Tagged: publishing

Is There REALLY No Roadmap to Writing Success?

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I’ve been told by some successful writers that you just have to figure things out for yourself.  To quote, one of them even told me that “there is no roadmap”.

But is that REALLY true?  I mean, aren’t there things that ALL writers do, and do well, that you have to replicate if you want to be successful?

Observing some of my fellow self-published authors, it seems like doing a Blog Tour is a piece of this roadmap…it seems like getting lots of reviews is another part…it seems like blogging a LOT is another part…

Doesn’t this comprise something of a roadmap?

What do you think?  Have you observed any tendencies or directions that all successful writers seem to take?  I’d LOVE to hear about them!

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Take up the pen

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The writer sits down.  The sun is still shining, because it needs to be.  The earth is still watching, because it knows no other action.  The people of the world bustle about, here and there, because it is their nature.  Wars, famines, tragedies; weddings, baptisms, quiet, peaceful deaths–all these sweep across the land, day in, day out, because that is life.

And the writer takes up his pen, understanding that all of these hover in the balance.  He sees the setting sun, feels the earth watching, listens to the people, experiences the wars, the famines, the tragedies, the weddings, the baptisms, and the quiet, peaceful deaths–understanding that he is they, and they are he.

The writer takes up his pen.  And he writes.  The world will never be the same way again.

1000 Words a Day

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That’s how many I try to do.  It isn’t always easy…but then, when you think about it, it’s not that hard either.

1000 words a day.  How many can you do?

We all get busy.  Life is honestly crazy, and sometimes we can’t even get a grip.  I’m currently an Engineering major at a prominent university.  How do I manage to write 1000 words when it isn’t related to my busy major at all?  I’ve developed a routine.  I have a system.  And it works.

The best way to become a writer is to write.  And to become a better writer you need to write more.

When do you write?  Do you have a system?  As always, I’d love to know What do you think?

The #1 Problem with Self Publishing

There’s a lot of obstacles to self publishing and being successful as a self published author.  Merely having enough perseverance to publish your book at all is an obstacle.  Hiring an editor, finding a cover-artist, and building your audience all add varying levels of difficulty to the process too.

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Hah!  That last one is funny…

Oh, and did I mention that EVERYONE is self publishing?  So yeah, you’ve also got LOTS of competition.

But what’s the #1 problem with self publishing?

I call it Amateuritis: the false sense of confidence you have going into the entire self publishing endeavor.

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Mmmm yeahhhhnoooooooo

You size up the odds; you read about writing a novel, hiring an editor, and how to market your book, and you think, “Yeah, I can do this!”  But then you publish your book, the excitement dwindles, and a few months later, you have this feeling of “…Now what?”

You suddenly realize that becoming a literary sensation isn’t so simple.  You knew it wouldn’t be easy…but the truth is, you tricked yourself into believing that at least for YOU, the path to success was a straight line.

Yeah, I can talk about this because I know how it feels.

Of all the obstacles listed above, Amateuritis is by far the worst.  It’s the curse of not knowing the way the world works.  Guess what: you wanna’ rise to the top?  Then you have to go through the same process as everyone else.  Life isn’t easy, and it makes no exceptions.

Yes, this sucks, but to defeat Amateuritis, you must accept reality.

For starters, you need to rise above your feelings of feeling like a loser.  You think you are a loser?  Well, so is everyone else.  Get over it.

If you want to defeat Amateuritis, don’t make the same mistakes twice.  Understand that the journey ahead of you is long and hard, and if you want to be a successful author, you just have to keep working at it.  Listen to the stories of other successful authors.  Was it easy for them?  No.  They got rejected.  They had to scrap and rewrite parts of their stories.  They might’ve even gone hungry.

Do you think it will be any different for you?

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Instead of lulling yourself into a false sense of confidence–Amateuritis–be proud.  Be proud when you get rejected.  Be proud when you make those all those corrections to your novel.  Be proud when you go hungry.  Why?  Because you CAN be confident that you’re on the right path.  The same path as all the other successful authors.

What will you give to be successful?  It is a question only you can answer.

Beat Amateuritis.  Be an author.  Be successful.

What do you think?


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Dominic Sceski is the self published author of The Golden Lands, which soon morphed into Elithius.  He wouldn’t advise that you read any of his novels, as they are currently undergoing rigorous editing.  But he would be happy to become the next J.K. Rowling once they are finished 🙂

He currently studies at Villanova University and enjoys keeping up with this blog, writing his stories, lifting weights, dating his amazing girlfriend, and making his friends laugh.

Don’t be shy, he’d love to meet you!

Is Epic Fantasy Dead?

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You know, Epic Fantasy?  Like Lord of the Rings material?  Is there still a place for this in the world?

More and more, I feel like I see Romance, Mystery-Thrills, and Science Fiction on the rise…but not so much fantasy.  Sure, there’s Urban Fantasy, maybe some “Paranormal” Fantasy that mixes some hot romance in there.  But the ORIGINAL fantasy?  The O.G. of Fantasy?  Where’s that at?

