Saturday, April 2, 2011

SO YOU WANT TO BE A WRITER?

Hello Fans:

Many aspiring writers have asked me what is the secret to writing?  How did I get into this, and what can I do to help them succeed.  Well, folks, today is your lucky day because I am offering up some tips to help you get your novel to the finish line, and with much hard work~~published, which is any writer's ultimate goal.

HOMEWORK
For me, there isn't a secret formula to assist me with writing.  Either it's something you like to do, or it isn't.  However, just like in school, your teacher not only taught you a lesson, but he/she would most times assign you homework for you to further your studies.  Writing works the exact same way.  You must do your homework.  Research every aspect of what it is you are writing.  In order for your stories to be believable, having knowledge is the key.  First and foremost, write what you know!  Not saying you can't write about subjects you don't, but for starting out, it's best to write from experiences you are well versed with before you delve into subject matters that are too hard to grasp.  You have enough pressure on yourself with getting through your novel.

IDEAS/STORY LINES
There are only 250 plots to choose from.  Trust me, whatever it is you are writing, you're probably not the first to write on it.  The trick is finding that plot that you can twist and incorporate into your character's lives.  Think outside the box a little.  You'd be surprised just how far you can go with changing up plots to work for you.

PRACTICE
This is essential to any writer.  How can you call yourself a writer, if you don't write?  Dreaming about it, saying it out loud and thinking about it doesn't make you a writer.  If you aren't doing it, you're NOT a writer~~period!  You must fine tune your craft.  This is what sets the real writers apart from those who just want to see their words in print.  Set time limits for yourself and most importantly, DO IT!  Find out what free time you have and commit each and everyday to writing.  Remove all obstacles from your mind, find that quiet space and time, and just get to doing it.  You'd be amazed how far you will get when you truly commit to your craft.  This is what real writers do!

PERSEVERANCE
There are going to be days when you look at your PC or laptop, pen and pad, and nothing comes to mind.  That's called writer's block~~the curse to all writers.  When you find yourself stuck in that rut, go back to what you have written, and reinvigorate yourself.  Sometimes new thoughts will come to you and ta daa you have another chapter written.  And when that doesn't work, divert your attention elsewhere, like watching your favorite program on TV, or reading a really good book.  Sometimes that will get you back on track.  But no matter what you must stick with it!  Quitting is never an option for a true writer.  Even if you write something stupid down on paper, you are still committed to writing.  And trust me, when you write down mindless thoughts and think, what the heck will this do for me?  Trust and believe, it can open a world of imagination, and once again, you have another chapter written.

AUDIENCE
Why should we buy your book?  Seriously, why should we be interested in you?  There are millions of writers out here in the literary jungle, all with the same goals, hopes and dreams in mind.  We want to be an overnight success.  We're waiting on that one person to discover us and make us wealthy overnight, but truth be told, that is not going to be your reality.  Many indie (meaning independent) authors work a 9 to 5 and still manage to find time to write, promote, and write some more.  It's extremely hard to fight your way through the book jungle when there are just as many writers out there doing exactly the same thing as you.  You must start marketing yourself immediately, even if your novel isn't finished.  Word of mouth is still the best form of marketing, and of course, every social media network you can find, like your Facebook and Twitter, etc.  You should be asking yourself, who are you trying to reach?  What age group is your audience?  Where is the demographics of your audience?  Everyone you meet is a potential book buyer and that's how you have to start thinking.  It's a slow and long process, but with perseverance, you can find an audience, and it will grow, but if you're expecting miracles and an overnight success, well you may be throwing yourself into a fool's paradise.  This does happen for some, but for most of us, that doesn't happen.  DON'T GIVE UP!

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY
Like most indie authors, we're poor, broke and penniless, but we're authors!  I know that was redundant, but it's true.  Because we are self-published authors, we have to fight three times as hard as the author who was lucky enough to have his book published by a traditional publishing house.  And like with everything else in this world, the more money you have, the better your success will be.  So I get asked how did I do it?  I set up a book fund for myself.  It's all the money I use for marketing, which is highly expensive, I use money for publishing, which is just as costly as marketing, but the key is, I find the money.  I've taken out loans, I've borrowed money from relatives, and the money I do make off of my books isn't a profit, but goes right back to marketing, because once again, the more you market yourself, the larger your audience grows.  This is why I advise future authors if you are really serious about making writing your career, you better make sure you have money coming from everywhere to get your name out there.  And even when you do that, there are no guarantees.  Writing is an extremely hard business to break into, and with so many indies out here now, you have that many more authors to compete with.  But I will say once again, DON'T GIVE UP!  If there's a will, there's a way!  That's the motto I live by.

LITERARY AGENTS
Finding a literary agent is like playing the Super Lotto or Power Ball.  You have to play to win, and trust me when I tell you, literary agents are tough, and they don't play games.  If you don't follow their rules to the letter, all the precious time you put into a query letter was truly a waste of your time.  I'm still looking for an agent, and I will continue.  Remember, do your homework, and follow the rules because agents will not let you waste their time, this I know for a sure fact!

SUMMARY
So, do you still want to be a writer? (chuckle).  I ask myself each and everyday why am I putting myself through this particular hell, and the answer is real simple for me~~I love it!  Writing is in my blood and I will do it until I am no longer breathing.  Will I ever be famous?  One can hope, but even if that never happens, there are people in this world who have read my books, and at the end of a long writing day, that's all any writer can truly hope for.  Remember, do your homework, come up with ideas and story lines, never give up and persevere, by doing that you'll gain an audience, put lots of money away,  and money will return to you, and continue to search for a literary agent

I hope you found some of these tips useful.  I still do each and every point consistently.  I will never ever give up and neither should you.

Happy Reading!

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet