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Michelle's Musings

Expand Your Horizons

I recently read an Authors Guild post from a writer who received an offer for publication that was withdrawn after the publisher learned she had very few Facebook followers (at least for their purposes). She posted the Guild blog to ask the membership what it deemed a decent number of followers. Like many writers, I don't have an expansive exposure on social media platforms. However, I won a literary award a couple of years ago, which got me thinking that I might need to become more comfortable being in the spotlight. So I enrolled into Toastmasters International to sharpen my public-speaking skills, but I withdrew after a year due to a scheduling conflict with one of my classes. Though I've not yet rejoined, I recently dropped in on a meeting after several months of absence and was asked to participate. To my surprise, I was quite comfortable in front of a mixed crowd of old and new faces. While I'm still holding out on signing up for a Facebook account, it was a smart move to join Toastmasters.


Then last year, I broke down and opened an Instagram account, although I'm not sure how much this platform will increase my visibility among readers and writers. I subsequently won a poetry award, and I recently learned that one of my poems has been accepted for publication in the 2024-25 edition of the San Diego Poetry Annual. This got me thinking about how to promote myself on Instagram, particularly since the editors of the Annual invited me to participate in future poetry readings. I'm now slated to read at my first Open Mic next month at the San Diego Writers Festival.


But, wait—there's more! I'm collaborating with a choreographer who's developing a performance based on a monologue I wrote. Our joint effort will be presented on stage in May, and the producer/choreographer wants to promote my work and platform. I'm also being interviewed by San Diego Writers, Ink. So you see where I'm going with the networking and social media platform thing—I need to get the ball rolling!


As I attempt to leverage my writing successes, I'm expanding my horizons when it comes to self-promotion. I find that by putting greater effort into this venture, I'm generating more opportunities to parlay new and existing relationships into additional prospects. In the end, what excites me most, however, is my ongoing love affair with the written word.


In spite of multiple rejections, regularly producing and submitting work has heightened my confidence in myself as a writer—an award-winning writer at that! So for those of you who think success in this industry is tantamount to a crapshoot, I'm here to tell you that I happen to agree. But I also concur with Nike's famous slogan: "Just Do It".

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