Tips and Resources for Aspiring Writers
My best advice to aspiring writers is to keep writing, to read various genres, to educate yourself in the industry, and to never give up. Every journey is different, and you must follow yours. Follow it with passion. The following resources will help, and I encourage you to visit the websites of other authors, where you will find inspiration and great resources. In this section, you will find a mix of websites and resources that will help your growth whether you are considering indie or traditional publishing. This is just a small sample of what is out there. I encourage you to evaluate all material you come in contact with, and to continue your learning process.
On Writing – Stephen King
The Elements of Style – William Strunk Jr.
The Indie Author Guide – April L. Hamilton
The New York Public Library Writer’s Guide to Style and Usage
How to Market a Book – Joanna Penn
Business for Authors – Joanna Penn
How I write – Janet Evanovich
On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction – William Zinsser
Keys to Great Writing – Stephen Wilbers
The Chicago Manual of Style (also online)
Never Too Late – Claire Cook
Self-Publishers Legal Handbook – Helen Sedwick
Other useful websites for learning, exploring, and research.
On Writing and Indie Publishing
1. How do I start? What should I do first? — There is no magic formula. To become a writer you must write and keep writing. In addition, educate yourself as much as you can, not only by learning about the craft, but also, about the publishing aspect.
2. Should I self publish or follow a traditional path? — To answer this you must learn as much as you can about the publishing industry – the different ways to publish and the current market. However, you should consider your goals, working style, work ethic, as well as likes and dislikes. The more you educate yourself and know your writing/work style the easier it will be to answer the question.
3. I feel overwhelmed by all the “indie advice” out there. I don’t know where to start; I’m frozen. — Although it is to your advantage to learn as much as you can about the independent publishing industry, it is a movement that continues to evolve and grow. The entire publishing industry is transforming and will continue to do so. My advice is to learn, keep yourself current, but at one point you must evaluate the information and tailor it to your writing style and working preferences. Focus on what appeals to you and matches your personality and work style, and forget the rest. Eventually, you will grow as a writer and will keep evolving as the industry continues to develop.
4. Will going Indie “close the doors” if I decide to follow a traditional path later? — More traditionally published authors are becoming “hybrid-authors” and they take advantage of the best of two worlds. However, this is a personal decision that can only be made by educating yourself in the differences between both industries and knowing your preferences. When contracts are involved, you must consult a lawyer.
5. What is the best way to self publish? Is it expensive? — There are many ways to self publish your work and cost varies widely. Cost may range from practically nothing if you do everything yourself, to thousands of dollars if you hire professionals. Learn the different methods and choose the one that fits you well. Research the various websites before you commit to publish your work.
6. Do you outline? — I do not (in the traditional sense) but as I write, a brief outline develops on the side as ideas emerge. It helps me remember and keep track of important details.
7. Will you critique my work? — Everything I know I try to share via this blog because I have a full plate and it is difficult at times to keep my own deadlines and commitments. In this blog, I share bits of information that may help you in your writing journey.
8. What is your writing routine like? — I try to keep it simple. After breakfast and getting dressed (I cannot work in my pajamas) I do my devotional/spiritual time. By 9:00 am I am writing. I try to get my writing done in the morning. Most likely, I try to complete a chapter a day or at least close to it. After my writing is done, I have other work to do. My writing comes first after my devotional time.
9. How do you handle critics and bad reviews? — I don’t. I don’t pay attention to negative comments or answer them. As a reader, I never leave bad reviews. I leave a positive review when I enjoy a book or write about it on my blog. After all, a review is only a personal opinion and every person has unique taste.
10. How long should my book be? — As long as it needs to be. You are done when you have finished telling the story.
11. What is your best advice to aspiring writers? — Keep writing, educate yourself on the industry, read various genres, and keep writing and reading, and never stop learning. Visit the websites of the authors that you admire and read; they have much to teach. Most of all, never give up if you have a true passion for writing; keep at it and make it happen. Follow your own journey with passion and diligence.
Best wishes on your amazing journey,
Maria Antonia Diaz