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  • Annette Austin


Many people have chosen the route to write for a living with the advent of writing platforms opening up a wealth of possibilities in an industry which used to be seen as a closed shop by many. Presently, there is a sizeable range of opportunities for newbie novelists - wherever you are located in the world. Yet, there could be seeds of doubt fermenting in your mind, as you query whether this path is the correct one to take. Anyone choosing a new career path will have doubts, which is understandable. For all its foibles, writing can be an extremely rewarding career choice. This brief little blog post will try to give any potential authors some guidance.

Can I Become A Writer?

The short answer is – yes! Whatever your age or your circumstance, any person can turn their immensely talented hand to novel writing. No long list of qualifications or having a million letters after your name is required. All you need is above-average English, a reasonable level of grammar and a rampant imagination (the broader the better.)

If you are writing a journal or a diary on a daily basis, in a roundabout way, you are heading towards novel writing as you are writing about yourself via the power of words. Another good indication is if you devour books regularly, (reading, not eating). Personally, I endeavour to read an enticing novel each month in its entirety and not just fiction or in the genre that I write in. You won’t reach your pinnacle as a writer if you do not read on a consistent basis. Next, I will divulge some of the hurdles which you may encounter in your path towards writing glory.

It’s Not The Most Straightforward Option

Some overly eager people will be keenly aware of the accomplishments of a self-published author like E.L. James and think – what an unbelievably effortless way to make a ton of money. Regrettably, this is a complete myth without substance. In reality, the chances of your book becoming an international bestseller are very slim. What makes the taste in your mouth even bitterer is it probably isn’t because your book is absolutely dire. With a multitude of authors vying to get their books sold, the competition is now ferocious. When publishing your stellar novel on Amazon, take note that you’ll be attempting to get book sales against thousands of other novels. Your novel will not only be competing against self-published authors, but well-established authors as well.

Unpaid Hours

The fact is, many self-published authors will work for little or no pay. Some self-published writers will offer their book for free just so they can get some sales to begin with, before charging a price later on. This principally occurs at the fledging part of a novelist’s career. Typically, the hours are long. When I wrote the first draft of my first novel, ‘The Fall of the House of James’, I scribbled down a substantial amount of material, sometimes entering into the early hours of the next morning to do so. Now, some authors tend to work shorter hours, others do a longer stint. How many hours you work while you toil away, hammering out your first jewel of a novel, is your decision alone. Although circumstances can alter, the best course is to be in employment, as you patiently wait for your writing career to take flight. If you decide to take the risk and become an author full-time, please be aware you will not make any money straight away and it could take months before you do.

Productivity Issue

There will be days when you could write 1,000 to 5,000 words in a day. Consequently, there will be times when you’ll battle to write 500 words. It’s the way the bread falls butter side-up on a mouldy carpet sometimes. On several occasions, I’ve failed spectacularly to type more than a meagre amount of words in a day. Little will be gained by chastising yourself over it. Accept as in any other occupation that you will have outstanding days and lousy ones.

Responsibility Aplenty

Make no bones about it; crafting a novel lovingly is not the solitary aspect of self-published novel writing. If it were only about typing out the novel from its beginning to its conclusion, then it would be a much smoother process. The novel has to be edited to a high standard as grammatical errors coupled with inferior spelling can be a turn-off to readers. The hiring of a competent editor is a viable option, otherwise, you’ll need to make the necessary amendments yourself. This can be a time-consuming and exasperating process initially, but if your book is poorly edited, it will affect your sales. Again, it is up to the author as there is no set rule about this, but it is strongly recommended to proofread and edit the novel at least three times.

As a newbie novelist, your novel will be boosted by exceedingly clever marketing. Although there are a glut of book marketing companies available wanting your hard-earned cash, if you are on a shoestring budget, you will need to do the marketing yourself. It can take a while before you can correctly master what the best marketing tools to use are.

The second section of this blog will be written in a hasty fashion – please come back and read all!

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