Finally becoming an Author
I have only recently begun to answer the question ‘what do you do for a job’ with ‘I am an Author’ because it seems so surreal! You spend years trying to get to this point and now it’s here you become incredibly bashful!
I started writing quite early, beginning at sixteen years old (Unless that’s now considered starting late?) so I had to do a lot of things at a young age! I took quite a bit of time away from writing, picking it up again when I turned nineteen, but when I came back it’s like I had never left! Writing is something so personal and important that you have to give enough time, and even enough of yourself to your work! It will always be there when you come back to it!
Why I Wanted To Write.
I had grown up reading fantasy novels, and even from a very young age I knew I wanted to write my own version. I thought it would be easy, after all- how hard is it to write a book?
Turns out it isn’t as simple as I though. I would write whole chapters, only to delete them straight away and start afresh!
The most important thing to remember is that these characters are your own invention, the story is your own creation, and this fictional world that you want to make comes from you. You will go through days of writers block or hours of just staring at a blank screen until suddenly inspiration will strike and then next thing you know, you’ve written pages upon pages of gold!
My best advice would be to write a skeleton, a basic idea chapter by chapter, and go from there. I would write around three paragraphs of what I wanted to happen in this chapter, I would later go back and add some of the smaller details, and finally I would then pad it out, add speech and direction, and describe the scene, giving it all the intricate details. It always helps if you know what you want to happen next!
I had just left school, I had a basic idea of a story (which I completely changed after a few months) and I started working in one of the busiest A&E departments in the county.
You would think it’s impossible to find the time to write a book, but if you have enough passion and drive then you will surely enough be able to slot it into a busy schedule. You can take a few days off, go away and come back with fresh ideas, but always make sure you have a notebook to hand- inspiration will strike at the weirdest of moments, so make sure you have pen and paper available.
When you do come up with a new idea- Roll with it!
If you want to set your story in a medieval castle- DO IT! Take the time to research the history; trust me the internet will become your best friend. If you don’t have a pen and paper on you, take a picture. If you’re in the woods, or looking at the sky, or gazing at a fortress in the distance, take a quick snap and use this as inspiration later. It’s always helpful to go back to something at a later date with a new outlook.
My Biggest Influences.
Every writer in the world is a fan of someone else’s work- otherwise none of us would ever be inspired! Growing up I would read all of J.K. Rowling’s books, straight after the other, or waiting desperately until the next one came out, so I could be amazed at the immense detail and passion she put into her work. I would take this with me when I started to write myself, making sure I would always go back and create enough detail, so people who read my work would feel just like I did when I was reading hers!
When I realised I wanted to go down the route of people with supernatural abilities I delved into fiction research. I would read Rick Riordan’s books on demi-gods and the way he wrote teenagers dealing with immense magical pressure allowed me to gain an insight on what my characters would be feeling.
I wrote my last paragraph about a hundred times. Nothing that I wrote was striking enough, and everything I thought seemed too clichéd. The more pressure I put on myself to find a snappy ending the more I disliked it! You really have to take a step back and evaluate your work as a whole. I realised that after the turmoil my characters had endured, and the challenges they faced going forward, I couldn’t just end my story then and there- not without giving a little hint of what’s to come!
The single most important thing about being an author is rejection. No matter what you do, you’ can’t escape it! Not everyone will like your work and that’s just something you need to face head on.
My book was a through and through fantasy novel. I created a list of publishers who accepted manuscripts in the fantasy genre and one by one I would email them with their specific guidelines.
Out of the hundred that I emailed, only half got back to me, and most of them were firm NO’S. But this cannot stop you from trying again. Email others! Go further afield! Never stop trying!
If you’re lucky some publishers will give you feedback as to why they wouldn’t want to publish you- seriously learn from this and take it all on board. These people know what they’re talking about.
I was lucky enough to have been offered a few publishing deals, and you really do have to make the choice that suits you best; with a team that you feel will work with you!
Olympia still allowed me total control of my work- there was never any pressure to finish my chapters or re-do anything. I would receive marked copies back and I would take all the advice on board. Once I had written my story and they had received my manuscript, only a handful of small changes were made which makes you feel truly appreciated- like your work doesn’t need improving!
No one will know your book like you do. I was even asked for ideas towards the front cover! List everything and the amazing creative team will mock up multiple options that you can choose from, and up until the final day you can tweak absolutely anything! I had my heart set on my cover from the very first time I saw it and it still shocked me how professional even a mock-up looks!
Throughout the publishing process, I learnt that you really do have to know your own work. This is a tough industry, so know your audience; know the genre and the crowd and the way you want your work to come across! This will help you so much when it comes to publishing it!
The Very First Book.
I remember opening the very first copy of my novel. Up until this point I had only dealt with manuscripts and paper, so to see it all come together was slightly overwhelming!
I flipped through the pages lightning fat, stopping to take as much in as I could, as one thought stuck in my mind-
Did I write this?
It will seem so long ago that you first put pen to paper, and now to see it formatted, typed and printed in such a way will happily shock you.
It truly does look like a book! As simple as that sounds, to see your writing actually look like a novel that you could have plucked off of the shelf of any store is amazing!
Mine was a lot bigger than I expected! When you see your writing on a screen, scrolling up and down, you don’t grasp the depth of your work. When you see it printed and solid, feeling it in your hand, you can literally see hundreds of pages of hard work and dedication all neatly wrapped together.
The Big Wide World.
Your book will be out an about in this huge world, and that means people will see it, some will love it and some will hate it. In the perfect world everyone will praise your work as the next heavenly scripture but in reality people will always have their opinion.
But that’s good!
Have your work sent to online bloggers, book clubs, entered into competitions. People having an opinion are still people reading your book! Get your work as far out into the world as you can- expose as many readers to it as you can! Online forums and book review sites will become your biggest help- I look at the reviews from my first work to see what people want from the sequel!
I recently saw that my book was reviewed by people in Dubai and Saudi Arabia!
Just always remember to keep writing- don’t stop no matter what anyone says. Work on your book, a second one, even a third- but make sure you are always writing and following your passion!