1. Write what you want to write.
My historical fiction novel with abortion as one of its main themes was snapped up. I never dreamt that would happen! But…. my debut novel ‘The Abandoned’ is being released by Bloodhound Books on 25th January. I also worried about a female lead like Peggy but she just had to be written. Despite my fears, I wrote her and let her do the rest. I enjoyed my time with her and I hope it shows
2. Challenge yourself
Join a writing class, group or online forum and share some of your ramblings. Practicing your writing voice. My style might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s mine. Find your style and try not to be afraid of it. We all worry constantly about our words.
3. Being ignored is the norm.
I found it hard not to get frustrated when people didn’t/don’t reply to my emails and submissions. But it is normal to hear nothing and then suddenly get some interest and then hear nothing again. Do not get disheartened.
4. Don’t give up. Keep going.
5. Submitting to agents, magazines and publishers takes FOREVER!
Be prepared to wait until you think you’ll die from waiting. Even if things are successful for you and people don’t totally ignore you – there is a huge amount of waiting around to hear confirmation of good news. Patience and polite persistence is key to survival.
6. Try not to squeal about good news until it actually happens.
Paths change and things can linger on people’s desks (as I’ve already stated) and when this happens you may be left looking a little foolish if you mention things are happening – and they don’t. I have made this mistake too often.
7. Yet…. you must be prepared to be a shameless self-promoter.
There is no use in being ‘Irish’ and modest about your achievements. You must try to be nicely confident and promote yourself and your successes. This is very difficult as creative souls are not necessarily confident. For example writing tips for other writers seems like a step too far for me. But I do wish I knew some of these things at the start.
8. The only way forward is to have your writing read.
This seems obvious, but I know I wrote secretly for ages and I didn’t want readers at all. However, if you want to move on to the next level, your writing will have to be read. Try short stories competitions and submit to online magazines. This is where I started and it’s a great confidence boost to hear someone will publish your ‘stuff’.
9. Not everyone will like your work.
I hate to get a rejection letter or for someone to say they don’t like my writing. If you take on the negativity it can feel like a stab in the guts. Instead try to focus on the nice emails or the ones who gave you interesting feedback. (I’ll try to practice what I’m preaching.)
10. Contact other authors, writers and readers.
- Writers and authors love to hear from nice people like yourself. Communication with writers will give you like-minded people at the touch of a button. Email, tweet or message your favourite writers and engage with them on social media. You can stay in touch with me on here or please subscribe to my blog and newsletter. Tweet with me on @sharontwriter and join my tweetchat #WritersWise.