This is the last post in this series. I hope you've gotten something from it! Thanks for tuning in.
If you do go the short story route, contests can be your entre to fame. Or at least to being able to say you're an award-winning writer. The Short Mystery Fiction Society is a place you can sometimes pick up names of publications. Take note when others get stories accepted in them. Many conferences have short story contests also.
Volunteering to judge contests, such as the Derringers (SMFS) and the Daphnes (RWA) can be a way to get your name known, and you'll be appreciated by the people running the competition.
Here are some I belong to, or have belonged to in the past:
Sisters in Crime, of course, national, local, online chapter, Guppies
Mystery Writers of America, national and local
Writers' League of Texas
Short Mystery Fiction Society
Crime Scene Writers is a huge group where your posts will be seen by hundres
You should post on the lists of these groups occasionally to get your name known to the other members. It doesn't do you any good to join a group and lurk. No one will know who you are unless you speak up occasionally.
Put it in your signature line. Then every post will remind people of an award or acceptance, or upcoming appearance or publication. Also make sure your website and blog addresses are in your signature line.
When you get a story accepted or win a prize, or present a talk at a San Gabriel Writers' League meeting, you should make an announcement. Some of the places to announce are (and these are other reasons for belonging to these groups):
SinC, local, national, Guppies
on your blog
other yahoo lists you belong to
some organization links:
Mystery Writers of America http://www.mysterywriters.org/ & http://www.mwasw.org/
Writers' League of Texas http://writersleague.org/
Short Mystery Fiction Society http://www.shortmystery.net/
Crime Scene Writers http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/crimescenewriter/
STUFF I DON'T DO, BUT OTHER PEOPLE DO
Lots of people use Goodreads and Kindle Forums more than I do. Some writers have discussions going on LinkedIn.
You can even have your own blogtalk radio show - do interviews, and so forth. Sylvia Dickey Smith has had great success with this.
Anything you can do to interact with other writers and, eventually, readers will get your name out.
A WORD ABOUT BEING NICE AND ABOUT RECIPROCATION
Warren Bull, author of ABRAHAM LINCOLN FOR THE DEFENSE and many short stories, has this to say about authors helping authors:
The owner of a local independent bookstore helped me a lot; offered a signing, found a reviewer etc. when I first had a book out. Book store owners and staff can recommend your book and sell one copy at a time. So buy your books from the people who can help sell yours. You can establish a relationship before you get
[ME: I certainly do this, buy my friend's books. And I feel it's my duty as a writer to recommend the ones I like to others.}
Warren again: Also you can ask friends family and other authors to write reviews for you on Amazon.com You can do favors for fellow [writers] by writing reviews for them before you have anything published.
People remember those who are helpful and friendly so ask if you can set up
chairs for signings, publicize the store etc.
Writing reviews for other writers is important to them and it's something I don't do enough of. But has anyone thought of helping at another author's signing as a means of exposure? I haven't.
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS FROM THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE FENCE
Here's a comment from Elaine Douts, a friend who was an unpublished mystery writer when I asked her thoughts on self-promotion:
Geez Kaye-this is one topic I don't do well. In fact, I don't do [it] at all. I know that I should, but until I get published, even a short story, I'd feel like a fraud doing self-promotion. I've been told that my attitude is short sighted, but I just know that if I start self-promoting before I get published, it's fait accompli that I never will get published-just because the gods like me to make an ass of myself. Yeah-there's the how to, but then there's the question why-[why] when no crystal ball says you'll ever get published.
I know a lot of unpublished writers feel that way, but you have to have faith that you'll be there some day. Elaine has since been published as E. B. Davis in short story form.
This is a lot of stuff.
Only do what you have time for and are comfortable with.
If you've never done any of this, start with one item at a time and build until people begin to know who you are. Keep on going after that, so they don't forget who you are.