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Writers Wrap Up 2012

Ben Woodard liked this post

She is really good at this now.

After a full year of Writer’s Spotlights, there have been some fabulous authors and books come our way. Each of them brought something to the table for the budding and established authors in the M3 Readers. Let Claret fix you a cuppa while we have a recap. Let’s go sit by the front windows and watch the birds.

Your Job

number 1The most common piece of advice was to just write. Whether you are scribbling on the back of a receipt or pounding a keyboard, write every single day. The authors who deviated from this advice only veered slightly left to say: Schedule a time to write and keep it.

The bottom line to this advice is treat writing as your primary profession. You want to make a living from your writing. Do you expect someone to just arbitrarily begin sending you checks? If you are not committed to doing your job of writing your (story, manuscript, screenplay), you will never get it finished and sell it. When you need a table, are you more likely to buy lumber or furniture? How about your reader?

Just so you know, this advice is the difference between writers and authors.

A Close Second

number 2Get an editor. More than three-quarters of the spotlight writers mentioned the necessity of editing. Spell check is not editing. There are a number of editors which manuscripts need.

Story editors are first. These are your beta readers. They will overlook the typos (read find them for you), but they will tell you if your story derails. Beta input it crucial to the development of your story, fictional or factual. Beta input can easily turn a novel into a series once you realize how many questions you left unanswered.

Line editor comes next. Most authors feel like they have been bloodied after line edits. If they do not, the editor failed to point out where the changes were made. Line edits include nuances the beta reader may have missed being caught up in the story. When your line editor is done, the note pad beside the book may be as long as the book with elements to check on throughout the script.

blue pencil

Do not be surprised if you have to go through line edits more than once. Regardless of how many times you do it, realize the most important fact of line edits: Corrective measures for your script are not a character assassination.

Regardless of how much of yourself your poured into your script, your editor is not telling you personally you are (a failure, inadequate, needing improvement). Your editor is going to make your script the best it can be for the reader. Did you write your script for yourself or your reader?

Copy editor is next. Remember all those typos everyone who read the story overlooked? They really are not a bad sign. Your story was engaging enough for the typos not to trip the reader hard enough for them to stumble from the book to grumble. Your copy editor has not read your story.

What? How do copy editors find mistakes? They cheat. They skip to the end to read it first. Did I mention? They read in reverse sentence by sentence.

Last is your layout editor. All of the pretty formatting you did to have the chapter headings and page numbers precisely right is all exactly wrong. Your word processor was not designed to format for print. It has no idea how to format for ebook. These two facts are the reason why some publishing houses still require paper manuscripts. It is often easier to scan them and let software handle the problems than it is to try to undo what you have done to them.

You may think, when you submit it, your manuscript is perfect. There is an entire team of editors who was not at any of the staff meetings of your characters in your head. They are going to tell you all the things you have assumed you made clear, which mysteriously never made the manuscript. Without them, it is still just a draft.

Marketing

number 3What good is writing a book if no one buys it? It is the equivalent of it remaining in your WIP folder until your hard drive crashes. Publicists gave you really good ideas this year about how to market your books.

Press releases need to be targeted to the publication distributing them. Play to your audience. Define your audience. Every time possible, expand your audience.

None.

None.

Social media campaigns are not the equivalent of begging. Interacting with your social media audience is as important as interacting with your blogging audience.

Reviews can make or break you. Having a few under your belt at release time is a great thing. Never getting another one is not. Having four and five stars is terrific. Having three one stars in a row, not so much. Having friends and family give glowing reviews is great. Only having friends and family give reviews is not. Reviews make good social media links.

Doing it all yourself is possible, but chances are you will never write anything else in your career except tweets and status updates. Networking with other authors is crucial to the success of your marketing. Networking with book sellers is just as good, but only if your book is actually in print and available through trusted sales channels.

two way streetReciprocity is a way of life. If you are not reading and reviewing, your name is not in front of enough potential readers. Giving good reviews entices readers to click on your name to see why they should trust you. What better way than having a book of your own for them to peruse?

