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Developing A Reputation As An Expert Is A Priority For Every Wannabe Author

Feb 22, 2008
In a highly competitive arena like publishing, novice authors, whether retired seniors or younger start-ups, don't have the luxury of time as they strive to become recognized as experts in their chosen field. It's important to begin establishing your reputation as quickly as possible.

This is one place where age is a great benefit. Years of experience in a specific profession, business or trade--even just in living--give you a tremendous advantage as you begin to build your reputation once you retire. If you are a Senior, you certainly should be expert enough to begin writing on your pre-retirement specialty or on subjects like parenting, marriage, home buying, etc.

Careers are not the only source available to demonstrate your expertise. You may be highly knowledgeable about your hobby. Specialty magazines exist for these as well. Perhaps you're a sports fanatic, computer techie, innovative cook or love the outdoors, and have unique knowledge that you can pass on to others. Write about your passion. The possibilities are endless.

Regardless of age, once a writer starts placing articles or crafting a book, doors will open to opportunities as a speaker, a consultant, a coach whether full or part-time.

Content is Key

Becoming an expert means building your reputation. The easiest and most effective way to accomplish that is to begin writing how-to nonfiction. This type of writing is judged primarily on content, not style. Most editors, particularly those running trade journals, are hungry for quality content.

What you do require is a solid foundation of knowledge on the subject and the ability to express those thoughts in words. That's really no harder than what you do every time you casually express your thoughts on the topic to an acquaintance. Try that conversational mindset when you sit down at the computer and begin to write. Think of a specific individual, and tell him or her what's on your mind.

However, before you attack the keyboard, think the subject through carefully. Decide what aspect you wish to write about, and create a step-by-step outline of what it is you want to say. With that preparation and with the mindset that you're simply talking with a friend, albeit in print, it becomes "a piece of cake," as they say in the vernacular.

Digital Possibilities

The Internet has opened up a vast new outlet for articles and books. Writing for the digital world is no harder than it is for print publications. It's your chance to reach thousands, indeed millions, of readers with your priceless prose. The tool, of course, is your computer, and studies indicate that more and more people people are becoming computer literate every day.

Whether your article appears in print or digitally, the key to success is that short biographical paragraph that you find at the end, often in italics. It must include your name, a bit about your background and a means of contacting you, preferably at a web site address.

That leads directly to another essential if you are really serious about becoming an expert. You need a "home base" or as we now express it in digital terms, a web site. This is nothing more than a place that people can go to contact you or to learn more about you and your special topic.

Creating a quality web site is a totally separate subject, and much has been written to guide you. It can be done at little or no cost or by hiring an expensive design professional. Regardless of the path you choose to follow, always bear in mind that the web surfer who arrives at your site will probably never meet you in person. Your web site is the first and probably only type of contact he/she will have with you. So make certain you put on an informative and welcoming face.

Marketing Your Writing

How do you determine which outlets to send your writing to? For print periodicals, your local library can offer directories like Bacon's Magazine Directory or the Guide to Periodical Literature. Most of these are far too expensive for the limited use you have for them, so use the library's copy. I urge you to purchase a personal copy of Writer's Market, an outstanding compendium of print periodicals that gives you all the information you require to send your manuscript off to the right editor.

For those of you who craft digital articles, a number of eZine directories exist. However, it is important to try and place your article with a directory that has high rankings such as, www.ezinearticles.com. Your article will then be available to eZines, blogs and web sites throughout the world.

Whether you plan to spend your life as a career author or write as a past time, honing your expertise and building your reputation as an expert must be a priority.
About the Author
Need a strong support system to jump start your writing and marketing? Find it free at http://www.retirement-writing.com. Buy Charles Jacobs' latest book The Writer Within You on the web site at a substantial discount. It's a Best Books of 2007 honoree, 5-star rated and a Writer's Digest Book Club selection.
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