#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.
1. You can always learn something.
2. Never stop. Even if the situation seems to call for stopping. Breaks are ok though.
3. Get out and see the world. Sometimes watching human interaction or the day to day hustle of life can inspire conversation, situation, or settings!
4. Write for you first, write for "them" second. Put what you want to put on paper first, and revise for others to enjoy!
5: Don't write for page count or word count. Write to tell the story, whether that takes 20,000 words, or 140,000. Tell the story.
1. Always judge a book by its cover. You wouldn't get into a taxi with battered body work to go to a dentist with bad teeth, would you?
2. Aim for the heart, the head, and then the wallet. In that order. A weak book, badly designed won't sell at the cheapest price. But a book that promises to move and engage someone can command a good price.
3. Make sure your designs can be read quickly - you only have seconds to draw a reader in.
4. Don't try to be too "unique." If no one is doing something, a "super idea" you have had, there might be a good reason for it.
5. Say as much as you can in the fewest words. Cut out all the stuffing. Remember, give your reader the prime cuts, because you want them to come back for more. If you fill their plate with fat and gristle they will tire of chewing.
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.
I am very new to this, but I will tell you things that have helped immensely. I got invited to an author convention as a reader. I met over 50 authors. I had no intention at the time of writing. I joined many groups in that genre and interacted. I became friends with several and when I wrote a book; they were so helpful with everything from writing to self publishing.
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 what whatever story is yearning to burst out of your soul, regardless of whether it fits into a popular genre.
2. Get rid of all negative energy that is in your creative space (i.e. people and things that bring you down).
3. Don't get it right, get it written.
4. Don't fall in love with characters or a plot that doesn't work. Be flexible enough to make changes when necessary.
5. Don't rush. Write for the long haul. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day.
1: Advertise. This means free, and often, paid ads. Work within your budget. Amazon Ads can get out of hand, be sure to stay on top of it. Facebook ads are hit or miss. Think outside of the box. Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest are all great if you are familiar with those formats. Try to run ads when you can.
2: Talk about your book. Be enthusiastic about it. Talk it up at signings, book clubs, restaurants. Wherever you get the chance. Part two of this is: know WHEN to talk about it. Throwing the book into an unwanted conversation never goes well. Know your audience, interject when appropriate.
3: Your cover, blurb, book description, etc can always evolve. Change often if it isn't working. Tweak your blurb, see what the public thinks. Adjust the book description. Find out what people don't like about the book cover and try to fix it. You may have a fondness for the cover, but everyone else may not. You're trying to sell a book to THEM, not YOU.
4: Local Bookstores should never be dismissed! Just because they're not the big time Barnes and Noble does not mean they can't equally sell dozens of your books a month! There is no guarantee that having a book at B&N equals billions of sales. It'll likely get lost among the trillions of books they stock. A small store likely will develop a personal relationship with you and help promote your book. Always promote that your books are carried in their stores on social media. They appreciate it.
5: Calm down. Just because you're not getting a sixteen movie deal with Netflix does not mean your books aren't moving. Selling a book a month is a big step. Selling one a week is excellent. Selling one a day is amazing! Baby steps. Don't sink a ton of money into anything, do not follow rabbit holes of false promises of vanity publishers guaranteeing you sales. Nobody can truly make good on that statement. If it happens, it happens.
6: Just be smart, calm, and positive out there. It's not so much its own step, but a means of getting through just about everything in life. Be calm and think things through. Ask for help. Patience is a virtue! Good luck out there!
1. Do something every day. Even if it's one thing...and even if it's small.
2. It's a marathon, not a sprint.
3. Small gains, pay off in the long run.
4. Be efficient with social media. Organize and use a service. It takes time to set it up but once it's set up, you'll only have to monitor and update. Use a schedule and stick to it.
5. Be strategic and relevant in your marketing.
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.