From Caitlin Crews, author of THE RETURN OF THE DI SIONE WIFE. Oh, I love scary movies. In many ways, they deliver the same hit as romance novels. You get to cycle through a whole host of emotions, all the while knowing that you’re safe and sound and that things will work out all right—if not for the characters, then certainly for you when you turn the lights back on!
Caitlin shares some great How-to Tips for Aspiring Writers
Tips for those looking to get their work published/break into the industry.
- Write your book.
- Finish it.
That’s actually the best advice I can give anyone. We live in a world of instant gratification. We are often frustrated that the moment we have an idea it doesn’t come to fruition. But books are not fast food. They take thought and time. And the thing about writing books is that there’s only one way to get better at it, and that’s writing more books. You actually don’t know if you can write a book until you do. And you learn things when you finish a book. You learn the difference between your vision and your abilities. You get comfortable with the distance between the two. You see the ways you could have gone further, or deeper, or the things you hit just right when you didn’t think you could. You surprise yourself. You learn and learn, because every book is a different mountain to climb. You can’t predict the climb, but the more mountains you get under your belt, the better you get at climbing, and the more confident you feel that you’ll make it to the top. This is important when you’re neck deep in a new book and are certain you’ll never finish.
Write and write and write. And finish. Then do it again.
- What about once you finish? The great news is that these days, the publishing industry is more wide open and accessible than ever before. If you wanted, you could upload your manuscript right this minute and boom, your book would be out there in the world. So the question aspiring authors should ask themselves is: what kind of publishing career do I want?
Study the alternatives. Look at what books you read and how the authors went about publishing them. Did they self-publish or traditionally publish? Do they have long careers? Do they have an agent? Are they still publishing in the same way as they were when they started? Why or why not? These days, you can not only look at the books, you can usually find the authors online, where many people speak quite freely about their publishing experiences. That can be helpful in making a determination about which path is best for you.
Know this: no one can tell your stories but you. There are no gatekeepers. If you want an instant audience and you don’t want to wait, go indie. If you want an agent and a New York print deal, pursue it and understand it might take some time to find the right combination of people who believe in you and your work and who think they can sell it. Learn as much as you can about the different markets and the kind of things you’ll be expected to do to succeed in each. Do you prefer to spend all your time writing while others take care of the details? Then indie is likely not for you. Do you chafe at the notion that others might make decisions that you might not love? Then traditional publishing is likely not a good fit.
Whatever you choose, remember this: publishing is a business. I know it feels personal because the thing you’re selling once lived in your head, but it’s not. Especially when it feels the most personal, in my experience. Remember that the market doesn’t owe you anything and that readers want one thing: a great read. If you can deliver that, I promise, you’ll find your audience.
To read more about Caitlin, visit her website