#1 STAY FOCUSED
There's always, always something that can distract you from sitting in your writing chair. The grandkids want you to go play in the snow. The doughnut in the kitchen is calling your name. It takes a lot of self discipline to get a book written. You are your own boss, so you have to keep reminding yourself that if you don't get a book written, you are not going to get it published.
#2 NOTEBOOK, FILE, SOMETHING
Keep a notebook, file or something to refer back to concerning your characters. If Tommy has brown eyes on page four, blue eyes on page sixty and brown eyes on page two hundred, your readers will scream at you. I'm old school. I still use a notebook and a pen for my rough outline ideas. On the first page of that notebook I write the ABC's down one side, and then I start a list of my characters. You really shouldn't have characters with the same first initial. It's confusing to your reader. Also hero/heroine with sound alike names (Lisa and Lane) will stump your reader. Especially on series books when I need to remember the hero from book one when I'm writing book seven, I buy one of those little recipe card files and keep it right beside my computer. Each character, even the dogs and cats, gets an index card (filed alphabetically by first name) in the card box. That way all I have to do is find the card, and presto hero in number one was six feet two inches tall and had blue eyes. Some folks like to do this on the computer, and that's fine, but once I lost nine thousand words by shutting the wrong window and not saving. So it's old school for me.
#3 EDIT! EDIT! EDIT!
Your rough draft is finished. Now it's time to edit, edit, edit. Have someone else read your manuscript, and don't take the constructive criticism personal.
#4 WALK AWAY
If you begin to feel overwhelmed while you're working on those edits, get up and walk away from them. That's when it's all right to leave the writing chair. Take a walk. Pet the cat. Get your mind cleared so you can go back to the edits with a fresh outlook.
#5 START A NEW BOOK
Your book is finished, is in the agent's hands or the publisher's, now what? You start another book! This is the WRITE, DON'T WHINE! phase. Don't whine that it's taking so long to get your book published, or that you've got rejection slips. Write another book while you're waiting. When that first one does sell, you'll have a new one in your hands to sell.
Always hire a professional editor and proofreader. Most new authors feel that with programs like Grammarly they can just edit their books themselves, which is a great tool to clean up an outline. But it is important to also hire a professional editor to really polish your book and make it the best it can be. Readers always know when a book wasn't edited properly and this can affect the type of reviews they give the book once it's published.
1) Blog and Social Media Links
Create a blog or website well in advance of your book launch, and keep your followers informed of your progress. Remember to include information on your blog/website and social media links at the end of your book.
Ensure your book is of the very best quality, by enlisting a professional editor and book cover designer. It will pay dividends.
3) Keywords and Categories
Choose your categories and keywords for online retailers carefully. Try to find categories that have smaller numbers of books to boost your rankings. Keep a close eye on your progress, and tweak as necessary.
Keep your prices in line with your competitors. Readers will not buy your book if you charge too much. Regular discounted offers will increase sales.
5) Read and Review Books
Read and review other author's books, and post to your blog/website, social media, BookBub and Goodreads...
It will come back to you in many ways.
1. Write every day, even if it's a sentence, a plot idea, or hundreds of words, it does not make a difference, as long as you keep at it.
2. Keep reading; your favorite genre and something out of your comfort zone.
3. Never stop learning how to master your craft, listen to webinars and do those courses, there are so many authors offering that for free or at a low cost
4. Write what you want to write, yeah, write to market, DO THAT, but write what moves you, what made you start this journey in the first place.
5. Don't belittle your success, the fact that you wrote a book, is HUGE!
I like to write without distractions, so that means paper and pen. I find that when I write by hand, I don’t concern myself with misspelled words, missed punctuation or any of the editing errors that slow me down when composing by keyboard, whether typewriter or computer. It frees my right brain to relax and let the left side lead. I am always amazed how quickly the pages pour out. Using new tools like Rocketbook, I can easily scan the written pages to any device and it will transcribe them to text for me. A total win-win.
1) Never pay for reviews (this does not include review companies such as Netgalley, Hiddengems, OnlineBookClub, etc. which charge to list your books on their sites for their clients to voluntarily choose to review if they want.)
2) Look at the book covers of the top books in your genre. Does yours compete?
3) Don't do your book covers yourself unless you have experience in graphic art.
4) Get input from other authors on your blurbs. Some authors find them easy to do, while most do not. Avoid outlining the entire book--explain the first 1/3 of the book and use a question to make the reader guess what might happen in the last 2/3.
5) Do not harrass other authors to read/reveiw your book or do review swaps. Most authors do not have time for this and the popular authors are constantly being asked to review other authors' books.
7) There are over 1000 groups on Amazon that will let you promote your books in them. Do a search for your genre or "book promo" and you'll get tons of them popping up. Read each group's guidlines for posting so you don't get kicked out.
8) There are numerous groups on Facebook that are for authors only, to develop their craft and with tips on how to market. Join them.
9) Set a monthly budget.
10) Research the different book promotion sites and ask other authors about their experiences with them.
11) Don't put your book on sale shortly after a release because your sales are down. Readers get upset when they see a book that just came out, that they already bought, going on sale within the first three months of release.
12) Don't overprice or underprice your book.
(Yup, more than 5 but all needed to be said!)
1) Don't give up.
2) Listen to the advice of authors who have come before you, yet do what works best for you.
3) Get an editor.
