Tagged: young author

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!

Top 18 Techniques to Defeat Stress Without Meds or Shrinks

Yet another wonderful infographic provided by Donna Norton over at https://custom-writing.org/blog/ !!!  If you haven’t already, check out https://custom-writing.org/blog/ .  Lots of good stuff there for writers!

Infographic by Donna Norton Custom-Writing.Org

Thanks again Donna!

 

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?

How Do You Self Publish a Book?

A lot of people out there tell you that self-publishing is possible.  They give you the ups and the downs.  But has anyone ever told you what the process is like or how to do it?

As someone who has self-published over five books, and is determined to revise and continue re-self-publishing, here’s my step by step guide for how self-publishing works.

1. Make Sure You’re Ready

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This seems obvious, but it is DEFINITELY step number one.  Once you start down the road of self-publishing, it’s hard to go back.  Are you totally committed?  Do you have a plan for promoting your story?  Is your story as good as it can be?

If you self-publish and the answer to these questions is not “yes”, then you’re always going to be playing catch-up.   If you aren’t totally committed, you’ll be living in a world where you wish you spent more time writing and advertising…but you don’t.  If you don’t have a plan for promoting your story, you’ll get depressed because you’ll feel like a failure.  And if your story isn’t as good as it can be, reasonably speaking, you’ll constantly find errors and have to go back and change them.

I’m speaking from experience.

Make sure you’re ready.  Don’t get stuck playing catch-up.  It’ll save you a lot of time, effort, and even money in the long run.

2. Choose Your Venue

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There’s a LOT of venues out there.  A quick Google search can give you all the results you could want.  Overall, some of the top venues for self-publishing are:

  • Lulu
  • Smashwords
  • Kindle Direct Publishing
  • Kobo
  • Createspace

I personally have used Smashwords and Kindle Direct Publishing and been very satisfied.  Smashwords is wonderful because you can join for free AND they distribute your book to multiple retailers for free.  Your eBook is also converted into multiple formats, which enables your readers to download your book in whatever way is most accessible.  Of course, some of the money you make goes to fund Smashwords, but that’s always how it’s going to be.

The only downside to Smashwords is that it is PURELY for eBooks; no print copies are made.

Kindle Direct Publishing is nice because you now have your book on Amazon…and who doesn’t love Amazon?  It’s one of the most popular online venues out there; no better place to have your book!  Some of the (free) benefits of Kindle, however, is that they come with restrictions–meaning you aren’t allowed to publish on other self-publishing platforms (KDP select is an instance of this).

For print editions of your book, I’d recommend Createspace, which is essentially Amazon’s platform for print books.  It takes a bit of time to figure out how to properly size everything in your manuscript to meet the specifications, but once you do, the results are OH so satisfying.  Nothing feels better than holding your own book in your hands.  Trust me!

Obviously, there are many more venues than those listed here, although these are my favorites.  Check out each venue, and pick the one that works best for you!

Actually Follow the Instructions Specified By Your Venue

Seems like a no-brainer, right?  But it’s true.  You’re going to waste SO much time, maybe even MONEY (and who has that anymore?), trying to get your book to match all of the stupid, annoying, frustrating guidelines that will actually help your book look professional.

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Trying to self publish without following the guidelines…

JUST.  FOLLOW. THE. GUIDELINES.

Smashwords makes you read an entire “How To” book, making sure you know how to format your book properly.  Is it a pain?  Yes.  But it’s worth it.  Don’t just rush into your venue, guns blazing, hoping to be the world’s next J.K. Rowling….

…only to have all of your excitement killed by a few guidelines.  Be patient.  I would also recommend not promoting your book or publicly announcing a release date until your book is formatted appropriately.  Otherwise, you might miss your release date, and THAT would be embarrassing.

Get a REAL Book Cover

My first book

Even if you don’t hear this from me, I’m sure you’ll hear it from plenty of other sources.  Get a GOOD book cover.  I know this seems obvious, but it can be very tempting to cheap-out and settle for a cover that looks like a 5-year-old drew it on Paint.  Don’t be like that.  Your cover is the first thing that readers will see.  The first sentence of your book isn’t the hook for readers; it’s actually your cover.

Yes, EVERYONE judges a book by its cover.  I do it.  You do it.  You can’t expect readers to treat your book otherwise.

Put some effort into it.  Yes, you might even have to spend a little money.  But do you want to be a successful writer?  If you really are committed, you’ll go through the trouble of ensuring that your book looks as riveting and enticing as possible.

Push the Button

Once you’ve decided that you’re ready for this commitment, you’ve formatted your book properly, your book is the best it can be, you’ve chosen your venue(s), and you’ve got a swanky cover, upload that manuscript!

It can be scary going to push that “publish” button.  Lots of doubts can and will most likely run through your head.  “Is my book ready?  Will anyone actually like my book?  Am I ready for this step?”

In the end, you can only ever be as ready as you can be.  Push the button.  Go for it.  Become an author.

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PUSH THE BUTTON!

If you follow these steps, you can become a self-published author.  Be ambitious.  Go for it.

To show you how possible it is, here’s the cover for one of my books 🙂

The Darkness Within Paperback

Happy writing! 🙂