I’ve been down the writing road for a while. Along the way, I’ve learned things that some writers never hear about. Here’s some of them:
You cannot justify what the reader reads.
This was probably one of the hardest concepts for me to grasp.
I spent over a year writing a novel, but my friend Lily got confused about my work when she read it. She liked the idea of it, but the story was too confusing to her. It never occurred to me before that something I wrote could baffle another person.
You won’t be there with every reader when they buy your book. You can’t sit there with them and explain the book if they get confused.
It’s your job beforehand to make sure your story is as clear as possible. If a reader says your story is confusing, you can’t argue that. Most of the time, editing is your best friend. There’s a story under there. We can tell the story to anyone; we just have to find the best way to tell it.
Your book isn’t for everyone.
Everyone who reads your genre won’t like your book. There are some books out there that some readers don’t connect with. Nothing pulled them into the story as much as another reader because every reader is different.
For this reason, you won’t be able to please everyone. (It’s sad; I know.) But it is good to have different opinions in society. Not everyone can or should like your book.
Our job is just to get the most people possible to like it. But if someone doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world.
Not every critique is something you should listen to
For the same reason I mentioned about, some critiques will be harmful. They’ll make you believe your story is garbage and should never be seen again. Because, for them, the story doesn’t connect. Some of their ideas of what you should change may be the exact reason another loves your story.
Critiques are ideas. Other writers/readers express their ideas of how to improve your story the most. Ideas can be wrong, so you don’t have to follow all of them.
But you do have to take each critic with a grain of salt. Some critiques can lead to the best ideas. Listen, but you don’t have to act on them.
Writing the book is (arguably) not the most important part. Neither is editing.
Sounds insane, right? But it’s true. It took me forever to realize this. At the time, I thought I was close to to publishing soon. I could get an agent, an editor, and a publisher in the next few months! Simple, right?
Well, to get a publisher, most writers get a literary agent. These literary agents give each write one chance to impress them. That chance is not them reading your novel. Most agents won’t even look at your manuscript. Instead, they look at a query letter.
Successful query letters are about half the size of a word document. That means you have about 250 words to impress an agent. If not, you go to the rejection pile.
It doesn’t matter how good your novel is. If you don’t have a good query letter, you won’t get an agent.
Luckily, I have a page up to help you write your query letter!
There’s so much negativity
The writing field is full of negativity. Unless you’re a big shot like J. K. Rowling or John Green, there’s a high chance you’ll be against a bunch of resistance. That resistance includes:
- Why haven’t you published a book yet?
- Where’s your second job? You know, the job that can actually give you an income?
- You’ll never be able to publish a book. It’s too difficult.
- You’re still working on that book? It’s been years.
- Don’t submit to that publishing company. You’ll just get rejected.
It’s tough, I know. But there are always people who will push you forward and praise you for your writing. If not, I will. You can publish. You can get your books sold. Trust me, you can.
Once you get past all the negativity, it gets better. I promise.
It takes forever to start.
Your first few books will always be the hardest to write and sell. Getting yourself out there is it difficult too and takes a while to happen. After writing the book, editing takes longer than that. Making a query letter now? That’s going to be a few extra months. Waiting to hear back from agents? That’ll be a few extra months or sometimes years.
It’s insane how long it can take. But if you’re doing something every day, you’re climbing that mountain. After everything has been said and done for, it’ll feel amazing. I promise. The view from the mountain is worth the climb.