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How to keep calm as a writer in the mucky/murky world of publishing.

Blog - 8d Press website

First up, writing your novel has to be your number one passion. If it’s not, I seriously wouldn’t bother. Find another passion but know this, a passion is something you wake up to do, live to do, feel broken if you can’t do, long to do, and know that nothing will stop you so if you feel this about your developing story, that’s all good. If you don’t, then pack away your notes and get on with your life.

So you have passion; you’re writing your novel - you believe it’s great but you’ve been sucked into all these myriad of YouTubers who are promising you the world in terms of knowledge that will fling you into the arms of some traditional publishing house, some amazing literary agent, some seven-figure deal that will solve all your monetary worries. Sorry, but it just doesn't work like this. Rule number one - when it comes to YouTubers, don’t hand over a single penny of your money. Ignore most of them and don’t waste your time surfing the internet and YouTube for these types of chancers. Believe me, I’ve done it and it sent me mad.

When it comes to having a writing strategy, go old school and push away all distraction so you can concentrate on your w-i-p (work-in-progress).

Do NOT be tempted to join any Facebook writers’ groups either - they are often simply a platform for people to advertise their self-published work. If you must join a writer's group, I suggest you do it old-school, join a community group that meets once a week in the village hall. Too much social media will rip your mental health apart.

Think of it like this, the 1-2 hours you spend scrolling Facebook per day and reading posts, is 1-2 hours you will never get back for your novel. If it helps, turn off your internet at the modem and go off-line for the time you need to write.

Remember to break down your novel - the writing of it - into bite-size pieces - write scenes, not chapters as a way to deal with the enormous task at hand.

Guard your novel as something precious. Take it seriously but don’t be tempted to talk about it too much when you’re writing it because you’ll get sucked into conversations about it that might just pull you into a negative spiral.

Tell yourself you’ll have a deadline to finish it, even if it’s six-months away. In this respect you could plan to write a little bit on certain days of the week and aim for a first draft in six-months.

Don’t even think about how you are going to promote or ‘sell’ your novel at this early stage. Put an invisible fence around your story and your writing life and don’t be tempted to get into promotions right now.

Decide if you’re going to find a literary agent (hard stuff) or a publisher (hard stuff) or self-publish it. The choices are there and so are the never-ending nightmares. Keep it all simple. I recommend reverting back to a childlike state of mind where things are black and white and a lot simpler. Tell yourself, you’re writing your novel and you’re going to find someone who likes it enough to take it on. Have one - and one only - source to refer to in this. I recommend Query Tracker - the link’s here - and no - I am not recommending them as an affiliate rather as someone who has tried it.

Once you are nearly finished your novel - near the end of writing it, create an account with Query Tracker and start approaching agents. But remember, literary agents ALWAYS work to genre, so make sure you know roughly what your book’s genre is; historical fiction, romance, thriller (more on that in another post).

Your agent will ask you, if you hear back from them, how many Twitter followers you have, and again this is for another post, but if I had to recommend one social media platform, I would recommend Twitter (I've linked my account here). If you only ever have one social media account, create this one and start building followers there. More again on that in another post.

The moral of this story is: to keep sane, keep things exceptionally simple. Give yourself a certain amount of words to write a week - say between 1000 and 5000 words a week, enjoy the ride, cut out the noise and further down the track create a Twitter account and a Query Tracker account and don't waste time with endless social media accounts and Youtube advice. It won't end well.

More soon, love 8d Press.

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