Going It Alone by Eden Winters
Posted by H.A Caine
There’s an old adage that it takes a village to raise a child. The same holds true of novels.
So many people asked me how to get started as a writer, visualizing hours spent alone, hunched over their keyboard, with little or no contact with the outside world. Then they polish their manuscript for submission to an editor or agent. In the world of e-publishing, that just ain’t so.
Writing agendas are as varied as writers themselves, but here’s the formula that works for me. First, if you’re serious about writing a novel, find yourself a mentor, someone who knows the business and doesn’t mind sharing information and guiding you along. But remember to pay it forward. Once you’re established, you learn as much or more wisdom as you impart by offering a helping hand to other writers.
Second, find yourself some good betas. Yes, they can be friends, as long as those friends will tell you the honest truth and don’t fail to mention errors to spare your feelings, for the reading public who pays for your book will have no such qualms. Even best-selling authors have room to improve, so find betas and editors you work well with, listen to them, and treasure them.
Third. The biggest obstacle I’ve found to being a published author is the idea that you can’t publish. Then don’t aim for an 80,000 words novel on your first commercial writing attempt. Try a short story first. Once you’ve published, you are now a published author and the obstacle is gone.
Fourth takes you back to your mentor. Research, and ask other authors about publishers. Each may offer something different, and what works for one writer may not work for you, or may not specialize in your chosen genre. Do your homework before submitting a manuscript.
Fifth, never stop learning. Always strive to do better.
Sixth, criticism will come. Take what you can learn from and leave the rest. No everyone will love your work, and that’s okay. Many will. But remember, if you have stories in you to tell, ignoring them won’t make them go away.