Saturday, May 1, 2010

Measure your novel’s success by your dedication

Worried that your first novel isn’t that good and is a waste of your time? Don't give up before even trying. Published authors and writing professors can tell you that lessons in publishing are often costly. You don’t want to waste time or money. But this could happen if you don’t do your homework.

Learn about the industry.
This means, get to know the publishing market. Do research on what is being published. Take a trip to the bookstore and browse the latest publications. Subscribe to literary magazines. If you want to save money, then go to your local library. Get the Writer’s Market. It’s filled with boundless information. Knowing the market can help you avoid expensive missteps.

Meet with like-minded people and professionals.
Some people are hesitant to approach authors. Some do not feel comfortable networking. If you are either one of these people you are in trouble. I’m not saying you have to harass or become a stalker to befriend authors. All you have to do is attend local literary events, readings, book launches, and conferences so that you can meet writers, publishers, and editors. These are the people who can guide you in the right direction.

Be open to feedback.
Feedback is a crucial part to any writer's career. If someone who is more knowledgeable than you about the industry you are in is willing to give you feedback you should listen. Don’t let your ego take over and dismiss valuable information.

Do your research.
Learn about your genre. What do publishers look for in your specific genre? Learn about the appropriate length for your book. For instance, a literary novel should be between 80,000 and 89,000 words. Learn about contracts, agents, editors, and book sales. There’s a myriad of online resources out there. Get to know them!

There are no guarantees.
Be aware that no one can promise major book sales, fame, or be the next J. K. Rowling (based on sales). If anyone asks you for a down payment or a starter's fee, you should know this is a scam. Do not fall for offers that sound too good to be true. Success is not just about hard work. It's also about being smart and making the right choices. Success is about being relentless, believing in your work and your mission. Success is about being objective, realistic, and humble. Focus on what matters to you and your readers.

Doctor and philosopher, Albert Schweitzer said, “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

1 comment:

  1. This is a timely post for me to read, Claudia, as I sometimes wonder where all this writing will lead. We know that writing can be a solitary and challenging journey, but when we interact with other writers to get feedback and learn, the journey is so much easier!