Well then. Robert Bose thinks that because he’s challenged me to reveal five author/editor secrets that I’m just going to give away my treasures for free. Ha! Not likely! I’m just going to make some crap up and hope that makes him happy.
1. If YOU don’t love the story you’re writing, then no one will love it when they’re reading it.
2. Write what you know, write what you can research, or write fantasy and just make shit up, using “its magic” as the answer to all challenges.
3. There is no CORRECT way to write a story. You can write it any way or in any form you want, just so long as the end product is compelling enough that people want to read it. I don’t care if it’s a novel comprised of 200 pages of limericks… if you do it well, it can sell.
4. There is a huge difference between professional editorial services you pay to polish your manuscript and “publishing services” you pay to “design” you a cover, write you a blurb, sell you an Amazon marketing package, and promote your book on their blog. The first one is necessary if you don’t have an Pro-level editing-capable friend, and the second is a scam. Sadly, if you’re going to self publish and lack the skills to produce a dynamite package and marketing plan, you may have to pay someone to help. If so, ask around and get recommendations. Avoid the scams. Do your research.
5. If you can’t find a publisher to buy your manuscript, you’re either looking at the wrong publishers, or your manuscript isn’t ready for the world. Don’t let your ego tell you that it’s because the world isn’t ready for your manuscript. Or… you can self-publish it and let them all go to hell.
5.a. Never ask a kind, sweet person to read your unpublished manuscript and tell you what they think. Ask a friend who’s an asshole. An asshole may not candy-coat their answers, but they’ll shoot from the hip and give you a better critique than “that was wonderful”! Nice, sweet critiques do not make your manuscript better, and that is your only goal in the early stages.
5a.i. Use beta readers who read in the genre you’re writing in. A Science fiction writer may not have a clue about the horror genre, and a horror writer may not have a clue about the structure of a mystery. And a journalist may know sweet f-all about fiction.
5.b. And lastly, if you’re ever lucky enough to become a successful full-time writer, don’t treat the less successful people like shit. They might not say anything to your face while they’re bowing and scraping and fawning over you, but they WILL talk to each other behind your back and and share “that Writer is a complete douchebag” stories. You might think your fame and fortune put you above their comments, but you’ll never really know who is a friend because they like you, and who is just putting up with your shit because you have influence. This also goes for musicians, visual artists, and stand-up comics.
That’s my 2 cents worth of my writerly secrets that I haven’t already shared elsewhere. Just remember the one Golden Writing Rule… there are no rules you can’t break. Except the Oxford comma. Just don’t.
That’s it, that’s all.
Ciao for now,