Hi SEers! Denise here to talk about things every writer should know.
After the story is written and you are ready to present it to the world, what’s next?
I admit to blindly jumping into self-publishing. I did not know how to publish, find an editor or other writers, or what social media was—I knew nothing! That was probably a good thing, or I might still be researching how to become a self-published author. I learned many lessons from a wonderful writing community, though.
Some truths apply to our profession, whether you are a new or a seasoned writer.
Twelve Things Every Writer Should Know:
- What you put out there needs to be your very best. Make sure it’s edited and formatted, with an intriguing blurb and cover if you will self-publish. If you plan to find a publisher or agent, this idea also applies to your communication with them and your work. You need to make that first good impression and only get one chance to do it. Once you lose a reader or publisher, you won’t get them back.
- If you want to write, you should be reading. I talked about this in my last post. You learn so much doing this and are entertained. This is how you support not only yourself but others. Don’t forget to write reviews!
- Everyone won’t fall in love with your story. Your friends and family loved it and insisted you were the next big thing. While it’s good to have support, what we like when we read is a matter of taste. Some will love it, and others will not.
- You need a social presence. If no one knows who you are, how will they find your fantastic story in an endless sea of books? Do you have a website or blog? It’s a great place for people to find and learn more about you. What about Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Bookbub, Goodreads, or Pinterest? Where would you be most comfortable?
- You must market yourself. This one is the toughest for me since I was brought up to be humble. Don’t talk about myself. As a writer, you have to. No one else is going to do it for you. This includes blog tours, interviews/podcasts, networking with other authors, reviews, advertising, contests, newsletters, giveaways, and book signings!
- Learn your craft. You need to know how to put the words together and where to add punctuation. It’s vital to conquer the grammar monster. No editor or reader wants to wade through a wave of unnecessary adverbs, commas, or repeat information. Maybe you have the grammar perfect, but the story is full of plot holes, or you tell instead of show. You need to be skilled at storytelling and how it’s told.
- It can be a slow process to become a seasoned author. You didn’t learn everything when you started kindergarten. You learned things at the level you were at and then added to them. Maybe you started with learning how to write a story. Then, what to do with a first draft or self-edit? You can learn from your fellow writing students or beta or critique groups. If you want to conquer publishing yourself or find the perfect publisher while making good friends along the way, it takes time. No hurry. We all go at our own pace.
- We are all different, and we shouldn’t compare our writing journey to another person. Some writers outline while others are pansters. One needs to write it down using pen and paper, while others use specialty writing programs. I edit when I finish getting the story down. Some can edit as they go along. One person can write a book in a few months, others might take years to complete it.
- Each person has their voice, no one is the same. Only you can show us the world through your eyes. No one else has the experiences you have. Here is where we need to like what we are doing so we can share it in our unique way.
- Be kind to yourself and your fellow writer. Make sure you take breaks, exercise, eat well, and get enough sleep. Be patient with your limits and the limits of others. Celebrate your success and learn from your mistakes. Plus, be the sounding board for a buddy writer if they need it. Cheer them on! Don’t forget to let others do that for you, too.
- What is the theme of your story? It is just as important as your plot, the characters, the conflict, and a realistic setting. It can include family dynamics, love, good vs. evil, hate, coming of age, second chances, a quest, survival, war, or forgiveness. There are many themes to pick from, but it needs to be woven into the story.
- What are your goals? Have you ever asked yourself what you want out of writing? Is it to entertain, become a best-selling author, or enjoy the process? Then there is the more day-to-day side of it. Do you want to write every day, on weekends, or at nighttime? How many words each session, or does it matter? Do you set dates to be done writing and when you want to publish it? Are these dates set for you, and are you trying to work around them? Do you work on more than one project or let one story have your full focus?
What about you? Do you have any advice or words of wisdom to share that helped you and might help others?