I’m not going to start this like every other big franchise blog. I’m not going to ask the rhetorical questions and make it seem like I’m pretending to care, because I do care. The truth is, I love writing. I’ve always loved to write since I was young. The earliest story I’ve found from myself was about a Unicorn named Horny and her adventure. (A great story, but I’ll get to that one another time 😛 )
I properly got into writing when I hit high school, I was twelve maybe thirteen. I’ve been writing ever since, and have a massive interest in learning how to better myself. I want to be able to show others what I’ve learned along the way. So, here are some tips and tricks on how to embrace your writing flair!
Are you writing because you love it or because you’re expecting some major payout?
I want to make something clear, if your sole goal in writing is to make money, I need discourage you before you discover the answer the hard way. You might walk into a book store or search a website like Book Depository, Amazon or Dymocks and think, ‘man, it must be so easy to write a book, look at all these authors’. Let me stop you right there. It is not easy. Not even in the slightest. Let me break it down for you. To write a book, you’ll need to have something that moves the novel. What I mean is, what is your plot? And is it engaging? Will people actually care?
Next step. You have this killer story, it’s in your mind but have fleshed it out? I don’t mean, do you know everything that’s going to happen but rather do you know what the climatic point will be? No? Well, let me ask a better question. Do you know (even roughly) how your story will finish? If your answer is still no, you might need to work on your story until the answer is yes. How can you know the direction of your ‘killer story’, if you don’t know where it’s going end?
Okay. You have your story. You have it planned, even to the smallest degree. Now you get to write your story. This is a hard road. For some it takes only a week or two and others it takes months to years. Let me mention something real quick, this is only the writing part of the story. This is the part where you’re just taking this concept from your brain and splattering it on a piece of paper or into a word document. It will be challenging, you’ll find writing blocks and sometimes you won’t feel like writing at all. Sometimes you’ll hate everything you’re writing. Sometimes you’ll question yourself. Sometimes you’ll realise you’ve made a huge blunder, but this isn’t the hardest part yet.
Now, you’ve finished this and you have a manuscript. It’s aliiiiive! So, the next step would be just having a week or two away from it. Forget about this precious thing you’ve created. Once you’re certain enough time has passed, two weeks minimum. You can get your hands on this grand creation and read it. The thing is, when you read it. You’ll realise what a pile of crap it is, but don’t get discouraged! That’s how they all are to begin with. Rough, choppy, indiscernible.
Now is the hardest part. The editing phase. You’ll be reading this sucker a lot. You’ll be cutting and culling and writing anew. You’ll think this gem is finally complete but you’ll find another plot hole, or something that doesn’t make sense, or another freaking double ‘the’. But before you finish the editing, have you researched everything that’s in your story? Does a character suffer from a concussion? Or do they get thrown a few metres? Or fall down a pit? Or get a disease? Have you studied the implications? The rules of physics or the medical procedures? Have you researched the law? The biggest mistake an author can make is not researching something they have mentioned in a book. There is always a chance someone in a specialised field will read your fantastic novel and come across a part in your novel and think, ‘I really liked this book but this part ruined it for me. I just couldn’t take it seriously, because I knew that was false’.
All your readers are important. Make sure your book is the best it can be before releasing it into the wild.
YES. Read that sucker for the millionth time. Read it until you can’t find a single mistake. Sick of reading it? Give it a couple of weeks and then get back into it. You’re going to have a very on and off relationship with this baby of yours. Whilst you’re reading it again and again, try and source some beta readers. Don’t only give your book to those that know the story. You need to give it to someone who knows nothing about it. Someone that reads a lot. Someone that knows how to pick out what’s wrong.
Your Beta readers will tell you what they think works and what they think doesn’t. Can you guess what this means? More editing! Listen carefully to what they say, think about how it would affect your story and make the decision whether it’s something you should do or not. Sometimes it isn’t that black and white. Sometimes they have a point, but their suggestion doesn’t fit either. This just means more brainstorming. More trying to figure out what would be best. It might take time, but you’ll need patience.
Beta Readers? Check
Now that everything in this story is perfect as far as you’re concerned. Now you have to figure out the publishing side of things. You’ll have three options:
- Traditional Publishing (Penguin, Hachette, Simon and Schuster, etc.)
- Self-Publishing (All costs are on you.)
- Assisted Independent Publishing (A mix of 1 and 2.)
Plus, do you want an Agent? They also get a cut of the money, but are a massive help. Most Traditional Publishers won’t accept a manuscript without an Agent. Did you want to get your story professionally edited before you choose a publishing company? Will it be worth it? These sorts of questions, are questions you need to consider, but I won’t dive into the publishing aspect of this. What I’m trying to say, depending on which route you take, a portion of your profits will be taken as well.
EDIT: I’m going to say this as brief as I can. Traditional Publishing Companies take the biggest chunk. They need profit, but they also need to get an artist for your cover, they need an editor, they need to market, they need to push, push, push. They have access to a much larger audience than the other two options. If you were to self-publish, you pay for the marketing, the editor, the artist, the creation of this book (unless it’s an e-book), etc. It’s all on you, but you might not have the money or the same reach as these companies do. Now you’re probably looking at the third option, and going hmm, what does that include? It’s just a mash up of 1 and 2. You get help financially, and little help in the marketing but the reach isn’t there. They still take profit, but they don’t own your book. You do. Which ever you choose, the choice it ultimately yours.
(Sorry this wasn’t brief at all.)
Everything you’ve gone through, all of this time and effort. You choose Traditional Publishing, and you might get rejected twenty times before someone picks up your book and goes ‘wow, I love it‘. So don’t give up. Please.
Your book gets published. No one likes it. It goes unnoticed. You barely earn a cent. Was it worth it? If you love writing, yeah, it definitely was worth it. If you’re there for the profit, no. No it wasn’t worth it at all.
NOT ALL AUTHORS GET THE ATTENTION THEY DESERVE.
NOT ALL AUTHORS GET MONEY FOR THEIR BOOKS.
ALL AUTHORS SHOULD LOVE WRITING.
Write because you love it. Write because it’s fun. You don’t have to become an author if you love writing, you can always use online writing platforms like Mibba, Fanfiction.net, Wattpad, etc. Publishers have discovered authors on these sites like Natasha Preston, Anna Todd, Abigail Gibbs, E.L James, etc. So if you choose this route, there’s a chance you could still get published. Even then, you could simply, write for you. Don’t share it with anyone, or share it with everyone. It’s your baby. Do what you want!