In 2014, author, moderator, editor, and journalist Robert K. Elder talked to us about what he gains from CWC, common mistakes aspiring writers make, and how to take advantage of social media. We’ve included our favorite quotes below, but be sure to watch the video his full interview. If you’d like to hear more from Elder, attend CWC 2015, where he will once again be one of our moderators.
What is the importance of social media?
Well, writers just can’t be writers anymore. I’m not new in that sentiment. You do have to be a marketer. You do have to be good on camera. You do have to market yourself on social media and all of those channels. So, whether you have a blog on Tumblr or a very active Twitter account or LinkedIn. All that is immensely important in not only building your base and community, but selling yourself as a brand. And that might be a dirty word for some people, but it’s just commerce. And it’s helping people understand that new digital world we live in.
What are some common mistakes you see writers make?
I think the important thing is to, not only start, but finish a project. Years ago, an author named Neil Gaiman told me that. It’s not just the starting, it’s the finishing the process of going through it and editing it. And maybe it’s even throwing it away because it wasn’t good. But every project you do, you will learn from it. There are some people whose first novels never see the light of day. Ken Kesey’s first novel “Zoo”: never published. The first draft of “The Great Gatsby”, it never saw the light of day until posthumously they published the whole thing. So, it’s actually the journey that is important. I know it sounds silly, but writers write. Once you have a good book, finding the right agent and finding the right publishing house, those are sort of secondary steps.
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