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FAQ For Aspiring Writers! Get out there! (3140 hits)

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I started this section of my site due to the overwhelming demand from help and advice for aspiring writers. There was a time when I could answer questions individually through emails or My Space but itís getting very hard to do that these days. As any published author knows, the writing life gets horribly busy. I am no longer able to do the same things I used to and extending a hand to everyone individually is not possible anymore. I didnít want to leave anyone hanging, so I created this page for aspiring writers.

1. How Do I Get Published?

Before asking this question you need to realize that every person is different. Not one personís road to publication is the same as someone elseís. You can do everything I did, and you still might not be published. It doesnít mean youíre not a good writer, sometimes it just doesnít happen. To get published you have to be extremely determined, hard-working, willing to perfect your craft, thick skinned and most importantly, a realist. You must realize that there is only a small chance that a new writer ever gets published but you must not let that stop you from trying. You never know when or if itís gonna happen but you canít give up. Being a realist and realizing exactly what you are up against will help you deal with rejection and other hardships that come from being an aspiring author.

2. Can You Get Me Published?

I get this question all the time and it amazes me. No one can get you published except yourself! No one can wave a magic wand and get you a contract or an agent. If it were that easy then everyone would be published. There are no shortcuts in writing. Published authors can refer you to people with the power of publication, but there will be no guarantee. Everything is in your hands.

3. How Do I Write A Book?

You sit down and write it. You figure out what genre (type of subject your book falls under) youíre writing, then write it. Do not deal with thoughts of agent seeking or searching for publication until your work is finished, revised and rewritten MANY times.

4. Can You Put Links to Writing Sites or Forums on Your Site?

I could but I probably wonít. Some authors do add links to sites for writers but my site is not a creative writing site, itís my personal author site. Iíve provided a link to my articles on my homepage but this is mostly geared towards new authors who are published seeking promotional tips. My greatest suggestion is an easy one, Google! There is a load of writing help you can find by doing simple research. Take advantage!

5. Should I Hire an Editor?

If youíre going the traditional publishing route (writing for mainstream, medium or small presses that pay you and where you donít pay them), then you donít need to hire an editor. What you need to do is learn how to correctly edit your own work because once (if) you receive a contract from an agent or publisher, itís gonna be up to you to incorporate the changes they suggest. You wonít be allowed to rely on an editor then. Also, most agents and publishers consider people hiring an outside editor as amateurs. If youíre gonna write the book, you need to learn how to bring it up to industry standards.

If youíre self-publishing (which I do not recommend), then hiring an editor might not be a bad idea since you arenít working with others to ensure your work is at its best, you must take responsibility and do it. This is the only time Iíd hire my own editor. Itís a waste of time if you plan on going with an agent and mainstream publisher.

6. Iím Really Stuck, How Do I Connect With Other Aspiring Writers?

There are tons of online writing forums and critique groups. You can find beta readers (people who will look over your manuscript for free and critique it), advice on the technical and creative aspects of writing. The key is to research and go where the other writers are. The best two writing forums I can suggest are, Writers.net: http://writers.net
and Absolute Write: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums

7. Could You Provide a Blurb for My Unpublished Book?

I only give blurbs at publishersí requests or for authors I already know and are acquainted with. I do not read work from unpublished writers for legal reasons.

8. Would You Critique My Book and Give Me Feedback?

I am sorry but no I cannot. I spend my time working on my own work and I donít have time to critique someone elseís. This is where the writing forums kick in, so you can learn how to spot things in your own writing. I also do not give feedback to unpublished writers because like I mentioned earlier, legal reasons. Published authors can find themselves in a lot of trouble if they decide to read unpublished manuscripts. Itís not that simple. Sometimes your good deeds turn against you and I donít risk that any writer try to sue me by saying I stole any of their work so I keep myself out of that situation. I know most of you mean well and are only looking for help but I must protect myself just in case.

9. Do You Have Any Advice For Anyone Thinking of Self-Publishing?

Yes, I have to say do not self-publish unless you write self-help books, technical books or books that fit small niches. If you write fiction and expect to build a fiction career by self-publishing than you are off the mark. Unless you self-publish a novel that sells close to 500,000 copies then donít expect to make a dent in the publishing industry self-publishing fiction. There are some novelists who did it in the past and became successful but that was only AFTER they scored a mainstream contract. I donít agree with self-publishing for novelists at all so I do not have any advice supporting that method.

10. How Do I Know My Audience?

Look at the genre youíre writing and look up other authors who write that genre. Their audience is most likely your audience.

11. Do You Still Plan to Participate on Discussion Groups?

Yes. I will still give advice and tips on online forums and discussion groups for writing. I set up this page because I am unable to give individual advice to everyone these days. Iím getting tons of emails and messages and I donít have enough time to go around. I will still participate in forums when I can and will be happy to lend advice there.

12. Do I Need an Agent to Get Published?

Yes. You donít HAVE to have one to get published, but if you plan to build a career in writing, especially as a novelist then you need to get an agent. Agents do much more than getting your books sold. Agents will get you the best deal possible. More than likely youíll only be able to get yourself a basic publishing contract on your own and if youíre going with the small presses, youíll see this isnít very rewarding. Besides the fact that most publishers do not accept work unless itís through an agent. More and more publishers are adding themselves to this list no matter their size.

Agents will ensure that you keep your rights and higher percentages of those rights. They know the shaking and rattling thatís going on in the business that youíll never know. Agents are behind the scenes. They know what editors are looking for, what they donít want and what theyíre most likely to accept. Most importantly, agents do all the footwork for your book and this leaves you more time to write. Iíve gone both routes, without an agent and now I have an agent. I wouldnít go without one ever again.

13. What Warning Signs Should I Look Out For as A Beginner?

Realize that there are a lot of sharks waiting to take advantage of you. You need to research so youíll know whatís wrong and whatís right in the industry. Avoid going with publishers that require you to pay. You never pay publishers to publish your work. Never go with an agent that charges a fee. Agents donít charge fees. Avoid vanity, subsidy and most e-book publishers. If you do not understand the difference then look it up. Remember, money flows towards the author and not the other way around.

Source: http://stacy-deanne.net/blog.htm

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Posted By: Pam Perry
Friday, July 17th 2009 at 7:41PM
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