I knew when I was twelve that I wanted to be a novelist, and thus far, I have a relatively decent level of success for the markets in which I am published. I started attempting to write immediately with not even the slightest hint of accomplishment. For a time, I was devastated and quit to pursue other dreams (Through middle school and early high school I entertained the idea of becoming a thespian). In my sophomore year, everything hit rock bottom for myself and my family and this was the perfect push to stick me back in my room with an old computer and hours to kill. I wrote my first novel, a fantasy/ Sci-fi hybrid, during that year and had it completed by the first semester of my junior year. From there, things just kicked off.
As it turns out, writing is a disease. Once you catch it, you're a goner. You'll find that people you create in your head can become very real to you. I personally found that I had hallucinations of my characters and could sit down and thoroughly believe I was talking to them for hours (I was later diagnosed with a mild form of self induced schitzofrenia (sp?) that was brought on by a lack of sleep). The biggest thing is, you should write, but don't let it engulf you. The best cure for writing is to spread it. Get a group going and have a ball with it. The more people you have, the better your energy will flow, and the better the feedback you get will be.
I have now written six books and am working on my breakout series, The Dreamscape Saga. Until lately, I only wanted to see my ideas in print. Over the last few months, that goal has changed to become something with my writing. Not just to affect my own life, but to affect the lives of millions of people across the world.
So what do you need to become successful?
A realistic perspective. Most young authors do not have it. Realize one thing. Just because you wrote it doesn't mean anyone is going to read it. Just because you have success doesn't mean people will line up around the block just to get you to sign their books. Big book tours? Don't count on it. Huge advances? Don't count on it. Get a job, make something of it, and hold onto it. Even if you make a lot of money off of a single book, sales WILL drop and the cash flow will crawl. As long as you know this, you won't be hurting.
For example, I took a job as a Shipping and Receiving clerk. Why? I know the area isn't the most beautiful to work, but look at it this way, there are often long lulls in the workload in which I have nothing to do, but because someone has to stay at the dock in case a truck comes in, I am rarely used for anything but shipping and receiving. So what does that mean? Crack out the laptop boys, we've got some freetime to write.
Another reason is that I love coming into work by train. (I'm in Dallas/Fort Worth). I know it takes a little longer, but I don't have to stress out b/c of traffic, I don't have to worry about gas, and the train provides a lot of creative energy.
Now the job doesn't pay a whole lot. Only just over $30,000. However, couple that with what I make from my books ($20,000+ per year) and that's a decent living for a single man. However, if my books stopped paying out, or if I went through a lull, I still have my job that pays enough to get by even through long stretches if I need to.
So now you know you need to be realistic. What else?
Well, you should write. Every single day. If a day goes by that you don't at least jot something down, you make it easy for yourself to say, well, just one more day. The longer you wait, the more your creative energy dies down. If you can only write a page a day, that's still a long book by the end of the year.
Be realistic, write...
Also, read. I know this sounds odd, but read everything you can get your hands on. Newspapers, magazines, books, advertisements. Two reasons. First, this will increase your ability as a writer. Secondly, this will often give you ideas of what you could add.
Be realistic, write, read...
Study. Read everything you can on the subject. Attend seminars, conventions, chat rooms and everything else you can. I personally recommend reading the Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Published as well as Writing the Breakout Novel. Also, always check the industry. Writing is a business and it should be treated as such. See which books are selling particularly well. Why? Write what you want, but if you want to make the big bucks, you may want to broaden your perspective.
So, be realistic, read, write, study...
And always evolve. Many times author's don't do as well as they expected because they write one incredible novel, but don't deliver on the second. Or worse, they'll start a great series, but the time and effort they put into it will wane and so wuill their quality.
So... be realisitic, read, write, study, evolve...
And never sell yourself short. Don't go with an agent or publisher because you're desperate. It is not uncommon for it to take five and six years to get published. Don't worry about it. If you can get an agent, they'll be your biggest advocate, but you have to learn to sell yourself.
I'd love to talk to you further because it's always great to meet aspiring authors and another contact never hurt. You can see what i do at www.myspace.com/dreamscapesaga
Answered By: uncletoon2005 - 12/5/2006