*Takes a deep breath from surfacing from work and plotting and writing*
Happy Friday everyone!
Over the last year I’ve emerged from my hermit-hole of writing and met hundreds of writers (not even exagerrating), gone to 3 literary cons, won nano, sold a story and have a handful of others floating around.
I’ve learned a lot.
Over the last couple of days I’ve seen some posts/emails made me realise how much I had learned and made me realise that the little nuggets I’ve gathered should be shared! *throws nuggets of knowledge everywhere* careful, they stain.
But seriously, ch-ch-check it out:
How To Be A Better Newbie Writer
1. Be Gracious
No one likes a new kid on the block who walks in like they own the place. Many of the professionals you’ll meet have been writing for years, decades and have a lot more experience than you. Be nice, and they’re more likely to want to share information and introduce you around.
2. Be A Fan, Not A Superfan
Meeting your favourite author might happen! (If they’re still alive), but you don’t want to be that bluthering fan that monopolizes their time and makes them sign every book of theirs you own. They’re people, and if you treat them as people and be like ‘oh my god that book when [redacted] happens to [redacted] was what made me want to start writing’. Because then they’ll probably love you and want to keep talking.
3. Make Friends
Like, actual friends. As in, you talk more than just writing with them. Friends help each other, and a great support network is crucial when you get that herat-breaker rejection. (Cuz it’s gonna happen)
4. Act Like The Writer You Want To Be
If you want to be professional, than act like a professional. Take rejections and critique professionally.
I know your story/novel/flash piece is your baby, but sometimes your baby is a misshappen lump of goo that needs forming into a happy humanoid. Learn to tell the difference between critique and meanness. Then avoid the mean people. You’re a Newbie so you can still fly under the radar.
5. Have Realistic Goals
This is something I learned from my game design days. Have a great idea is awesome, but unless you put a leash on that thing, it’s going to go wild. So might expectations. It’s wonderful to daydream about becoming the next J.K. Rowling, or Stephen King, but when it doesn’t happen (or doesn’t happen right away), it’s easy to feel put out.
So, set up ‘Fun-Size’ expectations and goals.
Goal: To write, edit and submit one short story a month.
(or two months, depending on how busy you are, and how fast you write)
Expectation: to sell a short story within 1-2 years.
Sub-expectation: to sell a short story to a pro-market within 1-3 years.
Sub-Sub-expectation: the cheque will be smaller than I think it will be.
Also, rather than pitching a 10 story series, write the first, make it the best you can and sub that. Then, if it sells and is popular, talk to the editor about expanding to a series. ‘But it’s perfect and the first story isn’t stand alone!’ you may cry. To that, I direct you to a word problem.
Dude A asks you for 100$ and promises you ten pizzas. But he hasn’t made pizzas before, and doesn’t have one you can try.
Dude B asks you for 10$ for one pizza and then if you like it, offers you a deal to make you nine more.
Which Dude would you buy pizza from? Hm? Hmmm?
5-B. Keep Your Day Job
…at least until you’re not a Newbie Writer any more.
Selling a story is awesome, but ‘pro rate’ means that you’re getting 5¢/word.
If you write a short story at around 5,000 words, you’re getting 250$. Assuming you write and sell one short story a month, in a year you’ll make a whopping 3,000$.
That’s not to say people can’t make a living writing, but usually they work on the side until they’re established enough to survive.
Best of luck and hope to see you in print soon!