So, you want to be a published author!
Why? That’s one question you’ll need to ask yourself.
I would suggest doing some serious soul-searching before you invest your time and energy, because writing a novel requires a lot of commitment and hard work!
Will your writing be a hobby or a vocation? These days, very few writers are able to make a living off their books, so you’ll probably need to have a day job to make ends meet. Assuming you have a fire in your belly for creative writing that can’t be extinguished, then by all means go for it!
My story is a rare and unique one.
I didn’t choose to be an author—it picked me, since I really didn’t have much choice in the matter!
I was inspired to write creatively after sustaining a closed-head injury when rear-ended in my car by a drunk driver traveling 80 to 90 mph.
Immediately after the accident, I suffered from memory loss and aphasia, a problem with expressing my speech and communicating with others.
Writing has been very rewarding, and I write because it gives me the freedom to openly express my creativity—a way to transcribe my thoughts and allow my imagination to go into overdrive.
I love the sense of fulfilment received while penning a story on paper.
Writing has allowed me to connect with others through my tales of terror, hopefully stirring up emotions that will bring excitement and entertainment to my readers.
Putting your thoughts down on paper and creating an entertaining narrative enjoyed by others will give you an adrenaline rush that no amusement park ride can even come close to. To me, that’s what is great about being a writer!
Nowadays, it’s very difficult to get your novel accepted for publication by a traditional publisher, especially considering the fierce competition involved.
All authors have experienced their fair share of rejections by publishers, a reason why many choose to self-publish their books.
There are pros and cons to traditional publishing vs. self-publishing, so I urge the novice writer to research that information and then make their own decision. Some authors choose to go hybrid, having their books both traditionally and self-published, as circumstances dictate.
Since the publishing industry is extremely competitive and constantly changing, it’s important that authors do their homework.
Be sure to research any publishing companies or small presses you are considering submitting your work to. Check that they are not only reputable, but will also remain in business for a reasonable period of time.
Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous publishers and literary agents lying in wait, ready to scam the unsuspecting author at the drop of a hat. Don’t forget the old adage, “a fool and his money are soon parted!” Approach all book dealings/contracts carefully, along with a pinch of healthy paranoia.
I chose to traditionally publish my novels because I believe that publishers are willing to invest in a book if it’s well-written, with a storyline that will catch the attention of readers interested in a particular genre.
Traditional publishers are in business to make a profit, so I felt that my books had the best chance of success with their professional editing, financial backing, and marketing support.
If you are a talented author, I would recommend finding a reputable, royalty-paying publisher to submit your work to for consideration of publication.
Novice authors looking to get their work published by a reputable book publisher first need to write a great story, then compose a compelling cover letter and synopsis that will catch the eye of the submissions editor.
In terms of promoting your book, utilize any available modality you can in order to get the word out.
If you have a book publisher able to help you with marketing your book, then that’s great.
These days, social media is another tool used to help authors sell their books. The best advice I can give a new author is to write a compelling story, get a good publisher, promote your book, and then say a prayer.
In order to fine-tune and better hone your craft, read as many books by different authors as you can. If you truly have a love for writing, don’t allow yourself to get discouraged…and most importantly, never give up!
If your desire is to be a horror author, then there are multiple components that contribute to the makings of a good horror story.
I believe that three of the most important elements are fear, surprise, and mystery. Utilizing various writing skills, an author can use fear, especially fear of the unknown, as a tool to scare the reader.
The element of surprise is another important component of any good horror tale, when used properly. Mystery, often involving murder(s) with an unknown killer(s), can be used to keep the reader’s interest in the plot.
When the elements of fear, surprise, and mystery are all combined together in a synergistic fashion, it makes for one great horror story.
How does a new writer keep the narrative exciting throughout their novel? That’s where creative writing comes in.
To me, writing is an art form, much like painting—each stroke of the brush is analogous to writing a sentence. As an author, it is imperative to not only create life-like and interesting characters, but also to develop their personalities.
Be sure to make the dialogue both engaging and thought-provoking, and don’t forget to leave something to the reader’s imagination. Leave enough information out of the story to pique the reader’s curiosity—provide just enough savory taste to stimulate their appetite.
Setting is also important, and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. The setting, especially in a tale of horror, establishes the mood for the story and enables the writer to intertwine the plot.
If the setting is based on an actual location, it helps for the author to be familiar with the geography, terrain, etc. Be sure the setting you choose for your story has the proper atmosphere for your genre.
What makes for a successful novelist?
In my opinion, writing talent, discipline, and creativity are key to making it as a writer (a little luck along the way never hurts, either).
Read, read, and then read some more—it’s all about learning and fine-tuning your craft.
Select any pertinent information about writing on the web, in book form, or through a workshop that will help make you a better writer. Remember though, that there’s no magical “cookbook” or “cookie-cutter” way of turning a novice into a great writer.
Writing is demanding and it requires discipline, so if you spend the time and make the effort, then the end product should be worthwhile. Don’t give up, and continue to read and write (practice makes perfect).
Best of luck in your new journey!