Sunday, May 21, 2017

The ABCs of Book Writing: J is for JUST write . . .

Infographic for Weekly Blog Series on Book Writing and Publishing: J is for JUST write
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. . . and JUST why you should.

In the real world of professional authorship, the bottom line is: writers write. Over the course of a career some authors will produce dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of books, articles, and reviews. Others may produce only a handful and build a career by combining writing with speaking, teaching, or consulting. How prolific you are depends on a number of personal and professional factors—for example: whether or not you have a day job, your health and energy, your family and domestic obligations, and the type of writing you do. Regardless of your individual situation, what you don't want to be is a one-book author.

Why writers must keep writing

There are four basic reasons why there is no downside to your being as prolific a writer as you can manage to be:

1. Writers must keep writing for the obvious reason that this is the only way to produce a sufficient amount of work to reach others. The more you produce, the more likely you are to find markets and draw readers.

2. Writing continuously is the only way to significantly grow as a writer. In the course of producing one book, you may gather momentum and hone some skills. But without continuing to write, it is hard to imagine maintaining your craft, let alone improving on it.

3. The more you write, the more likely you are to be successfully published. It is difficult to break into the market as a first-time book author with absolutely no credentials. Agents, publishers, and readers will be swayed in your favor if you have some writing credentials, such as book reviews, journal or magazine articles, or anthology contributions. Now that publishing credentials can be obtained through both print and digital sources, it's hard to justify wanting to be a book author while remaining totally unpublished.

4. To keep on writing is to be a professional. Even if you have just finished a magnum opus, you have no excuse to hang up the quill pen or power down your computer. If you work hard at your manuscript and persevere with querying agents and publishers, or with marketing your self-published book, your work will eventually attract someone who can take you to the next level. But odds are, that someone will not only value prior writing credentials but will also want you at least to have a second book in progress.

Strategies to keep you writing

Ideally, while you are working on one book—presumably your main project—you should be writing something else as while. If this is absolutely not possible for you, then once the main project is completed, immediately begin the next book or some other writing project, preferably one related to your newly completed book.

Strategies that will keep you writing can be as many and as varied as writers themselves. Here are a few for you to try and to adapt to suit yourself and your situation:

Strategies to keep writing
—While writing one book, research, plan, make notes on, and write snippets of the next book.

—Seek out book reviewing opportunities. Start but don't stop with Amazon, Smashwords, and Goodreads.

—While writing one book, work on another in a different but related genre, to keep you fresh in both. Examples of possible pairings: science fiction/popular science; contemporary romance/romantic suspense; detective fiction/true crime; popular history/historical fiction; cozy mystery/period mystery.

—Write articles or short stories related to your current book in progress; write and send out queries for these.

—Start, and work hard at, a blog related to your book.

—Look for related blogs to contribute to as a guest.

—If your book is part of a series, make notes on, or write drafts of, later books in the series.

—Just for fun, write fan fiction. It could grow your author platform.

—If all else fails, write journal or diary entries. These will not likely be publication ready anytime soon, but maybe someday . . .

Just keep writing

However you choose to do it, stay continuously involved in the writing process. Some of us must devote time and energy to day jobs, and we all need downtime. But succeeding as a book author means never entirely walking away from writing, whether it's a book you're working on or something—anything—else that qualifies as potentially publishable written work.

Writers write.

Coming next week . . . "K is for KNOWING what you don't know"

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