I’ve heard from many sources that writers should write every single day. That’s great advice and while difficult to accomplish over the long term, it’s definitely worth striving for, If all you do is write. I am an independent author. That means I have to wear many other hats besides just “writer”. My hat box is full of hats labeled; publisher, marketing executive, publicist, Editor, and several others. Because of this, if I stop at just writing every day I’m neglecting a majority of tasks necessary to be successful.
So what if you have no intention of self-publishing?
Or what if you just want to throw your book on Amazon Kindle and wait for the checks to roll in? Either one of those choices is valid and I wish you luck. But if you’re curious as to why your publisher is taking so much of your profits, or if your book isn’t selling like you thought it would, then I hope this helps clear things up.
Here’s my list of what it takes. I understand it’s even more difficult to do 5 things every single day than 1, but if you at least give it your best attempt, I’m certain you will not regret it.
This could obviously be writing your book, but it could also be anything that gets you closer to publishing your book; back story, character bios, Outlines. Like anything else in life, the more you do something the better you get at it. Even if what you’re writing doesn’t end up in your finished book, you are still stretching those creative muscles and generating content that supports your book. Without a book, you’re not an author.
The point is, creativity should be your number one goal. It is, after all, your love and your job. Most people never get to have a job they love, so show your gratitude and do it every day.
No one will read your book if they don’t know it exists. Last time I checked there were over 800,000 results for “Fantasy” on Amazon. The only way anyone is going to find your particular needle in that haystack, is if you do everything you can to let people know about it. That means hitting up all your social media accounts, of course, but also placing ads, running giveaways, sending smoke signals… OK, maybe not that last one. My point is, if you have a publisher or publicist who will do that for you, great. But if not, then you need to do that work yourself.
It’s not really hard, it just takes time. Yes, it’s time you could be writing, but think of it this way, it’s an investment. Spend a little time now promoting your book and you’ll get back returns in the form of actual sales.
This is actually separate from posting you do to promote your book. Networking is a more indirect form of investment. It’s kind of the “Don’t burn your bridges” idea, only you’re building bridges. Networking means; Blogging on your site about other writers (favorably), asking other writers if you can guest blog, Replying and re-tweeting on Social media, joining writing groups, Any way to connect with other writers and their fans. These connections should center around them, not your book. Why? several reasons.
First of all, you’ll makes friends. There are all kinds of friends. From casual ones you shoot the breeze with to close, life long ones you would risk your life for. They all have their purpose and just being or having a casual friend is not a bad thing, in general. I’m the kind of person to have fewer really close friends than many casual friends. It’s just how I am. But as an author, the more friends I have the more people will know about my book.
Second, it makes you part of the community. One of the advantages to being in a community is support. In getting to know other writers, you form bonds of support and friendship that can help you out in times of need. Maybe you’re not feeling like writing, or maybe you think your writing sucks. Chances are if you check in with the writing community you’ll find others who have felt as you do and are happy to set you back on the right path. That is provided, of course, that you are willing to do the same for them.
So to network successfully you need to take “I” out of the equation. Focus on helping others out, giving encouragement and support when you can. If you do this selflessly you’ll get so much more back in return.
You need to know not only what good writing is but what bad writing is. The best way to do this is to read. As much as you can. Pay attention to where you fall in the quality spectrum, for there will always be those who write better and worse than you.
Read books that are in your genre so you know what the competition is. Don’t be discouraged by it though, there are a ton of books out there and many of them are really good. If you start to feel overwhelmed just remember: there are over 7 billion people in the world. Last time I checked Google, it says there’s 129,864,880 books in print. Even if you round that up to an even 2 million, you could consider it as a book shortage. There is an audience for your book.
Knowledge is power. The more you know the more in control you are. So, learn everything you can.
Learn things for your book. Not sure about the difference between a tomb and a sarcophagus? Don’t just send your character into whatever sounds cooler, look it up.
Learn things about writing. Not sure when to use a comma? (I’m speaking to myself here) Look it up so you use it correctly. (top of my to do list)
Learn about marketing, publishing, advertising… the list goes on. You don’t have to learn it all in a day, just pick whatever you need at the moment, or whatever interests you. As long as you learn something every day, you’ll be 365 lessons richer by the end of the year.
Each one of the items listed could be its own blog post, and maybe it will be. What do you think? Are there things you do every day that I missed?
I’m always open to suggestions so let me know what you liked or didn’t like, or if you have a suggestion for a future post, I’d love to hear it. Happy writing