Where has the time gone?
It’s hard to believe, but this week celebrates 3-year anniversary of the release of my first book! I thought I’d write a quick little blog about what I’ve learned from the beginning. Well, the first thing I need to tell you be; I’m no expert and I have tons more to learn, I’ve barely skim the surface.
When I first started my first book it was a challenge, I never expected to do another one, or another one (etcetera), but as anyone who writes knows, once you start you can’t stop. Writing becomes part of who you are.
I think the most surprising lesson I learned is writing a book is just the beginning. It’s a business and if you want to succeed, you need to address the business end of the craft. Like any business, there are tools you need to use to be successful, so I thought I’d let you know a few of the tools I use day-to-day. As I’ve grown in my writing, I found I can’t go without them.
Foremost is Scrivener. It is a writing program which helps you organize and keep your thoughts clear. Plotter or Pantser– scrivener will work for you.
I also use MS Word because most documents need to be put into word and it’s easy. there’s no fussing. Word will allow you to add in editing programs, and these aids are essential for my writing process. I work with 2 programs; ProWriting Aid or Grammerly. Either one of them will work. You need these programs to help you catch the many mistakes your eyes will miss, know no matter how good you are.
I also use a dictation program called Dragon Naturally Speaking. I can’t tell you how my writing has changed using this program. The idea is to get the thoughts down on paper, and this works great. There is a learning curve to using it, but worth the time and effort you put into it.
Two other items I use every day, without fail, and would be lost without them are Dropbox and Evernote.
Dropbox holds all my documents off-line. After losing major files because of a glitch in either my equipment or my backup practices, I found this is the smartest thing I could have ever done. I wish I’d done it years ago, not only for my writing for my business. I use Evernote to help me to make quick notes from the thoughts racing through my mind as I go through my day-to-day routine. I can dictate into the program which is great for me. I can organize the notes into notebooks so I can make notes on different books and projects I’m working developing. Evernote is a good tool to use with Scrivener, too.
I’ve also found, whether I like it or not, social media plays big part in the writing. Facebook (www.facebook.com/CitrusBeachMysteryseries ), Twitter (Victoria LK Williams@CitrusBeachMyst), LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/victoria-lk-williams), Instagram (vickilkw), and Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/vlkwcbm) are the ones I actively use, some more than others. A word of caution about the social media sites; learn to turn them off and concentrate on your writing. It is best to set a time that you allow yourself for social media so you don’t waste writing time. Because, believe me, you can.
One important aspect not to overlook is an Author Website.(VictoriaLKWilliams.com) Give your readers another option to find you, to find out about your books; where to buy them and about your upcoming works. Personalize your website so it sounds like you; don’t make it so professional that the readers are not intrigued. This is your opportunity to introduce your personality and maybe some hints about how you write and why you write it’s also a great place to post about upcoming books and their progress.
If, after all that work, you still have some creative juices left, try Blogging. It’s one more way for your readers to find out about you on a more personal level and for those search engines to find you. I have two blogs: this one and Gossip From the Southern Garden (gossipfromthesoutherngarden.cordpress.com)
It’s been said loneliness comes along with writing, but it doesn’t have to be. Don’t seclude yourself, talk to other writers, if not in person than online. There’s many forums out there where writers share ideas, tips, and encourage each other. Even if you don’t participate at first, there’s a lot to read about. Find yourself a Writing Buddy— either online or in person. Everybody needs a shoulder to cry on, or a hand to hold. When you’re celebrating, your writing buddy can be there for you.They’ll understand you in ways no one else can, because they’re going through the same thing you are.
The other word of advice I can give is have patience. Don’t be in such a hurry to push the publish button. Invest in a good cover and an editor. Even if you need to hang on to your book for a couple of months until you can raise the funds to do so.There’s good editors out there and bad ones; make sure you send them a sample chapter. Ask them to look it over and tell you if it’s something they are interested in pursuing. You’ll get a chance to see their work, too. I would recommend you go with an editor who likes the type of books you write. If you’re writing a series of books, make sure your cover tie together so readers can find them easier.
Keep track of your promotions. a book that isn’t out there for people to find will not get read. Even the best authors fall off to the charts with some of their older books.
And my last bit of advice it to take care of yourself, your family and friendships. Get up and walk around, eat healthy, drink lots of liquids and, if you can, take breaks to get some exercise. Don’t neglect your family or friends. Nourish those relationships, they’re the most important thing in your life. Besides, you might find inspiration from these same people.
So here is my little tidbits of knowledge I’ve learned over the last three years. It’s by no means is a complete, because I’m learning more every day. I make mistakes every day too.