Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Model Author

Battling your inner fears.
What makes a successful author? Is it the number of books sold? Is it the charismatic interviews? Or, is it the author's ability to peddle his wares at schools, book fairs, libraries, etc. (His wares will include book markers, coloring pages, trinkets, free copies of his book, etc.)

Aside from the basics of morality (e.g., don't plagiarize), there are no set rules in the field of writing. An author is his own boss. He is offering his craft. If he is a new writer, it would do him well to follow the traditional route until he feels he has established himself as a writer. Would it? There is no set line to cross that dictates the point at which one becomes an established writer. So, should he follow the traditional route?

 I've often heard:

"It takes seven years to master a craft. Don't give up. Keep at it. You will hit that magic mark."
"Make sure you get involved in critique groups. Doing this will help you improve your writing."
"Start your career by sending stories and articles to magazines."
"Work at perfecting your pitch and query letter then, send them to the right editors and/or agents."

I've also heard, "Whether you go the traditional route to publishing or self-publishing, you must promote your books. The best ways to promote your books are through blog reviews, creating trailers, and visiting schools."

 Are these helpful hints? Are they rumors, gossip, or the wisdom of writers derived through years of hard work?

Recently, Writer Beware Blog! (May 26, 2012) wrote a post briefly detailing a survey done on self-publishing authors (about 1,000 survey participants). One of the things the canvassers discovered is that "The most financially successful  self-publishers write more than their peers, and spend less time marketing. In fact, those self-publishers who marketed the most earned the least."

Repeat: "The most financially successful self-publishers write more than their peers." Really? Does this statement make sense to you? It does to me. Why? Because the more you write, the better you write. The less you worry about promoting, the less likely you'll develop writer's block, and the more freedom you'll have to experiment with your writing skills.

Think of it.  The natural writer can't help, but write. They have been writing for years and will continue to do so whether their writing style is popular or not. I bet most natural writers have piles of story drafts stashed around their homes.  Those who don't, due to some circumstance or another, need not dismay.  Just start.

So, if you are wishing to become an author, don't allow yourself to despair. Don't surround yourself with naysayers. Take note of what you hear from those in the publishing field, but don't allow it to derail you. Invest your time in your craft. Have faith in your God given talent. Fear not and write, write, write.


  1. I agree. There is a reason why an author's first book tends not be as good as books written later on. I look at work that I wrote a year ago and it makes me cringe. It doesn't take long to see improvement in one's writing.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Rena. I have struggled with juggling the different aspects of writing for the public, and agree with you that writing should be our main focus.

  3. Too much 'education' can knock the creativity write out of you!

    1. Good point, Julie. It reminds me of my son who wanted to get an English Major, because he loved books. After, a couple of years of classes where they had to dissect good and bad literature, he hated reading. Every time he read he saw the author's limitations. Such a sad thing to happen. Too much education.

  4. Some really good points here, Brenda. Writing, writing, and yet more writing. I've only recently started writing (Jan of this year) and oh, the arrogance of me (hey, sounds like a great title). I thought I'd knock out a draft in no time, simple. I mean, I know a good book when I see one, so therefore I can write a good book. We have a saying in the south, "When you see a fool, bump his head." Well, I've head my head bumped, hard. I am learning that I MUST WRITE ALL THE TIME with purpose and vulnerability. I'm enjoying this journey and posts like this affirm my path. Thank you for this one, Brenda.

  5. Hi Pam. I like that you included writing with vulnerability. That's difficult for me, because it's a fine line between sincerety and sounding as though I'm acting.

  6. I agree that having a volume of written material to publish is the most important thing. If you get a fan base, they want MORE of your writing, not more marketing.

    That said, I do still think it's a balance. In order to get that fan base, you need to make sure the fans can find your book.

    1. Absolutely. Oh, the life of a writer. ;) BTW: i'm wishing you (and the rest of the gang) the best success in your writing career. What a wonderful thing it is to write. Isn't it?