THIS POST IS FOR WRITERS:
Be sure to read the first post in this series: Practical Advice for Aspiring Authors – Part 1 – from Publisher, Editor, and Author Lane Diamond
So you want to be a published author? Whether you’re planning to self-publish, submit to a literary agent, or submit directly to a small press, there are some things you should do before you self-publish or submit. Even for the latter option – submitting to an agent or small press – this will improve your odds of being accepted.
ESTABLISH YOUR PROFESSIONALISM – IN ALL THAT YOU DO – RIGHT FROM THE START!
First, it’s important that you accept this important fact about the world you’re about to enter as an author: these days, you, your uncle, your uncle’s neighbor, and your uncle’s neighbor’s dog are all writing books. Yep, it’s a ridiculously crowded field, and there’s not a thing you can do about it (nor is it going to change anytime soon), so you need to just accept it, and all the challenges that will come with it, and move forward accordingly.
Thus, your biggest challenge as an author may not be writing books; it may be getting noticed by any readers and actually selling your books.
So where does one start to tackle that challenge? Here are my “5 Foundational Requirements”:
#1: BE PROFESSIONAL!
#2: Be consistent.
#3: BE PROFESSIONAL!
#4: Be persistent.
#5: BE PROFESSIONAL!
To be clear, there are more than a few successful authors out there who violate these rules on a regular basis, but their numbers are relatively small when compared to the total field of authors attempting to sell their work. They may have become successful for any number of reasons, and sometimes… for no apparent reason at all. Luck still applies. Yet you should never bank on luck; rather, do all you can to succeed even if the good luck fairy seems to fly right over without noticing you.
When so many are participating, the quality levels of the products being offered naturally decline. The old gatekeepers are gone, and their promise of assuring readers only quality works has gone with them. Indeed, even the old gatekeepers–traditional publishers–have compromised on the old quality assurance programs in favor of cutting costs. This leaves readers–the consumer–with a bit of a dilemma: where can they go to get only high quality books?
And this is where you come in.
If you work early, often, and hard at establishing your brand as one that guarantees quality at every step, you might just rise above the crowd at some point and enjoy the success to which you aspire. Is this the only way forward? No, of course not. Does it guarantee success? No, of course not. I just happen to think it’s the surest way–if there is such a thing–to find your way down that path to eventual success. Even then, it will take a long time and a lot of hard work, so… patience and persistence are a must.
There are a number of ways you can address the “5 Foundational Requirements” but, as this post is already getting a bit long, I’ll address those in greater detail in posts coming very soon. Nonetheless, allow me to just plant these seeds:
A) Great books require great characters.
B) Don’t be a copycat. Offer some unique elements or twists.
C) Be true to yourself… and to your audience.
D) Editing, editing, editing!
E) Clean, professional covers.
F) Clean, professional interior files.
G) Clean, professional website.
H) A strong and constant social media presence. Engage!
I) Don’t make it personal. Keep it light, but about business.
I’ll be back soon with more. Stay tuned!
And if you’d care to support this struggling author, please check out my psychological suspense thriller, FORGIVE ME, ALEX at any of the following sites: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords.