Happy Wednesday, readers! ‘Tis the last Wednesday of November and the series of Guest Posts is drawing to an end. As the final guest poster, it is my pleasure to present the author of The Books of the Infinite, Dawnlight, Seasons of a Woman’s Heart, and more. Ladies and gentlemen, please give a round of applause for R. J. Larson!
Athelas, thank you for inviting me to guest-post on Red Lettering. Fair warning, one day, Athelas, you might open an R. J. Larson book and realize that I’ve named a character after you. Whenever I see your name, I’m convinced that an Athelas protagonist would blend right in with the Infinite series characters!
However, if I allow myself to contemplate a Protagonist Athelas, I’ll stray down a novel-sized bunny trail and this post won’t be finished for six months, so…onward!
Readers and Writers, Athelas asked me to consider writing a post about getting published. A basic how-to-get-started article. Yes, I can do that! The first step, of course, is to write. Finish your manuscript, and then revise, revise, r-e-v-i-s-e. If you can’t afford to pay a professional editor or at least a proof-reader, then you MUST study up on editing basics and do the work yourself. Be sure you’ve studied up on punctuation usage. Even if you intend to publish through CreateSpace or Amazon, you must edit your work and cleanse it of imperfections, or readers will let you and the entire world know that you’ve made mistakes.
Therefore, practice your prose and polish the personalities populating your work. But what then?
I can give you all the standard advice as you prepare to present your work to agents and publishers. Create a presentation package: Prepare a one-page synopsis and then add a few marketing paragraphs comparing your work to similar books already available in the market. Tell your future agent or publisher why your book will stand out. If you have marketing plans, offer them in writing within this presentation package. Add three polished chapters (preferably chapters 1, 2, and 3) and proof read everything repeatedly. Better yet, have someone else proof-read! Once you’ve finished your presentation package, (if you haven’t done so already) make contacts. Go to conferences. Enter contests. Join local writing groups, if you find one that suits your style. Get noticed—in a good way.
Truly standard advice. But let’s talk about the non-standard advice.
As you write, have you evaluated your goals? Your purpose in writing?
Any traditionally published author will tell you what the general public believes: Authors are rich. Once you’re published, you can retire. You will be famous! The world is your oyster!
Most authors have ordinary day jobs, or a VERY supportive family. Even bestselling authors need regular income, which doesn’t happen often if you’re a writer, so other income is essential. Plan for it.
But here’s the secret: Writing’s not about the money.
Never let it be about the money. Let writing be your passion!
Yes, checks in the mail are wonderful, and if you’re successful, writing does help with bills that the day job doesn’t cover. However, writing doesn’t earn my living; it fills my soul.
If writing is your passion, you will write no matter what the future brings.
Wait. Are you wondering about the rewards?
Yes, there are rewards. Through the written word, I pursue my Creator and share my worship of Him with readers. Through Biblically-inspired fantasy adventures, I offer my spiritual witness to others, even as my stories minister and offer entertainment and food for thought.
My rewards are my readers—even the readers I haven’t met—and writing for my readers IS joy.
Blessings, as you pursue and perfect your craft!
R . J. Larson