Diving into NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month for those who are unaware,) means I’m meeting a lot of new people. Meeting new people means they click on over to my page and see that yes – I have a book for sale. This is generally followed up by an ass load of questions. I’m always happy to help a fellow writer, though I’m far from an expert.
So here is what I have to offer.
I started tackling this writing thing seriously back in 2006. I foolishly failed to do any research and published my book via Vanity Press. Please go back and read that sentence, I said foolishly! It isn’t edited very well and there’s a huge boo boo (that only I seemed to have caught) on page 1. Can I barf now? I can’t get the rights back for a few years, which is why you do not see book #1 under my books tab. It isn’t how I want to put myself out there.
So when I decided that I wanted to continue, I decided to research while I wrote and ran a business. At the same time, the publishing world started to change. So while I wrote 2 books that were not publish worthy, I continued to read. I read author blogs, agent blogs, articles and I started paying attention to who was selling.
By the time I was ready to publish, I didn’t write a query letter (though I had written and edited and rearranged etc. queries a lot before.) I self-published. I used 5 critiquers and 4 beta readers. That’s right, you need to get as many hands on your manuscript as possible. Why? Because they will catch mistakes you don’t. Even a 14 year old can give you an honest opinion about your story and trust me – if it sucks they won’t hesitate to say so!
Another good reason is that your audience will be as diverse. Back up – make sure your critters and betas are diverse. Don’t just choose ten middle aged housewives. That’s not a good sampling of the market. Feedback and opinions are just that. Take what you want and ignore the rest because ultimately, this is your body of work.
Enough of the fluff.
Here’s the people you should follow and why. Here’s the people I follow and why.
Kristen Lamb – this great lady is a social media expert. I bought her book, WE ARE NOT ALONE. It was well worth the coupla bucks I spent on it. Read her blog… read the archives. Not only does she have a great book, she gives advice for free on her blog. Kristen is a real person with a “spawn” running around distracting her all day. Kristen will teach you how to build your platform. If you don’t know what a platform is – she’ll explain it. But you definitely need a platform.
Tawna Fenske – Tawna signed a three book deal. She is a published author (the traditional way) who maintains a blog that is a constant source of entertainment. She will make you snort, she will tell inappropriate jokes and trust me, you’ll be a fan before you can figure out how to properly say her last name!
Joe Konrath a/k/a J.A. Konrath – He’s one of the top selling self-published authors of today. I send you here with a warning. His posts are very anti-traditional publishing and they border on bitter. But the man is successful, knows his stuff and also have advice in his archives. Joe is on blogging hiatus but is having guest bloggers right now.
Chuck Wendig (who Kristen Lamb will direct you to) – I like him because he basically says not to listen to the bullshit. Yep – that’s how he talks. He’ll even drop the “f” bomb. Enjoy!
Rusty Webb – his blog is called The Blutonian Death Egg. I follow him because I just plain like him… and we’re in the same boat.
So take what you will from this. I am no expert. I am selling books and I am writing more. I hope this helps.