4) Read other authors in the top 100 of your genre to better understand what readers like.
5) Never respond to reviews, but take a bad review and use it as constructive criticism to make your books better.
6) Leave your ego at the door
(Okay, that was six, but they are all important.)
1. Be sure you have a foolproof crucible plot. In a romance, your hero and heroine must be in a situation they can't escape. If they could walk away and don't after the first big conflict, then your readers will think they're stupid and deserve each other! Put them in a situation where walking away would cost them far too much.
2. Your book should begin with "why is this day unlike any other?" Get to that quickly. If it is just another day, then it's dull. Something monumental must happen that day -- within a few pages of the book -- to hook the reader.
3. Peel your main characters like an onion. One layer at a time. Don't tell us their whole backstory in big clumps of pages. Feed it to us in small doses, telling us only what is necessary for us to know about their history in order to understand how they are handling the present situation. Readers need to get to know your characters a bit before they will be interested in what happened to them in the past.
4. Secondary characters should support and play off of the main characters. They are there to reveal more about the hero and heroine or to throw up roadblocks. Don't allow them to have their own story that has little to do with what's going on with the hero and heroine. Keep the focus on your protagonists.
5. Finally, and most importantly, "show, don't tell." Show the story through your main characters' eyes, ears, nose, taste, and touch. Don't tell us things through your author viewpoint. You aren't part of this story. You aren't a character in this book. Don't tell us things about the characters -- show us the characters by staying in their viewpoints so that we experience the world through them -- not through you.
Write clean and edit as you progress in your narrative. Always stop writing when you still have a little left to say, make a note of it and begin there the next time. Go back and re-read a chapter or two before beginning writing, that with your prompt from before you ceased writing will enable you to jump right back into the story.
HOW THICK DOES AN AUTHOR'S SKIN NEED TO BE?
Every now and then, you wake up to what you think will be a good day. For an author, that would probably be a steamy mug of coffee, a quiet space to work in, and a full day in which to lose yourself in your characters and story. There you sit, with your fingers poised over the keyboard of your computer, ready to work on your latest and greatest work in progress. A smile graces your lips and you think, today I know exactly where I am going with this chapter. You've spent the night wrestling with twists, turns, and character revelations, and settled upon your course of action. And then (drum roll), and then you decide to peek at your reviews on Goodreads. What a bad idea that can be! You look, you squint, your heart skips a couple of beats, and you feel your stomach sink. There it is, impossible to deny, that dreaded one or two-star review. You feel sick, not only from the standpoint of your ego but because you allow the review to get under your skin. That one or two-star review can literally rip your guts out and reduce you into a babbling idiot. You vanish, poof, and all that remains of the confident author are your insecurities and self-doubts. Forget brilliant prose and those dreams of readers clamoring to read your efforts. Even if you simultaneously receive a five-star review, it is the one or two stars that cast a pall squelching your creativity. You're back in grade school or high school, and that class bully or bitchy girl has singled you out to bear the brunt of their own frustrations and inadequacies.
You ask yourself the question that begs for an answer, why is it that the person who hates your efforts is the one that feels the necessity to expound the most? Even, when they might not have finished your book. They take pen or computer, and rant and rave, until it's a wonder that they just don't explode from their hypertensive efforts. It's almost as if every inequity known to man has somehow been conveyed in the pages of your book. Please, just take a breath, it's a novel; not everything conforms to your sensibilities. There isn't always a happy ending, not for you, not for me, and certainly not in a book.
It's times like these that an author would do well to grow a thick skin, perhaps something like that of a rhinoceros, or better yet a porcupine. Something that protects from the barbs, and sharpened teeth of a mad, frothing at the mouth, rabid reader. It's funny the difference in people. I would never take the time to write a long, laborious scathing review. It would never occur to me. If a book is that bad I just move on, usually without a peep. I don't hate the author or wish he or she ill will. Besides, my time is far too precious. I'd much prefer writing about the books that have moved me, informed me, opened doors for me, entertained me. Ah, but that's what differentiates us, it's the difference between vanilla and chocolate. After all, that is all a review really is, one person's opinion, and very often that person holds no special degree in literary criticism, do they?
I am reminded of what Kurt Vonnegut thought about the matter: "As for literary criticism in general; I have long felt that any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel or a play or a poem is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae, or a banana split."
Now that I got that off my chest, it's back to the book!
1. Get it down the first time nonstop without going back to edit or even worry about the spelling.
2. Decide who is the MC and then how many other voices you will need to make this story complete.
3. Keep a list of all your characters, the spelling of their names, and a page of information to refer to as you write about them. Things like, descriptions of their hair, eyes, physique, favorite food and drink, pet words they use, etc.
4. Date the start of your story, write down the main characters' dates of birth and any important dates that might be mentioned based on when the characters are are born so you're consistent with the timing of events.
5. Keep a list of questions or things to check on before sending your ms to your editor.
1. Just write. Once you've begun to start writing what you want written, the nagging in your head will stop.
2. Write for the love and the craft of the art. Publishing has become an overrated success circus.
3. No one is going to teach you how to write. If you’re interested in technique or some technical skill, choose a more suitable occupation.
4. If you want to improve your writing, read and draw inspiration from among the greatest writers who have lived and are no longer here.
5. Get someone to read what you have written. He or she can see things you can't see and offer constructive criticism.