Writers write, right? That’s the point. Anyone can join the group, anyone can pick up a pen one day and become an author, a poet, a blogger, a diarist.
I’ve always been one – I think better on the page. In real life, I’m awkward, always faffing about looking for the right phrase and getting tongue-tied, talking too much or saying the wrong thing.
The truth? The right words tend to fall from my fingertips instead of my lips.
So I wrote a book, and then I wrote another, and another. And thus, an author was born. Sounds simple, right? Wrong. Because there’s a whole world of bullshit that comes with making a book work, and I had no idea any of this would even matter.
- Writing the book is just the beginning. Even when you’ve drafted and redrafted, left it in the drawer, edited again until you’re sick of the thing – the end result is not actually the book, it’s the support of the book.
- To me, my books are a little like my tattoos – my feelings about them might change, but as long as I was honest in what I felt when I wrote my books, they take me back to that time again. Don’t create something you aren’t willing to let define you, at least in part.
- Books need lead time – let them breathe, get them out to bloggers, talk about them, find ways to let them be read -BEFORE publication! They need to be out there before publication day, people need to read them and support them – there’s a reason it’s a LAUNCH. It needs a push!
- Reviews are freaking gold dust. They’re your magic ticket, and it’s easy to say you don’t care, or you’re writing for you, or people don’t get you, but reviews are necessary for your little baby to fly free.
- Some reviews will be ridiculous. You’ll get a one star where the person hasn’t even read it yet, or a one star where the person loves it. You’ll also get five stars that make your soul feel shiny, and reviews that highlight problems you will suddenly notice, and make you go ‘d’oh!’ There’ll be reviews that make your head spin and your blood boil and make you want to scream. And there’ll be the real ones, the human ones, the ones that say your work made them laugh, or made their shitty day a little easier, and you’ll feel like you have a purpose.
- Don’t betray your work just because you’re grateful to have a chance – if your blurb isn’t honest, if your character is misrepresented, if the cover doesn’t fit, well, you worked hard on this thing, right? Sometimes, you have to compromise, but you want to give your book it’s best chance, why else would you have written it and bothered going for publication.
- Amazon rating algorithms, Good Reads responses, Google Alerts, Blog reads, likes, tweets, retweets…numbers become obsessive, and you’ll scheme and you’ll plot and you’ll blog and you’ll tweet, in a desperate effort not to become just another voice shouting into cyberspace about how great you are.
- Not everyone wants your book to succeed. Not everyone thinks you’re capable. And that’s okay. They don’t need to.
- You’re going to not be able to shut up about your book. I don’t talk about the plot or the process, but boy do I chat about the launches and the reviews, and the tweets and the covers and all sorts of annoying crap. Try to curb it, it’s like when people talk about all the inane shit their kids are doing – no-one else is as bothered.
- Once you start, you want to be on an upward trajectory, and sometimes that won’t be the case. Some books will sink, some will be ignored, unloved and unseen. Sometimes they’re the favourite things you’ve written, the thing you spent the longest time working on. A writing career isn’t just about the royalties, it’s a balancing act between being read, being reviewed, continuing to write, building a fanbase, building a writing community, getting the promo, getting the build up and actually enjoying it. And if you’re very lucky, you’ll be worrying about all this crap for as long as you want to!
If you haven’t seen, Goodbye Ruby Tuesday was out this month, and book two in the series, Nice Day for a White Wedding, will be out in about a month! Stay tuned!
So, what things did you never even consider about being a writer?