A “How To” for Aspiring Authors

What should you do when you want to write a book?

  • First thing “Keep your day job.” To publish and promote your books takes money and sometimes lots of it. Promotion may include travel, business cards, bookmarkers, renting tables at fairs, posters, and free copies for reviews, etc. Most reviewers will require one or more free copies of your book, and so will any contests you enter. You will also need to provide most interviewers with a free copy or your book.
  • Once upon a time the publishing houses helped you promote your book. In our day reality is becoming quite different. In many cases the author pays for tickets, gas, and hotels. If you write fantasy, you will want to promote your books in many fantasy fairs. The best ones will charge from $50 up to much more, often $200 for the right to have a table. This is without counting the need for someone to help you and the cost of food and gas.

Now that that is out of the way, let’s get down to writing.

  • Make a habit of writing every day even if it is only for a few minutes or a few phrases. This exercise will keep you in tune with the story and your characters.
  • Have friends look at your stories for common grammatical errors. You can tell them that you will put their name in your book if they get it back to you in three weeks, as a way of acknowledging their work.
  • Join a local chapter of a writer’s organization and learn from them. Usually they have members that will coach you to be a better author, and you will always learn from others experiences.
  • Join a group of critics and submit chapters for their review. You have to learn to accept negative comments along with the good ones. Critique others’ books and read those submitted by and for other authors. I have learned a lot by doing this.
  • Register on sites that promote blogging and maintain an active profile. Start blogs so people can get familiar with your name or rather your pseudonym. Two blogs a week that are no longer than 15 lines is good.
  • Write articles and small stories to send to everyone who has a press (online magazines, newspapers, university presses, etc.) Keep a folder with all the articles or stories anyone has printed for you.
  • Start conversations with strangers and get adjusted to talking with them. (This is great preparation for when you have fans.)
  • Research everything. (You don’t want to write something misleading or wrong only to have it pointed out to you after your book is published.)

Try a few of these items every day until you can feel comfortable doing all of them. Writing a book is the easy part… getting it published and then promoting it once it is published is a different ball game and a very demanding one.

This is a good start… Happy writings to you!

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