Sunday, 18 January 2015

Do you want to be an author or just a writer?

 Do you want to be an author or just a writer?
Anyone can be a writer, all you have to do is to write.
First start with asking yourself why?
Yes, why and then what is your reason for even starting. What is it you want to do?
 What do you need to share with the world and why? Once this is very clear in your mind, make yourself a note of this.
Then give yourself a journal to refer to write down your reasons and whys and whats. This is a great inspiration motivator tool, so easy and so effective. Write and keep a journal of all your key points and notes you are going to be using and referrign back to a lot.

To become a published author you really need to build up a platform first before anything else.
But what should come first I hear you cry! Should the platform come first, or the writings? You have seen one site which suggests the platform, then another that suggests the writing!
So which is it to be?

Well you may well have been writing for years and only thought of being published. So before you go any further research and look up to read what it takes to become a published author and if you have the drive to keep it going especially in the months and years of waiting and being rejected? can you take this?

Even if you can't, do not let that put you off writing.
Do not be put off if you are only writing for your own hobby pleasure. This is what will actually keep you going on the days when you may feel like giving up. So this is a very good reason for writing initially, you must love writing.
The platform is as much as important as the writing, so if you want to be a published author they are as important as each other and it doesnt matter as much which you start first, as you are going to be doing both every day and building them both up and up and up.
I wouldn't suggest having many novels under your belt before you even look to see what is involved in a platform. Realistically as soon as you know you want to be a published author, reaserch building a platform straight away. Then get started with the basic toold of your platform straight away.
Below is a few key tools you will want to know about and it will also be a good idea to put these into your journal to refer back to.

What is a Writer/Author Platform?

Your  Authors platform is 
 your visibility as an author.
If you want to sell more books or simply get your name out there, a writer’s platform is essential.

The definition of platform, broken down, is your personal ability to sell books through:

Who you are
The personal and professional connections you have
Any media outlets (including blogs and social networks) that you can utilize to sell books

The most common building blocks of a platform include the following:

I will start with the most important block and that it is understanding that it’s about engagement; about connecting and interacting with people who are aligned with your message and affected by your story.
Plan your destination. Knowing where you want to go is the first step in getting there. What are your goals? Who is your current, potential or future audience? What are your short term and long term plans?

A website and/or blog with a large readership
An e-newsletter and/or mailing list with a large number of subscribers/recipients
Article/column writing (or correspondent involvement) for the media—preferably for larger outlets and outlets within the writer’s specialty
Guest contributions to successful websites, blogs, and periodicals
An authors page where you will be visable and can show your track book sales and reviews. Also reviews you have done.
It is important to have a bio, add it to your author page and a goodreads page too. Look to see what other people are seeing, reading. check you have follow up links at the end of your blogs and pages, so your  readers can follow onto a desired power point page ypu wish them to land on. 
Individuals of influence that you know—personal contacts (organizational, media, celebrity, relatives) who can help you market at no cost to yourself, whether through blurbs, promotion, or other means. Be willing to chat and message people, firstly introduce yourself and retweet and share and comment on their sites, pages and blogs. 
Public speaking appearances
An impressive social media presence i.e -Twitter, Facebook, instagram, linkedin, pinterest, goodreads, youtube, google+.

Create your Facebook Fan page. There is a difference between your Facebook profile and a Facebook page. Learn how to create an author Facebook page.  Join twitter and research and read
'Twitter marketing 101 for writers'.

Research hootsesuite and learn to use this.Or a smilar social media management tool that helps you execute your social media campaigns over multiple networks.
Look into joining organizations that support your goals and aims.
Join groups and communities who share/offer advice.
Further down the line another building block is media appearances and interviews—in print, on the radio, on TV, or online
Not all of these methods will be of interest/relevance to you. As you learn more about how to find success in each one, some will jump out as practical and feasible, while others will not. My advice is to choose a few and dive in deep—and don’t be afraid to concede failure in one area, then shift gears and plunge into something else. It’s better to show impressive success in some areas than minimal success in all.

Lastly, know that building a platform takes time.

Presenting your work 
 What you do need to know is how to present your work in the most professional manner possible. While nothing can guarantee that your book will be published, check out all guidelines available for publishing a book beforehand.
 Write, and then write some more. If you haven't written anything yet, now is a good time to start, a few sentences each day will lead onto a few pages before you know it. Just keep writing, anything. Editors are interested in professional finished products. If you're a new writer, editors want to be sure that you have what it takes, unique idea's combined with discipline skill,to not only complete a full-length book, but to edit and be able to change and take things out when needed. Once you have finished your first write up then the work really begins.  Have you got what it takes to have a book published? Let us look at some basic points to consider and research and make a layout of. This will be your basic foundations you will be working from.

