As I was requested to write a guest blog, here goes.
To all Writers
The following is not going to be funny. It is not intended to be cute. Those who are faint of heart might even want to turn away to live in their dreams in peace, as the following cannot be unread.
- One out of every 100.000 writers will ever reach a level of fame which they can live off.
- One out of 10.000 will get noticed for a book they wrote
(and yes, these numbers suggest that if you write 10.000 books you will receive some moderate fame for your sheer tenacity)
- One out of 1000 writers will ever publish a book.
- One out of 100 people want to write a book.
- and One out of 10 people have an idea that would be so cool as a book.
Take a good look at yourself and find yourself on this sliding scale as the one thing that writers and unnoticed authors have in common is that they dream of greatness. Because of the sheer volume of work that goes into writing a book, everyone wants to see a return on their investment, and if this is not you then you are either delusional about your true intentions or too good for this world as you tend to give without looking to receive.
Now you can disbelief me, you can hate me, leave me nasty comments or try to counter my argument with facts that are most often just exceptions or demands for me to back up my statement with facts to where I got these numbers. None of these matter and will never see a reply as I wouldn’t waste my time on them.
It is you, who right now figured out where they stand in the grand scheme of things in being a writer, and still feels the need to write, as it is you who is most likely to succeed. To you I have these following tips to increase your chances.
- Write, and write often. Write every day for at least three hours. If you don’t have time then make time. You control your life and to become a writer of note you will have to give up on certain things just as any athlete does for the chance to compete in the Olympics and possibly win a medal, gold one preferred.
- Read. Read lots. Read works of others, famed and unknown, and scale yourself between them. A Lord Byron or Shakespeare you are most likely not, but you could become a very decent Stephen King, Clive Barker, Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman if you really try.
- Stick to one genre. Your best chances of reaching any measure of fame is to get known by the audience and if you flit all over the genres, no reader will ever know what to expect. If you passionate love science fiction, then write science fiction. Same goes for romance, even for erotica or sheer smut. Your genre doesn’t matter. It is your passion that will drive you and within this passion lies your power to absorb what others have written and marvel at their genius or spot their mistakes. Both you learn from.
- Do NOT write Fan fiction. Fan fiction is as useless as sequels and spin-offs to movies as it will be just more of the same and everyone will compare you to the original. You will never be better than the original. Even though StarTrek The Next Generation is in many ways superior to the original series, it was always compared to it and belittled, simply because it was not original. Fan fiction is just a waste of your time in which you could have written something worthwhile. You might get read through blogs and forums, but it will just be by fans of the original concept, and not because of you.
- Be Original. Only you can be you and in that you are unique. The way you view the world and the words you use to write it is yours alone.
- Finish Things! This is my most beloved comment Neil Gaiman ever gave me, simply because it is absolutely true. By finishing things you have a final book to sow the world and at the same time you learn a hell of a lot about the world by trying to get it published.
- Do not over-advertise on your social media. It doesn’t work. Either you will piss off the people around you for the constant comments about ‘this book I wrote’, or you will find yourself in groups where everyone is shouting their book at each other and no one is really interested to buy. Be smart with your media. Throw out little one-liners from the book, make people curious about it, make friends and if you can, find someone to advertise FOR you is simply saying ‘OMG, I am reading this and this right now and it is awesome/so true/wonderful/so romantic/hot as hell!’ (possibly followed by a one-liner)
- and as a final: Freely share your work. Though this may feel counter intuitive to my first comments about getting paid, in giving away your first books for just about free you are actually increasing your range for people to get to know you and possibly like you. Put your book on a free Ebook sharing site in several parts so that people will have to look for the latest part and type your name or the name of your book time and time again, and in each part implore them that IF they like your work, to 1. buy a copy to show they care and give you a little income to buy coffee and keep writing, and 2. share it with friends and increase your range and 3. come to a website where they can talk to you about the book. Nothing works better for inspiration than the feeling of appreciation.
Do all that and you might have a shot. They are words I live by every day.
With kind regards,
Martin van Houwelingen
If you’d like to know more about my thoughts on writing and publishing, I actually have a book out in which I tell everything I have found in my writing career. In it I explain these points of interest, but also much more. A copy is available at Amazon at Amazon.
If you’d like to contact me, I have a website at WordPress, a FaceBook page as well as a LinkedIn profile and run several writers groups on Facebook, such as AuthorAuthor, in which we publish short story genre books to get our names out, 60secondsofcritique, were we help other writers improve on their style and ExLibria, which currently is a test platform to get Indi(pentantly published) books to the general public.