The title of this article may seem like a contradiction in terms. But it only seems that way. Your writing career doesn’t start with your first sale. It starts with the first word you type. By the time you sell, you need to have everything in place to market yourself and your books. By the time you sell, you need to have your name recognition well under way. But how do you do that if you’re not yet published?
Start with some of the most loyal readers of romance novels
That would be writers of romance novels (approx 10,000 members in RWA). Build name recognition with this group by:
Writing newsletter articles
This is the easiest way to get your name out there. There are 200+ chapters in RWA and virtually all of them have newsletters, and newsletter editors always need new articles. Did you know newsletter editors have their own loop where they share articles? I challenged myself over a year ago to write a newsletter article every month. I’ve kept that promise. While in Reno at the national RWA conference, many people looked at my name tag and wondered why my name was familiar. I’m not published so they can’t have read my books. It turns out that most of them have read my newsletter articles.
RWA and its subchapters always need volunteers. Volunteering frequently forces you to contact new people and your name can appear on any number of “official” emails – getting your name out to a whole new audience.
Teach a workshop
Do you have a skill that others would like to learn? Teaching workshops, either in-person or online, is another great way to promote yourself, whether you’re published or not.
Share your knowledge
RWA and its subchapters have email loops. Participate in discussion, ask and answer questions and share information. Being a productive member of one of the biggest writing communities in the world puts you front and center!
Go to conferences!
I can’t stress this one enough. 2000+ people attend the RWA national conference every year. That’s 2000+ opportunities to network you can’t afford to pass up. Smaller regional conferences are just as valuable. Their smaller size makes it easier to meet every single attendee.
Other ways to increase your name recognition:
- Write book reviews – for any number of “reader” magazines or your local paper.
- Offer to do a public reading at your local library. I’ve done two of these at my library and the only requirement was that I wrote what I read, not that I published it. Both events were well received and libraries love them.
- Teach at a community college. Bring new writers into the world by encouraging and teaching people to write! Doing this puts a positive face on romance writing and helps create a readership base in your home town.
If you write, then you’re a writing professional, and a professional doesn’t pass up an opportunity to sell themselves and their product.
Sell you. Sell your books?whether they’re available to purchase yet or not, because some day they will be.