WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST TIP FOR ASPIRING AUTHORS?
The process is long and difficult. Everything from finding a proper literary agent, to finally getting a publisher. The little secret that no one tells you is that publishers do relatively nothing to help authors sell their book (it’s all up to you), an archaic publishing model fast becoming extinct. It becomes a full-time job if you want success, such as marketing, media, book signings, and events.
I have heard three important things about writing: Write about what you know, write about what you love, and WRITE! I believe that for every final, published page, it will take an author around 4-5 hours to complete. This means a 100-page book will take between 400-500 hours to complete. Also, writing is 10% writing and 90% rewriting (editing). If you asked most writers what is the one thing that they most need, it’s uninterrupted time.
Story is everything. It can be simple or complex, but it must be interesting and well told. Find a unique story and start writing. First create your structure: beginning, middle, and end. It’s easier when you think about the story in chapters: where’s the book going, what happens next and how will it end? Develop your characters and know them well—give them depth and obstacles that they must overcome. Do your research and master the subject you’re writing about. Also, read. Enjoy reading and understand what’s out in the market. Find writers you like and learn from them: how they tell a story, the way they structure or pace their narrative, how they describe things. Analyze these books and figure out what makes them interesting or compelling—why they’re successful or why they work as a novel.
Remember, nothing happens overnight. It takes commitment, discipline, and endurance to produce an engaging and inspiring novel. To write and finish a book, you must first begin and spend time with it. Don’t worry about your first draft; just get your ideas and words onto paper (or the computer). Challenge yourself each day to produce a certain amount, perhaps two or three new pages. If you’re stuck on the next chapter, but you know what happens in another section, then jump to that scene. Just keep writing. If you can’t think of anything new, then start editing what you’ve already written, but just keep writing.
This is the discipline and commitment needed to finish a book. However, it’s one thing to create your story, structure, characters, and a compelling narrative; it’s another to edit. The more you edit, the better your story becomes; the more you edit, the more polished your writing becomes. Nevertheless, there is a time when you must finish and let it go, so you can move onto your next story. Most importantly, have fun. Write because you enjoy it.
CAN YOU OFFER ANY ADVICE FOR WRITERS ON HOW BEST TO PROMOTE THEIR BOOK?
It is a full-time job, period. Not many have the luxury of dedicating this amount of time, but it is what is truly needed. Here are a few basics:
· You need to put together a marketing plan and strategy. Find someone with business savvy who can help you. Put together at least a 1-year plan, with goals and objectives.
· Create your own story and continue to tell it: Why this book and what does it mean to you?
· Apply for book awards: this is a great way to achieve recognition and exposure.
· Set up a dynamic website that tells your story and captures emails/comments
· Create a blog that you can share with other authors: tips, promotions, insight
· Set up your Amazon platform and learn all the tricks about exposure and rankings
· Do as much media: social media, radio, and television as you can (email contacts, networks, and other platforms). What is your hook? Why would they like to interview you?
· Try to do book presentations (or readings), not just at bookstores but also organizations and schools.
Award-Winning Author C.R. Stewart, is based in San Diego. Stewart is a strong supporter of education and the arts and is an adjunct professor at Fermanian School of Business, Point Loma Nazarene University; and is Past President of the Board of Directors of the San Diego Ballet. Chad enjoys writing, world travel, reading, riding, swimming, sailing, tennis, and the Arts.