It’s been a week since my last guide, and it seems you still want to be a writer. You won’t stop sending me messages, sending me e-mails, sending me hand-written missives that ask, “How? How can we be writers?” I get not a wink of rest or repose. I am tormented, so I will throw you, my loyal readers, this bone.
Last week we talked about taking your writing seriously. We talked about only writing in a field with which you are familiar, and we talked about how emotional attachment has no place on the basketball court or on your keyboard.
Today we will delve into some of the scarier stuff. Buckle up tight and hold on to your butts!
- Build your platform
This is an important one that almost always gets overlooked. You need to already have a readership before you publish a book, preferably before you even start writing. Publishing companies don’t want to do the advertising themselves! Why would they waste their time with that? They want to know that you are already famous, and make a wise investment. Ideally, you should have at least one million signatures from people who have sworn to buy your book when it comes out.
You should have this list, but you should not include it in your query letter. Publishers don’t have time to read lists!
2. Write. A. Lot.
So may people want to call themselves writers when all they have are ideas, not words on a page. So many new writers say, “I’ve put my five hours in for the day, now I’m going to go sleep/take care of my children/work at my day job.” Wrong! If you are serious about writing you should spend at least seven hours a day honing your craft! Seven days a week! Even on holidays! Even on Christmas! Especially on Christmas!
The best way to start building a platform. Start a blog and start interfacing with all of the many readers who will drift to you like moths to the flame as soon as you start writing. Write about something you are an expert in, like professional medical advice, or the history of the Korean War, or about writing.
Don’t know what to blog about? Try writing blog posts about writing advice. This way you, as a new writer, can pass on your sage knowledge to even more new writers, creating an infinite chain of advice and inexperience.
Okay, well, that’s my little bowl of encouragement for the day. Also remember, most importantly, don’t get stressed. Believe in yourself, and never stop following your dreams. 🙂