Peggy Bechko: 5 Tips for Aspiring Writers


by Peggy Bechko

Aspiring Writer? Well for starters I’d stop ‘aspiring’. If you’re writing you’re a writer. I’ve said it before so pay attention, I’m going to offer a few tips to those writers out there who are about to break into publishing and who are determined to keep on writing.

And speaking of determined to keep on, here’s the first tip.

Get used to rejection. Probably a lot of it. Not the best ‘holiday’ news, but there you are. Or, think about self publishing. BUT, and it’s a big but, if you go the self-publishing route, make sure that book is damn near perfect before you toss it out there via one of the publishing platforms like Amazon, Smashwords or some other. It’s always important, but even more important on the first go. If people read your book and find it loaded with typos and disjointed sentences, believe me they aren’t going to go for book number two. And even if it’s a great first book, it’s probably not going to do too well – unless you have a lot of promotional savvy and a good helping of luck.

And if you do self-publish and find incredible success (rare though that is) don’t think of it as just a springboard to the ‘big publishers’. Maybe you’d want to publish with them if they offer you a contract, but maybe not. Weigh your options and do your homework – do they really have something to offer above that great success? Seriously, self-publishing can make your work available all over the world but the ball is squarely in your court for everything; arranging publication, book cover design, promotion, everything. And on top of that you have to already have created compelling stories and you better be really good at sparking online interest. Hmmm, like I said, weigh your options.

Here’s Tip Two. If you haven’t been published and your confidence is not up to where it should be, fake it. Pretend. Develop another persona. Whatever it takes to pump it up and put that writing out there or pitch ideas. The ability to do many things online can help, but it’s best to develop that confident façade for the ‘in person’ times you’re going to have to pitch or talk to folks. Eventually it’ll be the real thing.

If you decide to publish with the big publishers you might run into the problem of exclusivity. That’s when that publisher wants exclusive rights to publish future works written by an author (you). This can be tricky, but if you need to get around that think about using pen names. That way, for Tip Three you can give a publisher exclusive rights to books by one name and perhaps go in another writing/publishing direction with another pen name. It also works when self-publishing in different genres or non-fiction vs. fiction.

Writing fiction and scripts? Cool. You have a pretty good grasp of writing with colorful abandon. Non-fiction? It still applies. You may not get as rowdy as you do with fiction, but there remains that need to keep the reader engaged. The writing can’t be dry as toast or you’re going to lose them.  So, for Tip Four,  add color, give detail as to what the driving force is, add insights from different perspectives, find ways to engage the reader.

And finally Tip Five – write, write write – then write some more. Just because a book doesn’t sell immediately don’t assume it won’t. Don’t let unpublished works take the wind out of your sales. Consider self-publishing. Keep submitting . Create more.

Now, didn’t that help? Go get ‘em tigers!

Peggy Bechko is a Contributing Editor to TVWriter™. You can learn more about her HERE.

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