Wednesday, February 26, 2014

5 Things Every Writer Should & Should Not Do

I love to read just as much as I love to write. I've learned a few things along the way. Here are a few tips to help you maximize your potential in the publishing industry.
5 Things Every Writer Should Do

1.) Read outside their genre. When I first began to read books I naturally preferred more African American books. Beyond obvious reasons I enjoyed them and it was all I knew of at the time. Over the years I have expanded my horizons and ventured into different genres with other writers of other ethnic groups. Linwood Barclay. Emily Giffin. Khaled Hosseini. Beth Harbison. Just to name a few.

2.) Create a vision board. Have you ever wanted something so bad that you could almost taste it? Well, take that same desire and apply it to your vision for your writing career. No one knows your potential better than you. Creating a vision board helps you to visualize yourself in living out your wildest dreams. Anything is possible when you believe. I have a frame of my debut novel sitting on my nightstand inside of a frame. In bold letters it says New York Times Bestselling & National Bestselling Author of Perfectly Imperfect M.C. Walker. Seeing is believing!!

3.) Subscribe to a writers magazine. Do you want to know one of the big secrets of great writers? Great writers constantly work on their craft and learn new techniques to sharpen their skills. Subscribe to a writers magazine. It not only offers fun tips to improve your writing and writing'll also learn more about the changing publishing industry.

4.) Use their own pain and joy in their writing. Often times the best stories come from deep within ourselves. Those stories live forever in our hearts. Use your broken heart as an inspiration for how you recovered and found your faith in God's love. Using your pain or joy will not only make you a better writer, it will heal and show you just how far you have come.

5.) Support other writers. Writers are readers. Readers are writers. They go together like peanut butter and jelly. Supporting other writers goes beyond buying the book. Spread the word, offer friendly constructive advice, and share an honest review. Writers are real people whom express their inner thoughts on paper. Go beyond the book and encourage your writer friend all the way to the top of the mountain.

5 Things Every Writer Should Not Do
1.) Skip on the editing process. Have you ever purchased a book been excited to read it and couldn't get pass the first chapter? Yep, we've all been there and never won't to go back. Writers please don't spend your budget all in the wrong places. Readers will like your covers. Make them fall in love with your work. Put those extra pennies to good use and hire a great editor.
2.) Water down the work. Have you ever read a book and found the characters name to hard to pronounce, storyline predictable, or too many details? It's a pet peeve of mine as a reader. Writers pay attention to your character development and revision process. The only emotion readers want to feel should be from the intensity of the novel. Do away with hard to pronounce names, too many details, and the same storyline that's been told for years. Trust me, you'll be glad you did and your readers will too.
3.) Follow the trends. Trends are cool for certain industries like music and fashion...publishing not so much. Writers should always stick to what they know best...not the Amazon bestsellers list. What's hot today may not be hot two weeks from now. Ask yourself, would the reader want to read this book five years from now? The best writers evolve in their genres without sacrificing their voice or abandoning their fans.  Milk in my Coffee by Eric Jerome Dickey is a timeless classic and I'd read it again today. Make your readers remember your work and want to follow your career not a trend.
4.) Disrespect other writers. There's nothing more tacky than watching a personal matter go public. My momma always said something's are best handled behind closed doors. If you don't have anything nice to say about someone keep it to yourself. Putting your business not only gives people something to talk about. It's also a negative reflection of you. Nobody likes a bad taste in their mouth. Keep your actions and negative thoughts in check. Otherwise your reputation will have to pay the price.
5.) Promote without manners. Writers write books. Books need to be sold. We all get that. It's a business at the end of the day. But, did your manners get lost in translation en route to your new Facebook friend inbox? It never hurts to promote your work. Just do it with tact and class. Say hello to a potential reader, book reviewer, and etc. No one likes a fake relationship. Being polite goes a long way. Build your reputation with a positive mindset and boundaries. Respect those whom you come in contact with and leave the salesperson at the door. People buy books. Be kind and receptive to potential readers.