Monday, July 7, 2014

Three Tips for the Aspiring Writer

I don't often give advice. But this past week I was at the optician's  I let fall that I was a published author, as one occasionally does. The recipient of this information, a very nice man, offered that he had wanted to write a book, then decided that he didn't have anything to say that he thought others might find of interest.

Really? Don't we all have stories to tell? Even if it is only what happened at work today. It wasn't the time or the place to offer advice, nor was I asked for it, but here is some of what I might have said had I got it together.

I must say that unlike other authors I have met over these past several years, I had no thought of becoming an author.  Yes I liked the challenge of crafting a clearly argued memo, or creating a well thought out report on some item of business but an author?  No.  I was an avid reader.

Until one fine day; I wrote a novel. What a surprise.

All right so it was a very bad novel, but I finished it.

Tip # 1

Finish the book.
You will hear authors say that a finished book can always be fixed. I would suggest that while it is likely true for some, not my first one.  It was an exercise of undeveloped muscles. A training run. Never to see the light of day. You know all those things they say never to do in a book. I did them all. I had no clue, apart from writing THE END.

And then I took classes

Tip # 2

Learn your craft. Books on the subject. Classes. And above all reading books by authors you admire.

It took five more novels under my belt before I won my first contract. It was like winning the lottery.
 Amazing.

Also quite painful.  All those: thanks but no thanks. Interestingly enough all but one of those next books are now in print.

Tip # 3

Persevere

Don't give up. Don't second guess yourself. Or put yourself out of the running. Finish, polish and submit.

We all know the classic examples, Stephen King, J K Rowling etc. etc and Ann Lethbridge. Oh well, I couldn't resist (not that I am putting myself in their category, of course).

And a publisher is not your only option. These days, self-publishing or inde-publishing provides a whole other avenue of getting you're work out there. More on that another time.