1. Seren

    Seren Writeaholic

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    What Exactly Goes in a Writer's Portfolio?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Seren, Mar 2, 2017.

    And how important is it to agents/publishers if they're considering your work?

    I'm planning to start a blog, which I suppose will also serve as my portfolio. However, I don't really know what I'm supposed to be putting on it. Does any old piece of writing do? Or must it be something that has won a competition, been published on some newspaper's website/in an anthology/etc, or been recognised in some way like that so that the agent/publisher can see that people have picked you over the competition before?

    I just don't really know how to build one in order to accomplish my dream of getting published, and how important it is. I'm very confused. I didn't even know it was a good idea to make one until recently.

    Any advice would be much appreciated! :)
     
  2. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Banned Contributor

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    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    I would say all the fluffy winning ones at the front, and all the duds
    somewhere at the back of the book. Not like art where you can just
    mix all your pieces together, because it is a different media.


    This is all a theory anywho, but it would make the most sense
    to put all the works that shine in a portfolio and keep the leftovers
    out.

    Question: Why would you need a portfolio, when your works can be found
    in 15sec or less with a simple search? However, like art your work will (at least
    it should) have a fair mix of legitimate criticism about it). Obviously a publisher
    will not say anything harsh about a book they have chosen to publish. So why not
    build a 'portfolio' of self patting on the back, based upon the simple fact that your
    a commercially friendly/marketable writer. This does not make one a good author,
    just a highly profitable one. :p
     
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  3. Seren

    Seren Writeaholic

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    Thanks for your help @Cave Troll ! :)
     
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  4. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Are you trying to promote a novel to agents and editors, or some other form of writing? I can see a portfolio being useful if you were a freelancer writing articles or something, but I've never heard of them being used by novelists...
     
  5. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin We may just go where no-one's been.... Contributor

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    That's what I was thinking too. A portfolio is almost like a resume you would use to get a writing job (magazine, newspaper, editor) or to set yourself up in freelance. Agents and publishers probably don't care about any of that. They're only interested in the specific piece of work you are looking to sell. Previous publishing successes would obviously matter, but that's not really a portfolio.

    The blog is another deal. That's "platform" and I hear that can be very useful in certain cases. Notably in non-fiction publications where the author is expected to provide some of their own readership. Fiction too. If you have a blog with 10k subscribers or 10k twitter followers you can gain an advantage with agents and publishers assuming you have quality work they are considering anyway. Chuck Sambuchino wrote a whole book about this:



    It's free with Kindle Unlimited. There's some decent stuff in there. He's the Writer's Digest Blog editor so he knows what he's talking about, though it does get annoying when he repeatedly writes about how awesome his platform is and how easily he was able to build it.
     
  6. Seren

    Seren Writeaholic

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    I was thinking in terms of trying to promote a novel. No wonder the web articles I found talking about portfolios were all about freelance writing. I simply thought it was because someone needed to ask the question about novels. Apparently not. XD

    Ah, I see. I'm kind of glad to hear that, to be honest. Not that it means I won't bother entering competitions and things now, but I won't throw so much energy into it that it means I'm neglecting working on the actual novel. I'd heard lots about authors needing blogs already, and so when I heard about portfolios I just thought the two should go together. I heard it at a university open day for a creative writing course. Now that you've both said I don't need a portfolio, however, I'm realising that the person who was talking about the importance of them was more than likely talking about writing in general, because so many people will use that degree to be a journalist or something. I had my novel-writing head on, though, so I got confused.

    I'll definately look at that book! Thank you to both of you. :)
     

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