Since I follow so many writers on Twitter, I see a lot of click-bait and simple questions that require short answers, yet manage to contain 4-7 paragraphs (laced with hyperlinks to that writer’s latest ebook or other blog posts, of course.).
So here it is, the writing questions that keep getting asked on the internet. They’re in one place. If you can’t understand the answers, then you shouldn’t be a writer.
Can I incorporate [genre] elements into [other genre] elements?
Do I have to write everyday to get better?
No? But what about the zillion blog posts about writing prompts, exercises, setting schedules, and making goals to write [blank] number of words per day?
Easy blog material. Easy clicks. That’s why they post it.
So how often should I write?
Between everyday and about four times per week.
But…you just said I didn’t have to write everyday!
That’s not a question. But it sounds like you need help. Here’s your advice: stop being fucking lazy. Of course you have to set schedules, make goals, and stick to them. That’s called “being an adult,” and you should stop trying to weasel out of doing it.
Should I build an author platform or brand to sell my books?
You just told me you didn’t know how often you should write. I think you’re putting the cart before the horse.
But to put it simple, I’m a quality over quantity guy. I get annoyed when writers constantly plug timed tweets to their blogs, ebooks, or random quotes. I hate it. I’m sure others do also. They aren’t selling as much as they make you think they’re selling.
Know who doesn’t do that crap? Some of the authors I mentioned above, or people like Kaitlyn Kiernan, Dan Smith, Lee Child, or J.K. Rowling.
Self-publishers especially have it in their heads that if you just game the SEO algorithms enough, and spam out enough bullshit tweets, Instagram pics, or Pinterest pins, you’ll unlock the magic secret to readers.
Problem is most of their followers are…..other writers. People who are too busy plugging their own shit to read yours. Whoops, somebody didn’t think their plan through.
So how do I find readers then?
Understand that if you join a writers’ forum, or do a writers’ chat, you’re talking to writers. That’s talking shop. If you’re in a book club, then act like you’re in a book club. Those are readers.
Ah, so I can offer them my books?
Because that’s something an asshole does. Make friends. Talk to people. Goodreads is popular for this, though I admit I hate the shit out of its setup. People swear by it though.
But when can I finally sell these ebooks that don’t exist yet?
Well there’s your problem. You haven’t written any. Get on that and come back later.
Okay so let’s pretend I have a draft for a book. I’ve rewritten and revised it. What’s next?
Get some beta readers. Remember that book club you joined, and those writer chats you’ve been doing? Now is the time to ask for some favors. Understand favor means you will do something for them tomorrow. Beta readers read raw, unpublished material and give feedback. Take it and make your book better.
Great, I’ve improved my manuscript with some solid beta feedback. What now?
Budget. You will need an editor to sculpt this thing into something which can sell. OR you better start practicing query letters and finding an agent if you want to go traditional.
Fine, I’ll self-publish it. Penguin sucks. What next?
Get an editor, have them rip your child apart, and then put it back together again. And yes, they cost money. Like I said, budget.
Ouch. All that red ink hurt. But my book is better. Now what?
More of the same: copy editor, proofreader, and graphic designer. Get ready to look at lots of samples, make many emails and phone calls, and herd all these cats together. All the fun stuff about writing is over until you start another book – by the way, you have another in progress, right?
Oh shit, no! Should I?
When does all this pay off and become easy?
When time stops. This is what it means to write. Also expect to lose money on your first book. Just a fair warning.
Now you tell me!
Oh well, at least you’re an actual writer now and not just faking it.
Indeed. Now go to your keyboard and bleed some more.
Now here’s the internet god.