Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Top Ten List of Best Practices for Authors

Best Practices in the Book Community

I must say this is a very interesting topic. Being an author means hard work. I don't just sit around all day and write my little life away. I've had to develop some techniques in order to keep my writing career on track. Time management, organization and creativity are my best friends. Not having any of those three can break a writing career. Life can throw speed bumps at you and for writers who aren't dedicated to their writing it can cause them to completely give up on their dreams. I've had a few times in my life when I was tempted to do so but I just pushed those thoughts aside and keep going. 

Some of the best practices I have found in my writing career I have learned along the way. I love helping new authors. So here is my Top Ten List of Being An Author. 

#10 - Write Every Day
Okay this may sound a bit simple. But you'll be surprised how many writers don't write everyday. These writers will let life tell them they don't have time to write. But they do. You don't have to write an entire book in a day. I can write an entire book in a month or two. How do I do it? I write a chapter per day. That way I don't become overwhelmed with the thought of how much I need to write. The following day I'll proofread what I wrote the day before, edit (if needed) and move on to the next chapter. That way I am building upon the book. Doing this has also allowed me the opportunity to work on more than one book at a time. I don't always do that, though.

#9 - Set Goals and Reward Yourself
I learned this lesson via NaNoWriMo. It's one of the best things I have ever learned. The rewards don't have to be expensive, either. You can choose what you want. Sit down with your project, break it up into chunks then set the award for each chunk. The reward will motivate you to achieve your writing goal. Small goals will build upon each other until you have achieved your larger goal. 

#8 - Step Away From the Computer!
Yes, I said it. Take a Break. You're not a writing robot. Go out and do something else for a while then get back to your writing. Put that paper away and come back to it the next day. 

#7 - Blog and Website
A blog and website is essential for any author to have. Readers love to visit their favorite author's website. Offer a sneak peek or some kind of incentive for your readers to visit your website. Link your blog feed to your website. Not everyone is going to know that your blog or website exist so make sure you also link the website on the blog. Don't put the same content on the website that can be found on the blog. Remember, your name is your brand not the name of your book. So you want people to remember your name. Keep the website and the blog updated. 

#6 - Know Thy Target Market
Not everyone will want to read your book. It's useless to market your book to the entire world. You need to find book bloggers and readers who read in your genre. But even still, some readers will not read everything in that genre. For example, my typical readers for my book Calico will not necessarily read my book Elsa, even though they are both historical romance. Why? Because Calico is told from the Shawnee Native American's point of view while Elsa is about a woman who falls in love with a man who has Autism. Also, the books are from two different time periods. Calico takes place in the 1700's while Elsa take place in the early 1900's. I would have to market those books to different demographics. 

#5 - Get Involved
Writing can be a lonely life but it doesn't have to be. Find writing groups in your community or online. These be a great source of information and inspiration. 

#4 - Don't Forget Social Media
Social media can make or break a book. Most people, at the time I am writing this, are on Facebook at least 15x per day. This means you can reach the greatest amount of readers on that social media. But Facebook alone isn't the only social media you need to get involved with. Twitter and Instagram are used heavily as well, just not as much as Facebook. You need to create a social media presence without constantly advertising your book in every post. Readers want to know their favorite authors are human. Sure we are worshiped by our readers and book bloggers but don't let that go to your head. A great author will be highly respected by their readers and bloggers if they are humble enough to interact with them. 

#3 - It's All About Your Attitude
Look I won't lie to you. There are some authors out there who just don't care about their readers and bloggers. They are rude, egotistical and prideful. And more than likely you haven't heard a single thing about their books. Why? Because gone are the days that an author can sit on their ivory tower, write and never interact with their readers. Authors who have a negative attitude will not be able to sell their books because no one will want anything to do with them. If you're going to have a writing career you have to remain positive in the public. Show that you truly enjoy this writing career you have established for yourself without being prideful. Just remember, without the readers and bloggers your book isn't going to sell.

#2 - Don't Stop Writing
Just because you have written a book doesn't mean you should stop writing. Readers who really enjoyed your book will want to read more of your work. You should be writing a new book while your old book is in the publishing stages. I also look at it as a pipeline. I have a book published, one in the publishing process and one I am working on. The pipeline continues to flow no matter what. If I am working on a novel then I will push a short through if the publishing process finishes a book. That way my readers will always have something to read that I have written. The worst thing that can happen to a writer is to lose a reader because they you don't have anything else for them to read. 

#1 - Don't Lose Your Passion!
The life of an author can be very hard. It's a not a career that will make you rich quick. If that is your intent then you are in the wrong field. Don't even consider publishing your book if that is your motivation. You really have to love writing. This career demands you keep learning, keep writing and keep promoting your brand. You will have to get out of that chair and interact with the world. There will be some sacrifices you have to make if you truly want this life. If writing makes you happy then do it! 

What other suggestions could readers and book bloggers offer authors?