Becoming A Successful Author: The Price!

So you want to be a successful author? You want to be up there with Brown, Archer, King, but what price are you prepared to pay? You might be lucky and your first book could be an overnight success but the chances are you'll be hacking it for years before success knocks.

If you decided to become a lawyer, an accountant, a bricklayer, or even to start an 'ordinary' business then you would be prepared to make sacrifices, to invest in the future. Why expect it to be different??

The amount of effort you put into your apprenticeship will dictate how successful you will be as a fully fledged tradesman, a successful author!

Are you prepared to spend a year putting a novel together to have it rejected by not one, not two, not three but four publishers? Are you prepared to take the novel sit down and do a major rewrite! If you are then you might, just might, be more successful second time around.

Harder still are your prepared to accept that the book just doesn't hack it and bin it!

There are very few real overnight successes: role up your sleeves and do some hard graft, learn the trade. Then you'll succeed.

Competitions are a good starting point. You are continuously challenged to meet deadlines. You should aim to enter at least one competition a month and you should aim to enter all the major competitions for new writers. For details on current competitions see my website http://www.abcwritersnetwork.co.uk/competitions.htm Remember that as far as major competitions are concerned you can 'win' without collecting the first prize, though that would be nice! Get a good mention and it will do your career the world of good. Publishers are often asked to judge competitions, think name recognition.

Competitions also help you understand what it is you are doing wrong, and what it is you are doing right. Contact the winner, congratulate them on their success, ask them for a copy of the winning entry and see how it differed from yours.

When entering a competition you are effectively asking someone's advice, you are asking them is my entry the best in the bunch. And they will say either yes or no! The price here is rejection.

If possible get your own personal critic. Your wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, sibling. Anyone as long as they are prepared to give you a good, fair, honest opinion and not just say for an easy life, 'that's a fantastic story.' If they're not prepared to give it to you, warts and all, then let them wait until they eventually see your name in print.

A good place to find honest critics is at your local writing group. Join one, join two - but join! Some people underestimate these groups; think that they are just a bundle of middle age women playing at writing. In many cases that is correct but there is always one or two serious authors there and it is those you want to meet. Together you can knock ideas of one another. Believe me you will learn and grow.

You wouldn't dream of becoming a lawyer or a doctor without buying the books necessary to study. Granted you'll not buy them all, you'll borrow some, perhaps most, from the university library but there are key books you'll need throughout your career and these you will buy and use again and again.

Why on earth are you not prepared to invest in your chosen career by buying your own trade books? I've given a list of the most popular ones over on my website. They're not all essential, like all reference books there is some cross over. But please: beg, borrow or steal (no skip that last one!) at least three of them. I've suggested the main ones. It's all part of the price.

You've decided on the genre you're going to specialize in. You have, haven't you!! Well then make it a point to read at least one, if not two, books in that genre each week.

We all like to go to our local library and borrow books, and I'm all for supporting my local library. Be honest though, they are totally under-funded and while my librarians are wonderful they can't come up with the goods.

I'm not suggesting buying a new book every week but I do suggest buying one every four to six weeks. You must keep up with what the market is producing. My site carries information on what is current - http://www.abcwritersnetwork.co.uk/reviews.htm.

For those of us who are forty plus tax there is the added danger of reading what we like: be careful, ask yourself the question would your favourite author hack it today?

Consider collecting the works of a particular (modern) author who you appreciate and admire and don't be afraid to use the yellow marker, after all they are text books, not collector's items.

What ever you do, don't try to be the same.. Why be a second rate Stephen King, or Jeffery Archer when you can be an original!

© Kevin Hart MA BA(hons) ABC Writers Network 2005

http://www.abcwritersnetwork.co.uk
ABC Writers Network: an indispensable resource for creative writers with competitions, suggestions, reviews and general market advice.

In The News:

Writing his truth  Martha's Vineyard Times
Academic Writing Faculty Lead NYU Week-Long Conference  Marymount Manhattan College News
John Green Is Not Writing in Code  The New York Times
West Orange-area student writers present Summer School Zone  West Orange Times & Windermere Observer
Writing Survey Questions  Pew Research Center
Readers Write  Atlanta Journal Constitution

Whats in a Name? Giving Birth to your Characters

So you've got your plot outlined, a title lined up... Read More

Dialogue Tags - A Study in Common Errors

Verb and SubjectIncorrect:"I bet you two had a fine time,"... Read More

The Work Flow Cycle of the Editorial Industry

As an editorial professional, I'm sure you're aware of the... Read More

Interviewing an Author: Dont Be Left Speechless

Joyce Carol Oates. Langston Hughes. Anne Sexton. F. Scott Fitzgerald.... Read More

Get Published: The Nuts and Bolts of Good English, and How to Impress a Publisher (3)

A well-punctuated approach letter may make the difference between acceptance... Read More

Benjamin Franklin: His Ageless Writing Tips

If Ben Franklin were alive today, he would be...uh, very... Read More

7 Devastating Writing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Writing engaging articles and energizing ad copy takes... Read More

Crime Writing Beckons

If your cash is running out fast and you have... Read More

Retail Margin, Trade Discount, and What it Means for the Author

DEFINITIONSRetail margin is basically the difference between your book's wholesale... Read More

How to Finish Your Self-Published Book Fast

Started a book and then got bogged down? Like many... Read More

8 Advantages to Writing a Book as an Entrepreneur

As an aspiring or an established entrepreneur, you are an... Read More

Writing Without Style

Style manuals are all well and good, and in fact,... Read More

The Writing Life

In the 7th grade I wanted to be an architect... Read More

Writing Made Them Rich #5: Peter Mayle

Peter Mayle was born in England in 1939.His fascination with... Read More

Im Just The Writer

Writers are often are greatly surprised or disappointed by how... Read More

Finish Your Book Already!

I owe the completion and success of my book to... Read More

10 Best Writers Who Ever Lived

Compiling a list of the history's ten best writers is... Read More

Graphology - Unleash Inner Personality & Talent of Child

|| Graphology & Graphotherapy ||Everybody wants to know more about... Read More

Recipe for a Style Guide

Wired Online has recently announced its plans to drop capitalization... Read More

Extreme Research: 10 Snappy Rules For Success

So you want to learn to research well, and not... Read More

Starting a Freelance Writing Career (or Thoughts About Taking the Plunge)

Nike's ad has taken on new meaning for me of... Read More

The Hard Facts About Editing

Whether you're interviewing for a new job, trying to woo... Read More

Suspense Novels Made Easy

Suspense novels are probably the easiest novels to write. Suspense... Read More

10 Tips on Writing Effective Dialogue

1. Become an EavesdropperListen carefully to the way people REALLY... Read More

Business Writing: 10 Great Authors

Great business writers combine narrative skills with sound judgment to... Read More