A Simple Strategy for the Unpublished

W. Terry Whalin shares his wealth of knowledge with NCWA.

Recently I was meeting with an unpublished author who had written about a 400 page Christian fantasy. He gave me a copy of his novel to read and recognizes that he is an unknown writer. Like many people they wonder what steps to take to enter the publishing business and change from being unknown to being known.

These steps are not a quick fix and will take on-going time and effort. The good news is with the Internet and regular effort it can be done with a minimal financial investment to build your audience. Here are ten simple steps.

1. Pick a good domain name—a dot com. How do you want to be known? Pick that for your domain name. What is your area of expertise? If you write Christian fantasy, select something you can brand and promote. A domain name will cost about $7.49 a year at GoDaddy —and always look for a coupon as you check out.

2. Get a Hostgator account . Most writers can get along for $4.95 to $7.95 a month. This system is powerful and inexpensive.

3. On your Hostgator account, start a Word Press blog (not a free one but one you set up). The tools are free and because you are hosting it, you don’t have the restrictions of the free Word Press account. Then post several times a week on your topic that you want to brand.

4. Start a Twitter account with your brand name and post only on that topic—link to articles about it and other things to draw readers.

5. Also post to your Facebook about this topic—automatically repeat your tweets.

6. Join forums on this topic. Check out Big-Boards.com for possible forums. At first, watch, and then participate with solid content about the topic at hand—and emphasizing your topic. You will become known as a thoughtful expert.

7. Eventually begin a newsletter with your blog posts—repurpose them into a newsletter and encourage people to subscribe to it.

8. Repurpose your blog posts to Internet articles and post to the free articles sites (there are many of them). You are becoming a known expert.

9. Read a writing how-to book on a regular basis. Keep growing in your craft.

10. Take action over and over—consistently and regularly to build your brand. It will pay off and you will build your presence and become known.

Maybe you’ve heard about the bestselling author who took 20 years to become an overnight success. A seemingly innocent event set off the unplanned chain of events that propelled the author to recognition.

Never forget that you are the best person to promote yourself but you have to take action. Follow the plan and it can happen. I’ve seen it over and over.


This post first appeared January 19, 2011 on The Writing Life. Used by kind permission.

W. Terry Whalin understands both sides of the editorial desk. A former acquisitions editor and a former literary agent, Terry is a Vice President and Publisher at Intermedia Publishing Group. He has written more than 60 books for traditional publishers including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and several of Terry’s books have sold over 100,000 copies.  He has authored an innovative training for writers, Write A Book Proposal. Terry is an active member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.


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