Things I didn’t know when I started writing.
- The money is crap. Unless you are a JK Rowling you will not make much money AT ALL. I know there are exceptions to all rules but as far as I can tell – thus far – don’t give up the day job. (I gave up mine though) 🙂
- You can write even without a Masters in Creative Writing from Oxford. I thought only exceptionally literary folks with very high IQs wrote books. I write and have a novel and many manuscripts on the go… so anyone can do it.
- You must work at your book until you hate it. Yes, you become sick of re-writes and edits. It does need to be checked and treble-checked and re-written until you’re blue in the face and think you cannot possible change it anymore. You do grow to loathe it for a time and also you cannot see your own mistakes.
- The writing community is not stuck up and very helpful to emerging writers. I used to think writers were aloof creatures who were too intelligent to converse with mere mortals. Not true. Writers are very supportive and love to get together and support one another. Ireland’s writing scene is full of lovely people. Go to launches and events and say hullo. Check out writing.ie and writerswise1.wordpress.com for example.
- Getting an agent is the first step in traditional publishing. Agents are allusive creatures. You must research the best one for you and then mercilessly stalk them with your manuscripts and growing writing CV. Agents submit your work to publishers. Some publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts but mostly having an agent is a good step. It is hard to catch their attention and for them to take on to work with you. It takes time and hard work to find your agent.
- There’s so much to learn aside from how to construct a book. Like every industry there are dos and don’ts and the etiquette can seem very odd. Being in contact with other writers and following blogs and writers’ lives educates us about what is required and when.
- Writing is a lonely occupation. You may get a great agent and fabulous publisher but most of the time writers are on their own in continually promoting their books and themselves.
- Social media is so important for writers. Many writers don’t like to waste time on self-promotion or social media but to enhance your readership, you need an online presence. It also keeps lonely writers in touch with each other and their readers. Join tweet chats or Facebook forums for writers. It can be very fulfilling to admit your writing addiction to others 😉
- Usually writers have very little choice in their covers, titles and blurbs. I had no idea about this. Marketing is a whole field where writers are asked to trust the publishers – so it’s possibly a good idea to have no massive hang-ups about losing control at this point. My publisher conversed with me on all three things but I think this is unusual.
- It’s not easy to say ‘I’m a writer’. Most writers feel like imposters or undeserving of their progress. I still baulk at using ‘Writer’ on forms or when people ask me what I do, I stammer incoherently. I didn’t think it would be so hard to say I’m content in what I do; but it is.
#TheAbandoned is out soon.
Jan 11th for pre-order and full release on 25th.
Check out this short trailer too.