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Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Writing Life

Hey All

Haven't posted in a couple of weeks. Seem to have a case of pneumonia that just won't get better.  For all those that entered the two contests below this post--please let me know what version of the book you'd like--epub or mobi.(Kindle) and I'll get them sent out.

So, the topic today is the writing life. What is the writing life?

Hmm, let me see. There are perks! Lots of perks!

1. My 'work clothes" are a pair of shorts and a tee (or PJs)
2. My work breaks are ....whenever I want them!
3. Internet access is not only allowed, it's REQUIRED
4. Lunch when I want it! (assuming I remember to eat)
5. Making money with my imagination!
6. Flexible Schedule

Hmmm...the cons now.

1. Non-stop chattering in my head (No, I don't have schizophrenia)
2. Writers Block
3. No guaranteed income
4. Those strange looks you get when you say "I'm a writer"

Seriously, I love being a writer. I work when I want. But, there are some serious things to consider if you decide to take the plunge and become a full-time writer.

First, of course, there are the financial considerations. Can you afford to give up the day job? Is there a job perhaps that you can get where you work hours you want to work?

Are you committed enough to actually spend the time sitting at the computer to make the writing profitable? Do you have enough confidence in your own writing to take the reviews you may receive as not being personal attacks?

That's an important question. When you write, it's just simple fact that not everyone is going to love what you have written. Some will enjoy it, but others may give it a 1* review based on their own reading preferences. As writers, we simply can't take it personally. It goes with the job.

With the popularity of the Amazon and B&N self-publishing opportunities, many more are taking the plunge. They are putting up their work for the world to see. Their baby.  They just know the checks are going to start coming in. Big bucks!

The reality? It takes time to have your books become popular. Not every book will make the Top 100 on Amazon. Not every book will be picked up by New York.

While I made a little fun of the perks and cons, they are, in part, huge considerations. If you want to succeed as a writer, you simply have to write. Becoming a good writer takes time. You can't spend an hour a week writing and expect to improve. And writers do improve. Each book will likely be a little better than the last.

So, what happens when you hit "Publish" on Amazon or B&N? That's not as important a question as what should happen BEFORE you hit submit.

Before you publish your baby, there are things to consider.

1. Has it been proofread?
2. Has it been edited?
3. Does the cover look apealing and does it fit the genre?
4. Is the description enough to entice the reader to take a chance on your work?
5. Is the book formatted properly?
6. Did you use critique partners and beta readers?
7. Did you send it off for reviews?

All of those things should have been done before you publish. Some publish before the reviews, but the other steps simply shouldn't be ignored. If your book, no matter how good the story, isn't formatted well, it will be subject to bad reviews.

Typos are not your friend. While it's true that very few books are published without a mistake or two, a self-published book will be graded harsher based on those typos. Readers might take a chance on your book if it's affordable, but you can be sure they will notice each typo or grammar mistake. An editor isn't a luxury, it's a necessity.

Your book cover should entice the reader to look inside the cover. A bad cover won't sell. While some will say they don't judge a book by it's cover, it is the first thing they see. It's what makes them 'pick up' your book to view. So, they may not buy based on the cover, but they will look at it based on that cover, believe me.

I did an experiment with a book. I priced it at 99 cents and put up a cover that simply wasn't great. It wasn't horrid, but it certainly wasn't wonderful, either.  Sales were deplorable. I changed the cover and the sales tripled. The story didn't change, but what readers saw first DID.

So, as with most things, there are many things to consider before you decide to become a writer. Once you hit publish, your job really just begins. The next post will discuss marketing your book.

Happy Writing!

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