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Advice for New Writers
8 Tips and Secrets From the Publishing World
I genuinely think there has never been a better time to start sharing your writing. There is something deeply special about people sharing their unique viewpoints. Your writing has the power to inform and inspire.
The following is a summary of 8 lessons I’ve learned from my time as a writer who shares their work online.
Start Before You Are Ready. The simple truth is that being ready is imaginary, you just have to gather your courage and begin. When you share your work online it will help you gain immediate feedback, and it will cultivate your voice as a writer. You will be able to see if the way you are explaining yourself actually makes sense to other people and through this open form of practice you will develop your own unique style. It is very rare to come up with a new topic, but that is not what readers are looking for, they connect with what is relatable. There is nothing wrong with delving into a topic that many others have written about in the past because no matter what, the thing you are offering that is special is your own unique perspective on that subject. Starting sooner rather than later gives you more time to develop your unique way of writing that your readers will come to love.
People Before Institutions. Often we look for institutional approval by getting pieces of our writing published in certain journals or magazines or by handing a completed manuscript to a publisher before we have ever shared anything online. There is still space for this but honestly it is becoming more rare. It feels much more valuable to see if people are interested in what you are writing about first. If your work is getting shared and if your audience is growing, then the institutions will come to you without you having to go to them. Especially with creating a book, publishers love when an author can also do their own marketing.
Find Your Main Platforms. There are a vast number of social media and writing platforms. Trying to stretch yourself over every single one can become exhausting. Pick a few that fit your style the best and stick to them, this will help you not burn too much energy. Remember you are a writer first, and your own social media manager second. Don’t get the two confused because ultimately people will support your writing career because you are a producing high quality and thoughtful material.
Newsletter. In the ever-changing landscape of social media networks, you need to establish your newsletter as the central node for your audience. This is why Substack is so important. You need a place where you can reach your audience without an algorithm getting in the way. Give your audience the best of what you have through your newsletter and it will grow.
Self-Publishing. This is one of the best ways to see how much your writing has developed. If you can put together a book that you feel great about then you have come a long way! Usually, a self-published book will be a mixture of the best things you have shared online and new unreleased material. It is becoming more common for publishers to sign a writer and then re-release the self-published book as an expanded and revised version. That’s what happened to me with my first book Inward. When a publisher can see that you are selling copies, they are more likely to try and sign you. Amazon has a good self-publishing service.
Get a Literary Agent. If a publisher makes you an offer, go get a literary agent before you make any commitments. A literary agent is worth the 15%. The first offer is not the best offer! Literary agents understand the publishing landscape and will be able to improve the advance and the amount you make per book sold.
Amazon. Amazon is dominating the publishing world and it has become integral to how it functions. Editors, publishers, and literary agents are all watching what’s happening on Amazon, literally taking time to check who is at the top of the book charts. If you do well there, there is a greater likelihood of getting future book deals. For some publishers, the sales on Amazon are connected to the printing of new books, meaning once you sell a certain amount of books, it will trigger the warehouses where books are made and held to print more copies of your book.
Promote Your Work. Your audience will not know that you have something to offer them unless you tell them, repeatedly. It is exceedingly rare for a book to go viral without the author lifting a finger. Usually, a book does well because the author is actively getting the word out there. When you create something, that is not the time to feel shy about telling your audience about it. There will be many people in your audience who really want to support you, give them a chance to do so.
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The Way Forward
My new book The Way Forward is now available for preorder! Thank you for supporting my announcement last week and for helping me get the word out. I am excited for you to have this one in your hands soon!
Every preorder helps so much with the life and reach of a new book. Grateful to those who have already preordered their copy!
You can preorder The Way Forward through these links: