‘So You Want To Be A Writer’ (A teamTEENauthor Blog)

Team Teen

This blog is an excerpt from an interview I did for migmag.co.uk [now inactive] in June 2012.

On Being Self-Published

The process of self-publishing is not for the fainthearted. I originally wanted to get an agent and become published the traditional way; I did achieve this opportunity in 2010. However, as time went on, and on the advice of some very knowledgeable friends and authors like Tabitha Suzuma, I learned that the world of publishing was extremely competitive and prescriptive. So it seemed that self-publishing was the way forward.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Self-Publishing

The disadvantages are predominantly to do with the fact that the writer needs to do a lot of the groundwork. This includes getting an editor, proof reading, design, layout, structure etc. You also need to do a lot of the publicity. However, the best advantage is that you get to keep your independence as a writer. You can also get your work out there to the kind of people who will want to read it. This also gives a writer lots of creative control over every step of the process creating their novels.

On Marketing and Publicizing a Book

This task has been really exciting and interesting. I have been lucky to have a good marketing team behind me. Family, friends, my college, students and University have also been so important to getting the work out there. People want to read books their friends tell them about, so getting them talking is very important. I am also part of Julie Cross’ TeamTeenAuthor. She’s the writer who wrote the Tempest series. My Facebook and Twitter pages are really easy and effective way to sell in a twenty-first century market. I also use my blog to communicate with fans and give them loads of exciting extras, prizes and secret clues hidden within the novels.

Advice for Writers

They should do as much research into the possible avenues as they can and try to send their work into competitions as well. For example, I won at the Southend Literary Festival in 2010 and then a MigMag Short Story competition this year. That’s a good start before you work on a publishing plan. Sometimes it’s more effective to send manuscripts to publishers. It depends on your kind of writing and your skills.

Printed Word vs. E-books

Some say that the printed word is dead. I don’t think the book is dead. I love books. I’m always giving hard copies of The Sacerdos Mysteries  because I think there’s something so brilliant about holding a book in your hands and physically owning it. The digitisation trend is the future but people will still want the feel and smell of real books. A great thing about e-books is that it is also helping to shift power from the publishers to the readers as to which work gets published.

Current Projects

At the moment I’m working on the very exciting and epic third Sacerdos Mysteries novel and a book called We Burn Daylight which follows five orphans on a journey to freedom in an England where the sun has been blacked out by pollution.

Recommendations for New Writers

A good technical book is Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction by Lisa Tuttle. The Writer’s and Artists Yearbook 2013 is also really good for new writers starting out.

The Ultimate Advice

Make sure you go to University/Writing School to really learn to hone your craft; do a LOT of reading. Read and read and read. Then write as much as you can, taking inspiration from as many places a possible. In addition to all this you should also have a writing society, a group of honest friends that you meet with to discuss your work.

The most important thing is determination. Edison once said ‘genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration and the same is true of writing’.

THIS BLOG POST IS PART OF @teamTEENauthor, follow us on Twitter.

Please read some of the other teamTEENauthor posts – they are all absolutely brilliant!

Find more advice and writing tips here.

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