Marginalia scribbled while reading an article called "50 Writing Tips from my 15 Years as an Author":
One of the questions I’m asked on a daily basis is some form of, “I want to become an author. Can you help?”2. Writing a book is a wonderful gift to leave your children and a way to ensure your legacy.
-- Sure. Sit down and WRITE THE DAMN STORY.
-- Here's your mother's last will and testament. It says... "Hey kids, I wrote a book once."3. The root of “authority” is author; nothing will do more for your business or career than writing a non-fiction book.
-- Okay, I'll write a book about the etymological fallacy.5. If you have ever given someone advice that they have found helpful, you can write a non-fiction book.
-- But have you stopped to consider whether you should?7. If you’ve ever told your friends a story that made them laugh, cry, or say, “So what did you do?” or “No way!” you can write a novel.
-- Especially if your stories last a day and a half. But you might have trouble getting your friends to beta read.8. If you can speak you can write; you don’t need to have done well in English class—or even in school—to be a writer.
-- That explains a lot about the stuff you find in bookshops.9. “I want to write a book, I just don’t know what to write about.” Well, you clearly need to get a life, or at least read more.
-- Kudos for this one, though. More lists should tell the reader to get a life.10. “I have a great idea for a book, but just don’t have the time to write it.” Oh, why didn’t you say so? Want to borrow my magical author-time-machine? It’s right over here…all writers have one. We call it the shut-off-the-TV-stop-posting-on-Facebook-and-get-your-butt-out-of-bed-at-5-in-the-morning device. Doesn’t even need batteries.
-- Really? Who stole *my* "get out of bed at 5am" device? Though after a few days of that, you'll be needing the batteries.11. “But my grammar and spelling is horrible.” Fine, write a horrible book and hire an editor to clean it up.
-- "But my bank balance is horrible." Tough.12. Write your book for a single person.
-- Especially if it's called something like "How to find a girlfriend."13. Spend a ridiculous amount of time coming up with an “avatar” for your ideal reader, or spend one minute picking someone you actually know in the real world and write it for her.
-- Better, spend a ridiculous amount of time WRITING THE DAMN STORY.21. The seventh most important variable in the success of a book is the quality of your writing.
-- That explains a *lot* about the stuff you find in bookshops.24. Social media is a great way to connect with influencers.
-- So turn that "get off Facebook" machine back off again, okay?26. The only book marketing expenditure that actually has a positive ROI (i.e., doesn’t just build awareness but actually moves books) is paying for placement in airport bookstores or display tables in Barnes & Noble. Oh, and sometimes Facebook ads.
-- "But my bank balance is horrible." Tough.27. Readers are fascinated by authors; remember in the midst of your poverty and despair you actually have fans.
-- "But my bank balance is...." wait, poverty and despair?28. For non-fiction, your fans want to know your zero-to-hero story.
-- Anyone can write, as long as they have an inspiring and successful life.29. For fiction, your fans want to know about your (idealized) lifestyle and creative techniques.
-- They don't give a damn about my lifestyle. They want to READ THE DAMN STORY.30. New authors should spend more time building their tribe than actually writing. (Yes, reality stinks.)
-- Put off writing the book for as long as possible.33. Many authors supplement their royalties with income from speeches, courses, coaching, teaching and consulting. (Yes, again, reality stinks.)
-- Or, in the real world, by having a day job.34. Most successful authors are prolific—they write one or more books each year.
-- Thank you, Captain Obvious.35. Most successful authors slay the same dragon over and over again. (Lee Child has written 20 Jack Reacher novels; John Maxwell has written over 50 leadership books.)
-- It gets pretty easy when you can write your book with Word's mail merge function.38. “Is it better to be a Pantser or a Plotter?” Shut up, stop procrastinating and get back to writing.
-- Whether you should prepare or start writing straight away was exactly what the question was about, you berk.40. Writer’s block is laziness or lack of preparation.
-- You JUST SAID that preparation was a kind of procrastination. You berk.41. If you have “writer’s block” try speaking your book into a microphone and have it transcribed; have you ever had speaker’s block? Didn’t think so.
-- Ever been lost for words? Didn't think so. (Also, "have it transcribed", but my bank balance is horrible...)42. Pictures, illustrations or doodles immediately make your book stand out from the competition.
-- True! These are the first ones the publishers notice, and they have a special round file for them.49. Write drunk; edit sober.
-- Let's say you can write 1000 good words every day. You're going to be drunk every night for two months. After that it'll be difficult to do any editing.50. Life is about making an impact, not an income. And writers who know what they’re doing make both.
-- It's true, they do make both. Just not much of either.
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