I have been asked a few times what my personal advice is to writers. I’m sure a lot of this will be redundant to writers who have been writing for some time, but, that’s probably because it’s good advice.
- Create a platform online, on social media, and in your community. To be brutality honest, there are tons of authors and books out there! Competition is brutal in this market and if you don’t make it easy to get noticed, readers will just plant their attention elsewhere. Even really great books get kicked to the back of the line because lack of readership. The average author has to start off small and starting off small is better than not starting at all. Creating a platform or audience of people interested in your work increases the likelihood that this won’t happen. Start small and start quick because it takes time to build an online platform. This is most essential for those writing non-fiction work.
- Take packaging your book seriously. Sure it would be great if we didn’t, but, we live in a world that judges books by their covers.The book cover, editing, and proofreading process are integral parts to creating a product worth buying. I know that many authors don’t have much capital to begin with but taking extra focus on book packaging will be worth it in the end. A good book cover is the first form of marketing! And a polished manuscript is important to how readers experience your book.
- Commit to writing everyday. Treat your writing time like appointments you make with yourself. Writing 1,700 words (7-8 pages) everyday for a month will produce, more or less, a 200 page book at the end of the month. Ask the writers at NanoWrimo! It’s possible!
- Even if you think it sucks, write it down and save it. We have hundreds of straying and creative thoughts a day; when they’re gone, they’re gone. Carry around a notebook! Save everything you write so you have a collection of original work to read through when you need inspiration.
- Two heads are good, but, three or more are better. Share your work with others, join groups, take classes, meet other writers, read articles, and engage your (or your potential) readers. Not only is it healthy to have positive people in your life, it will make you a better writer. Including other people in your writing provides insight and information outside of your own, keeps you accountable of finishing your projects, and provides you a sounding board when you need to talk about your work.
- Being critical pays. Through experience, I have learned that having a university degree or a great story doesn’t make a good fiction writer. Knowing if your work is good or not is the first step in knowing if you need to get in touch with an editor or ghost writer.
- Believing in your story pays. Write because you have a story to tell and want to share it with the world. Sometimes you’ll share your work and receive rejection. Sometimes you’ll share your work and no one will care. So, if you’re going to write, write because you believe that the story you’re writing is important enough to write down.
- Fight for a big dog. Trying to make it as a writer takes a lot of crass. Try to get your book in with a big publishing house before opting to go with an indie publisher or self-publishing. Big publishing houses, like Penguin or Harper Collins, have the finances and professional team to push your work into the market in such a way that it’s financially beneficial and time saving. Sure, competition is steeper, but, try anyway because you never know.