When I wrote stories, back when I was a young teenager, I wrote because I loved it. I never thought about publishing, editing, cover art and everything else in between. All I would do is sit and write away. Most of the time my stories never made sense, but it didn’t matter. I was doing what I loved to do. And that is always the most important part.
As I got older, I really started to think what it would be like to have something published. Of course, every writer wants to write that one story that sells faster than ice cream on a hot day, but that rarely happens. But what I wanted, was to write stories that people could fall in love with. I wanted to make sure the characters I created weren’t perfect because no one is. And perfect makes for a boring story. A lot of romance novels today are the same. Bad boy meets good girl. Billionaire playboy goes after the sexy intern, you get the point. It takes a creative mind and a good story to write something just a little different. And those are the stories that will set you apart from other writers.
As I was writing my first novel, the one I wanted to self-publish, I was so focused on just writing the story and creating the characters I wanted to create, that I didn’t stop to think about everything else that came along with it. And that was my biggest mistake. You see before you write your first novel, you should ask yourself one question.
What kind of writer do I want to be?
I never asked myself that question. Instead I wrote a book, did some editing and sent it out to the world. But I never stopped to think, what kind of author I wanted people to think I was. Joining Facebook groups online, has changed my life. (I strongly recommend joining groups of your interest to meet like-minded individuals). I couldn’t believe the overwhelming support and response I have received from other authors, some of who have sold thousands of books and have created a wonderful name for themselves in the book world. But after talking to some authors and getting their tips and tricks of being successful in this business, they all ask the same question.
What kind of writer did I want to be?
So, you’re probably thinking to yourself what I mean by that. Essentially there are two kinds of writers in the self-publishing world. The writer that just writes to sell books and the writer that writes the best story they can. You see, if you pull up what kinds of stories are hot right now in romance, they are the above-mentioned ones (billionaire playboy, bad boy rock star) but most of these books don’t have any substance to them. It is the same story written 100 different ways, and it doesn’t give the reader anything new to discover in the world of literature. Now most romances have the same formula. Two people fall in love and have a happily ever after, but everything in between should be different. The characters you create should have some depth to them. However, there are those authors out there that don’t do this. And guess what, some of them sell A LOT of books. If you want to be known as the writer that writes the same things as everyone else and sells a lot of books then go for it. You might make money and that would be great (we all want to make money doing what we love) but what if you want to be the kind of writer that not only makes money but has the respect of other authors in your genre? I don’t know about you, but personally for me that is more important than selling a bunch of books that are poorly written or do not have any complexity to them whatsoever.
Before you sit down and write your novel you need to ask yourself what you want from it. If you’re looking to just make money, then pump out those novels and just do it. But if you want respect, then get creative and come up with a story that is different, meaningful, and don’t by pass all the small stuff (I.e. editing, cover work, formatting).
I tell you this, because that folks, is the best piece of advice I have ever be given.