When you’re starting out writing, or indeed a way into your writing life, it’s always good to know what word counts you need to aim for so that you write a book that can meet readers expectations. However, always keep in mind that these are guidelines and come from the traditional publishing world. For me, a story should be as long as it needs to be for it to be told well.
- Why are you writing the book?
- What makes it different to what else is on the market?
- What makes the story uniquely yours?
- What can you offer your subject market that it’s currently lacking?
- What qualifications do you have that offer a subject matter you could write about? i.e. Literature criticism, marketing principles etc…
- Could you write more than one book about it and build a professional platform from it?
When you’ve decided what story you’re going to tell, the next step is normally deciding what Point of View (or POV) you’re going to use. For some it’s apparent immediately, for others it can take a lot of consideration. Here I break down what each POV is and hope it helps you find out how you want to tell your story.
Growing up I dreamt of getting a book deal and seeing my books on the shelf of one of my favourite bookstores, and while there’s still some small part of me that fantasies about that day, I’m much happier these days publishing my own work and getting it to readers in my own way. Indie publishing is by no means a second best to traditional publishing, if anything it’s first choice for many and there are lots of pros. Let’s have a look at why you should consider indie publishing:
There’s an old saying that ‘everyone has a book in them’, while this can be true, there’s only a select number who are able to sit down and write it. There’s a lot of reasons why you should write a book, even if you don’t intend to publish it. So let’s have a look at some convincing reasons why it’s time for you to sit down and start your story.
Why write Fiction?
There are loads of stories in the world, so why write yours? What makes it unique? Why should it be told? For me, I want to write stories that feature LGBTQ+ heroes and heroines. I grew up reading great books that never included this aspect and want to write about characters who I relate to and bring more stories into the world that feature more diverse characters. So when you’re thinking about writing your novel ask yourself the following:
By working out why you want to tell the story you want to write it will give you more motivation and desire to complete your manuscript.
Why write Non-Fiction?
Non-Fiction is a little different to fiction as you’re writing it because you have expertise in a certain area and can share what you know with others. Writing non-fiction is a great way of sharing subject matter knowledge that you know and your audience needs. Non-Fiction also covers a wide range of topics, from technical subjects to horticulture, to lifestyle, the list is endless! So if you’re thinking about writing non-fiction, ask yourself the following:
The key to success when it comes to writing any book is if you can write more you’ll experience more success, so if you have more than one idea with either fiction or non-fiction you could create yourself a good author business. So before you sit down and write, have a think about your longer-term goals and how it can inspire and motivate you to complete your manuscript.
We’re part way through the year and I started off 2018 with some big publishing goals, however, with moving overseas taking up a lot of time during the first part of the year some of my timelines have slipped. This doesn’t mean that I’m not determined to make 2018 a great publishing year. So here’s what I’ve got planned:
Redux is the follow up to Rogue and my second book in a series. It’s proving an interesting challenge writing a second book but I want to get it out and knuckle down to book three.
Build Non-Fiction Works
It’s starting with this website, but I want to build a non-fiction arm to my business which focuses on craft, mindset and the author journey. This will take the form of blog posts, workbooks and eventually books. The groundwork will be laid in 2018 and built upon in 2019.
Write short stories
I want to write a novella for Rogue at some point this year, which will be a prequel, but I also want to try short stories and see if I can get them into publications.
I’m going to be working full time so this will be fitted around the day job, but I see high hopes for my writing in 2018 and beyond!
What are your writing goals and have they changed as the year goes on?
I found this author meme and thought it was a bit of fun, what are your answers? Share them in the comments below!
Which words do you use too much in your writing?
“Felt” is a word I’ve been getting stuck on lately. My editor told me to remove them as it’s taking the reader away from the story so I’m retraining my brain not to use it and make the reader more engaged with what I’m trying to write.
What’s your favourite piece of writing by you?
I wrote a short story for Des Moines Abaton magazine which was my first published piece, I’m still quite proud of it 🙂
In this series Lessons from the Desk, I’ll offer insights into what I’ve learned about writing and publishing while on my journey into indie publishing. Today I wanted to reflect on what I’ve learned about writing since getting one book out into the world and working on my next.
1. Writing a series is hard!
Writing that first book is a challenge in itself and when you get to the end it’s a big accomplishment, however, there is a real struggle in writing the second – particularly if you’re picking up from where you left off. The story’s no longer something new, instead, you’re already knee deep in a story and you’re bringing it to its next phase. It’s easier when the story is new and shiny but how do you get through that initial slump to get going on the second book?
For me I found having a clear plan on where you’re going helps the most, and outlining the second and even third book will help you see the course for your story and characters. It will also show you what you have to look forward to writing in a world you already know and have established.
2. Your book won’t sell unless you make it work
You’ve got your book out on Amazon, great! Those first few days the book is selling then things may start to die down, a few months later it could go completely quiet, particularly if you’re not pushing it. Which is why it’s so hard to do with just one book. I put one book out there and knew I should have waited till I had three. Now I’m working on those books and my first book is quietly sitting there till they’re done. While I’m happy about this, for now, it may leave you impatient if you have different goals. If you want to have steady sales it’s always best to have more than one book and a good marketing plan to get your book moving.
3. Author Platform
This is something I knew about before publishing and it’s so much more than just a website, yes you need to create this for your readers, but a platform is a lot more. It’s about having a presence and an audience to launch your book to, having this will make selling the book easier and have longevity, but don’t fear, you can build a platform after publishing, but it’s always best to start as early as you can.
So there’s my top three lessons I’ve learnt, what lessons have you learnt from publishing?