Starting Out As a Writer – 5 Things You Should Know
From a Musician’s point of view for Grey Wolf’s Blog post
I never intended on being a writer. Never in a million years would I have thought that I of all people that I know and have met in my lifetime would ever become a writer. It’s not to say that I’m not a good writer. I studied English and English Literature and read fantastic writers of classics and not so classic books (yeah, I like reading a great Romance Novel now and again). I even wrote some poetry back in High School and College and some of it was rather good too. I just never had the confidence of anyone actually reading my work(s) and telling me it was really good.
It wasn’t until I got on LiveJournal http://www.livejournal.com which is a free site to join (but now I’m no longer involved), that I really started to venture into writing short fictional pieces that folks I didn’t know read and gave me grammatical editorial advice.
I was more of a musician. I love to be in front of an audience and just be able to communicate my music if it’s jazz or just performing live in a Renaissance Festival that people come up to me and say, hey, that was really great or that they really enjoyed it. It’s that automatic reaction that I just get a great kick out of.
Writing is very different. Now, I’ve been really lucky to get my picture book (that I never thought I would get published) and here are the 5 things that every writer should know.
1. EDIT: Once you have finished writing your piece, be it a short piece of fiction or a novel; be sure that you EDIT the piece for grammar and spelling. Word is NOT going to double check if you misspell a word that is automatically another word. For instance if I wrote WORLD instead of WORD then Word is NOT going to pick that up. Even after you have EDITED the piece, be sure that someone else you love/respect reads your piece. They will then give you feedback on your piece. Try not to get offended of their opinion. They are there to help you with your writing and your ability to get the work printed/published.
2. RESEARCH: Review Publishing Houses or Magazines that you really want to have your piece in. Does your piece make sense for that said Publishing House or Magazine? I’m pretty sure that Fiction Fantasy is so very different from Science Fiction (for an example). I am not sure they want your poetry on love and kids. Be sure you know who your audience is.
3. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE: Which brings up a great point here – who IS your audience? In my case with my picture book Journey to Jazzland, this is for kids who like music or who want to learn more about jazz. That’s my audience. Also, my audience is parents who enjoy listening to jazz or folks who are jazz musicians.
4. WRITE MORE!!! Yeah, I’ve been learning this lately. So you published a book – so what? You need to get your work out there to other audiences so I’ve been lucky to keep writing articles, blog posts and now my short fiction and get it published in other papers and magazines and guess what? My book is now featured all over the World and in UK!
5. PLUG: Promote, Promote, PROMOTE!!! I can’t stress this enough! Once you have written your work or have it published you need to be the one to promote the piece! I will even help promote you if you are a writer – why? This is because it’s a win- win situation– you help promote me too by doing that – go check out #IndieBooksBeSeen on Twitter or Facebook (http://www.indiebooksbeseen.com). I’ve actually created a fan page called Promoting Picture Books http://www.facebook.com/promotingpicturebooks to help promote other picture book authors and illustrators out. So far, I’ve gotten a great response.