How Can I Establish Myself as a Writer?

How to build your audience as a writer

by Olga Bialasik

Carving out a space for yourself among thousands of other writers can seem like a daunting, if not impossible, task. But despite how saturated the market might appear, there is a constant and growing demand for all kinds of writers. Whether you’re a freelance copywriter, a casual blog writer, or an aspirational author, there are plenty of ways you can improve your offering to gain an audience and better connect with your readers. Here are five tips essential for writing career success:

1. Branding

When you hear the word “brand”, you might instantly think of big names like Coca Cola or Amazon, but branding is increasingly important for small businesses, authors, and freelancers too. As a writer, you need to build your personal brand. That might be through a personal website or a strong social media presence, but it can also be through answering questions on Quora or posting on Medium to position yourself as a brand expert in a certain industry. This makes you and your work more recognisable to a bigger audience.

2. Credibility

Whether you’re looking to publish a book or bag a big client, your potential readers want to know that you’re credible. This might be through gathering amazing feedback on a freelancing website, having testimonials on your personal website or LinkedIn, or writing a winning author bio on your experience and credentials. All of these things demonstrate that you’re an expert in your field and help to position you as an authority figure.

3. Pitching

A huge part of successful writing is creating a compelling pitch, either to land your dream client or your ideal publisher. An effective pitch shows where you’ll both fill a need and add value. It needs to be personal and tailored to the client, and most importantly, it must adhere to any specific guidelines the client or publisher has set out. For example, if you’re pitching to a literary agent, make sure you’re aware of the genres they accept and what their querying process entails. If you’re applying for freelance writing jobs, make it clear what value you can add to the company.

4. Examples

Clients, readers, and publishers want to see that you’re an incredible writer before committing to you, so you should have a range of quality content for them to peruse. This might include a sample of your book, a personal blog, Quora answers, a website with a portfolio of your writing published in literary magazines, or examples of work done for previous clients (only if permitted by the client). Basically anything that demonstrates your writing skills.

5. Improve

While you might already be a great writer, there’s always room for improvement. Practise your craft, take relevant courses, and never stop reading. Find out more about your audience, research your topic, and learn the tips and tricks of outstanding writers! Importantly, if you take on a growth mindset that it’s possible to improve and get better, then you’ll grow and flourish as a writer.

Wrapping up

These five ways of building an audience are not only handy if you’re starting out as a writer, but are also useful to keep in mind if you’ve been doing this for some time and want to boost your existing profile to reach more readers and opportunities. Remember that establishing yourself within your community and industry takes time, patience, and determination. You might not advance your writing career overnight, but an audience will grow steadily as you gain experience and develop your portfolio.

And if you’re looking to write a nonfiction book but don’t know where to start, check out our 10-step outline of the process here. Maybe you can use the upcoming NaNoWriMo as motivation?