After more than a decade in the publishing industry—writing, editing, and now working for a publisher—I’m still learning. If you’re hoping to publish and sell your book manuscript, you need to be learning too.
Publishing a book involves more than simply writing a book, especially in our current state of the anyone-can-publish-anything-on-Amazon market. If you want to set yourself apart (e.g. if you want to sell more copies of your book), then you need to learn everything you can about every aspect of the industry. Then go back and do it again.
Right now I’m re-reading Plot Versus Character by Jeff Gerke. I recommend it to many of my clients and authors because I read it years ago and it changed my approach to characterization. But recently I wanted to reference something from it for an author and I couldn’t remember where to find it (or if it had even come from that book). That’s why I’m reading it again, and I’m learning just as much this time as I did the first. When I finish this book, I’m planning to re-read Self-editing for Fiction Writers by Rennie Browne and Dave King.
I’m not only re-learning, though. Later this year I’ll be attending the Mt. Hermon Writer’s Conference as a faculty member. My primary goal is to meet writers and take pitches for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolina’s women’s fiction, historical romance, and western imprints, but I plan on learning while I’m there. I applied for and have been accepted into the Professional Writers Track, taught by Randy Ingermanson and James Rubart. Just because I’m there to help others advance their writing careers doesn’t mean I shouldn’t take advantage of the opportunity to advance my own.
I realize not everyone can afford to attend a writer’s conference, and not everyone has the time to read (though you shouldn’t be writing if you aren’t reading, but that’s another topic for another time). That’s why I strive to share helpful writing and editing tips on this blog. Don’t let time or money prevent you from learning. Hone your skills one blog post at a time. Just don’t stop learning!
What’s your biggest struggle right now—plot development, attracting an agent, book sales? Leave a comment below, and we’ll get you some suggestions and recommendations to help you out!
My debut novel—Summer Plans and Other Disasters—is now available on Amazon! Sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the unpublished prologue: find out what inspired Calista Stephens to make those summer plans. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for writing tips, updates on Guiding Light, and more!