How to Build a Publishing Resume

I update my resume every year, but as a writer I recently discovered I should have a publishing resume. It makes sense. Why would a publisher or agent want my resume that lists career highlights that have nothing to do with my writing career?

JRW Panel

Editors and writers shared their tips for building a publishing resume. (Photo by Cynthia Price)

At a recent James River Writers workshop, I learned what to include on this type of resume, as well as how I could gain additional credentials to put on the resume. Such a resume can help authors secure fellowships, awards and prizes. A publishing resume needs to include categories such as awards, speaking engagements and published works.

Why You Need a Publishing Resume

“It sets you up for all sorts of opportunities,” said Dana Isokawa, the associate editor of Poets & Writers Magazine, where she edits the magazine’s sections on writing contests and fellowships, literary news and trends, and conferences and residencies. “It’s a literary calling card.”

What I like about this idea is that it’s a great summary of my work to date.

“You want to sell yourself,” said David Streever, a journalist, author and editor-in-chief of RVA Mag’s print quarterly. He recommends placing your publishing resume on your own website.

Published Works

When it comes to adding links to articles you have written, the panelists had several suggestions on how to find freelance opportunities. One suggested making a list of all the topics you know and are good, and then finding stories on those topics to pitch to relevant publications.

Pitching editors is most often done by email. Be sure to proof the emails. “I get nervous when I pitch,” David said. “My brain shuts off.” To avoid mistakes, proof the email several times or ask someone else to review it before sending.

Another way to build your writing portfolio is to write a blog.

Fellowships

One area that the speakers highlighted was fellowships, which provide opportunities to further your writing and to be inspired by other writers.

Martha Steger, a prolific freelance writer, did caution writers to look for hidden fees, such as fellowships that only cover the cost of the stay and do not pay for WiFi, parking or travel.

Writers’ Groups

The value of belonging to writers groups also was touted. “You want to be part of a community that really cares,” Dana said.

I belong to James River Writers, Virginia Professional Communicators/National Federation of Press Women and Sisters in Crime. All provide me with invaluable guidance and access to successful writers.

ROI

Karen A. Chase suggested creating a budget for your submissions. At the end of year, have an ROI. If you enter a cost that costs $50 and you get a prize of $100 that is a 50 percent return. By allocating a set amount and tracking it, you can determine where you have success and where you might need to make changes to your approach.

I’m going to spend my next writing block working on my literary calling card.

 

 

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PowerPoint Presentations Require Planning, Practice

PRSA Hampton Roads

Presentations require preparation and practice. 

The Institute for Crisis Management tracked 801,620 crisis news stories during 2017, an increase of more than 25 percent from 2016.

That’s why when the Hampton Roads chapter of PRSA asked me to present on crisis communications, I knew I was going to have to do some research on the latest incidents. Plus, it had been about four years since I last presented on the topic, and I would need to rework some of the slides. In all, I spent about 15 hours preparing.

Based on the feedback and follow-up questions, I think it was worth it.

I share this because some people think they can simply whip up a PowerPoint and then present. To succeed, the prep time is critical. Here are some areas to consider:

Design

  • Decide what the look and feel of your slides will be.
  • Identify the photos, illustrations and artwork that you will use.
  • Consistently use font face and type size on all slides

Text

  • Keep words to a minimum on the slides.
  • Avoid full sentences.
  • Never read your slides.

Take Away

  • Always summarize your 2-3 key points.
  • Make the key points memorable so they will stick with your audience.

Audience

  • Know the composition of your audience and tailor your presentation accordingly.
  • Find out what they are expecting.
  • Always ensure that your presentation description matches what you present.

Practice

  • Know your slides.
  • Speak with confidence.
  • Don’t speak too quickly.

The first practice round I did with my colleagues, I realized I had too many slides, and that I was treating the presentation as if it was a full-day training session. I spent a few more hours on it. I cut slides, added case studies and identified key points. I did a second practice session, and knew I had the right presentation.

The effort put into a presentation pays off when you look at the audience and you see people taking notes, tweeting and nodding in agreement.