Have you wondered when exactly to start calling yourself a writer and when to start introducing as a writer? In today’s episode, we will discuss all these and also when to start market yourself as a writer. So let’s begin.
Listen to the podcast episode on SoundCloud or watch it on YouTube
Are you a writer?
Many people are afraid to call themselves writers because they haven’t published anything and some haven’t finished a book yet. But guess what! Neither am I.
But this doesn’t mean I’m not a writer. Ok, in fact, I lied a little because I published four books but they were non-fiction and also they were part of my job as a university professor. But that’s not important.
The important is that you are a writer the moment you start to write. No matter whether it’s poetry, short stories or some sort of book. The minute you start to write you are a writer.
That’s why I use purposefully use the two words – writer and author. For me, a writer is someone who writes. It doesn’t matter whether they have published or finished their books. If you write you are a writer. Authors also don’t need to be published or to have finished their books. You are an author because you have written that piece of text. You are the author of that picture because you took it. You are the author of……. Ok, let’s stop here. You got it.
You are writers and authors the minute you start writing and produce something.
With that said, when you have to call yourself a writer and most importantly when you need to start market yourself as a writer.
When to start market yourself as a writer?
The first is easier. You can start calling yourself a writer when you feel it. It doesn’t matter whether you have finished your book. It doesn’t matter whether you have published anything. The only thing you need is to feel you are a writer or author.
But the second question is a little more complicated. When you do need to start market yourself as a writer?
I would say – immediately and I’ll tell you why in a minute. But let me first explain you something. For me, marketing is not just advertising or promoting. It’s much more and I talked a little bit about it in the last episode when I talked about the author platform and do you need one.
You see if you plan to sell your books and especially if you want to become a full-time writer, to make your living as a writer, the world has to know that you are a writer. And the sooner this happens the more people will find about you.
In late 2017 I had just finished writing the books I needed for my university career. The contest has finished and I told myself. OK. You wrote four books, all non-fiction – something I didn’t believe I can do. Why not try to write another book. Only this time a novel?
It didn’t take me long to decide to do it. But after a few weeks of writing and brainstorming, I realized this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
I am a lawyer and I’m constantly trying to cope with the fierce competition in the legal world so I know the importance of being known. And it’s the same with writers. If nobody has ever heard of you how will people come to you and ask you to be their lawyer? The same goes for writers – if nobody has ever heard of you how someone will go to the bookstore and pick up your book?
At the same time, I didn’t want my friends to know what I am doing yet. So I created an Instagram profile separate from the profile I had before that. The name was mine, but it was just another profile. And this was in late 2017. To be exact my first Instagram post from my writer profile was on the 17th of September 2017. Do you know how many followers I have now? 560. It’s true that in the beginning, I didn’t know what to do exactly and how things work on Instagram so I’ve lost a few months trying different things and being inconsistent.
But even if you follow all the rules the first year on social media you won’t have many followers (unless you choose to use things like buying followers or the follow-for-follow strategy which I don’t recommend at all but this is topic for another conversation).
In December 2018 I started to build my email list and I have 34 subscribers. 34 – for 5 months! See what I mean? It takes time for people to get to know about your existence.
So the sooner you start to show yourself in front of them as a writer the easier it will be for you when you publish your first book.
The point is that if you want to sell your books you have to start thinking like an entrepreneur. You need to do it because there are millions of books published every year. And you have to be ready for the competition.
So start right now. Create your writer profile on Instagram, or Twitter, or Facebook. Whenever you want. Start calling yourself a writer because it doesn’t matter whether you have published something. The only thing that matters is that you are writing. And if you are writing you are a writer.
If you don’t want your friends or colleagues to know about your writing, then create a separate account, or even use a pen name (though I have some second thoughts about pen names but will leave this for another episode). Start showing yourself as a writer. Start creating relations with other writers. Start building your own community of followers and subscribers. Because even if you have written nothing for now, when you finish your novel you will need people to read it and tell you their opinion, you will need people to talk about it, you will need people to buy it. And if they don’t know about you and your book it will be much harder for you.