Caribbean Writer Makes Links On The Web
Barbadian writer and performance poet Sandra Sealy a.k.a. ?Seawoman? is greatly encouraged by the response to her 2nd of 4 websites-Seawoman?s Caribbean Writing Opps (www.seawoman.wordpress.com) in April 2007. The site received more than 10,000 views in about 19 months.
The site-which encourages interaction and, originally created out of Sealy?s desire ?to create order from her chaos?-gives international and regional writers in particular, access to tools, contests, markets, festivals and networking opportunities free of cost. ?I?ve subscribed to numerous writing newsletters and online groups over the years and I know how time consuming it is to find the opportunities that we would be interested in and that don?t infringe our copyright. Most people also want to avoid their inboxes being inundated. Visual artists and photographers are not left out since their work is also published.?
Seawoman?s Caribbean Writing Opps includes an internal search box, online dictionary, language translator and hyperlinks to Caribbean writers, associated organizations and publications, including VOICES: Barbados Writers? Collective (www.bajanvoices.googlegroups.com); the National Cultural Foundation (www.ncf.bb); Arts Etc (www.artsetcbarbados.com) and; CaribbeanRunnings.com.
This content rich site not only rose quickly near the top in mega search engine Google, but gained the 2007-8 World Wide Web Award of Excellence for website design, creativity and ease of navigation from ArtSpace 2000, a Canadian based graphic art company. ?You have obviously worked very hard investing your time, and skills into making a great web site,? quoted ArtSpace 2000?s Art Department, who evaluate various web sites from around the world for awards.
Sandra?s web presence has also begun to attract interest from other parts of the world-without any action on her part. Blanca Rojas, Editor of a new literary magazine called ?Isla Firme? based in Venezuela, wanting to establish more links with the English speaking Caribbean did a search on Caribbean writing and came across Sealy?s site. As a result, Sandra?s poem ?A Day In The Life of Jessamy? was published with a translation in Spanish, in its inaugural issue.
So how did she do it?
?I am not a techie; I just fiddle until I achieve what I want,? laughed Sandra who admitted a little knowledge of HTML, an appreciation for visual art, hundreds of hours logged on various sites and her strong skills as a writer, all prepared her for the World Wide Web. The Website Director decided on Wordpress.com as a platform for Seawoman?s Caribbean Writing Opps. ?since it offered so much. Then I set up a group on Facebook.com called Caribbean Writers, which also drives traffic to the site. With the explosion of social connection sites like Facebook.com, MySpace and Tagged.com, it?s very easy to set something up these days. Many of them are free and offer step by step instruction. Every artist, particularly a writer, needs a web presence. It doesn?t have to be fancy but it is a critical marketing tool. The most important thing is to understand what you want from it; think about what kind of experience you want people to have when they visit. Decide what will make them bookmark it and return. You can even start with a page on someone else?s site that relates to what you are doing.
?Sharing our information empowers us. Remember that the world is our market, not just Barbados or even the region. The opportunities are out there but, a presence on the Web makes it much easier for the opportunities to find YOU.?
Sandra Sealy can be reached via email at bcpbarbados[at]yahoo.com or from the ?Contact Us? page on Seawoman?s Caribbean Writing Opps. (www.seawoman.wordpress.com)