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Getting creative with DIY publicity!

14 July 2010

It doesn’t matter how well you think you write–getting your foot in the door is a very challenging enterprise. While the Internet means that it’s easier than ever to put your work somewhere, it makes it that much more difficult for readers to find you, and for peers to respect what you’re trying to accomplish.

As I mentioned last week, I spent Thursday and Friday watching the meeting of the President’s Commission on Bioethics, taking some notes, and putting together an article. The goal of that exercise was to get that piece some pretty serious exposure through a news website. And while I sent it out to a couple places, there haven’t been any takers.

For other writers out there who are at a similarly early stage in their journeys, this sort of thing is probably not a surprise. Unusual (if fairly prominent and newsworthy!) subject + no name recognition = a trip to an editor’s trash can.

But it’s not really helpful to pout over it, or tinker with the same piece until your eyes are rolling back into your head and the content in the article is irrelevant anyway. It’s just a sign that you need to get creative about promoting yourself and your work, to find avenues that will make editors take notice…and build a platform that makes your book deal a done deal.

This is my approach: after hearing about the chaos over at major science writers’ community ScienceBlogs, I realized that I might have something to offer some of the disaffected writers seeking a new home. After doing a bit of brainstorming, and some WordPress tweaking, I’m just about done putting together a new science site: Science Park.

I have two goals for this new enterprise. The first is obvious: to act as my continually-updated web presence, a showcase of my science journalism skills. The second is maybe even more important: I hope to make Science Park into an attraction by bringing in prominent guest writers from time to time.

This idea “clicked” for me because the science writing community is fairly compact, so it may not be quite as feasible for writers in other genres. What’s crucial is to turn natural early-career discouragement into an opportunity, by constantly thinking of ways to bring your ideas and ability to people who matter in your field. Write something you’re proud of, start blogging, use Twitter, comment on other sites, just don’t sit and “wait for the Carpathia,” as I read in a book recently. Practice the skills you’ll need to sell your book by putting yourself in a position to sell it in the first place.

Creative Commons photo by Flickr user Visualologist.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. jason permalink
    14 July 2010 1:18 pm

    I’d be excited to read the article if you are sending it around offline.


    • 14 July 2010 2:20 pm

      Barring any last-minute emails from editors, it’ll be the first article posted on the new site on Friday. I’ll be putting a link up here and tying the two sites together as much as I can, so definitely check it out!


  1. New site is up, Bioethics Commission recommendations « Wonder Bugs: A Synthetic Biology Book (in Progress)

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