Getting back to marketing and your book.
 Know your audience. What is your book about? Who is the intended readership? What age range? Illustrated, children's, young adult, adult fiction. These are questions an editor will ask; being able to answer them will help you choose an appropriate publisher. If your book is a novel, to what genre or category does it belong? Make sure you have one particular genre and then learn that market well. Research it.

 Research the market. Publishers do not just want you to email them to say will you be interested in my book, Instead, they want you to find the right publisher for your book. Find out who produces books like yours. Browse your local bookstore, and make a list of publishers who offer books in your category. If you're writing a children's book, for example, note who publishes books for the same age group or of the same type (e.g, picture, thriller, mystery).

 Do your homework. Look up promising publishers in the current Writer's Market or Literary Market Place in the library reference section. There, you'll find the publisher's address and the editor to contact. Specialised market books are also available for poetry, novels and short stories, children's books, romances, mysteries, and science fiction. Writer's Market also tells you what a publishing company is buying, its rates, and how to approach the editor. For example, some publishers want to see your entire manuscript, others want a query letter outlining your story idea, and still others want a book proposal and a chapter outline. Some accept unsolicited manuscripts; others only accept books from agents. If you need more information, write or call the publisher to request writer's guidelines.

 Prepare your manuscript. These days, editors won't even look at a manuscript that isn't prepared professionally. Print your manuscript on high-quality white paper. Get someone else to overlook your work. Get it proof-read. Double-space your manuscript and leave a 1-inch margin on all sides. Number your pages. Check your spelling  Don't mix fonts, and don't overuse boldface or italics or exclamation marks, try not to repeat words too often too close together.
 Submit your package. Always send the editor exactly what is requested. When emailing manuscripts, go over exactly what they ask for, if they want the first three chapters, then that is what you send, or the first 1000 words, or even just the synopsis. If you are mailing a large manuscript, use a manuscript box. Address it to the correct person, check and use names of the person.
 Include a large stamped, self-addressed envelope.

The waiting game. It may take up to several months or longer to hear anything at all. Longer for entire manuscripts. Because of this reason it is  acceptable to submit your manuscript to more than one publisher at a time. Make sure, however, that each is open to "simultaneous submissions."

 Keep going with the writing While waiting for a response to your first manuscript, get started on your next. Or, build your portfolio with articles, short stories, or other material that will put forward your skills. Start up or keep up your social media platform.

Don't give up. If your manuscript doesn't find a home right away, and nine times out of ten it will not, you just keep trying. Don't take rejection personally; sometimes you are just not in the right time at the right place. just move on to the next publisher on your list. Often it takes time, effort, and many submissions to get published. Successful writers are those who don't quit. The very act of putting your book, article, story or poem on paper places it under your copyright. You can formally declare copyright ownership by typing the words "Copyright, the year and your name on the first or title page of your manuscript You can also substitute the copyright symbol for the word "copyright." It is not necessary to register your work with the Copyright Office to protect it.

Should I get an agent? This depends to a great degree on what type of book you are submitting. Often, you do not need an agent to submit a nonfiction book to a publisher. Check the publisher's requirements first. If you find that a large percentage of the publishers in your chosen genre or subject area require agents, then you should look for an agent first.

Should I publish my book myself? With today's electronic publishing technology, it has become easy and relatively inexpensive to produce your own book. Well-targeted nonfiction books often do well; self-published fiction, however, is very difficult to market. Unless you're experienced in graphic design, it's wise to hire a professional to produce a quality product.
Be aware that self-publishing means more than getting your book printed. It also involves marketing, advertising, distribution, and sales which means setting yourself up as a small business, with all the tax and accounting responsibilities that entails.

Is it better to self-publishing or go with a vanity publishing house? Vanity presses take your money, bound to you to a lot of rights, take others from you, and give you little in return. If you're willing to pay money to have your book published, do it yourself so that you can retain full control over the process, the rights, and the proceeds. For more information on vanity publishing, see
 Publishing it yourself means you get all the satisfaction, all the money, and you are not bound by certain elements and rules. Self-publishing in itself is a whole new business for you to research, it can be very hard to get your social media platform going but also very rewarding if you are dedicated and strict with yourself and have the passion to keep it up.
remember,  a well-written, interesting, original manuscript is what you need, to take it forward in self-publishing, or to a publishers. Even before you think of sales there is so much to do. most of all, ask yourself, so you have the passion and commitment? Do you have skills in writing an original manuscript?
A last word for writers, do not give up at first hurdles, all of those famous authors are only famous because they did not give up. Remember to write because you like to, expect nothing in return and you will be rewarded, surprised or more one day!

                                                           Written by Karen Emma Hall

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