"Get your name out there"
That's advice I've given and received. But, how do you go about doing that?
I have a partial list. One of the nifty things about my list is that getting your name out there is a byproduct of the activities. The immediate benefit you'll see is an improvement in your writing.
Step one- Blog.
Blog here on Blogspot, or Wordpress or Typepad. Those are the three biggies.
Start a blog and write in it regularly. Don't let it die. So many people start their blog all excited, then lose interest. They can't think of anything of a topic, or grow frustrated that they have no subscribers. (That leads me to step TWO.)
STEP two- Read Blogs and Web Pages of authors, agents, and publishers.
Of course, comment on them. You will learn something about publishing, meet super nice folks, and get valuable tips about where to submit your work etc. I cannot even list all of the things you're going to find out. (Well, you're here, so you already know this.)
Step three- Write short stories and maybe even articles and/or reviews. It's good practice. Plus, agents and publishers want to know that you can write and even more importantly, that people want to read what you write. Here's a super neato search engine to help you find places to sub your stuff: http://www.duotrope.com/
You can also google around. (Don't you love how google became a verb? My word processor still doesn't know that, though.)
I found places to sub by watching where the other writers in my online writers critique group have succeeded in publishing. (More on that in step four.)
What do you like to read? Maybe you can submit there. Or if you're unsure of yourself, start by submitting to the little non-paying online journals. They range from ones who'll take almost anything like postcard shorts to the more prestigious.
Step Four- Join a critique group.
I do the Internet Writering Workshop (IWW), but there are others, in person and online. You learn lots about writing as a craft and as a business.
I found it to be a bit of a culture shock when I first joined the novel workshop. Some people were mean just to be cruel and some were not harsh enough. Some, though, were tough in a constructive way. Those are the ones I find most useful. Though, everyone likes a pat on the head now and then. :)
Step five- Create a web site.
No, I didn't do that yet. I learned recently that every author needs to do this eventually. I will do so when my novel is about to be published. I promise. It's a place to market yourself. When you are selling your book, you're selling You as a brand.
Take a look at the websites of your favorite authors. You can be sure they have them. Jot down the sorts of elements they have in common and you'll get ideas about what you'll want for your web site. ((note to self: DO THIS))
Step six- Attend writing workshops, book signings, and other such events. A lot of these things are done online these days. In person is good too, but not always possible. I attended an online conference recently and learned tons. I suppose I also got my name out there. That wasn't the intention, but it happened.
Step seven- You tell me what step seven is... I know you can think of more than what I have here. :)