In that same vein, opening your social media to the promotion of others ensures you are not pounding your followers with nothing but plugs for your work. You are not really a spammer, are you?

Consistency is the key to a writing career. This is your profession. Ply your trade. Blogging is one of the easiest avenues to keeping your name appearing before readers. Come close. Here’s a secret. Blog readers read books. If your blog is professional, stays on some target and appeals to your audience, in time, readers will take the plunge from the free reading they get on your blog to the books which pay you for what you do.

Freebies are a matter of debate. Everyone wants something for free. If you are only blogging the excerpts from your book, you are giving it away, just as much as offering a free download. Experience proves giving it away increases total number of downloads. Free downloads water down the profit of the book offered for free.

If your free book is good, readers will be enticed to buy the other books you have to offer. Hence begins the debate. What good is giving away your book for the sake of total downloads if you have nothing else for readers to buy? Consider this carefully.

Would you rather be a best-selling author with millions of copies of free books floating around or a successful author selling a modest (or obscene) amount of books to support yourself? Discuss it with someone you trust who has business experience… not your mother, unless your mother is in the publishing industry.

Future

Over the course of 2013, the Writer’s Spotlight will continue to shine the light on authors with new books on the market. You may see a shift in the questions to better represent different information from the 2012 interviews. The line up of authors is very different from those you saw in 2012. In that diversity, M3 hopes you will find answers which would have otherwise eluded you behind the industry cloak.

What was the best piece of information you picked up from an author this year?  Is there a question you would like to ask an author? How many books did you read this year? Are you looking forward to the new books coming out for the new year?

Hashtags: #marketing #books #amwriting

© Red Dwyer 2012
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40 Comments

  1. Well done my sister! Thus I follow you off the cliff…waving as I fall
    Valentine Logar recently posted..Hard Stop SanityMy Profile

    Reply
  2. Excellent road map, Red… everything you said also relates to me as an artist, so it’s not just for writers/authors…
    as I mentioned, I hope to be your student when it comes to the marketing part – the where, the when, the how… I assume you know ALL the tricks!!
    peace and love

    🙂
    BuddhaKat recently posted..For the Final Friday Fractal Feature… of 2012My Profile

    Reply
  3. Good wrap up and highlight of the key points and who knew you need all those edits? Well you and the other authors I guess..and me now and it puts a whole new light on the difference between writing a book and being a published author. The marketing part – I have a hard time with social media – and on my blog too.. but I also realize the whole doomsday device thing is true – what good is it if you don;t tell the world? not much. Looking forward to the 2013 authors .. 🙂
    Much Love
    Lizzie <3
    Lizzie Cracked recently posted..Just be Glad… The Eleventh Holiday Mental MomentMy Profile

    Reply
  4. This was an outstanding, easy to comprehend look at the entire editing (gah!) process. Good stuff!!
    El recently posted..Nixing Covers, Shedding Words, Font Confusion . . . as Ripple spreads . . .My Profile

    Reply
  5. This post has covered all the best advice in one spot. Love it. I’m always learning here, Red. Thank you.

    My mantra is: write, write, write. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite and read, read and read some more. I don’t know what is better than these. Writing, rewriting and reading keep me plenty entertained and busy.

    Alas, I’ve been AWOL this past week for much needed downtime and a necessary infusion of reading, for which I’ve had little time this year.

    Reply
  6. Hi Red! 🙂

    I checked redmundpro.com and found no reviews of my books and then checked both sites for the Market Magic Room without success.

    What am I doing wrong???

    Love and hugs!

    Prenin.
    prenin recently posted..Thursday – Doug makes a fruitless call.My Profile

    Reply
  7. I have so many goals for 2013 and your post helps motivate me with the writing ones!
    Christy Birmingham recently posted..Voices Above: A Poem of RemembranceMy Profile

    Reply
    • What a wonderful thing to say, Christy! You accomplish so much; I hope for you all the success 2013 can bring. xxx

      Reply
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