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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Advice to an New Author

Good Morning:

Today there was an interesting question posted by an up and coming writer about words of advice.  I am sure there are others that have the same question so I thought I would answer it here.

1. Don't fall in love with your words.  When you are writing making changes is always a possibility.  Sometimes your great ideas don't work in one area of the story but work in another but you have to change the wording.  Sometimes that great idea won't work at all and you should save it for another story.  Sometimes words have to be cut or a sentence sounds stilted and hinders the flow so it will have to be changed, reworded or expanded upon to make it fit.  Don't be afraid of the red pen!  If it don't fit, toss it out!

2. Find a great editor.  Your editor can be a friend who has background in writing or it can be an actual editor you have to pay.  That person should not only be reading your work for grammar and punctuation errors (trust me, Word or Google Docs don't always catch them all!) but also should be looking at the flow of your work.  Your reader shouldn't be able to tell if you are frustrated and can't find the right words to express your idea and your editor should be able to tell that.  That person should also be able to tell you the truth and ask you to look it over and rewrite it.  I would suggest talking to English Professors or Teachers during the summer months when they may be available to do so.  Many I have found are both happy to do it and flattered that you asked them. 

3.  If you are going Indie and doing your own publishing for Amazon, B&N, etc...then you should do research and find the programs that work for you.  A basic knowledge of html is a good idea.  I do all my own formatting in Crimson Editor,   then I use Mobipocket eBook Creator to put it together and finally I use Calibre to convert for ePub on B&N.  I can also preview the formatting and adjust what needs to be fixed on Calibre.  I know it sounds like a lot, but it's not.  Where did I learn this?  Oh from a wonderful individual named Judith Tramayne.  She has a website called  A Good Read.  She offers courses on how to put together a professional e-book.  You can always pay someone, however, I would rather not put out the extra money.  If it isn't done right the only person to blame is myself.  By the way, there are other programs out there that you can do all of your formatting and conversions on, however, those are just the ones I am comfortable using.  Do your research and find what works for you.

4.  Set a goal.  My goal is 1000 words a day minimum.  I start working after my son goes to school and I can start and stop whenever I need to. This is important to me because some days I am inspired and some days I am not.  I don't force it, I learned that the hard way.  If I am not feeling inspired that day I still write, but it's not on my novel.  I will pull up my file for ideas and just start throwing out possible piece ideas for the future.  Sometimes that puts me in the mood to work, sometimes not.  If not then when I hit the point of frustration I take a break.  I may not write for the rest of the day but I did get my mental workout for the day.

5. If you are doing this to be rich, you won't.  Only a handful make the big bucks.  If your doing this for fame, banish that thought.  Fame is fleeting, fickle, and very difficult to attain.  If your writing for love and enjoyment then continue because that makes it worth doing.  I write to share my story.  I want others to be taken to far off places and see what I see in my minds eye. 

6.  Find some beta readers for before publishing.  You don't want to KNOW them.  People who know you usually won't tell you the truth and you want to know the truth, their opinion.  A wonderful writer +James Ash suggested book clubs.  He includes a questionnaire that he allows to be turned in anonymously.  I have recently decided to implement this tool.  I think it's an awesome idea.  You want to know how John Q. Public is going to view your book, then this is a great way, in my humble opinion, on how to do it.

7.  I use Google Docs, I like it better than Word for a couple of reasons.  Not only can I adjust it to fit me, but I can write, give my editor access and she can edit as I work.  I don't have to send it to her.  Once I have given her permission and sent the link via email she can access it whenever she wants.  Why is that important to me?  Then I don't have to send her a zillion emails with the doc enclosed, and that means I spend less time on my email and more time on my love of writing.  Find the program that works best for you and use it.  Here is a link to another wonderful writer, +Josh Rollins,  that gives great advice on how to adjust  Google Doc to fit you.

Finally I would suggest that you sit down in a comfortable spot and just write until you can write no more.  Have fun with it.  Don't worry about mistakes just move forward with that first draft.  Editing will fix any errors. 

 Put your idea on paper.  Don't talk about it, 
you will talk yourself out of it. Just do it.

I hope this helps.  I have other bits of advice that occur to me from time to time and I will probably add them on, but for now this is what has helped me the most.

Have an awesome day!!

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