Hope Walker 

  An Amazon Top 100 Author!  

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First Timer!

Posted by walkersuspense on April 18, 2013 at 2:40 PM

I want to start this post by saying my thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the bombing at the Boston Marathon, and the explosion at the fertilizer plant in Texas. My heart breaks for the families that have lost loved ones.

Today I finished my first draft for Marcie's Secret. It felt great to finish it! I've been writing three stories while my other three; Ink Slinger, Co-Dependent, and my love it or hate it short story, Grace's Secret, are already available. I've learned some from writing those first three and putting them out there. I hope that shows with the next three that are next in line; Marcie's Secret, Split, and my first young adult paranormal romance, Water Lilly.

I wanted this blog to be for those writers, or want-to-be-writers, the first timers. I'm still a first timer myself, but I've moved up just a half notch. I want to help those who are still in the "Should I write and publish or not?" stage. Maybe they have some of the same fears and questions I had. With that said, I have a few words of advice for the other 'First Timers.'

1. Do it. If you're thinking about doing it, just do it. Sit down and write your story. It's the first step. You can't go any further until you get your story on paper.

2. Make a friend. Make friends with another writer. It could be someone you know, or maybe it's a stranger. Reach out to them. You might be surprised at their willingness to help you.

3. Have patience. This is where I feel I failed. I was so eager to get my stories out there for everyone to download and read that I didn't take the time to learn many other important things, which I'm still learning. So have patience. Take your time.

4. Focus Groups/Beta Readers. Find a focus group of Beta readers. People who are willing to read your story and give you their honest opinion and recommendations. Take their advice when you can. This needs to be people with whom you’re not close to. Your best friend isn't going to be honest with you. They are going to be excited that you wrote a book and they were able to be a part of it. It's ok to use your friends and family, but you need to go beyond them. You can find many Beta readers via social media like Twitter and Facebook.

5. Read. If you're not already reading a ton of books, start now. Read everything and every type of book. You will find the style you enjoy reading, which will make writing your story more enjoyable. When you're reading, pay attention to how the writer describes EVERYHING, how they grabbed you from the beginning and made you wanting more in the end. How did they make that impression on you that lingers once you finish the story?

6. Hobby or Dollar Signs? Ask yourself honestly, are you in it for the joy of writing a story that YOU personally loved to write, or are you in it to get books out there to in bring money? I'm not saying either way is good or bad. Everyone is different. Here's what you need to know and be prepared for either way:

Hobby: Be prepared for people to hate, really hate your story. You need to know that there will be at least one person who will go out of their way to trash you and the story. They will make you feel bad about yourself, even stupid. It will hurt like hell. You will wish you could take it all back and never do it again.

If that happens, remember why you wrote the book in the first place. If you have one or two people who loved it as much as you did, then it makes it worth it. You wrote what you loved, you accomplished a feat many are frightened to even try. Be proud, be strong, and learn from it.

Money Maker: If you decided to toss a few stories out there to rake in the dough, you might be really disappointed. Research just how many independent writers and self-publishers are out there. The percentage of them making Stephen King status is slim. The percentage of your story being recognized from a no name to a big name off one book, is also slim.

However, if your smart, and do your research, and put in the time, I think it's possible to make a little money. If you find what readers are paying for again and again, and you have the time to read those books, write them to perfection, spend some advertising money and keep advertising, you might be able to bring in a monthly Ca-Ching. That could be anywhere from $10 a month to $1,000's a month. That depends on your talent and time. Let's not forget, it takes a little bit of luck too.

7. Self-Publishing? If you go the route of self, online publishing, as I did, be prepared to read the tools each online publishing company gives you. It's critical to read through them and follow their guidelines. Each is different. Uploading your finished book to Smashwords has to be formatted differently than uploading to Amazon. Know who you are uploading your book to, and follow their rules.

8. Read your favorite author's bogs. The way I keep learning is by reading other writer's blogs. I love to find my favorite authors blogs and skim through them. They have a lot of free helpful advice.

I hope the above advice helps you in your endeavor to become a self-published writer if that is indeed the way you want to go. I still have a lot to learn myself.

Hope Walker

Categories: What I'm Up To

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