Find Your Audience

“If it’s published on your blog, that’s not published.”

I believe that’s from Christopher Rhodes during the first session I attended at DFWCon 2017. He was speaking to the kinds of writing experience that’s worth putting into a book proposal.
While your writing chops may be on full display on your website, that doesn’t mean much unless your website receives multiple thousands of hits per day.
So, you should aim higher.

  1. Research the websites where the audience for your book congregates.
  2. Look for the “Submissions” link that’s typically in the website’s footer.
  3. Read what they want, when they want it, and how they want to receive it.
  4. Set a schedule for yourself of pitching once a day, once a week, or once a month. The amount isn’t as important as the consistency.

This advice reminded me of Blake Kimzey’s excellent talk at the first meeting of the Dallas Nonfiction Authors Association. He spoke about how he used these sites to find relevant places to pitch his short fiction. His process can be used for nonfiction as well.

  • This is where your search ought to begin. Though it costs $50 per year to search Duotrope’s database, you’ll find a wealth of information that can be filtered by topic and a plethora of other variables. This is how you can find the outlets that match your target audience.
  • and offer reviews of many of the literary magazines listed on Duotrope. In other words, find an outlet, but do you research about that outlet, too. Then, once you know that’s a place where you could find a new and engaged audience, hone your pitch to that site’s desires.

Through patience with that process, Kimzey built an impressive resume of clips in literary magazines. (See the sidebar bio on his And because of those clips, he’s had multiple NYC agents proactively contact him to ask about his next book. In a way, since he’s seeking representation for his next novel, his audience was literary agents, so he wrote for publications he knew literary agents read.
The moral of the quote: Don’t ditch your blog—but maybe don’t spend so much time on it. Rather, if you’re serious about getting published, think about where your audience is living online, then go meet them there.
If you’ve used Duotrope, what’s been your experience? Or, if you’ve guest posted for other blogs or well-known sites, what benefits did you see after the post went up?
Photo Credit: Exit Festival Flickr via Compfight cc