Organising Your Portfolio
Whether you’ve been writing for a few days or a decade there will come a point when you’ll need to organise a creative portfolio to display your best works.
Here, we’ll examine a few methods for authors to showcase their most memorable, pertinent and/or honoured writings.
Leather BinderThere’s nothing wrong with investing a little money into a nice leather (or similarly good-looking) binder in which to display some of your “tear sheets”. Such “tear sheets” are copies (usually in colour) of writings that have appeared in print magazines, newspapers, sales pieces and other venues. Additionally, they may be attractively formatted reproductions of pieces that have been published online (though not from your personal blog, which would be considered too amateurish for your portfolio unless you are already a well-known blogger).
Tear sheets should be systematically arranged and potentially indexed if you are an author who focuses on many different areas. For instance, you may have a different section (or even a separate binder) for your poetry, children’s writings and plays. Similarly, you may have several subcategories within one creative writing type, such as horror short stories, romance short stories and science fiction short stories under an umbrella “short story” tab.
Even if you primarily write for the web, it’s handy to have a portfolio of this nature which can be shown to potential clients during a face-to-face meeting. (And if you have a creative writing curriculum vitae (CV), add it to the portfolio as well.)
Creative Writing WebsiteAs a professional (or even recreational) creative writer, it’s an excellent idea to have a web presence that operates as an online “portfolio” and sales tool. For example, the first page of your website could be a description of you, along with your background and writing preferences. From there, visitors could be directed to a smattering of your recently published clips.
Be careful not to simply link your readers to other sites, though; if your text is deleted from those foreign web pages or if the URL changes, you’ll be sending visitors to “no man’s land.” Instead, provide individual “surfers” (and potential clients) with the full or partial text of your writing directly on your website. And, of course, include when each piece was published and where.
Should you have “ghostwritten” some creative pieces that you’d like to add to your online portfolio, you’ll have to request permission from your clientele to include the works. But don’t be surprised if your request is denied; ghostwriters may be paid well, but they aren’t typically given much leeway when it comes to advertising the articles, stories, or poems they’ve ghostwritten.
Offline Writing FoldersFinally, every creative author who writes via the computer should have a separate hard drive folder labelled “portfolio” or “clips”. In this folder can be stored the top representations of his or her writing, including both published and unpublished works.
Why keep a separate portfolio of this nature? Basically, it’s easier than randomly hunting down samples every time a potential client requests one. This way, you can have the perfect response at your fingertips.
Obviously, this hard drive folder needs to be frequently updated, but once you’ve become accustomed to filling it with works that represent your finest examples, the process will become practically automatic.
Remember – once you’ve published, your work isn’t over yet. You’ve put a great deal of energy into your creative musings; now, it’s time to show them off a bit!