Three things I recommend for those interested in pursuing a writing career:
- Learn your craft. Attend writers workshops and conferences. This is a business, not a hobby (or that should be your way of thinking). Approach it like a professional. Learn about what’s happening in the world of publishing. Meet and network with other writers and folks in the writing world (publishers, publicists, agents, editors, bloggers, bookstore owners, etc.). The best place to get all these folks together is at a conference/workshop. You can do a google search to find a list of workshops/conferences in your area or your genre. A good one I recommend is the Midwest Writers Workshop (7/21-21) in Muncie, Indiana. It will offer more than 45 writing-related sessions, manuscript evaluations, social media tutoring, agent pitches, query critiques, and more. Various experts, top agents, and bestselling authors will be on hand. www.midwestwriters.org.
- Write, write, and write! Practice makes perfect or at least markedly improved. At some point, you need to get feedback on your writing from a writing group, trusted friends, authors, mentor, teacher, etc. But the best feedback you can get is to win writing competitions. You will have validation and credentials in one fell swoop. Some suggest you start small and work your way up. I say it’s okay to jump right into a big competition if you believe in your work. If you have written and revised and edited until you feel your story is as good as it can be, then go for it. Writer’s Digest has many writing competitions with impressive prizes. www.writersdigest.com/competitions
- Know your audience. Do you know who you’re writing for? You need to know with absolute certainty your genre. If you have any doubt, do some research. I have written posts about this and done podcasts on this topic (http://terrancezepke.com/category/podcasts/a-writers-journey/) . If you don’t know what you’re writing then you’re in big trouble. FYI: Genres are always growing. There isn’t merely a “romance” genre anymore. There is “paranormal romance” and “historical romance” and “time travel romance” and “gothic romance” and…well, you get the idea. So before you tell everyone that you write mysteries or sci-fi, make sure to know exactly what kind of mysteries or sci-fi you write. I’ll be honest, there are some genres that I don’t fully understand, such as steampunk and dystopia fiction. Here are seven new genres that are also confusing to me: Cashier Memoir, Twitter Fiction, Spoetry, Flash Fiction, Nordic Noir, Cli-Fi, and Bizarro Fiction. You’ll have to look these up if you want to know more, but I will tell you that Bizarro Fiction is “books that aim to be strange and entertaining, with big doses of absurdism, satire, and the grotesque. Whoa! http://terrancezepke.com/2014/11/04/do-you-know-what-your-book-genre-is/