Saturday, February 02, 2013

Bad Blogger

Yeah, that's me. Bad blogger to the extreme. Now that we've got that out of the way, let's talk about writing. 

One of the biggest questions I get from aspiring authors is "What advice would you give?"

1. Write every day. Now that might feel like a 'duh' comment but its true. Ok, so none of us is actually going to write "every" day. That's kinda impossible. Even I get my days off. But the point is to write as much as possible. Even if it's just a sentence a day, it's still better than nothing. No single author ever just picked up a pen (or computer) and wrote a perfect novel. Writing is like any other vocation. You have to learn the craft. 

2. Love what you do but don't wait for inspiration. If we waited till we were inspired, authors would write maybe once a year. Some days come easier than others. 

3. Learn to love criticism. It's a funny word - criticism. It sounds so negative but it's not. As writers, we get so close to our characters and our ideas. We often don't notice our mistakes. Having someone go over our work and point them out can be the most helpful thing in the world. It's also great to help critique other people's work. By leaning to spot errors, it helps us from making the same mistakes in our own work. 

 Ok, so you've gotten that far. You've got your novel and you're ready to send it out to agents and publishers. Now what?

1. Expect rejection. Every single author gets rejected. All. Of. Us. It's a normal part of the process. It doesn't mean your work sucks and you should give up. Agents reject for numerous reasons, many of which have nothing to do with your story. Just because one agent says its not right for them doesn't mean it's not right for another. 

2. Don't dwell on rejection. The first novel I wrote got about seventy rejections. Finally I put it in my desk and wrote another novel. Now when I look back at my book, I see the errors and I understand why it was rejected. It was very good for a first attempt but not publishable by any means. One day I do plan to go back and rewrite it. 

Did you know that the average author writes between four and six books before they get published? Think of it as a learning experience. And you can always go back to them later. No work is useless. Everything you do puts you one step closer to getting better. 

3. And I stress this as being the most important tip in the world. LEARN THE BUSINESS. There are a lot of scammers out there willing to take advantage on new authors. Don't get suckered in. Agents do not charge fees up front. NEVER. Any agency who asks for money is not going to get you a book deal. The same goes for publishers. A legit publishing company will never ask for money up front. Real publishing companies pay advances and give royalties. 

Publishers and agencies are dying to discover new authors. They want new talent! 

There are great websites out there that can help aspiring authors. Agent Query is one. Absolute Write is another. They have tons of expert advice to help new authors.

Good luck and keep writing!