So you want to be an author, but don't know how to get started?
2.) Write EVERY day. Yes, every day. I don't care if it is one paragraph. Every day. Writing every day creates a habit. The habit of writing gets you through that dreaded "writer's block", which when you are a professional on a deadline you don’t have time for. Have you ever heard of Surgeons getting surgery block? No? It's a job, one you practice over and over until you become so in tune with it obstacles don’t stop you. You learn ways to work around them.
3) Network. A very wise agent one told me early in my career, "You cannot write in a vacuum." Why? Because you must learn to be a writer. You may believe it is your calling, you may believe you were born with talent. But talent and skill are two different things. You don’t think Leonardo da Vinci sat down and painted the Mona Lisa his first run out, do you? He learned at the feet of other artists until he became a great artist himself. There are many groups you can join, etc. However, take a good look and make sure they are not just back scratching, you give me a shout out and I will give you one. I find in most of those cases, no one is really listening. A good group to join is INKSLINGERS DEN. (okay yes, mine) I have industry professionals come in once a week and do live chats and seminars for free. Yes, that means you can ask a publisher or agent a question in live time. It is free, safe and no strings. We are all in this together.
4) Decide who you are early on. To pen name or not to pen name could be an entire different post. But decide who you will be and as you network (remember #3) do it as this person. The name you will write under. You may not realize it, but as you network, you are already building your tribe. (Side note: Google is your friend. Do a search for that name before you settle on it to make sure there aren’t any famous strippers who share your name.)
5) Claim your universe. Once you know who you are, go out there and grab it. Set up all your social media accounts with the same name so it is easy for your future fans to follow you. If they know you on Facebook, they should easily be able to take that name to Instagram and find you there too, if that is one of your 'hang-outs'.
6) Pick your hats carefully. You cannot be an expert at all things all at once. The number of things we seem to need to learn to do can be overwhelming. Most authors discover it is not all about writing a book. There is designing a website, promotion and marketing and social media networking. It can get overwhelming. But remember first and foremost, you must write. You have to have a book in order to promote it right? Decide if your time is better spent learning the craft of writing or learning the craft of book cover design... Consider farming out some of those hats. Ask around, (another reason for that networking I mentioned earlier) get recommendations. Sometimes a good PA (virtual personal assistant) is worth their weight in gold. Sometimes you meet authors (like me) who have a side business helping with that sort of thing.
7) Get feedback. I am not talking your mom here. Your mom loves you and probably framed the first scribble you ever made. I know this because I framed my kids' scribbles. FEEDBACK. Get a partner, join a writers group, be willing to put yourself out there, and above all else, be willing to learn from what they have to say. Nothing frustrates people more, not just authors any profession really, for someone to say hey I want to learn to do this wonderful thing, how do I get started then be disappointed when they say there is more to it than snapping your fingers.
I am not the final word in writing. However, I get asked once a week how to do it. And I do have three traditionally published books, so I must know one or two things worth sharing. So, this is me sharing. I hope you find it helpful and feel free to ask me anything. I may not have the answer. But chances are I can direct you to a place you can find some.