Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Advice for Writers

The Best advice I can give to writers can be summed up in five tips and is partly what I've read, heard or learned on my writing journey.  

First – Keep writing and be ready. Write as many novels (and short story, poems, essays, etc.) as you can. Learn how to write a synopsis and query if you plan on submitting to agents and publishers. Learn the mechanics of writing and structuring a story. Take classes, enter contests, find mentors, work with beta readers, critique partners and editors - all with the goal of improving your skills and making your novels better.

Second – The road to getting published is not for the faint of heart. If you can’t learn to live with constant rejection then you might not want to publish your work. Writers must grow thick skin. We are going to be judged by our work constantly and must remember why we write in order to overcome haters, trolls or simply people who don't like our work/style. Not everyone is going to like your work that is a fact.

Third – Do your research in your genre for average word count and for the popular (like strong heroines) and dying trends (like love triangles). Be on the lookout for popular and award-winning books in the genre and when at all possible break down those books to see why they succeeded. Did the book ride a trend? Was it different than other books in the sub-genre? Do you think it was the author's notoriety that sold it? How was the book paced? What subjects did the book deal with? Male or female heroine? First or third person point of view? Examine books that might be like yours as well and ask yourself what makes your book different.

Doing your research matters when it comes to writing to standards the audience expects. In lower YA, sex is not acceptable, in most all YA explicit sex isn't acceptable either. In Murder mysteries the body is found in the first few chapters. So you need to know your audience to know who to market to and also to list your book for sale withe proper tags, among other things.

Fourth – Establish and build your author platform by joining and being active on Twitter (at least) in order to stay in touch with agents, publishers, readers and writers.  

I establish​ed​ and tripled my​ social media platform ​by: 

  • follow​ing ten​ or more people a day
  • committing to make​ three posts a day​
  • joining in on popular writer hashtags
  • retweeting at least once a day
  • favoriting a tweet at least once a day
  • engaging in a conversations at least once a day.

Fifth – If you love writing, don’t give up. I’ve heard it can take ten years from when you first start writing seriously to get an agent or publisher. I've also heard people usually sell their 4th - 7th books or very late drafts of their first books (Draft 15-30).

If you decide traditional is not the route for you and you intend on self-publishing, make sure to work with beta and critique partners and hire great editors you trust (and most importantly take their advice) in order to put out a comparable product on the crowded market. 

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