For those of us writers who have yet to “make it”–be it sell a significant amount of books, land an agent, or secure a book deal–continuing down the difficult path of a writer can be unbelievably frustrating. However, each experience teaches me something, and I figured it would be a good idea to share what I’ve learned.
The “Why Them and Not Me?” Attitude
Once you’ve been struggling to get noticed for a while, it’s easy to wonder to yourself, “Why are are these writers published and I’m not? Half of them aren’t even good!” While you need to have confidence in your work, it’s not helpful in the least to trash other writers or lament how non-writers (celebrities mostly) get book deals. All the effort you expend focusing on what’s wrong with the publishing industry is effort you’re not putting into making your book as good as it can be.
Go to Conferences
This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s amazing how much easier it is to get an agent interested in your work when you pitch it to them yourself rather than sending them a query that gets lost in a pile of other queries. They are also great ways to meet other writers and learn from their personal experiences.
Prepare to Do Everything Yourself . . .
. . . because unless you’re lucky enough to land an agent quickly, you’ll have to do a lot more than just write. You’ll have to edit, format, and promote your book yourself, which is just as much work as it sounds. Join Twitter, Facebook, and any other social networking site that allows you to connect with people who want to read your work. Tell your friends to tell their friends about the book. Get online bloggers to review it. Word of mouth is everything at this point.
Most writers will not succeed right away. It can take years to see any return on your effort, so you must be willing to push through the difficult, soul-crushing times because there will be many. Only those who are truly committed will see their work through to the end.
If you’re trying to sell your first book and you’ve done everything you can possibly think of, work on the next book, whether it’s a sequel or something totally unrelated. Never stop making progress even when it seems things are at a standstill.
Be Willing to Improve
All writers can improve in one way or another. Getting feedback from other people is always helpful, even if their suggestions are not. You may be the final judge, but it never hurts to get a second opinion.
I hope something here has been helpful and I wish you the best!