My cheapness started it.
Let me rephrase that. I wanted a (frugal) website, so I turned to blogging. Blogging in turn led to a book.
I never intended to actually blog. I just wanted a click-friendly resume to highlight my freelance clips. But I was swiftly seduced by the blogosphere and my “website” became what it was destined to be. I had a blog.
One day I received an email from another writer, asking if I’d review her recent book. I did, and soon received books from other publishers, and regularly posted reviews. I also reconnected with my first magazine editor. I reviewed his books, too, simply because I loved his work. One day he emailed — his editor had read a review and liked my writing. “Expect a call,” he said. We got in touch and swapped ideas. After several conversations and a formal book proposal, I signed my first book contract.
Though I’d intended to create only a static collection of writing links, my blog had become an invaluable connecting point. My fuzzy vision of “a resume in cyberspace” was now my professional online meeting room.
If you want to create an online presence, perhaps you can learn from my accidental discoveries:
* You may not need a traditional website. Free blogs are easy to create, customize and maintain.
* Update regularly with compelling content. Neglected blogs are unread blogs.
* Network with others in your field through blog rings (groups of like-minded bloggers) and carnivals (groupings of related posts) as well as by visiting blogs you enjoy.
* Keep it professional. If your blog is your online portfolio, it shouldn’t be a dull diary or a cranky confessional. It might feel intimate, but remember — this is public space.
Blogging is no guarantee of a book contract, but it can improve the quality and quantity of your work. That can only lead to better things. And, as in my case, you never know who might be reading.
Karen Edmisten is a freelance writer. Her first book, The Rosary: Keeping Company with Jesus and Mary, is due out in May, 2009. Find her online at http://www.karenedmisten.blogspot.com.