What do you wish you knew before you wrote your first book?
As they say, hindsight is 20/20. Writing and publishing a book is an experience from which you’ve probably learned or are learning a lot, and it’s nice to pass those lessons along to authors just starting out. I love learning from other writers, so I asked four of my author friends (some with contracts, some indie) what they wish they knew before writing their first books. Here’s what they had to say:
- Christine Charles, author of I Should Have Worn Heels: “I wish I knew how overwhelming the self-publishing process can be if you delay reaching out to and seeking insight and guidance from the many respected sources available. And getting your book published is the easy part – the ‘baby steps.’ Successfully promoting your book is a whole other journey.”
- Kristen Ethridge, author of Saving Gracie:”I don’t think I truly understood how the power of persistence is integral to being a successful writer without really going through it. Life happens – in my case, everything I’d ever written or saved about writing was washed away in 2008 by Hurricane Ike – and you have to move past it and keep putting words on the page. Market trends change and you have to adapt. Agents and editors reject your book, and you have to regroup and finish something else to submit again – or take charge and publish on your own. One way or the other, you’ve got to keep at it, because standing strong and conquering the obstacles in your way in order to keep crafting the stories in your heart is the true measure of success as an author.”
- Jessica Massa, author of The Gaggle: How to Find Love in the Post-Dating World: “In the early stages of my writing process, I wish I had trusted that my message would come across most effectively if I focused on writing for my core audience. At first, I tried writing for everyone who I hoped would read my book – basically, I tried to write for everyone! I also wish I had known that the best way to push through writer’s block is to take a break and do something positive and healthy for yourself and your brain. Eventually, I realized that my thinking and writing improved dramatically when I stepped away and took care of myself in other ways, whether that meant going for a run, making something healthy to eat, getting a solid night’s sleep, or taking time to walk around the neighborhood or catch up with a good friend.”
- Ron McElroy, author of Wrong Side of the Tracks: “I wish I knew how much dedication, effort, and time it really takes to write a book that readers can relate to and want to read cover to cover. I now know and understand better how important it is to set up the structure of your story prior to launching your writing effort. Having a framework early on allows you to stay on course and convey the correct message throughout your story. I’m sure now that my next book will be written in a much more efficient manner.”
As for my own first novel, Perfect on Paper, I wish I knew how important it is to keep pushing the plot ahead. I spent way too much time editing along the way, which I now wait to do until I’ve finished the entire first draft.
What about you? What is one thing you wish you knew before writing your very first book? Tell me in the comments!
This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2013 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.