I’ve been writing since I first read a Sweet Valley High book and thought I could do better myself. Of course I couldn’t at the time, I was nine but over the years the years, I’ve also learned a few things.
Please note, these are my experiences and may not be typical – in fact, they may be as far from typical as appears feasible whilst still sitting somewhere within the realm of possible…
1. If you look at self-publishing as a hobby, it’s cheaper than horse-riding, diamond mining or going to the movies once a month.
2. A brilliant book does not mean you’ll bag an agent/six-figure publishing deal. A brilliant book, kick-ass cover, slick editing, and selling a hundred thousand Kindle editions might.
3. Submitting to agents is a form of self-flagellation. Horsehair shirts cost less and are emotionally less devastating. (Plus you can write about the experience later, publish that book on Kindle, give it BDSM tags and sell more copies than you would the dystopian YA thriller you were originally touting to agents.)
4. Having a blog is great – random strangers DO read your witterings. Some of them even buy your book.
5. Signing up for authonomy.com does not guarantee you’ll be noticed by an agent the next day. It’s a website where you can learn key marketing skills such as, I’ll read your book if you read mine. Promise this one million times and you might hit the Editors Desk – this never leads to publication. Ever.
6. Signing up for animoto.com does mean you can make your very own book trailer.
7. Getting your first book professionally edited is a really good idea even if you’re not looking to self-publish. An editor will focus your style on the market/genre you’re really writing for, point out where your writing skills need work and you could end up with a manuscript an agent does want to read.
8. Grammar and punctuation are not dark arts – they’re a skill every author can and ought to learn;
9. Signing up for youwriteon.com does not guarantee you’ll be noticed by an agent the next day. It’s a website where you’ll receive reviews such as , ‘I hate chick lit and this shoe-based romance…’ and ‘I normally prefer steampunk erotica so this western romance…’
10. Some people do make it big – with very little effort it can seem.
11. Some people plug away for years and make pocket money.
12. That book you finished – it isn’t finished. Typing ‘The End’ simply means the editing can start.
13. Right now, on Amazon you can buy a book called Mail Order Tiger Bride Wars – it does what it says on the tin. That BBW shape-shifter piece of romance is currently ranked higher than #FORFEIT. Yet that doesn’t sting nearly as much an agent rejection letter because….
14. Three million reads on wattpad.com say people really like my books.
And that’ll do, pig.