Top ten things writers do that isn't writing.

Writing isn't just sitting down and letting magic slip from your head to your fingers to your keyboard. Writers do so much more than just write. Here are a few things I have done as I've written my clean romantic suspense and clean romantic comedy.

1. Attend conferences. Conferences are good for networking in your genre, honing skills, taking classes, meeting people for critique partners, writing groups, pitching, and making friends. And they are fun! I've met like-minded people who are serious in their career and writers who are more successful than I am and who can inspire me.

2. Read. This goes without saying but a lot of writers read. What are they reading? Fiction. In their genre, out of their genre, similar to their genre. I also read a lot of non-fiction, biographies, writing books, and children's books.

3. Enter contests. One of the biggest deadlines in my life right now is entering contests. I do this to get exposure, professional feedback and a chance to distinguish myself. Although I know I'm not going to win, it's good to get feedback.

4. Judge contests. Many contests these days are huge and to help narrow the categories, they often open up judging to other writers. Some contests are a little more exclusive, like you have to have a successful publishing career or have made a certain amount of money before you can judge or it may be a requirement to judge as an entrant to the contest. Last year I judged about 11 books. Just this year alone, 4, with more on the way.

5. Blog. Blogging is writing you say. I know, but it's also not writing on a current WIP. But it's important to let people know what you are up to, get to know you. Often people buy a book not because it sounds interesting, but because you are a likable person.

6. Social media. This can be such a time sink. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook not to mention other social media outlets (Bookbub, Book+Main, Bookspout, Goodreads) can suck time away from a writer's WIP. With careful planning and loads of self-discipline, Social Media can be a useful tool to create community, build a brand and help establish your platform.

7. Website. Building and maintaining a website is something every author must do. A web presence is essential. What does everyone do once they discover a new author? Search the internet and hopefully buy more books, or at least check them out at the library :)

8. Newsletter. I love connecting with fans, with my friends who have supported me. Once a month I send out a connection letter to let people know what I'm up to. This is fun. I ask for beta readers, reward them with tidbits and snippets of my latest WIP and get opinions. Sign up for my newsletter with the link to the right. Or at my website.

9. Marketing. As a small press author, I'm doing most of my own marketing. I write blog posts for other bloggers who generously share their audience with me. I search out reviewers, literary magazines, influencers, friends who can help me spread the word.

10. Help other authors. This is reviewing, sometimes critiquing, work for other writers in my writing group or critique partner, reviewing books for other authors, praise quotes, joining local chapters of national organizations. This is one of my favorite things to do. I love to help people see it is possible to write, to get published to do what they love to do.

Bonus. Writer's also have families, and occasionally eat, sleep and clean house.


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