Ten Pieces of Advice to the Fledgling Writer/Publisher

I was recently asked to provide advice to the fledgling writer/publisher, so I put this blog entry together as a response.  Hope it helps.

1 Read.

2 Take a Creative Writing Course.  When I was ready to start writing fiction, I took a creative writing course at my junior college to get the juices flowing.  It taught me little about writing but did provide a class full of readers who had to provide critiques (nicely) as part of their grade.  It also set a schedule I had to write to that forced me to start writing.

3 Grow a Thick Hide.  Get ready for the real word because it’s nasty out there.  It sometimes seems that many readers hate nothing more than a writer.  You’re going to encounter a lot of jerks out there, and thanks to the internet all of these jerks have a say and many are going to take pot-shots at you.  Whatever you do, don’t respond and get into a public pissing match.  Simply turn the other cheek and prepare to get hit with the other fist.  This is the downside of publishing and it’s a big one.

4 Write.  The only way to learn how to write is by writing.  I’ve been at it for thirty years or so and I’m still learning how to write.  If you want to write, write.  I go ballistic when I read posts from people who want to write but don’t.  It’s simple.  Writer’s write.  Dreamers don’t.  If you’re a writer, write.

5 Self-publish.  While you’re writing, you may as well publish what you’ve written and get some feedback.  Who knows, you may even strike a chord and become an overnight sensation.  The odds are, if you have any talent at all, that eventually you’ll become successful.  By that time you may have gone through several pseudonyms, leaving your bad reviews behind, as you march ever onward toward publishing fame.  Don’t even bother trying to get published by New York, they’re a thing of the past.

See my blog post “Why I Self-publish” (http://bit.ly/p4E7Go).

6 Return to Step #4 and Repeat.

7 Join a Critique Group and Professional Organizations Instead of Writing. Not!!!  Hopefully you’ve noticed that by performing Step #6, there’s no way to make it to this step.  And for good reason.  If it takes you away from writing and publishing, don’t do it.  You left the critique group behind in your creative writing class.  Now is the time to write and publish.

8 Network Instead of Writing.  Not!!!

9 Publish a Blog Instead of Writing.  Not!!!

10 ‘Plotter’ vs ‘Pantser’.  Who cares?  I write based on prepared plot outlines.  My wife, a much more successful writer than me, writes by the seat of her pants.  This is a point of personal preference.  Don’t get hung up on the details, just write!

Hopefully I’ve made myself clear.  Obviously writing isn’t so black and white.  You’ll need to take time to promote if you want to be successful.  But if you’re a true ‘newbie’, it’s way too early to get bogged down in anything that distracts you from writing and publishing.  So, take a few breaths and preliminary steps to get ready, then write and publish until there are blisters on your fingers!

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