Are you an author? What did you write? Based on your experience; what tips do you have for a wannabee author?
All experience levels are encouraged to answer. Did you begin by writing articles? Did you write a book? When and where did you first get published? Who (did you have a co-author)? What (unusual subject matter)? When (hobby, while in school, while in business, after retirement)? Where (travel involvement)? Why (was it rewarding)? Advice?
Start by blogging, simple line items. It's a great way to put your thoughts or experiences out there and develop a following.
Check out my book, http://www.amazon.com/American-Messiah-Aaron-Lamar/dp/1500793876
Hello Dr. John, I am an author who has recently finished her first work of fiction. This can be found online on my site. Despite my longtime love and gift of writing, I found that I never gave enough time or discipline to the profession, and was surrounded by several half-finished manuscripts. So my solution was to start a blog and publish weekly chapters of my book, for which I couldn't afford to default because I was already building a steady readership. And so each week despite tight deadlines, I made sure I put out a chapter on Thursdays which was the day when everyone had come to expect it; and in 22weeks, I completed my first fiction novel. Now, during this period, the feedback and opportunities were overwhelming, I got to publish short stories on popular blogs in my country which in turn increased my own readership on the blog, I got invited to radio chats, and also opportunities for publishing emerged which I'm currently working on, as well as my second book. The best advice I ever got as a writer was simply to write and write and write again. No excuses. The thing which you give quality time to will eventually reveal its own opportunities.
Dear Dr. John, the answer to the question is within the question itself. There are many paths authors take to making their craft profitable. The term wannabe implies Want to be. The barriers to entry for an author are very low and always have been, all one needs is a pen or any other writing device and time.
From my personal experience: I have been a writer for many years. I have written fiction as well as having done a multitude of commercial copy-writing. I also studied and practiced SEO to make myself more beneficial to clients.
Being passionate about the business world I also went ahead and started an online publication business focused on presenting businesses to potential consumers from which I generated enough interest to convert it into a business venture with my own team.
I am currently working on something more substantial in the field of fantasy fiction but the message I am attempting to convey is the path depends very much on the individual.
I appreciate what Collin said. The most important thing I can suggest is to simply write and a blog is certainly a great place to start. I started by joining 40 other women and putting a short story in an anthology. This allows you to be a newbie and swim with some other writers who are more well known. Purchase your name as your domain name, is you can. The same for Twitter. Self publish a short book on Amazon. I have a short fiction Christmas story and a collection of poems that I have written. Figure out who you are tying to write to (your specific audience) and then figure out what problem you are going to solve. Than write about that. Give away everything, but the kitchen sink and before you know it you will have a following that will be begging you for that too!
I began by writing a blog and progressed from there. 3 books published and all going well two more this year. Keep a journal for writing down all your thoughts and ideas. Our memory is not as good as we think. Once you have a book Title, straight away write the outline. Find a good graphic designer to do your book covers. Be prepared for the long haul. I published on Amazon and Createspace. Most of all read and write everyday. " Good writers are great readers ". Good luck and go for it.
I wrote the first and second editions of the K2 Solutions Professional course book (~500 pages of pedagogic content including labs, demos, and Q&A along with supporting slide-ware) for K2 Learning while serving as Director of Learning at K2, which is a global software vendor. We had set ourselves a very lofty target of producing leaning material on par with highly recognisable brands such as Microsoft Learning, and based on customer feedback, we were successful. That's the pretty side of the story.
The not so pretty side of the story is that authoring high-quality material that is audience appropriate, is a challenge at best. Authoring specialised material is another matter entirely and suffice it to say that when I undertook the challenge, I was utterly underprepared. Here is what I learned:
- Define your objectives clearly for the book, for each chapter, and for each section.
- Identify the themes that will be addressed and developed throughout your book.
- Conduct your due diligence and research carefully both in terms of content and audience, though I doubt this is advice that a PhD would require.
- Based on your objectives, themes, and research, define an outline of what you will write and then ask yourself if the outline flows remembering that your audience will not have your context.
- From there develop each section as a short piece with a well-defined introduction, body, and conclusion. The challenge with a book is that sections are typically linked across chapters as parts of themes; nonetheless, each section must add to and advance its associated theme (or themes) in a structured manner that serves as a building block to the overall book.
- Once a chapter is complete, go back to your outline and check that you have achieved what you wanted to achieve within the chapter. Here is where you may decide to add more content to elucidate a point, move content out that does not fit, or remove content altogether. I suggest this approach, because fixing a skewed chapter is easier than fixing a skewed book (I know this from experience).
- In terms of graphics, make rough sketches and then revisit them at the end of the chapter. If the graphics are appropriate, then hand off the task to a designer.
- If you have the time, ignore your book for a month or two once it is complete then go back to it. Here is when you read critically, looking at every piece and asking yourself whether it adds to, confuses, or detracts from your objectives and themes. Here is also where you typically perform your own copyedit to standardise style, voicing, grammar, etc.
From there hand it off to your publisher (and that is where my experience ends). At K2, I had a captive audience (or platform as authors refer to it) and I had access to a supporting technical writer and a contract copyeditor. Additionally, K2 Learning published the book worldwide to K2 customers and partners who attend training. At the time, I had negotiated with a global fulfilment organisation--Mimeo--to print and distribute the book globally on behalf of K2 Learning.
In providing my answer I must duly point out that I am not a trained writer and that everything I have provided here is based on lessons learnt through experience.
I've written 19 books so far, my best advice is plan to spend money on marketing, editing, and advertising. (In that order of importance)
I began by writing articles and then writing books.
My advice is create an outline to organize your thoughts, but when you start to write give yourself the freedom to deviate from the outline.