I’ve always enjoyed reading. I especially enjoy reading a wide variety of authors and genres. As so often happens, my love of reading turned into a love of writing, and before I knew what was happening I was putting pen to paper and creating my own stories.
For many years I wrote for the pure pleasure of it – publishing my work didn’t really enter into the equation. All this changed when I started to write Peril, The Legend of Sedrak. I so loved writing the novella that I thought others might enjoy reading it. I fearfully gave it to a few people and their responses were overwhelmingly positive. And so my writing career began. The journey has had its share of highs and lows and I wanted to share five things I’ve learned.
1. Writing is not as easy as good authors make it look
Taking a simple sentence and moulding it into beautiful prose which has the ability to conjure up vivid images and emotions is a skill you have to work on and refine. Learning the ins and outs of sentence structure, grammar and punctuation takes time, and the effort and research that goes into the creation of a well written piece can often make or break the story.
2. Book covers matter
Putting thought and effort into a cover design is one of the most important aspects of writing a book. Like it or not, book covers matter. Below is an example of my initial book cover (black and white) and then the one I finally settled on next to it. My novella is a Mythical Action Adventure Fantasy Romance. The black and white book cover screams HORROR! Note even the chosen font was not conducive to my story theme. The revised book cover not only conveys a bit about the book, but is more colourful and informative. When I replaced my first book cover with the second, I saw an increase in sales within a matter of days.
3. Reviews are important
For a newly published writer, book reviews remain one of the most important ways to get others to read your work. With the thousands and thousands of books on offer, many readers still rely heavily on reviews, but only a small number of readers leave reviews.
As a reader myself I’ve long since moved away from using reviews as an accurate assessment of the quality of a book, however there is no denying the power they hold. Reviews can be bought, they can be solicited in other ways and they are highly personal, but many readers still swear by them. Authors, especially unknown authors, need reviews. It is for this single reason that I continue to write reviews of the books I read.
4. Don’t expect everyone to love your book
When I published my novella I couldn’t imagine anyone not loving it. I poured my soul into writing it. Spent countless hours perfecting it to the best of my ability. Used money I didn’t really have to get it edited. Surely the whole world would see my genius and superb writing ability. Surely every reader would swoon over my love interest and fall head over heels for my heroine. Did I think the book was perfect – no, of course not. But it’s awesome! Everyone will LOVE it.
Umm, not everyone will love your book. It will get returned for a refund. You will get criticism. You will feel like all your faults as a writer have been exposed and are being picked apart by what now appears to be vultures and not readers. Live with it, deal with it, learn from it and then write another book.
5. Treasure your fans
I thought it fitting to end with this one. Just like there will be readers who don’t like or perhaps even hate your book, there will also be those who love it. They will send you emails, ask for advise and want to know when your next book is coming out. Treasure your fans and continue to build your readership. Word of mouth is a super powerful tool to getting your work recognized and appreciated.
Much love XX