Monday, November 19, 2012

Starting Out as a Writer – Five Things You Should Know by guest author Toni LoTempio

One thing I hear a lot from new writers is what to expect, particularly if they are lucky enough to land an agent and even luckier to get offered a publishing contract.  Here are some points every writer should know:

#1: Writing is a job, like anything else, and requires commitment.  Whether you’re lucky enough to do it full time, or juggle it with a day job, you’re going to be at that computer at odd hours,on weekends,holidays, etc,  what with deadlines, edits, etc.  Your family and friends won’t understand deadlines or edits or why you seem to be glued to that chair and can’t make Aunt Louise’s 45th wedding anniversary party, but if you want to be successful, it’s vital you invest the time to make it so.  Sadly, the books don’t write themselves – they require time, patience and commitment.

#2: Whether you are traditionally or self-published, I can’t stress enough the importance of online presence.  In order for people to want to buy your book, they’ve got to know who you are and what you have to offer.  Get on Facebook, Twitter,Pinterest, LinkedIn, anywhere you can. Start a blog and begin to grow an audience.  Establish yourself as a writer/author with a good, solid fanbase.  Sales are the bottom line in publishing, and the only way to get sales is to entrench yourself with a solid fanbase. (Kind of like Kirstie Alley on Dancing with the Stars) J

#3:   Also in conjunction with #2 – Promotion is a dirty word, but it’s got to be done.  There’s a fine line between promotion and overkill, so be careful.   Grow your presence, don’t use Facebook, Twitter or your blog solely to self-promote your books.  Make Promotion a part of your online presence, rather than the focal point, or you may lose followers. Readers want to know something about you – your likes,dislikes, etc. It makes you “real” to them.  Out of these online “friendships” grow loyal followers!

#4:   Think before you post. You have opinions, sure, but don’t post anything on any social network about topics that are sure to anger someone. You don’t want to lose readers because you support a different Presidential candidate or on opposite sides of a timely issue, like birth control.  It’s just simpler to keep your views out of the public eye and keep a low profile.

#5:  If you haven’t already, grow a thick skin.  When you put your work out there, it’s only natural some will love it and others will hate it,and still others wont’ care one way or the other.  You’ll get glowing reviews and you’ll get others so bad you’ll want to crawl in a hole and pull it in after you.  Just remember – you can please some of the people some of the time, but not all of them all the time. Different tastes are what make up a world – just live and let live and get concentrating on your next book! 

“In 1995, I joined the staff of SUSABELLA PASSENGERS AND FRIENDS, where I have been a staff reporter for over 10 years, winning their Margaret Sutton Award for Distinguished Writing in 1998. I joined the staff of NIGHT OWL REVIEWS IN January 2011 as the suspense reviewer/columnist. My column, DARK STREETS, is featured on a monthly basis.
In 2007, Whiskey Creek Press published BOUND BY BLOOD, a tale of possession, and EBONY, which deals with zombies and the dark side of man. EBONY was #2 on the Fictionwise bestseller list for e-books for the month of July 2007, beating out Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story. In 2010 I self published NO REST FOR THE WICCA, which made Amazon’s list of top one hundred in Occult in March 2011, (and has been there for 33 weeks!) and my short story, THE SACRIFICE, appears in the e-published anthology KISS ME KILL ME, and another, a follow up story to NO REST FOR THE WICCA, appears in the anthology EVERY WITCH WAY BUT WICKED.  Proceeds of sales of EWWBW benefit Nathan Fillion’s charity, KIDS NEED TO READ!
Currently single, I work full time and live in Clifton, NJ, with my muses: Rocco, Maxx, Gata and Trixie. Rocco is also known as Rocco the Sci-Fi Blogging Cat and has appeared on the Sci-Fi Saturday Night website and radio show, and also on the Kids Need To Read website where he holds the distinction of being the first (and possibly only!) blogging cat to support this charity.”

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