Monday, June 18, 2012

Advice for New Authors and Writers

Whether you consider yourself an author or just a writer playing at writing a book, you need to know a few things. This post is based on a few questions that have come up on FB and in forums. If you have any more questions or concerns please comment or send me an email.

1. There is no correct method to write a book. I personally always use a computer. You can use pen or pencil and paper if you like. When you turn in your book you must follow the publishers standards, which means its going to have to be typed at some point, but you can do that once your story is done.

2. There is no correct way to develop your story. Plot it out till you have over 100 pages of notes or wing it, not even knowing what you will type until your fingers strike the keys on the keyboard. Just write. You can write the first chapter then the fifth then jump to the end and finally go back and write the second chapter. You can write straight through, never breaking from your sequence. It doesn't matter as long as the final product is clear to the reader.

3. Never, and this is a big one, NEVER-EVER pay to get your book published by a publisher. Yes, I self publish a few of my titles and I must pay for art work, editing and a few minor odds and ends, but real publishers do not charge you a dime. So if you submit and they say, Sure, we'll publish you for $1000, RUN as fast as you can the other way. Look at Preditors and Editors or here. Both of these sites will give you the low down on publishers and editors. Please ask in forums or on FB if you don't know. But always look on Preditors and Editors if you don't know the publisher before you submit.

4. Always follow publisher standards. Most publishers have something on their website about submission guidelines. If they call for Times New Roman 12, don't submit in Lucida Calligraphy 10 point. Really, the editors won't think it's cute. They want to know if you can follow directions. Once you sign the contract, the process of editing your book will begin. You must be able to follow your editor’s directions when doing the multiple rounds of edits. They have to know if you are going to be too difficult to work with. Editors do a tremendous amount of work. Don't try to piss them off just because you think you are special.

5. Have a good attitude. There have been a few major blow-ups in the blog sphere and on Goodreads. I know, when reviewers say things about your book you want to take it personally. But really, it's not personal. And if the reviewer does make it personal, just ignore them. You can't win. You'll end up looking like an idiot. Just let it roll off your back. Think about movie reviewers. They pan movies all the time, saying bad thing about flicks that come out and putting down the actors and the directors. It's part of the entertainment business. At least you don't have paparazzi tailing you, trying to get a bad shot of your butt or your face. Get over yourself and allow the reviewer to have their opinion.

6. Find a group of people you jell with and be nice. Don't stab them in the back on social media. If you have to be mean about something someone did to you, just tell it to a personal friend or your SO. This is a business, not high school. Be level headed because what ever you think another writer did to you isn't worth you being a jerk. Let it go. I'm not talking about plagiarism, but the dramatic spats that come up from time to time on FB and other social outlets. Don't be a drama queen.


Scarlett Knight said...

Very sound advice! I learned the hard way a few years ago, paying to have a book of mine self published (under a different pseudonym). It was nice to see my work in paper, but it was such a ripoff, especially with the way self-pubbing is now.

Tali Spencer said...

This is such good, sound advice. And really good advice about career management. Writing is a solitary occupation, but being published is a social game. Building bridges is important, but not burning them is even more so! The point about creating a group of fellow writers you connect well with is point on.

Sara York said...

Scarlett, I'm so sorry you learned the hard way. People like to prey on others. It's unfair that there are bad business people out there who take advantage of others.

Thanks Tali, writing is so very solitary but treating the team effort in a professional manner is a must.

V Hughes said...

Great advice, I shall try my best to take heed of all of it. Now, if I could just catch my muse, he's ran off with my characters again.