Writers often write to me, saying they’d like to start blogging or connecting with others online – particularly producers and agents – but they just don’t know where to start. Here’s a crash course!
My Top Tips
1) Just reach out and start talking. DON’T PITCH AT PEOPLE.
2) Find others with the same types of interest as you: they’d ideally like the same sorts of media output and have similar ambitions, plus be at the same sort of “level” as you (beginner, middling and onwards). From there, build up your “circle”, but don’t badger people to follow you
3) Do Peer Review. Swap work as much as possible – and let everyone who asks read your own. EVERYONE. The more people know about you and what you do, the more chance you will get hooked up with someone who can take your work somewhere
4) Target those people you’re interested in. Follow the types of people who can get you places (ie. agents) but DON’T bombard them with requests to read your work. Find out what they like/dislike, would like to see more of. Filter these insights into your work
5) Build a platform. Do blogging & social media WELL. And most of all, don’t drop any of these clangers!
Links To Get You Started:
Obviously, I hope you might want to check my screenwriting books out, too – here they are.
Other People To Follow
There are LOADS of great bloggers, tweeters and allies out there for writers … Here’s just a few to get you started:
Chris Jones is the creative director of LondonSWF, runs his own Guerrilla Filmmaking Masterclasses and blogs about filmmaking and getting yourself/your work out there. Find his blog here and follow him on Twitter here.
Stephen Follows is a producer who really knows his stuff about the MAKING of films and what goes into them. All screenwriters should know more about their own industry, so Stephen’s site is a great place to start. Chat to him on Twitter as @StephenFollows.
Hayley McKenzie is the Script Angel – and has worked for the likes of C4’s flagship teen soap HOLLYOAKS. She has compiled a a list of production companies that accepts scripts from writers without agents! Find it here and follow her on Twitter as @scriptangel1.
Check out Screencraft, one of my favourite sites for writing inspiration, plus they offer writing contests all year round for both screenwriters and novelists/short story writers. Check out their site HERE and follow them on Twitter as @screencrafting.
Check out Ashley Scott Myers’ Selling Your Screenplay for great info on how to get your scripts written and out there.
Subscribe to Freelance Writing for news & info about everything writing-related, including novels, ghostwriting & journalism.
Facebook Groups Worth Joining
In my experience, Facebook still remains the best place to network and get feedback/do peer review with writers. Obviously, some groups become spammy or full of weirdos, but on the whole people tend to flame LESS here (I suspect because they have to use their real names?).
Anyway, here are the ones I pop up in frequently and think are worth joining – DO check them out for any individual guidelines or things you need to do. Most have a pinned post that needs reading:
On starting your own online presence:
How To Set Up Your Platform. Here’s a good guide to online networking, including HOW to take ownership of your own story and ensuring Google throws out the results YOU want when someone searches your name online. FIND IT HERE.
Check out these 4 Indispensable Social Media Platforms For Writers. Even if you hate networking in real life, or aren’t able to for other reasons, the internet means you can do this aspect of your writing career in your PJs at home! Just make sure you don’t blow it!
Last thoughts on social media use:
Twitter is an invaluable resource to writers, especially via the hashtag #scriptchat. A Twit’s guide to Twitter – here. NOTE: Agents and editors are generally very active on Twitter, this seems to be one of the best places to find them but NEVER pitch them, it’s a surefire way to get blocked!!
Facebook can be a very useful way of connecting writers and many are looking for online friends. A friend request, with a short message explaining your intention, is usually enough to friend people online like this but a note of caution: DON’T bombard people with multiple requests or be offended if people tell you they only friend people they’ve met in real life!
Blogs can be a brilliant way of getting yourself and your work attention, but need a lot of updating and shouldn’t be negative/whiny to get the best results. If you don’t believe you can commit to full-length blogging, it may be a good idea to stick to social networking only, but of course it’s up to you. MORE: How To Be A Productive Blogger
Last of all:
EVERY POST IS PERMANENT. That’s right – even on Facebook and Twitter, thanks to the overseeing eye of Google. Don’t let your online presence be adversely affected when someone types your name into a search engine!
What’s more, people have an uncanny knack of REMEMBERING the negative people, either online or in real life. If you don’t want your negative posts to come back to haunt you, don’t write them. Here’s a post on creating relationships and a presence online.