This time last year I hadn’t had anything published at all. Diddly squat. In one year I’ve been published in five online platforms, been shortlisted in one competition and commended in another, and got my first book publishing contract. So what changed?
In short, I set up an Instagram account focusing on my writing. Possibly not for the right reasons! I’d read that it was hard to get an agent or publisher if you didn’t have a social media network. And since Instagram was the only social media site I used in my personal life, I started with that as being less intimidating. I was totally unprepared for the instant warm welcome I got in the bookstagram/writing community. A year later I have almost 1,400 followers found the courage to start this blog and join Twitter and Goodreads. But that wasn’t the most important thing.
The most important thing is that the Instagram writing community forced me to take my writing seriously. I was identifying myself there as a writer. So I had to write. I was a bit stuck on my WIP so I wrote some short stories instead. And, since various magazines occasionally liked my Instagram photo’s, I had somewhere to submit to. Not everyone said yes. But a good percentage did. And that gave me more courage. The courage to start sending my previously completed manuscript out again.
I’d stopped doing this. I’d spent a year trying to get an agent or publisher for it and failed. I’d mentally filed it away as a failure. But now I knew I could write publishable material. And Instagram had also made me aware of a publishing option that hadn’t really registered before-Small Presses.
Again, a few of these liked my Instagram pictures. Through them I became aware of more. And I realised that a publishing contract didn’t need to be with a big company offering a massive advance. Eventually, my Instagram networking connected me with Rainy Day Reads. And the rest, as they say, is history.