Things new writers should consider before publishing.
|This was originally a blog entry: "too self-sufficient" |
Is it just me, or when someone says she's "the greatest writer in the world" or "a writer extraordinaire" or "soon to be bestselling author" or something similar, is it a complete turnoff? Even if it's meant to be a marketing ploy, I turn the other way.
It seems we're pummeled with these types of expressions recently, while at the same time, writing quality seems to be drifting into oblivion (as it is in most industries). How many of us have read recent "bestsellers" by big companies that even we could edit better? How many are going after agents and publishing books when they've written one draft of their first novel?
Please note: I'm not saying I'm an expert. I know I need work. I have editing mistakes in my printed works that are highly embarrassing. It happens. My issue is with people who spend more time saying how great they are than they do trying to improve their work.
To new authors:
-- One draft doesn't cut it.
-- Having a great idea isn't enough.
-- No, it is not the publisher's job to make your work readable. It's your job. Learn the craft.
-- Take at least one writing course.
-- Get critiques from those who don't know you and like you already.
-- Quality should matter more than quantity.
-- Sex might sell even if quality isn't good, but really ... work on your craft, not only the sex scenes.
-- Don't even start to think about how to publish until you've been writing for more than two months. Or even two years. Or four.
-- Before you start marketing to agents or publishers, study the industry. Books are big business. Take it seriously.
-- Take at least one writing course. Yes, it makes a difference.
-- A short story and a novella are not the same thing. Brush up on industry terms.
-- Indie publishing is good, but ONLY after you've learned your craft.
-- Saying you're a "published author" is all well and fine, but it doesn't mean much anymore. Reviews mean something (where they come from counts). Sales mean something. Being published only means you put your work into print, which even a second-grader can do now.
I know this sounds like a pretentious post, and maybe it is. But when you're fighting against overwhelming bias of using a POD publisher and yelling that it's not all garbage, you tend to be miffed at those putting out garbage because they can and then claiming how "extraordinary" they are because they are "published."
Many small publishers are no different. They may screen and edit a bit, but they're not really very particular, either. There are exceptions.
-- Insist on excerpts of enough length to show writing and story quality.
-- Don't throw us all into the same boat based on genre or publishing method.
-- Give the writer feedback, good or bad. We need the truth and most of us love hearing from our readers. If we don't, that's not a good sign.
-- Support indies, but only when they're worth supporting.
-- The same with traditionals.
Yes, I'm opening myself to negative comments, but I want to know what readers don't like about my work as well as what they do like. Authors can't grow without criticism. An author who doesn't grow is like a short story without a point to it.