One really cool thing about having become a reasonably successful author is… well the fact that I have managed to make it to being reasonably successful!
Sorry, that chain of thought went a little off course. So, one other really cool thing about being reasonably successful as an author, and as a self-published author at that, is the number of people it inspires to have a go at writing themselves. Some have been wanting to be authors for many years, others see how easy it is to get started and a lightbulb goes on above their heads.
Within the indie author community there’s a strong belief in “paying it forward” – which means once you know what you’re doing you should help anyone starting out, just as others helped you. It’s now more than 2 1/2 years since I published my first book and well over 2 years since Wanderer’s Escape, my first novel, was published. I’ve learnt a lot over that time so I want to post some blogs to share that experience, and to point you towards some of the other excellent blogs out there.
So, the first piece of advice is Just Write. If you want to be an author then you have to write. It doesn’t have to be brilliant, in fact even if you think it’s awful you’ll learn a lot from it. My writing now is a million miles away from when I started a few years back, yet I can look back and see much that is good amongst those early stories.
Remember that nothing good ever came easy, but keep writing fun and it won’t be hard work either. Write when you want to, write how you want to and see where you end up. I found writing short stories a great chance to hone my skills, and if one headed into a dead-end it wasn’t so painful to leave it half finished as a novel would have been.
Also, step away from your work. If you think something is awful just after you’ve spent hours writing it you are definitely not making a balanced judgement. Put it away for a few days and I’m sure you’ll find it’s not so bad after all. Parts might even be good!
Quite a long post so I’ll just give two more bits of advice. Firstly, be very wary of paying for any services until you’ve researched them carefully. If something seems too good to be true or seems like it will jump your career forward then alarm bells should go off and you need to do a lot of research. There are many fine people out there who will offer quality services, but there is also a large industry based upon fleecing new authors for everything they have, and often a lot they don’t have.
Finally, read a copy of Stephen King’s excellent On Writing. The book is written in a very approachable style which first covers his career, and the struggles to earn enough from writing to live on, and then dispenses priceless ideas and information about writing.
That’s it for now but I’ll be adding more soon, including a list of great websites to check out. If I’ve set things up correctly then the whole Writing In Code section of posts should be separately subscribable for RSS and shouldn’t appear in the main feeds, but please let me know if there are any problems around it.