Oh, where to begin on this subject! Let’s begin at the beginning.
1. The first draft is just that, a draft. Nothing less and nothing more. How many drafts will be needed? As many as it takes to get the manuscript to a publishing standard. For some writers that may be just a few drafts. For others it might take more than they wish to do. However, it is worth working towards achieving a good final draft.
2. A daily routine may be needed. To achieve writing goals for the day some writers might be suited to a routine. Plan your writing day. If you have a day job you may need to plan your nights or weekend to include some writing time. Each person will have a different approach to this. Some decide on a weekly word count and vary their daily writing targets. Others keep to a set daily word count. Your approach is up to you, but always try to achieve your target.
3. Authors work hard. Yes, you read it right. In a speech recently I stood on stage and said these very words. “Today as authors we are expected to write, market our work, teach, speak, create newsletters, blog and engage in social media to cultivate a thriving fan base. Authors now look at new ways to engage their audience, cultivate their readers and continue to be creative.” Don’t be fooled into thinking that once you become a published writer you just get to write all the time. You will be doing a lot of other things too.
4. Building an author’s platform is critical to building your brand as an author. When I say “author’s platform” I don’t mean all the social media networks you are showcased on. What I mean is the work you produce via your blog, e-mail newsletter, social network, interviews (including the ones about you and the ones you do for others), networks, podcast, videos etc—the work that engages an audience. This process takes time. Combined that with any published work that reaches your target audience, speaking engagements, network contacts and collaborative influences on different types of projects. Phew! Now, are you getting the idea of how hard a writer has to work?
5. Authors need a certain amount of confidence. Yes, some authors have to work on this. What do you need to be confident? Great efficacy (capacity to produce results) and a healthy amount of self-esteem. Confidence is not just about thinking positive and using affirmations. All confidence needs a good foundation which includes setting achievable goals and following through to make sure you reach those goals.
6. Learn about the technology, you will be using it all the time. There’s no way around this unless you have surplus amounts of money and you can afford to pay other people to manage your website, add your content and write your manuscript. You will need to know, or be willing to learn, how to use a computer and lot of different programs. That’s life today I’m afraid.
7. Great editing is essential. If you aren’t confident with editing your final draft then find an editor who comes with good recommendations and pay them to do it. Often a fresh pair of eyes reading over the manuscript can make all the difference to the work.
8. Know your rights as an author. Join an appropriate association that you can call on if you need help with contracts etc. Do not sign anything without having it looked over by a professional first. In Australia I would highly recommend the Australian Society of Authors.
9. Attend writer’s festivals and workshops. Learn, learn, learn!
10. Network. Begin this as soon as possible. Reach out to other writers. Join your local writers’ association or writers groups. Get to know people in the industry.
Well, that’s my 10 things I wish I knew.
Feel free to share your “10 Things I Wish I Knew About Being an Author” below in the comments section. Remember, everyone is different. I’d love to hear about your “wish list”.