This is a guest post by Heather Weidner.
I was asked recently what advice I would give to someone who wants to write. Here’s my list…
1. Read. Read. Read.
Read everything you can get your hands on. Learn about the genre. Learn about techniques and style. See what works and what doesn’t.
2. Seek out writers like you.
Find a writers’ group. I write mysteries, so Sisters in Crime was a perfect fit. I am also in the online community, Guppies. They have tons of resources and advice. And they are so supportive and helpful.
3. There are a lot of books out there on the craft of writing.
My favorite is Stephen King’s On Writing. Invest in books that help you. But use your library too. FREE is good.
4. If you are serious about writing, find a critique group.
It’s an investment in your time to read the submissions. Make sure that the feedback is helpful. Critiques need to be constructive and not personal. My critique group specializes in mysteries and crime fiction. And that works for me. I don’t want to have to provide feedback on other genres that I don’t read or enjoy. It takes a lot of courage to put your writing out there for comment. Be brave!
5. Your first draft is never your final manuscript.
Very few people get a polished work in the first few drafts. My author friend, Mary Burton, calls this your “sloppy copy,” and she’s right. You’ve got a lot of work ahead to get your manuscript ready for publication. (I rewrote chapter one in my novel, Secret Lives and Private Eyes, six times.)
6. Start thinking about your social media platform.
When you work with a publisher, he/she wants to know where you have a presence. I started with Twitter and my blog. Since then, I’ve added a Facebook author page, website, Pinterest, Goodreads, LinkedIn, Amazon Author page, and Instagram.
7. Make sure that you carve out time for writing.
Work, life, and everything else vies for your time. You need to write regularly.
9. Learn to use the basics of your word processor.
Many agents and publishers reject manuscripts that don’t fit their submission requirements. Each agent, publisher, and contest have different preferences. Make sure that you always review the submission requirements and follow them.
10. Don’t give up.
Rejections are hard, and they hurt. Learn from the criticism, but don’t dwell on the rejections or negative reviews. Keep writing.
Heather Weidner has been a mystery fan since Scooby Doo and Nancy Drew. Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather lives in Central Virginia with her husband and pair of crazy Jack Russell terriers. She is President of the Sisters in Crime, Central Virginia Chapter. Heather’s short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series. And her debut novel, Secret Lives and Private Eyes, will be published on June 20. Visit Heather at www.heatherweidner.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.
Secret Lives and Private Eyes
Secret Lives and Private Eyes is a fast-paced mystery that will appeal to readers who like a strong, female private investigator who has a knack for getting herself in and out of humorous situations. Business has been slow for PI, Delanie Fitzgerald, but her luck seems to change when a tell-all author hires her to find rock star, Johnny Velvet. Could the singer whose life was purportedly cut short in a fiery car crash still be alive? And as if sifting through dead ends in a cold case isn’t bad enough, Chaz Wellington Smith, III, a loud-mouthed strip club owner, hires Delanie to uncover information on the mayor’s secret life. When the mayor is murdered, Chaz is the key suspect. Now Delanie must clear his name and figure out the connection between the two cases before another murder – probably her own – takes place.