Books are no longer published based simply on the merit of their writing, Ryan explained. The industry chooses books based on marketing strategies: "Even fiction writers have to market 'issues' now." Creating a mission statement, she said, could push your writing beyond publication into publicity.
Her book Love Made of Heart was written "to inspire adult-children of mentally ill parents to speak openly about the stigmas that their parents suffer." Using her story of immigration, domestic violence and mental illness, her mission statement is: "Through my writing, I speak for those who cannot speak for themselves." Depending on her audience when speaking about the novel, she adapts her statement accordingly -- "I help... mothers and daughters speak from the heart...survivors of family violence find their own voice..."
As writing career coach, Ryan's motto is "Reach out, not stress out, when building your name." Here's how:
Take a sheet of paper and divide it into three sections.
- In the first column write WHO: mentors, endorsers, advocates. These are the people who can promote your work. My list includes family and friends, MFA instructors and colleagues, blog readers, Facebook 'friends', fellow travel writers, professional groups, local bookstores, industry professionals, librarians, favorite authors.
- In the next column write WHAT: my name, my themes, my platform. This one is a bit trickier. Mine are: travel writer; women's empowerment; sharing resources and information; inspiration for writers.
- In the third column write WHERE: places to show my name. These could be your email's signature block; publishing timely work in professional newsletters or local/national papers; public speaking; online and in-person networking; public readings; and book reviews. Hint: booksellers pull reader reviews from amazon.com to put on their websites!