People don’t seem to have much time for fantasy.  Especially in the United States, where NOBODY has any time, we seem to prefer those heart-pounding standalone novels.  Mystery-thrillers that pack a punch.  Steamy romances that appeal to our guilty pleasures (eww).  Or a combination of the two in the form of a sexy vampire (why are these so popular?).

My theory is that epic fantasy novels a) involve too much imagination for the modern American or b) are too long, because there are very few standalone fantasy novels.

But isn’t the imagination and creativity worth it?  Isn’t the sense of journey, the sense of companionship built between the characters and the reader worth it?

I personally love fantasy, and I’d love to see it come back full-throttle.  I’m not just talking about my own series; I’m saying I’d love to inspire people to literally get OUT of this world and write about something beautiful.  Where did this all go?

As always, I want to know, What do you think?

 

Living That Writer’s Life

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This week over break I was able to go to a coffee shop and write for three hours straight.  It was my FIRST. TIME. EVER. doing such a writing-esque thing.

Writing.  In a coffee shop.  WITH.  COFFEE.

It was honestly a proud moment 🙂

The truth is, we all need those moments where we can just sit down and do what we love best.  Sometimes, this involves being surrounded by people we love; sometimes this means being alone.  We bunker down in our favorite spot, pop in our ear-buds, and let what feels like our very nature do its thing.

For me, that’s writing.  Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re not too different.

But if we are all being completely honest (uh-oh), we can’t fall in love TOO much with these moments of extended activity.  We have to be accepting that we won’t always have as much free time as we want; the atmosphere won’t always be perfect; maybe we can’t even be alone.  Or maybe we won’t even be able to get away at all.

It’s life.

The goal then becomes making the most of every moment.

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Every day is unique.  Despite whatever routines or schedules set before us, nothing is ever set in stone, and “nothing happens the same way twice” (thanks, Aslan).  Thus, it’s pointless to try and recreate moments or atmospheres.  We have to go with the flow.

As writers, time is equivalent to words.  Or pages.  Or maybe even words, pages, and money.  So we have to use our time wisely.  Don’t be upset if you don’t have as much time as you want; look for ways to make time and be more proactive.  Believe me, it works.

Got some free time between classes?  Write.

Instead of chilling on your phone during your lunch break?  Write.

Is the baby napping?  Write.

Is everyone in your house sleeping?  Write.

We oftentimes say that we don’t have the time, but this is rarely actually the case.  Take advantage of the time you have, and make sure you have what you need to make the most of that time.  Keep a journal with you.  Download Word to your phone.  Carry a tablet with you.

This is possible.

The writer’s life is where it’s at.  As always, keep up the struggle!

What do you think?

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What Makes a Successful Blog Post?

Writing a post that both grabs your reader and then keeps them interested can be tough.  A good title is a good place to start…but after that?  How do you know that people are even reading the 250+ words in between the title and the last sentence?

Several of my posts have been EXTREMELY successful.  Most popular would be To All New Bloggers Out There and The Reason Why People “Like” But They Don’t Comment.

After reflecting on the posts mentioned above, I started to wonder, what makes a successful blog post?

Relevance

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This first point I cannot stress enough.  If you don’t write about anything that your readers care about, your article will be MAJORLY overlooked.  It doesn’t matter how perfectly you proofread, how perfectly you word each sentence; if your audience doesn’t care about the subject of your article, it’s just another post in their news-feed.

A big part of “Relevance” corresponds to having integrity…meaning that you consistently write about the same things, you target the same audience, etc.  For example, if you love blogging about anime, a review of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice MIGHT appeal to some people, and some of your followers MIGHT be interested…but if your audience comprises mostly of fellow anime-watchers and bloggers, your article may seem downright irrelevant.

Have integrity.  Blog about things you KNOW your followers will appreciate.  This is the first step to creating a post that gets the attention it deserves.

Simplicity

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This depends on your audience, if I’m being honest (and I prefer to be honest 😉 ).  However, when in doubt, try to keep your posts neat and simple; easy to read and friendly to the eye.  No one likes opening up a post only to see massive, 500-word paragraphs, with no pictures or subtitles.

Think about what YOU want to see or what keeps YOUR attention when you read an article.  Chances are, you aren’t reading something that looks like a science textbook (and even those might have pictures!).  Keep sentences uncomplicated and to the point, and speak in a voice that is inviting and human, not so sophisticated you sound like a Victorian robot.

Have A Point

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Seems like a no-brainer, right?  But it’s true.  Your article should ALWAYS have a point, instead of being a collection of ideas that don’t relate to one another.  If you’re trying to say something to your reader, make sure you say it.  Sure, if your blog is the type where you like to vent and let off some steam, maybe “having a point” isn’t necessary.  But, sooner or later, your readers will like to know that your thoughts (as wonderful as they are) are actually going somewhere!

It Doesn’t Stop There…

There are plenty more things, I’m sure, that go into a successful blog post.  Have you ever written an article that just NAILED it?  Any advice you’d like to share?  I love hearing your thoughts.

What do you think?