As I said yesterday I have been working at Nerd Girl for the last couple of months. It bears repeating that I love working there as the people are great and my Bosses are the BEST!
This weekends Author Spotlight is special as it is dedicated to one of our very special authors from Nerd Girl Sonia Brock. who thanks to all those wonderful people I was able to meet and bring to you today!
Amanda - #NerdGirlWitch
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See My Review of Sonia Brocks The Inheritance of the Swamp Witch on Nerd Girl
See my Review of Sonia Brocks A Witch's Welcome on Nerd Girl
10 Things I Wish I Knew About Being an Author I Didn’t Know Before by Sonia Brock
When I started writing, I foolishly believed that hardest part would be actually writing a book. Boy! I was so wrong! The Ten things I wish I knew about being an Author I didn’t know before I began my journey are:
1. Join a writing or book club/workshop. Learn how to develop and present your story before you dig into writing. I joined a couple of groups and these were some of my experiences; I found that while the writing exercises were great in helping me develop my own style and learn to tell a visual story, I did have some trouble with some of the other writers in the groups get upset with criticisms, get a power trip because they think they have a doctorate in literature, or experience a bit of the little green envy monster when you are recognized for some reason or another. You need to know that these things can and will happen, but what you take away from it is worth the trouble.
Reading other peoples books as a reviewer can also help you recognize potential errors and weaknesses that may be affecting your own writing. Use criticism constructively. If there are no errors, there can be no critics. What is an error to some is enlightenment to others, learn to tell the difference.
2. Brush up on your Grammar skills. No matter what your book is about, if it has errors it will be trashed… literally! Literary Agents, Reviewers, etc., will simply stop reading at a certain point if there are too many errors. I cannot stress this enough! I ruined some really good opportunities for myself by not taking care of these things first.
3. Brush up on writing skills and / or rules. Even the most Avant-Guard book will be picked apart by others in the writing community if you don’t have a solid plot, antagonist, protagonist, etc. I thought that because my books might have some immunity to the rules because they were written in a Cajun dialect and certain words and phrases needed to be invented to convey the essence of the culture. Needless to say, I had to make many revisions before I had something worth publishing.
4. Try to make a name for yourself by submitting short stories, poems, writing contests, magazines, newspapers, competing for literary awards, etc. (Glimmer Train is one of the most recognized by publishers and agents.) ANY recognition you get for your work will go a long way toward getting your work published.
5. Start pitching your manuscript ideas to Literary Agents BEFORE you self-publish. Many of them will not even look at self-published authors and you could be shooting yourself in the foot by not submitting to them first. Step #4 helps open that door.
6. Take a class in reading contracts!!! Never sign with anyone for a FEE!!!!! They are scams!!!!! The only cost you should incur to publish your books with a reputable publisher is the postage on the signed contract. Anything other arrangement falls under a vanity press situation. I nearly fell for a couple with a BIG reputation until I heard that there was a price tag attached.
7. Make a marketing plan, if possible, hire a publicist. Your book won’t sell if you don’t know how to get it in front of readers. I know this from experience and have learned from my mistakes. It is well worth the time and trouble.
As a side note: also explore all the free resources available to authors for marketing. You would be surprised how many there are out there!
8. Pick two or three social media sites that you want to use to market your books and start building a following. Having more than that will run you ragged. You should not be stuck on Facebook or Twitter instead of writing. Pick one or two days a week to have a regularly scheduled posting. Another tip I have learned is how to link together some of these sites so that you are only posting on one and the posts are picked up automatically by the others. It is a great time-saver!
9. Make time to WRITE!!!! That is the primary objective in a writing career. You should have more time scheduled for writing than any other thing you can do. Determine if you want to be a full-time writer and then WRITE FULL TIME!!!! Spending less than 4 hours a day writing is part-time! If you write at home as most writers do, treat it just like you would any telecommuting career. Be dedicated and focused. Keep your workplace free from distractions ….. and that INCLUDES THE INTERNET!!!! The more you write the more you will publish, the more you publish, the greater your chances are for earning income.
10. After all that, I have learned that when you are writing your book, you are the King of the Mountain, Emperor of your own Domain. Nothing else matters. Write what you feel strongly about. Write with emotion. Develop your own style (regardless of the “RULES”). Don’t listen too much to the critics so that it turns you away from your writing. Learn from your mistakes and move FORWARD. If you don’t write and put it out there, your voice will NEVER BE HEARD!
Had I know these things in the beginning, well… I might be wealthy by now or I might be just where I am …. Happily writing the next book!!!!
Oh! One more thing…. If you get stuck, don’t force it. Maybe you veered away from where you were meant to go earlier in the story and that is the reason your direction doesn’t fit now. I got this advice from Kim Harrison who was kind enough to answer a plea for help last year. It has helped me more times that I would like to admit!
I hope all of this helps you as a writer. I know learning these things was not easy for me and I am by far an expert, but these are the lessons I have learned thus far and if they can benefit anyone of you in any way, then I am truly grateful