So You Really Want to Be A Writer
So You Really Want to Be a Writer?
You are sure that anything you write will be accepted immediately by an agent who will in turn find you a publisher within weeks if not days and you’ll be given a huge advance.
Your publisher will arrange your publicity sending you on a tour around the country to appear on TV and radio shows, and have signing in all the book stores. In the bookstores, fans will line up to have you sign the stacks of books ordered by the store for your event.
Sorry, it doesn’t really work that way. In fact there is a lot that isn’t a bit like you might think when you see an author depicted in a movie or a TV show--(like Castle for instance? When the heck does he write his books anyway?)
First off, to be a writer you need to be a reader. It helps if you read the kind of book that you want to write. It also helps if you have an idea what constitutes a book. Maybe that sounds a bit on the snarky side, but I’ve seen manuscripts written by people wanting to be writers who didn’t have a clue about paragraphs or how to construct a sentence.
There are some excellent books about writing, and most published writers read lots of them before they ever got published. Searching the Internet will give a new writer all sorts of information about the rules of writing and how to get published.
Most important, to be a writer, you must write. You need to set aside a part of your day to write. If you have a job, get up a couple of hours early to write, or write after everyone else has gone to bed—however you do it, you must write on a regular basis. The only way to become a good writer is by writing.
When you think you’ve got a manuscript really to send out to an agent or publisher, make sure it’s really ready. Have someone who knows something about writing, edit it for you. In fact, if you’re really serious about getting published, pay for a professional editor.
Times are changing. If you’ve been paying attention to what’s going on in the world of publishing, you may already know that it isn’t easy to find an agent or a major publisher that’s interested in a new author. Your chances may be far better finding a small, independent publisher—but you still must have a manuscript that’s as perfect as you can possibly make it.
Do some research. Find out what publishers are looking for the kind of work you’ve written. Read their guidelines and find out how their criteria for submissions and do exactly what they want.
Have you got a plan for marketing your book after it’s published? Many publishers want to know that you have ideas for promoting your work and some want this plan submitted right along with the query letter or the manuscript. Did you think that was the publisher’s job? Most of the promotion for your book will be left up to you. How good a job you do may mean whether or not the publisher will want to publish your next book.
Recently, I heard about an author who submitted his work to a publisher and when he found out he was expected to have a marketing plan, accused the publisher of being unprofessional. Not only is that person not going to be published by that house, he probably will never find a publisher.
Being an author is a difficult job. Most of us will never be super-stars or get rich from our book sales. Despite what I’ve said, we’ll spend part of our day writing, the other part figuring out ways to promote and sell our books.
If you are really a writer, none of what I’ve written here will stop you, because you have to write. It’s all worth it when your book is in print, whether it’s in electronic or paper form, and someone says, “I just loved your book.”