I am so excited to have a guest post by Author Amy Richie. Amy wrote the Speak No Evil Trilogy (see my review HERE) and The Girl from Ortec Series (review coming soon)
that I have read. She has written others that I am anxious to check out. Check out her thoughts on being an author and what she knows now that she wished she knew when she started.
You can learn more about Amy Richie by checking our her website HERE.
5 Things about being an Author that I know now and wish I knew then:
1. A manuscript doesn't have to be 90,000 words to be considered a book. When I first started writing, I looked up all the information I could on publishing. This included the word count of a novel and most sites seemed to agree that 90K was the goal. As a result of that limitation I put on myself, I spent a lot of time stretching scenes and rewording paragraphs to hit the mark. Now that I've been writing for a while (seasoned pro here at three years published!) I have come to realize there is no real number you have to hit and 90K is in fact pretty high as far as novels go. A lot of publishers will tell you that anything over 50,000 words is a novel. Write the words that make your story, don't make it all wordy just because you think you have to. You will find the right market for your story, short or long.
2. Writing is the easy part. No joke. You can get caught up in your story and be transported to your happy place in seconds and the words flow and you think “this is an awesome job”. And then you finish the book. You will put more hours into trying to market your book than it actually took to write it, and even that won't be enough. Just keep plugging away – Rome wasn't built in a day. That was supposed to mean something, but really marketing is just a lot of hard work.
3. Bad reviews come with the territory. Not everyone will love your book, not even everyone will like it. Reviews are tricky, you need reviews to be noticed and to be “legit” so you have to put yourself and your hard work and your tears and your hours of time out there to be judged by others. Some of them will love your book – hopefully most of them will love it and leave a good review. Then you have the other ones. Once you get to a certain amount of reviews you come to appreciate the ones that say simply “I hated this book”. The awful ones come from the people who take it as a real honor to knock the author down as far as they can. These people focus more on you as a person rather than the book. “The author clearly never finished school because this was terrible.” “The author can't spell, can't write, and shouldn't be allowed to write EVER again”. I had one reviewer who actually wrote out her bad review in the five paragraph format we learned in English class. First she listed everything wrong with the book and then detailed it further in the next paragraphs. Those are the ones that have you reaching for cheesecake and vowing to get a “real” job. You just have to suck it up and read the good ones instead. You can't please everyone, so don't even try.
4. Social media accounts are a must. This is one of those things I had to learn as I went. You get all kinds of advice about social media from every corner of your contact list. “Be professional”, “don't be stand offish”, “do giveaways”, “don't beg for fans”, “manage all your accounts yourself”, “you have to have a PA”. There's twitter and facebook, and instagram, and that's about all I know so far. This is one I'm still learning about. In this technological age, you can use social media to reach your fans, get more fans, interact with fans. It's a good tool but you can fall into many traps. Don't ever argue with a fan or even someone posing as a fan on any site with your name associated with it. Your name is your brand, keep it safe!
5. The indie community is amazing. It is ever growing and changing as publishing changes. Almost every author I have ever contacted in the Indie community has went above and beyond to help out. They are so accepting and so encouraging. When I first started out on this journey, I knew almost nothing about the publishing world and I floundered helplessly until one small group of Indies pulled me under their wings and showed me how to fly. I absolutely love this crazy roller coaster dream job!