July 29, 2012 at 6:49 am
Tips for Authors
Here we will post hints and tips for authors in the comments below.
We hope some of this stuff helps an aspiring writer or two in some way!
Happy writing, and reading.
First tip: Don’t Panic!
There will be times when you think you have everything sorted and suddenly BAM! the universe slaps you in the face. It might be a fish thrown by your significant other but in context with what we are talking about here it will more likely be a major, embarrassing mistake that somehow slipped through in spite of all your best efforts. Or you may be cruising along and suddenly you get ‘one starred’ in a scathing review.
No matter what the set back, and regardless of how it stings (your pride needs to grow calluses in the next few years if you want to write for public consumption), keep calm, don’t rant, and relax. Get it sorted as quickly and as calmly as you can. If it is a review, thats fine. It is one person’s opinion. Others will love your work, and you can’t please everybody.
Many authors have fallen into the review response trap, and it causes more trouble in the long run. Instead, take in what was said and if you can use it to make your work shine brighter, do so.
When that massive error comes up after you order your hundred copies, fix it. If you are worried about those copies and wasted money, well wouldn’t you know it, you just acquired a stack of ARC’s to give away. Write your little Advance Reader Copy disclaimer in the front, sign them, and you have a valuable promotional commodity for the book you are now fixing for proper release. In this game, nothing need ever be a wasted resource, only an unexpected opportunity.
Don’t panic, pick your battles, and calmly resolve anything that you are able to. Douglas Adams already said it for us.
Second Tip: Listen.
The world is full of people who have been there before you. It is also full of people who think they have, but haven’t. There are great editors out there, and there are also people who claim to be great editors. Learn to spot the difference.
Every author will have a moment when professional help is needed. If you can’t trust your professional to do the job, you need to be able to see that. We have all seen authors who have paid for editing, or paid for cover art, and received nothing of worth for their troubles.
Listen carefully to the writers in your world. Pay attention to what people are saying. If the editor you are considering has edited a book you might read one day, read it. Then listen to your reader voice when it says “I don’t like that”. If the editor is not compatible with you, then find one who is. But listen carefully. That said, a good editor you fight with is far better than a bad editor you adore.
By listening carefully, you will learn who to listen to, and who to ignore politely. But most of all, you will give yourself and your work access to the best possible professional help when you most need it.
Third Tip: Edit Everything.
You may be a master of telling stories, but you will never get far without good editing. Now, most authors need a professional editor, but paying for one does not let you off the grammar or spelling hook. Good copy editing habits will serve you well for your entire writing career.
When we say edit everything, we mean everything. Posting on a forum? Edit that sucker! Posting a letter or writing an email? Edit that too. Edit yourself in everything you do. Reread absolutely every bit of writing you do in your daily life, and fix every mistake you find.
If you are unsure of a change, when next you are talking to an editor, ask about it. You will find yourself learning more and more through this simple self editing practice, and in time this will clean your prose to a point where your story flows better, and your editor is happier.
Also if you are posting publicly, and not editing what you write, many people will assume your books are the same. So by editing everything, you are promoting the good quality of your work.
The cleaner the starting product, the better the finished book. You will thank yourself in the long run!