I posted on Facebook and Twitter, giving aspiring authors and writers the chance to ask me any question. I got some great ones, so here we go! P.S. If you still would like to ask a question, feel free to post it in the comments.
Jennifer asks : I would love to become an author. So many inspire me (with) the stories they write, how do you come up with a story line and follow with it? When I write it seems like my writing goes all over the place. I guess my question is how do you maintain & create a story line?
Great question Jennifer! Sometimes you just have to trust the story that’s unfolding. I think a lot of authors started writing a story one way and it ended up being completely different. When I started writing Bohemian Grove it was supposed to be an inspirational story for business women. Next thing I know I’m writing science-fiction. I think that’s quite the turn! But, itworked out for the best and started a new life for me, literally. Trust the process and listen to your characters. Also, having a great beta reader helps. If I’m not feeling right about the direction I’m heading I rely on my editor and beta reader to let me know whether it’s just me over thinking it or if I really do need to make adjustments. You don’t need to be an author to have the right team of people. Find a friend who loves to write or join the water cooler writers group for feedback.
Matthew asks: What have you found to be your most successful outlet for building your community and/or fan base?
I’m glad you asked this Matthew! The most successful outlet is the one you most enjoy being a part of. If you hate Twitter, there’s no point in building via Twitter. The same goes for Facebook, Instagram, etc. Find one you’re attracted to naturally and build there. Facebook and Twitter have been kindest to me as far as social media. But I definitely take advantage of Amazon, Goodreads, and live events. The most important thing any author or aspiring author can do is network. Not only with their peers, but with their readers. Build your fan base one person at a time and just remember that your readers, in a way, are more important than you are. Treat them with the respect they deserve and you’ll get it back times 10.
Johna asks: How hard was writing your first book?
My first book, strangely, was the easiest one for me to write. I didn’t have any expectations with it and honestly wasn’t even going to do anything with it. I was writing it 100% for myself. I also had an amazing person who was reading the story as I wrote it and excited about it unfolding, so that definitely helped motivate me to keep going! After that, I had people relying on me and expecting me to do well. So, the pressure was on. It no longer became about myself but my publishers, editors, readers, fan base, friends, etc — I still write mostly for myself, as in I won’t write a story unless it’s one I want to write, but with each book that comes out, the bar is raised. I also have deadlines now, which makes it more challenging. Does this mean the first book is easiest for everyone? Probably not. I tend to do things backwards.
Edward asks: Focus, is my issue, it comes and goes….some days I can write all day, others an hour before distraction sets in… Thoughts?
Welcome to life Edward! Every writer struggles with this. We’re being pulled in a million different directions at all times. Most authors also don’t write full-time. I really don’t think anyone is as focused as they truly want to be. We never get as many words as we want done on a daily basis because… well because life happens. That’s why you often see writers going on writer retreats and escaping day-to-day activities to find their focus. You do your best. Make a schedule and try your best to stick with it. It won’t always happen but this is what works best for me. If I make a schedule and set aside 2 hours every day to write then I know when those 2 hours comes I need to write. I put my headphones on, find the right music and ignore the distractions without guilt, because that’s the time I set aside. Does that mean it always happens that way? Absolutely not, but you’ve definitely got to push yourself.
Mimi asks: I have people tell me all the time that I should write a book but I fear it would be rejected and I’d be embarrassed. How do you get past that?
First Mimi, I wouldn’t recommend writing a book because your friends tell you you should. Is there one book that you want to write because there’s one story that needs to be told? It still needs to be something you’re driven to do yourself. Do you just want the story out but don’t want the rejection or want to write it? Maybe look into having someone else write the story for you and you can partner up with them. As far as rejection goes. No one likes rejection. No one. This is something you need to be prepared for because it doesn’t matter how amazing of a story you write, someone isn’t going to like it. And that someone is most likely going to be very vocal about it. I also don’t recommend jumping right into writing a book. Join a writer’s group and start writing short stories. Get feedback and get used to getting the feedback. If you find that the feedback is debilitating then you have your answer on if this is something you should do. Also, you can still write a story for yourself, without putting it out in the public. I know plenty of people who do this. They write because they just want to get a story out but they don’t let anyone except those they love and trust read it – there’s nothing wrong with this. Are you friends telling you to write a book because they think you’re a good writer? I still suggest joining a writer’s group if this is what you want to do in your life. Being told you should be a writer by friends who enjoy reading your work is an entirely different ball game than actually writing, completing, editing, and publishing a book. A writer’s group and writer’s workshop is a great way to transition from one world to another and see if it’s something you really want to do. Have more questions? Feel free to post them in the comments!