Almost every writer that I have encountered over the last 10 years of publishing has had the belief at some level that they are an artist practicing their craft. Somewhere in their mind there exists an image of themselves as the literary equivalent of Picasso or DaVinci, and that their next project will be a work of divine artistic expression.
In every case, these writers have been separated into two groups:
- Potential authors who can be convinced that authorship is a vocation and not some spiritual calling, and
- Those writers who can’t be talked down off this psychological ledge.
In both cases, writers need to be educated that writing is a process that must be practiced, refined and perfected.
The process of seeking perfection is specific to each writer. However, there are fundamentals that are almost always overlooked by writers until they decide to embrace the reality of the literary industry.
Here are the basics you need to remember:
- Don’t copy someone else’s wrong answers: You have to understand that your process will be different than for another writer because you’re different. Also, different projects may require you to adapt your writing process. Be willing to change if necessary.
- Plan your project: Break the project down into manageable portions and schedule the completion of each portion. Get a whiteboard or a notebook; I create weekly agendas in a Word .doc file. Whatever method you use, track you progress on each task and you’ll keep moving forward.
- Create a support team: When you are developing your book concept, start talking to friends, colleagues and family. Get them to commit to work-shopping ideas, copy editing, reviewing and doing grass-roots marketing. Having 3, 5, 10 or more people that volunteer to do a few small projects each to support your book will make an incredible difference in your production.
- Plan your promotional effort(s): Yes, you need to do this before you start writing! Once you have a solid book concept, you need to plan your marketing. Identify your target reader, find out where they access their entertainment options or can receive your marketing message, find out the things that stimulate them to emotion. Not only will this intel help you get their attention, but you can build it into your prose to win readers for life!
- Make a publishing plan: You’ll need a publishing plan sometime between establishing your story concept and completing the first 10 pages. Since you will need to be executing your publishing plan as you complete your book, you will need this in place as soon as possible (or sooner).
- Establish your budget(s): Whenever a new writer comes to Write On Press for consultative services, they are always asked the question, “What’s your budget?” for any project they are asking for support on. Nine out of 10 have no clue. The one writer in 10 destined for success will understand that they need a marketing budget and a publishing budget at the very least.
Remember, being an author is a choice of profession. You have to prepare and train for it just like any doctor or engineer.
When you begin a book project, it’s like you are preparing to create a new product for distribution to a consumer market. Save the romance for your characters and focus on the business of literary success.
Feel free to comment or ask questions below, or discuss how you plan for your book projects.
Until next time, keep writing!
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