Amused Authors

What Intermediate Writers Need To Know by Christa Maurice
January 15, 2010, 3:22 pm
Filed under: fiction, publishing, romance, writing

For the purpose of qualification, I am calling an intermediate writer one who has finished at least one book but has not yet been published. When I say “at least one” I’m not kidding. I thought I was the only loon who just wrote books and stored them on my hard drive, but when I had dinner with Natasha Moore a few months ago she admitted that she too had several finished titles ready to go on her computer when her first was published.

1. Get out there and establish your name. I have been told by reliable sources in the know that an editor who is on the fence about acquiring your book will check the internet for you. Do you have a website or a blog? Do you have any kind of web presence that shows you know how to market yourself? Make no mistake, you will be marketing yourself and if you appear clueless it can become a mark against you.

2. Be careful what you say in your blog. You as a person can believe anything you want, but once you get out there you must remember that you are branding and marketing yourself. I have seen writers get roasted and served on toast for a unthought through comment. Be aware of everything you say online. Remember, what happens on the internet, stays on the internet.

3. Keep writing. WooHoo! You finished a book! Is that the only one you have in you? Publishers and agents don’t want to hear that. They want to know you have a career ahead of you. Besides, it’s going to take a year or so to grind through the editing cycle once you sign the contract. If you wait until the book is out to start the next one by the time you get it published, any interest you wll have generated will have evaporated.

4. Follow no rule off a cliff. I don’t remember who I first heard this from, but it is perfect. I know I said in the beginning writer essay to follow every rule faithfully but you’re more grown up now. With at least one book under your belt, you can start to tinker with the rules to see where you can break them to good effect. Just be prepared to have critique partners and editors tell you to stop doing it.

5. Study the market. What ever market it is you’re aiming at, now is the time to really get familiar with who publishes what and what’s popular. While you’re writing your first novel, it’s too constraining to be trying to write to a market, but once you’re through one, then you can start looking around to see what’s out there. I’m not saying you need to hop from sweet romances to vamipire horror because that’s big now. That’s actually a really bad idea because by the time you finish your book and get it ready to sub, the market might be glutted and nobody will want to look at your baby. But being aware of what’s going on in the market is a good idea the same way being aware of other cars on the road is a good idea. You might not want to own a Mercury Grand Marquis, but when it’s coming up behind you, you probably want to know where it’s at and how fast it’s going.

6. Support your buddies. You’ve got some writing buddies now and you need to support them. When they have a new title coming out, you should make mention of it on your blog. If you read it and liked it, you should talk about it. (If you didn’t like it, you should figure out how not to hurt their feelings and keep your darn mouth shut to the rest of the world.) I frequently post ads for novels written by friends. It’s pretty easy to pop together the HTML and post it. In turn, when my books come out, they post mine. Also good is commenting on other writer’s blogs. They feel better because they don’t feel like they’re talking to themselves and you get traffic to your blog. You should also try to visit other (non-writing) blogs. You can get some good traffic from those to and the different persective is always good.

Finishing that first book is always monumental. Then you realize you haven’t climbed the mountain, just the foothills. But the company is good and the work is fun. (It is fun, isn’t it? Because if it is’t fun, you need to just go watch TV. Writing is too difficult and requires too much sacrifice for it not to be fun.)



3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Thanks Charlotte, this is good advice. I love writing for writing sake, mabe pulishing will come some day, maybe not. Meanwhile I just love writing, not only is writing fun, it helps keep me relatively sane.

Comment by Steve Mowles

Some very good advice – thanks so much for sharing it.

Comment by Cassandra Jade

Glad I could help and thanks for posting!

Comment by Charlotte McClain

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