On Sat., July 19, I spoke at the University City Regional Library in Charlotte, NC. During my presentation, an aspiring author asked me if I had any advice for her. Her question sparked an idea for this blog post. Below I’ve listed the methods I would recommend for aspiring authors.
Join a Writers’ Group
Find a group near you and socialize with other writers. You’ll have of fun and also learn a lot. If you’re not interested in attending local meetings, you always have the option of joining a virtual group. There are organizations that host discussion groups, and a few include American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Join the group that best fits your interest and needs and get connected.
Attend a Conference
If you have the money and the time, attend a writers’ conference, where you can network and attend instructional sessions that cover many aspects of writing and the publishing business. Conferences are fun and informative. If you don’t have the money or time to travel, then look for a local conference to attend.
Find a Critique Partner
Don’t write in a vacuum; share your books with trusted friends. Your buddies will not only find your typos, but they may give you story ideas that you hadn’t considered and will make your plot even better. Find someone whom you trust to give constructive criticism. You may not always agree with your critique partner’s suggestions, but the comments may give you ideas for how to polish your book and make it even better.
Find Time to Read
I know what it means to be busy. I balance a day job, two active little boys, and my writing deadlines. However, when I’m between book deadlines, I like to read everything from Amish fiction to young adult to romance. While reading is fun, it’s also a way to improve your skills by seeing what techniques work (and sometimes don’t work) for other authors. Curl up with a book or listen to books on CD while you’re in the car or on the treadmill. Recently, I started downloading books to my phone and listening during my 2 hours spent in the car during my daily commute.
It may sound silly, but writers need to write! Finish your novel and polish it as best you can before submitting it to an agent or editor. Your book represents your best work. Show a potential agent or editor that you’re eager to write for them.
Don’t Give Up
No matter what, believe in yourself and believe in your dream of holding your book in your hand! If you’ve been rejected by an agent or editor, don’t give up. I received plenty of rejection letters and I wanted to give up many times. I’m thankful for my family and my friends who told me to stop whining and keep writing.