3 Bits of Advice

As we come into the Autumn, my thoughts always turn to the next year.

Earlier this year, I published Think like a Pro, 7 lessons that helped me turn from a hobby writer into a professional writer.

While I won’t repeat some of those lessons, I do want to give 3 bits of advice and one HUGE acknowledgement.

Advice 1 ~

For writers, for anyone pursuing the dream that’s haunting you, “Never stop.” 

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Never stop writing.  Get to the end.  And continue.

If you are pursuing traditional publishing, write the second and third and fourth books while the first one is submitted to editors and agents.

If you are an indie writer, having come to the Indie World after giving up on the Trads or bypassing the Trads entirely, the greatest reward is having others read your writing and praise it.

Advice 2 ~

Treat your work professionally.

If it’s the dream you want, pursue it like a job.  Present the best typescript possible for your readers, and hire professionals to polish the manuscript before you publish it.

People who are content and line editors enable your words to look as professional as you need them to be.

Accept that nothing wonderful ever came easily.

While others may try to game the system, you will be happier if you keep your work honorable.

Many shysters have attached themselves to the world of writing.  Disguising themselves as vanity publishers or developmental editors or marketing gurus, they want to separate you from your money.  Don’t let them.

The writing community can be a warm and welcoming place, but even in safe havens, evil can lurk.  Don’t be lured in;  don’t be a curmudgeon.  Use circumspection and wise business practices in dealing with others.

And remember that a contract is a contract.

Advice 3 ~

Humans are visual, and the first attractors to books are the covers.

M.A. Lee’s covers for this year

Cover designers are more essential than editors.  Some people will drop $4000.00 on a developmental editor then create their own cover or buy a generic one for $10.00.

What’s the old saying?  A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.”  Well, that works for cover designers as well.

Take the time to search the internet and find a designer whose aesthetic fits the tone of the book that you want.

After an 18-month search, the designers I found are professional and creative and clever, adding details that I would never think of.  Deranged Doctor Design can take a few glimmering words of direction  (“this is the fire book”) and create an enchanting cover that captures the novel, whether in an abstract way or more realistically.  They never fail to amaze and inspire me.  I know the cover is exactly right when I have tears.

Acknowledgements

Most of all, nothing I have accomplished would be possible without my kin and kith.

Thank God they are positive examples of friends and family.

Family and friends bolster me and encourage me and diss my stories in positive ways.  They love me and ground me in reality and keep my dreams soaring.  They critique rather than criticize and praise when praise is deserved.

And they let me have the time I need for writing and pursuing my dream.

Writing is a solitary business.

Writers spend their “free” time in their brains, working out characters and plots and considering themes and motifs.  The best support system for writers are friends who give strong critiques, who spot problems, and who give their honest opinions of the story.

The best support system that I have ever found are my two First Readers, Diane and Steve.  I can never thank them enough for giving me encouragement and criticisms.

Life throws us unexpected roadblocks, high walls that block our view of the future,

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and twisting passages that can steal our hearts.  On our labyrinthine journey, as we face darkness and monsters, we might lose our way.  My family and friends keep me going forward.  Through all the difficulties I have faced, I am grateful for their love and support.

Without them, I would not be achieving my dream.

~ M.A. Lee

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