by Vicky Savage
I’d like to share some pointers I’ve picked up since embarking on my journey as a writer:
1. BEING AN AUTHOR IS AS MUCH ABOUT MARKETING AS IT IS ABOUT WRITING.
“That can’t be!” you cry. But alas, it’s true. Writing the book is the easy part. Whether you’re and indie or traditionally published author, expect to spend a large chunk of time marketing your books. You’ll find many aspects of it can be fun. Accept it as part of the process and enjoy!
2. YOU NEED AN AUTHOR PLATFORM.
An “Author Platform” is simply your internet presence, your visible “brand.” It’s what readers will find if they Google you, and it’s the way to develop a fan base. Generally, a platform consists at a minimum of a website, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter account, blog, and, optionally, accounts on LinkedIn, Pintrest, Google+, and/or Instagram. Don’t panic.It’s not as daunting as it sounds and it can be built over time.
3. YOU MUST SHOW UP FOR WORK.
The good news: being a writer is great fun and there’s no dress code! The bad news: you actually have to do the work. Make a schedule and try to write at the same time and for several hours each day. Don’t answer the phone, check your email, or raid the refrigerator. You’ll be amazed at how much you get done.
4. YOU WILL VISIT THE PIT OF DESPAIR.
It’s unavoidable. Every writer experiences bouts of self-doubt every now and again and for no apparent reason. It’s an occupational hazard like black lung disease (only worse).The best way to handle it is to recognize it’s temporary. Focus on your accomplishments,read a piece of amazing writing, polish the chapters you’ve already written, call a friend who can be trusted to talk you off the ledge. Just relax until it passes.
5. READING IS AS IMPORTANT AS WRITING.
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” – Stephen King. I find reading invaluable for three reasons: it keeps me current in my genre; it keeps my writing sharp; and it’s a relaxing break from writing. Actually, I feel like I’m still working whenever I’m reading a good book, because I’m observing another author’s style, plot development, character growth, etc.
6. NO MATTER HOW GREAT YOUR WRITING, EXPECT TO GET DISSED.
They say you’re not a real writer until your first bad review. Regardless, it stings like hell. Learning to shrug off a bad review is essential to surviving in this industry. Maybe the reviewer just didn’t get your book, or didn’t really read it. Sometimes, though, the reviewer has a valid point, in which case we need to take our medicine, no matter how foul tasting, and try to benefit from it. My recommendation: grow some Rhino skin.
7. IT’S OKAY TO SHOVEL CRAP AS LONG AS YOU CLEAN IT UP LATER.
The best advice I ever received as a writer is: “Do whatever it takes to get that first draft completed.” Don’t worry about how inane or ugly it is. You can fix it later. It goes against our perfectionist tendencies, but it really works.
8. WRITING IS A LIFE-LONG HONING OF THE CRAFT.
I’m constantly amazed at how much I learn every day just by reading other writers’ blogs, participating in author forums, or listening to readers. Remember, even after you fearlessly claim the title “Writer,” there’s always room for improvement.
9. AN EXTENSIVE VOCABULARY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN GRAMMAR.
Vocabulary and grammar are both important to writing, but rules of grammar are broken more often than they’re observed in novel writing, especially where dialogue is concerned. I do little things every day to expand my vocabulary. Grammar I leave to the editors.
10. EVEN ON ITS WORST DAY, WRITING IS MUCH MORE FUN THAN PRACTICING LAW.
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Genre - Science Fiction/Fantasy/Paranormal/YA
Rating – PG13
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