When you finish writing your first book-length work of fiction or nonfiction, you’re most urgently concerned about exposing it to readers. Yet you might be jumping the gun. Don’t forget that you’ll also be exposing yourself.
Are you good at networking?
Many writers still require basic training in the use of social media. A smaller percentage already have demonstrated their expertise, in ways that are discoverable 24/7. Literary agents, acquiring editors, book buyers, producers, and fans want easy access to information about authors and their books in order to make investment decisions.
Although creative writing is a vocation well suited to introverts, the publication of creative work involves a variety of interactions with other people, sometimes in person, requiring poise and self-confidence that not everyone possesses.
Are you good at research?
Do you know how to find answers and explanations so that you don’t require a lot of coaching? For example, if your editor or critique partner suggests that you eliminate “excessive exposition in dialogue,” will you know what that means? Have you attended a writing workshop? Can you go to a library or bookstore and locate a textbook that will teach you the creative writing techniques and grammar rules you need to know?
Can you identify reliable resources on the web?
If you’re asked to obtain additional quotes from experts for your nonfiction project, will you have the ability to locate, evaluate, and contact those experts?
Are you good at self-promotion and marketing?
A polished, engaging web presence is the hub of your professional identity as a writer. Is yours already in place? Can you update and maintain it, or have you hired someone who will?
Have you published short works in magazines or online? Do enough potential book buyers know your name, because they’ve read your writing, met you, or heard of you through others? Do you know who these people are and how to communicate with them?
Do you understand how generosity and genuine interest in others are forms of self-promotion?