contact with before but never really worked with contacted me regarding a potential ghostwriting/collaboration project. Nothing, of course, may come of that, but she had read a couple of my nonfiction book proposals, she knew me from her blog and we've spoken on the phone once. She knew my background and apparently thinks I would be a good match for this.

Sometimes this happens.

I was contacted by the editor of a publication similar to one of my regular clients and asked if I would be interested writing for them as well.

I was hired by a couple doctors to write a book proposal late last year. They knew me via my articles in publications they also wrote for, because I'd interviewed them many times, and because they asked the editor of our mutual publisher who he would recommend and he said me.

It's very nice when it happens, even if it doesn't always work out.

It seems to me that this sort of thing happens to writers a fair amount. I'm thinking of my friend Tobias Buckell, who got slotted to write a couple of HALO tie-in novels. I don't know the details of how he got those gigs, but I'm sure part of it was he or his agent running into the people involved and making themselves available and letting it be known he was interested.

I see a fair number of people who write a lot of short stories get called on to add a short story to an anthology by invitation, or get chosen to edit an anthology.

I suppose part of this is networking, but I also think part of it is just putting yourself out there, doing good work, being involved, and being willing to do these things. You have to say "yes" a fair number of times to things even if they're a pain in the ass, because if you become known as the person who always says "no" then people will stop asking. (Sometimes you just have to say no. I was asked a year or so ago if I would help organize ThrillerFest and I gave it some thought and decided I just couldn't donate that kind of time, which begins to resemble a full-time job toward the end. Still, I did give it some thought, I didn't just say no).

Some of this might mean volunteering. I volunteer to write profiles/interviews for the International Thriller Writers, Inc. newsletter. Sometimes it drives me crazy, but it doesn't take much time and sometimes I have really terrific conversations with other writers, and to me it's worth the trouble right there (most of the time). Will it pay off later? No clue, and that's not why I'm doing it. I'm doing it because I can and because I like having these author profiles in my portfolio, although to-date I haven't done anything with them in terms of marketing. But I might, you never know.

Anyway, the longer you stick around, the longer you you stay open to these things, some good things may come your way out of the blue. And hopefully I'll be in a position to pass some of that good karma forward to other writers someday.

Mark Terry


Blogger L.C. Gant said...

Great post! Most writers are naturally introverted; heck, our job demands it. So, it's often easier for us to stay locked in the office typing away at the keyboard than it is to get out and meet new people. It's good to be reminded how beneficial "putting yourself out there" every now and then can be.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Amy Nathan said...

Excellent points and the right philosophy to keep the good writing karma flowing. :) And we can all use that!

7:19 PM  

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