Fountain of Knowledge

howtochange_750xx2714-1527-0-142It’s well known that the publishing industry is ever-changing. It has come a long way since its inception hundreds of years ago, which means there is always something new to learn. And if you’ve been following my blog over the last several weeks, I have had a lot of guest authors sharing their experiences and their knowledge. Let’s face it, no one person can know it all.

That has been one of my primary reasons for hosting various guest authors. They each had something different to contribute. One person spoke about how social media gave her support, all because it allowed her to find other authors. Another person offered advice from her own experience as a foreign author. Someone else spoke about what it took for him to accept himself as an author. And another talked about what it took for her to get back to writing after a tragic accident.faq

We all come from different walks of life and we’ve all had different experiences. That doesn’t mean we all can’t learn from each other. I read each and every article before I shared it with you all. With every article I learned something. Something that I hadn’t come across before or maybe that I’d only heard about, but never really dug into. At the same time, I managed to meet some great people.

With that in mind, I wanted to keep going along those same lines and share what I have learned over the last few years of my writing career.

  1. Join a writers group. This isn’t just so you can get exposed to other genres and meet other authors, but because it’s a great way to improve your own writing. It also helps teach you how to give proper feedback. And who knows, you may even find another author to work with later on down the line.
  2. Make it habit to go to at least one writers conference every year. Writers who teach the workshops or seminars in these conferences haven’t just made it a career, they have succeeded in making money. Social media conceptThese are also excellent opportunities to network. And some offer more than just workshops. Some conferences have literary agents and/or publishers who schedule interviews.
  3. Share your knowledge. Help other authors by sharing what you’ve learned. It doesn’t just give them a helping hand, but it also helps you network. In the business, networking is crucial. And sharing your knowledge is a great way to build it.
  4. Read, read, read. This probably sounds like a given, but you’d be surprised at the number of authors who don’t read. That is no way to learn anything. This includes keeping up with what is current, not only in this industry, but in your own genre.
  5. Do your research! I cannot stress this enough. And this is SUPER important if you plan to get traditionally published. You don’t want to query a romance agent if you write Science Fiction.
  6. Start building an audience first. Okay, yes, you need to write the book, but that doesn’t have to come first to build an audience. build-audienceYou could blog about a hot topic that you know about, do book reviews, or talk about something that people can relate to. No matter the direction you go, this builds an audience so that when you finally have that book in your hand, you have people who already enjoy your work and are likely to buy it.
  7. Social Media is a must. I get it if you are one of those people who absolutely abhor social media, but we are in the age of digital. If you’re not on social media and interacting on social media, then you’re only hurting yourself. It isn’t just a place to find an audience, it’s a place to network with other authors, publishers, agents and bloggers. And if you want to be traditionally published, both agents and publishers look to see what kind of presence you have online.

This may not seem like a lot, but I promise it’s a great starting point. And if you’d like to learn more, you can sign up for my monthly newsletter which includes writing tips, book recommendations, upcoming events and more.

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Always More to Learn

20171020_182509Last weekend, I had the pleasure of joining so many authors, editors, and publishers at the Florida Writer’s Association Annual Conference. Sounds like a mouthful doesn’t it? Yeah, it’s a lot to say, but the great thing is I learned so much from it. It was only my second year attending and yet I took away a lot of information.

That’s the thing about this industry. Whether you’re an author, editor, or publisher or you wear all three hats there is always more to learn. For example, one of things that I got to talk about one morning over breakfast with a couple of YA authors was about traditional vs indie publishing. Twenty years ago if you self-published, you weren’t viewed as a “real” author. Today, indie publishing is taking traditional publishing by storm.

In case you don’t know what these two types of publishing are, I’ll break it down. Authors like Stephen King or David Morrell (FWA celebrity guest) are traditionally published. FirstBloodWhat this means is they got an agent and that agent sold their book to a publication company. (That is a very simplistic explanation. There’s so much more that goes into it.) Authors like Colleen Hoover are indie or self-published. Basically she loaded her book up on a website, for example, kdp.amazon.com, and 24-72 hours later that book is available for sale. (Again, very simplistic explanation.)

Anyway, so we’re (the authors) talking about the control these two different types of publishing have over various genres. How genres like romance don’t really need traditional publishers any longer. Indie publishing has taken the genre by the horns. Also how traditional publishers are straying from taking on brand new authors. We also talked about the difference between indie publishing and self-publishing.

I know, you’re thinking it’s the same thing, right? Yeah, that’s what I thought too. Until I heard her point. This YA author suggested they are in fact different. And here’s why.

quote-anyone-can-write-one-book-even-politicians-do-it-starting-a-second-book-reveals-an-intention-to-len-deighton-48963Anybody can write a book, slap a cover on it, and load it to amazon or a multitude of other e-book sites (Nook, IBook, Kobo, etc.) for free. Yes, I said FREE.

Now I didn’t say it had to be good. The cover can suck, the writing can be atrocious, and that person can still publish it. They may not even do any marketing or branding or anything to get their name out there. This YA author called this self-publishing.

An indie or independently published author kind of does the same thing. Except there’s one difference. She told me they understand that writing is a business. e856c6595ced013f27395b2c8dc4f19eIt isn’t just that the cover and writing matter, but that they take into account any marketing and publicity.

It made so much sense to me. I got what she was saying.

Of course, it got me thinking about myself, having just released my first book. Was I self-published or indie published?

Well, I went to the conference to learn. I know that if I fail, it isn’t because of what someone else did or didn’t do, it’s because I didn’t work hard enough to make it work.

Then it got me thinking about the question my friends posed. At the conference, my friends called me superwoman because I not only had one book finished, but two, with a third in the works. Plus I’m finishing school and I have a daytime job. They asked me how I do it.

Honestly, I don’t think I knew the answer until I spoke to that YA author. Writing is a business. One that never stops evolving. So we must never stop learning.