The bad news is, your work doesn’t stop there. "What do you mean my work doesn’t stop there?", you protest. "Isn’t writing the only thing I have to do?"
Well, if print publications are as popular now as they were before the Internet age, the answer would’ve been "Yes". Back then, you only needed to worry about how your content will turn out, because there were other people who took care of the marketing end. But now, it’s easier than ever to have your content get buried underneath all the noise on the Internet.
Check out the first two parts of this series:
- Get Published (Part 1): Finding The Right Site
- Get Published (Part 2): Discussing Writing Terms With The Site
That’s why you have to work harder to market yourself and:
Put Your Social Networks To Good Use
Instead of sharing yet another done-to-death meme with your contacts, why not share a well-written article that you’ve managed to complete by sacrificing buckets of blood, sweat, and creative juices?
Busy, on-the-go people (i.e. the people who are most likely to use social networks) are always on the lookout for something new to read and/or share with their friends. Use this to your advantage by sharing links to your article, complete with catchy, attention-grabbing comments like "Need to fix your bricked iPhone? Here’s a complete, easy-to-understand guide on doing just that."
Remember that today’s readers want to know at a glance how reading your article can benefit them, so make every word in your comment count. Also, avoid writing comments like "Please Like and share my article!" because these just come across as too desperate.
By the way, you don’t have to share every single article that you’ve written. Just share the ones that you’re proud of, or the ones that you won’t mind being read by your aunt’s sister’s best friend.
Participate In The Comments Section
If people have gone out of their way to leave comments on your article, it’s a good sign. That means you’ve struck a chord with your readers, for better or for worse.
The positive comments are the easiest to handle, of course. If Anne says "Great post!" or "Thank you for this article!", it’s enough to tell her "You’re welcome. That’s good to hear." If Bobby decides to share an experience related to the content in your article, it’s okay to engage him in conversation the way you would for a friend. If Chris asks you a question, answer it in the best way you can.
However, as with most things in life, you can’t have the good without the bad. There will be people who will go out of their way to post negative comments. Some of them will talk about mistakes in your article – factual, grammatical, contextual, etc. Assuming that their points are valid, you can say: "Hey, Dan. Thanks for pointing that out! Will get it fixed as soon as possible." If their points are not valid, or if you don’t agree with them, you have every right to defend your point of view in a firm but respectful manner.
On the other hand, comments that are rude, irrelevant to the discussion, or clearly designed to spark flame wars are not worth your attention. You’ll make better use of your time working on other projects than engaging strangers on the Internet who just want their 15 minutes of fame.
The point is, you can’t control how other people will react to your article, but you can control how you will react to them.
Be Nice And Professional
You should be nice not just to your readers, but also to your editor. Treat your editor the way you’d treat any other client: with respect, courtesy, and professionalism. You never know who’s best friends with whom in this industry, so it’s best to not be a jerk to anyone, at the very least.
That said, there is a fine line between being a professional and being a doormat. If your editor – or any other person for that matter – isn’t treating you well enough, you can try the following steps:
1. Calm down first. If you have any strong and negative emotions bubbling underneath the surface, you won’t be in the right state of mind to give constructive feedback to your editor.
2. Think about why your editor is being less-than-reasonable. Don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that s/he is out to get you. It could be that your editor had a bad day, or your article was really not as up-to-par as you thought it was.
3. If your editor had a bad day, or had a one-time outburst directed towards you, just let it go. They’re human, just like you, and it’s not like you don’t have bad days too, right?
4. If your article is the problem, it’s best to make the changes without complaint. Unless your editor wants you to introduce factual errors into your piece, or is asking you to do something unethical, assume that they know their publication and their readers better than you do. Besides, they have the final say on whether you get paid for your work or not, so there’s that.
5. If you’re honestly convinced that your editor is the real-life equivalent of Miranda Priestly from "The Devil Wears Prada", that’s the time you ask yourself if it’s worth it to work with this person. You can try using the transparent feedback approach with them, or you can go look for a better place to write for. The choice is yours, really.
(Final) Wrap Up
Getting published multiple times requires more than a decent set of writing chops. You also need to be familiar with the writing industry in general, and have the right attitude towards your work. Otherwise, you won’t be able to move your writing career to where you want it to be.