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Tips for Online Self Publishing Creative Writer's who often Struggle to Get Noticed on HubPages
Here I number off some of the major reasons why creative writers, especially beginners, often yield disappointing recognition for their work. After each cause, I am quick to recommend a viable solution. Creative writers have historically had a particularly tough time getting noticed on HubPages and I hope that my advice can help reverse this trend. Whether you're publishing online for the very first time, or you've already had years of experience, a few simple and avoidable mistakes can cripple any chance you might have had for success.
Note: This article is specifically directed at prose writers.
The simple fact of the matter is that completely original creative writing uploaded to hubpages for the first time enters cyberspace with almost no recognition at all. The majority of page views on the site are through external search engines. No matter how superb your writing skills are, nobody is going to be searching for a story or author they have never heard of and know nothing about. This is why networking is especially important for creative hubbers. Communication with other online creative writers is key for getting your name out there and getting your material noticed. It will help immensely if you regularly promote your writing on social networking sites and participate in hubpage forums on the topic. It is also a good idea to regularly read other creative hubs and make a habit of offering support and constructive criticism to other writers. Gradually, your recognition as a writer will grow, and so will your page views.
2. Lack of Pictures
There are many brilliant creative writers who don't have an ounce of skill in the visual arts. This is the reason why the author him or herself is rarely credited as the cover illustrator of commercially published creative works. Of course, this is also the case for independent online publishers. Many lacking illustration ability decide against adding any pictures at all to their work in order to avoid copyright violations. The importance of hubs rich in visual media is so often stressed on the site that it has become a veritable hubpages cliche. If you are unable to create images that correspond to your writing, the best alternative would be to seek out public domain images. I make almost exclusive use of Wikimedia Commons, a search engine specifically for the purpose of sharing public domain images. Many other hubbers also use flickr. It can sometimes be difficult to find appropriate images with such limitations, but even loosely related images are better than no images at all. For example, suppose you are writing a fantasy story that takes place in an enchanted forest. Simply search the public domain for images of the most exotic forest-scape possible.
3. Tricky Interface
You will quickly notice that the hubpages interface does not lend itself well to hubs written as chronological serials (the most common form of creative writing on the site). It can often be difficult and overly complicated for readers to navigate from one chapter to the next, or to navigate back to a chapter at which he or she wishes to take a closer look. Essentially, a frustrated reader quickly becomes a non-reader. The solution is simple. Include links in every installment to other installments. Three links should suffice (Beginning, Next and Previous)*
Making these links can be time consuming, but it is worth it for the enhanced experience it offers the reader.
*I am uncertain if this is still so, but my experience has been that hubpages offers a degree of automatic linking between related chapters/installments.
4. Poor Writing
While networking, promotion and luck are essential no matter how good your writing actually is, high quality writing is, surprise, still extremely important. Readers and potential followers are unlikely to take a writer seriously is he or she has poor grammar and spelling, something particularly damaging to self publishers. Be sure to take the time to proofread your work, and preferably, have someone else look over it too. This is a basic rule of proofreading. A third party proofreader is 99.9% certain to spot an error you overlooked.
Aside from the technical matter of language skill, the writing itself needs to be engaging and stimulating if you are to maintain a strong following. Again, I recommend reading other creative hubs so that you can better understand what works and what doesn't, what you like and what you don't like. On a broader note, as a writer, you should also be an avid reader. Reading regularly is the best passive exercise for improving your writing skill as you learn more intimately how language can be manipulated for particularly entertaining and engaging prose.