Welcome back! Here are my top 5 tips on getting started as an author...
Why am I qualified to give you these tips you may ask... well, because i've just recently started out myself!
1. Take a course / Research - Read. Read. Read.
While it may be easy to say, 'Oh hey, i've got a great idea, i'll write a book.' There is so much more to it! Taking a course, such as through the Australian Writers' Centre, is a great place to start. In these courses you can find out the updated knowledge on the particular genre you are interested in, relevant information on the current market and how to find out everything you need to know.
Additionally, read! You need to read a range of books that have become available recently. Check out who published them, to figure out what those publishers are interested in seeing.
On a side note, be sure to check out publisher websites' submission guidelines to see what they are accepting. One thing I am finding difficult when looking around is that unsolicited manuscripts are often not accepted (especially not in popular areas, such as Sci Fi & Fantasy).
2. Get involved & Begin building your author platform
That's right - get involved! Connect with your writing community online and in person. Some great ways to do this:
- Join social media - there are a great range of groups/writing communities, particularly on Facebook and Twitter. These platforms have great support, including everything from Manuscript swaps and critique groups to just general support!
- Go to writing events so you can meet people. Next year I will be attending my first big event - The Creative Kids' Tales Writing Festival, where I am paying to also have my manuscript appraised by a representative from Scholastic Australia! Wish me luck!
- Join online activities, such as:
NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). There is a group support group around this on both Twitter and Facebook. - I am participating in this for the first time this year (November), keep checking in on my home page for word count updates!
Pitch events (# PBPitch on Twitter). Where agents and publishers may check out your pitch and favourite your tweet, inviting you to submit to them.
Auswrites (# Auswrites on Twitter). Often have activities available, where you can join in and get to know other authors and aspiring authors
- Build your platforms. This may be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, a website and/or blog, etc. I read some great advice, which was to start small.
I adapted for my interests and do the following:
Twitter - to connect with other writers and join activities (I make posts here & advertise - click the Twitter bird on my site to visit my Twitter page).
Facebook - I used this platform to join a range of groups, such as Creative Kids Tales Network, Just Write for Kids, The Duck Pond, KIDLIT411 MANUSCRIPT SWAP and Transmedia Mutts - Unleash Your Creative Bark (these guys work on pitches with you).
Website/Blog - What i'm doing right now, talking to you! I was told this is a great way to begin building a fan base, a way to promote your materials when it comes time and to have a space about you for your (future) readers. Don't be discouraged when it starts slowly (i'm trying my best not to be!)
3. Recognise this journey will probably cost you money!
Something I have realised so far is that even if you are trying to do everything solo and in writer groups, etc., is that this pathway costs some money. Here's some of the things that cost money that i've found so far:
Festivals and meetings
Subscriptions. Subscriptions. Subscriptions. There are so many to choose from, all of which seem vitally important!
Edits of your manuscript - before it's ready for submission
Reading materials (research & enjoyment of course) - though Libraries are a wonderful resources!
Self-publishing - artwork including the cover art, various edits, etc. unless you are able to do your own.