We were lucky enough to catch up to Maria Brandt, author of The Grassic Prize winning short novel All the Words, to discuss how winning the prize opened doors for her.
See what she has to say about life after the prize, the doors it opened, and her realizations about widening her platform with the help of a community of writers.
Maria talks about how the prize gave her the opportunity for her first major public reading, at the Genesee Reading Series. Rather than Maria shopping herself around, the organizers of the event contacted her out of curiosity and it wound up as a rewarding step forward for Maria. It gave her leverage finding opportunities, and it gave the public something to grasp onto in understanding who she was. After that, things just snowballed.
Find a literary center like Writers and Books in Rochester, New York, where Maria lives and works. Look up the center in your town and reach out. This can provide many opportunities to create connections between a writer and the local public. Maria has forged a deep relationship with Writers and Books which keeps on leading to newer and newer opportunities.
It gave Maria leverage in finding opportunities, and it gave the public something to grasp onto in understanding who she was. After that, things just snowballed.
But don’t forget your fellow writers on your way up. One of the biggest advantages for Maria was how the prize acted as a kind of key to an exciting community of mutually supporting authors. The image of the writer as a hermit is a dangerous myth which needs to be broken out of, says Maria. Helping other writers get a leg up, through writing reviews of their work, giving advice when requested and making a few introductions to the right people are just some of the things writers do for each other in a positive community of creators. This will broaden your reading base and widen your platform. It all comes back around.