Dear Aspiring Authors,
Your quest starts here. If you find yourself shaking your head in this brief moment we will spend together in the same head space, then this post is particularly for you. Those who nod their heads in agreement, while your approval is appreciated, you already have mastered the understanding of what it means to be an author, now go out there and claim your righteous glory!
You're still reading...wonderful. Before continuing, I must clarify a very specific point. Despite what you may hear from some people, there is a significant difference in being a writer and an author. Claiming to be a writer conveys the message that writing is a hobby and not something you take on as a business endeavor, which of course is completely a-okay! Stating you are an author means you take on your work with a slightly different angle, that of an entrepreneur.
With clear distinctions between being an Author and a Writer we can now venture onto the main thread of this letter. If you truly want to be an author, and a moderately successful one, you have to focus on three key concepts.
Because this is the piece that writers loathe the most, I will begin with it. Marketing. Advertising your book is, arguably, more essential then actually writing the novel. You can write as many words as you want, but if you don't push your book into the world's nose then no one will read your content except your mom(Pseudo-insult, I love when my mom reads my work!). Marketing depends on your genre and content, however if you are planning on doing any form of publishing, even traditional, you must be able to market. Common arguments against marketing involve, "I'm an introvert." "I'm scared someone will steal my work." or "I am afraid of what people will say." Here is the part where you shake your head. To become a successful author you must craft an extrovert mask, understand that you own your work the second you write it and even if someone does steal it, imitation is the highest form of flattery. And a message to your insecurities, tough. It's time to sharpen your hide, there will ALWAYS be negative people, know your worth and be proud of it. Bottom line, if you're not confident in your words/work no one will be.
As we move up the author ladder, our next rung is labeled Quality. This has nothing to do with the content of your story, though starting out with a fresh idea does level the playing field. I'm referring to the other facets that refine your book into the gem that you want it to be. Don't skip out on Beta Readers, Peer Reviewers, PROFESSIONAL editors/cover artists, and author photos. Taking the extra time to get your book to become as endearing as possible, even if it is a budget bender, goes a long way to the reader. Again, this goes back to the same concept of confidence. Now that you have confidence in your work, show it off by making it the best it can be, the readers will recognize greatness when they see it.
Lastly, and my favorite to cover, is consistency. The best advice I've ever gotten when I first decided to become an author was from Zac Brewer, author of the Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, The Slayer Chronicles, Cemetery Boys, Madness, and The Blood Between Us. His quote, while simple gives aspiring authors a one hundred percent guarantee of finishing a book.
Writing on a consistent basis helps fuel the creative mind into being able to write upon command, even when not in the mood. (I will soon post about how to overcome the blasphemy of writer's block in more detail). Consistency does bleed across into Marketing/Quality as well. Give your followers regular updates and keep them informed of what is going on with you and your projects. This will keep you fresh in their minds and will give you greater amount of exposure over time.
You have been great thus far and I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to read through my letter. If you have any thoughts or questions pertaining to the material above, by all means type away! I will do my best to respond to all of your concerns and inquiries. Looking forward to many more adventures.
From the depths of the internet,
Mytchel Chandler (An Aspiring Author)