Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Reality Check for Fledgling Writers

Lots of people put tips on their blogs so I'm not going to put the usual ones, you can find wonderful blogs about writing many places including http://thebloodredpencil.blogspot.com

To be a writer, first you must be a reader.

Oh, I know, most anyone can use a computer these days and write a lot of words and call it a book.

Because I've judged a lot of self-published books in contests, I can tell you that right off the bat I can tell which author is a reader and which one isn't. It's nothing magical about the words, a reader knows what a book is supposed to look like on the inside. A reader knows about margins, paragraphs, quotation marks, what dialogue is supposed to look like. Do you think a book without any white space will win a contest?

If you really want to be a writer you will set aside a time period everyday or at least five days a week to write. I've heard many, many people say they plan to write a book, but they are just too busy right now. Those folks will always be too busy and never get around to writing.

After you've finished with your manuscript, get someone to read it who has knowledge about writing and the type of book you've written. Listen to their criticisms and suggestions with an open mind.

If you've written a book, you'll do some research to find out which publishers or agents might be interested in your work. Before you send anything to either, you'll check their guidelines and make sure that you are sending exactly what they want in the format they've asked for.

Too many novice writers don't bother with that step. If a query or submission arrives by email to a publisher that doesn't comply with the guidelines, you will be rejected without your manuscript or query even being read. Every agent and publisher receives so many submissions, they are looking for a reason to reject a manuscript. That sounds harsh but it's reality.

If your book gets accepted be prepared to spend a great deal of time and some of your money doing promotion. Did you think the publishers was going to do all the promoting? Doesn't happen that way. In fact, many publishers want to see your marketing plan right along with your submission.

And what was that about money? At the very least you'll want to buy business cards with the cover of the book on it and all the information about where it can be purchased along with your website. Oh, yes, you must have a website. You also might want postcards and/or bookmarks.

If your writing genre fiction, you might consider going to one of more of the many conventions around the country to let readers know about your book.

There is much, much more you'll want to do to promote your book, you might take a look at some of the things I've planned for promoting my latest, Dispel the Mist for ideas.

If you want to be a writer, writing itself has to be an important part of you life.

Put yourself in front of the computer and write, write, write.

2 comments:

Jack W. Regan said...

I totally agree with your statement about people who say they're going to write a book some day. Maybe it shouldn't irk me, but it does, because often they say it in a sort of off-hand way, as if it would be an easy thing to accomplish if only they set their mind to it. Having written books, I know it's one of the hardest things you'll ever do.

Anyway, just a pet peeve of mine.

Morgan Mandel said...

Sometimes I think writing is too important in my life. I spend almost every free moment involved with some aspect of it, be it the actual writing of the book or promotion.

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com
http://www.morganmandel.com