By A.S. Bond
So you think you’ve got what it takes to be a writer? Maybe you’re the next JK Rowling, but as everyone knows, even she languished on the rejection pile for a while...here’s how to give yourself the best chance at literary success.
1. Read. OK, I know it sounds silly and you probably devour books by the truckload, but are you doing the right kind of reading? Are you reading the genre you want to write in? If you love to read horror, but have decided to write romance because you think it is more ‘commercial’, forget it. Your heart won’t be in it.
2. Study the books you admire. You need to read quite critically. Ask yourself; how does that author introduce suspense, or a new character? What is a common structure for novels in this genre and am I writing at the correct length?
3. Think analytically. You want to switch from being a consumer to a producer and that takes work. Writing is a craft, so learn it. 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration is about right. Learn how to write fiction; do you understand ‘show don’t tell’? Can you create great dialogue? Have you eliminated all the cliché’s, overused adverbs and irrelevant description? It’s worth taking a class or joining a book group to get some objective feedback on your work, because it’s easier to take than a pile of rejection notes or, even worse, a handful of cutting, 1* reviews.
4. Develop your own voice. The one thing both publishers and readers alike are looking for is originality. A new voice will excite your target readership and rack up those sales. You have it already of course; your ‘voice’ is as distinctive as your fingerprint. What you need to do is not let another author’s style or tone influence your unique expression and this takes both confidence and practice.
5. Don’t rush to publication. Are you confident your work is as good as it can be? Take a step back. Put it in a drawer for a while and go do something else. When you’ve forgotten enough detail to make reading it seem fresh again, go through it. You’ll be amazed at what jumps out at you.
6. I recommend hiring a professional copyeditor before sending out your manuscript. You don’t have to pay a big company thousands for this, just look up a well qualified individual on a freelance website like Elance or Guru. There are plenty of professionals who work at very reasonable rates. If you don’t want to spend a couple hundred dollars, you could be throwing away months or even years of your own work (and a possible new career) because of a few typos.
7. Whether you get a book deal, or self publish, be prepared to market yourself. ‘Discoverability’ is particularly hard for self published writers. What all new authors should know however, is that even if you sign a deal with a big publisher, there won’t be glamorous launch parties, book tours etc. Yet there’s tons of advice out there on how to market you as a writer, so take a look and get started long before your book hits the shelves.
A.S. Bond is the author of ‘Patriot’ A Brooke Kinley Adventure, an award-winning thriller that debuted at #13 in its category on Amazon. Winner of TWO 'Honorable Mentions' for PATRIOT at San Francisco & Hollywood Book Festivals, 2014; Winner of 'Spirit of Adventure Award', Captain Scott Society and Winner of Himalayan Kingdoms 'Adventure Award' For more information and the latest news, visit Twitter: @brookekinleyadv