You know the saying, “Writers write every day”? Here’s the thing: this isn’t true. The vast majority of successful writers don’t actually write every day; maybe most days, but not every day. Sometimes they get sick, or overwhelmed with family stuff, or go on vacation, or get hit by a car, et cetera. Things come up, life happens.
The real saying should be: “Writers finish.” Successful authors finish projects, period. If you never finish, you’ve effectively done nothing. …Unless you’re writing just for fun, and then none of this advice matters anyway. BTW, good luck with that Cinderella/Batman mashup story told from celebrity shock jock Howard Stern’s point of view!
gonna be honest up front: I have yet to find a marketing strategy that’s worked
well for me. I’ve published six novels so far, traditional and self-published,
and hustled to market each one. I’ve read a bunch of books and blogs about
marketing and tried lots of different tactics. Money was never a limiting
factor for me (I make decent dough at my day job, though I’m not
rich—#middleclassbabe), so lack of spending was definitely not the problem. I
even tried hiring a company to do it for me, and the results were the same: somehow,
I’m still not a bestselling author.
I can’t offer steps to success like my other blogs…BUT I can offer some
hard-earned wisdom and advice.
know how sometimes you’ll read an entire chapter of a book and think to
yourself, “What did I just read?” Or maybe, “What was the point of that?” Well,
the reason you’re asking yourself this question is because whoever wrote the
chapter didn’t know how to properly construct a scene…or it’s supposed to be
some kind of deep literary nonsense, though if that’s the case you’d probably
think to yourself “Soooo deep…” while
secretly feeling ashamed because you assume you’re too dumb to understand it.
Like most endeavors in this thing we call life, how good you are at something depends on a combination of natural skill and drive to improve. Notice I said how good you are at something, not how successful you are, because success depends a lot on luck…more than most successful people are willing to admit. If you’re good at something, it increases your odds of success, but you can still suck at something and be successful at it.
biggest issue with writing a book is that you need to somehow fill up blank
space on a page with words. Specifically, words that form a narrative. Failing
to do this means you’ve failed to write a book.
is ALWAYS, 100% of the time, the reason people try and fail to write a novel.
honestly not a lot to say about endings except they should be a satisfying
conclusion of everything that’s come before—but, of course, that can be harder
than it sounds. An exceptionally good ending can elevate a story to greatness (The Usual Suspects, The Shawshank Redemption),
or ruin it (Season 8 of Game of Thrones,
The Rise of Skywalker for some current examples). To clarify, when I say good
ending I mean satisfying, which isn’t
necessarily a happy ending.
Let’s say you’ve confirmed your what-if idea is worth expanding into a whole story. Yay!
is where most people get stuck after they decide they want to write a novel.
They might write a few pages, or even a few chapters, and then stall out. Part
of this is waning interest and competing priorities; writing an entire novel is
hard and takes a long time, dammit! If you’re not committed, it’s probably not
starts with a “what if” idea: What if
a teen girl with chronic depression woke up one day with psychic powers? What if Germany had won World War II
(…you see this one a lot)? What if we
found out aliens had been secretly colonizing Mars for hundreds of years? What if a young boy with two progressive
dads and thick glasses moved to the Deep South? What if I lightly fictionalized my own life story (…I wouldn’t
advise this one, tho—most authors overestimate how interesting their lives are
to other people)?
Let me start off this overview of genres by stating the most important point up front: if your goal is to write a book you’d like to be commercially successful, then you MUST PICK A GENRE! I can’t emphasize this enough.