Don’t Sabotage Your Writing Career Before It Takes Off – Part 3

Read The Bestsellers With A Critical Eye

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Cultivate Excellent Reading Skills

To become an excellent writer, it doesn’t go without saying that you also have to cultivate excellent reading habits.

No, it’s not enough to read only blog posts and the current rags, but make time for more than the cursory reading of best sellers.

Reading is like an apprenticeship and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with learning from the high achievers of the literary world.

Many people want to become the next big or upcoming author, yet it will amaze you how many of these people don’t bother to read the authors that are successful. I’ve had a number of closet writers tell me that they don’t read best sellers because most of them are rip offs and crap.

Some time ago, I mentioned in a blog post that I was reading A Prisoner of Birth: by Jeffrey Archer, and another blogger went full frontal attack on J. Archer and how he hires a team of writers to do his writing. How he has probably never written a full novel blah, blah.

To say the least, that was a put-off that left a negative impression.




The Quirky Excuses For Not Reading Bestsellers

  • The notion that best sellers are rip-off’s and crap

If the idea of hiring a team of writers to hash out an idea into a book is a crime, then I’ll probably become guilty of such crime myself – hopefully, sometime in the future.

We all know that writing series of best-selling novels is not an easy feat. I’ve not written one yet, but from my writing experience, I can imagine how mentally draining and flat ass working hours are spent constructing such engaging novels.

If a writers life could be made easier by engaging others to help out with a project, then I say ‘good for them,’ besides, they are providing some income to these ghost writers as well as providing grounds for the background writer to hone his/her skills.

When someone takes the pain to describe a best seller as crap, they usually offer lame statements like:

“Oh, I read classics.” There’s absolutely nothing wrong with reading Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Virginia Woolf, Fitzgerald and the host of dead writers out there, but the problem with this argument is that you can’t enter the huge ever-changing marketplace of books if you don’t know what the trend is and what buyers are looking out for.

Reading classics is brilliant, but a good number of them are not that hot now and you are certainly not going to attract a lot of millennial plus other living readers by writing Shakespearian prose. Your first lesson is to learn how to write for the people buying books now.

If you’re a romance writer, explore best-selling romance novels from writers like Jude Deveraux, Nora Roberts, Johanna Lindsay, Lisa Kleypas, if you’re a horror writer, delve into some Stephen King, Anne Rice, Dean Koontz and co.

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Learn by reading the best works in the genre of your interest and this includes reading their début novels that helped them to break into the business.

The critical study of these will be time well spent that would help you break in, too and in the long run.

  •  The ‘I have to be original and uninfluenced by them,’ retort.

There’s a popular saying that everything has been written about everything. Well, as long as I haven’t written mine, that’s not true.

I’ve heard severally the argument of having your own voice and not losing it and the notion that reading these best sellers might make you start writing like them. Oh, how I wish! I would count myself lucky if I should write like the greats.

This shouldn’t be a problem. Your diverse reading, experience and individuality counteract this notion and except you are stealing someone’s work, learning how to chart your story from those who have excelled in it is certainly not a bad thing.

Check here for more writing tips.




Don’t Sabotage Your Writing Career Before It Takes Off – Part 2

That Single Title Won’t Make You Rich

Here’s the thing, very few authors make money on their first book. In the writing life, a year is nothing. Writing, writing career, published, books, titles

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You did it. Finally, you’ve published that book. Your sweat, blood and gore went into it. Now it’s time to sit before the fireplace with a glass of wine and rub your palm in anticipation of counting all the dough that will roll in.

This is somewhat embarrassing, but most times our first book and I daresay several titles after hardly causes the Richters scale to shift in our bank balance.

I have to admit that after I published my first poetry book I had high expectations in my bubbly dream world, but soon enough, reality slapped me awake. Quitting one’s hustle and day job was not going to happen quickly.

Anticipating that you’ll be paying bills with your book advance and ROI from your book may not happen by the end of the year or even many years to come.




You might even strike gold and have an agent sign you on, but the challenge of successfully shopping it around and selling it is still a huge probability.

In some cases, when the agent is unsuccessful, they drop you, which is devastating to any writer. As a matter of fact after such unpalatable news, some writers hibernate from writing another word for several years.

Slogging away on a book and revising it for months on end is hard work and the rejections simply make the process discouraging and leaves you with the feeling that you are just wasting your time.

Keep The Slogging Going

Here’s the thing, very few authors make money on their first book. When you read success stories of authors breaking the bank on a first book, keep in mind that there’s a back story. They probably have many years of slogging it out, rejections and many drafts stashed away in their files. If you research the big-earner indies like H.M. Ward, Meredith Wild, C. J. Lyons and co., they have dozens of published books out there.




In the writing life, a year is nothing. Think of several years and write because you absolutely love writing. Write because without writing your life would be incomplete. Don’t write with the thoughts of becoming an overnight success. Even The Stephen Kings and J.K. Rowling of our world had their disappointments before the breakthroughs.

On a serious note, you may need to do something different to earn some income and fill in the gaps while pursuing your writing career.

Whether you are self or traditionally published, till you have several published titles in your kitty, you’re not likely to make enough money to live your dream life.

 

 

ESSENTIAL WRITERS TIPS – Cut Adverbs

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Adverbs

To use or not to use adverbs is one big controversy in the writing world.  The rule is to use them sparingly if at all.

I loved using adverbs because they were convenient, but as I started understudy on how to write professionally it was challenging to learn how not to make the mistake of the constant use of adverbs.

I still get tempted to – by the force of habit – but with consistent practice, it gets better.

Why Cut Adverbs?

  • Adverbs are weak. Remember the show don’t tell rule.
  • They make writing sound lazy and amateurish.
  • Cutting adverbs makes you more imaginative as a writer. You expand your search for other descriptions for what you want to say.
  • Adverbs create redundant words.
  • They clutter your writing and makes it vague.
  • Adverbs interrupt the flow of action.

A good old plain ‘she said or he said’ is better than too many superfluous and dramatic adverbs.

For example,

‘Why the hell did you do say that!’ he said angrily

‘Get away from me right now!’ she yelled loudly

Would read better as:

‘Why the hell did you say that!’ he said.

‘Get way from me right now!’ she yelled.

Those adverbs are not necessary because their emotions are already expressed in their words. We already know that they are angry.

Sometimes less is more. Too many adverbs weaken a prose and subverting them creates more vivid writing.

There are instances where using adverb is necessary, such as writing suspense when the character’s action is paramount to the story.

For example: 

He lightly tiptoed to the door. What if the use of ‘light tiptoe’ is used to anticipate fear or the expectation of an action? This adverb is there to create apprehension in the reader – it serves a purpose being there and not a redundant word.

Cutting adverbs will help you find the balance between overwriting and a good show and tell writing.

Do you use adverbs? Please share in the comments. For Essential Writers’ Tips check this link.

Keep your writing in check use Grammarly


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Writing

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A World of Words.

Our World is full of words because we all have something to say. Each of us has a wonderful story to tell and no matter how much negative anticipation is out there, books are not going to disappear. They will continue to exist in one form or the other – digital, interactive, audio, paperbacks…

We humans love storytelling and we always have the urge to share our stories with one another as well as documenting them for the future generations.

Some might say that it’s all been written and they wonder how much chance they stand against the millions of books out there? It is not disputed that millions of books get published each day and that there’s existing competition.

However, you must remember that your voice is unique, that your story is different and that there are many other ways your writing passion and creativity could be rewarded.

As we explore various opportunities out there through this blog, my hope is that you’ll find fulfillment from employing your words.


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