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Thread: If you had to do it all over again...


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Benjamin Long Jr

Posts: 10
Registered: 02/06/16
If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 10, 2016 8:36 PM
 
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Hi everyone!

I'm in the beginning stages of writing my first book and would love to have some advice from those that have been down this road once or twice.

My question for all you seasoned pros is this:

If you had to start your writing career all over again, what would you have done differently, or wished you would have done from the beginning?

Thanks in advance for your words of wisdom!

P.S. Maybe this is an easy question, but does anyone know how (or if it is even possible) to change the name on this forum? Thanks!

Edited by: Benjamin Long Jr on Feb 10, 2016 8:51 PM
Ned Kelly

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Registered: 09/05/15
Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 10, 2016 8:47 PM   in response to: Benjamin Long Jr in response to: Benjamin Long Jr
 
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Benjamin, welcome to the asylum .

1. You can't change the name - you can only create another account for the forum and use a cover name (my real name isn't Ned Kelly cos he was hung over a hundred years back for being a villain...)

2. Do differently? Joined the Navy instead of the Army...they get to swim a lot.

Cheers
Benjamin Long Jr

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Registered: 02/06/16
Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 10, 2016 8:52 PM   in response to: Ned Kelly in response to: Ned Kelly
 
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Sorry, I guess I should have specified "start your writing career all over again." ;)
Ned Kelly

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Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 10, 2016 9:28 PM   in response to: Benjamin Long Jr in response to: Benjamin Long Jr
 
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I know ;)
gldrummond

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Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 10, 2016 9:34 PM   in response to: Benjamin Long Jr in response to: Benjamin Long Jr
 
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I would've written and finished more titles BEFORE beginning to publish them. Say, maybe 6-12.

That way, I could've had a queue of works ready to go, and a steady release schedule. It would've given me plenty of breathing room to write and finish more work.

As it is, I didn't do that, and it seems like all I ever do is play "catch up." Finish one book, have to dive right into starting another to keep things going.

Edited by: gldrummond on Feb 10, 2016 9:35 PM
Marcy Henshaw

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Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 10, 2016 10:21 PM   in response to: Benjamin Long Jr in response to: Benjamin Long Jr
 
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I guess the only change I'd make is NOT breaking my ankle apart before I began to write. But, had I not broken my ankle I never would have written a book. So, I guess no - it all happened as it was meant to. I didn't begin writing until I was in my late 30's. Had I started earlier I would have missed out on years of a lot of things. Had I waited, I'd have ended up leaving my career anyway (my son got really sick a few months after I retired as a nurse to write full time) and then our family would be minus considerable income.

I think they only thing I would change was how I responded to critical reviews in my early months. I would have been a lot more receptive to learning from them. I would have not taken offense.
da49ve

Posts: 258
Registered: 03/03/11
Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 10, 2016 10:30 PM   in response to: Benjamin Long Jr in response to: Benjamin Long Jr
 
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Not being starry-eyed about being a published author. That should be a real danger signal. Approached things a lot more slowly, and checked and re-checked. There's no one out there to help you. You learn as you go, if you want to save money. Joined at least one writer's group and maybe written a different genre, one that supposedly sells, although given the volume of published content these days, that isn't certain.
dennis

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Registered: 01/17/16
Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 11, 2016 1:25 AM   in response to: Benjamin Long Jr in response to: Benjamin Long Jr
 
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I think I can relate to your question a little bit, having just went through this myself.

First, write. Then read. Then rewrite what you didn't like or didn't make sense. Then reread. Reread. Give it to someone else to read and critique (you can find critique groups online and they're free). After they have assessed, then you rewrite and reread again. Don't be afraid to send it off to an editor (also can be found online ie. Reedsy etc.) Once you get it back, then revise and polish. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Be a professional.

When you're ready to convert to Ebook or use KDP they make it stupid simple to import your work and do the converting for you automatically...the key is to have your manuscript setup to pretty much exact industry standards or it will mess up some of the lines on digital formats. Don't try to get artsy with fonts, stick to industry standards. You're not reinventing the wheel, you're writing a book that hopefully someone will want to read and you don't want them navigating through sloppy workmanship.

Once you've uploaded all the files you need, then you have to sit down and think through the timing of your book with any online give aways or ads that you are using to promote your book. Timing is pretty important since you will want to run promotions with outside sources as well as amazon so they happen at the same time, make notes of the dates. Promote, promote, promote. If you think people will flock because you put a book up you will be disappointed, so be a realist. Social media is essential if you are trying to reach any kind of specific target group.

Lastly, keep doing what you're doing with asking questions--next time be more specific.

db
gldrummond

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Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 11, 2016 2:01 AM   in response to: dennis in response to: dennis
 
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Um, the OP did ask a specific question: "If you had to start your writing career all over again, what would you have done differently, or wished you would have done from the beginning?"
Keith Wayne Hil...

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Registered: 07/13/13
Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 11, 2016 4:52 AM   in response to: gldrummond in response to: gldrummond
 
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In hindsight Plumbing.... That would be a decent job with a lot less sh__ (cough*).
writerbn

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Registered: 05/12/12
Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 11, 2016 5:07 AM   in response to: Benjamin Long Jr in response to: Benjamin Long Jr
 
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Benjamin Long Jr wrote:
If you had to start your writing career all over again, what would you have done differently, or wished you would have done from the beginning?

Applied for a greeter job at Walmart. Less stress, much better pay (per hour).
Muswell

Posts: 217
Registered: 02/11/13
Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 11, 2016 7:57 AM   in response to: Benjamin Long Jr in response to: Benjamin Long Jr
 
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If I had my time again, I would have started publishing with Createspace at the same time as I did with KDP. Stupidly, I thought paper books were on the way out and Kindle was the way forward, and I missed out on about a years' worth of potential income. Now, most of my income comes from Createspace books rather than Kindle versions, and sometimes I don't even bother creating a Kindle version because I know it will only sell about 1/20th of the paperback version.
Muswell

Posts: 217
Registered: 02/11/13
Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 11, 2016 7:58 AM   in response to: writerbn in response to: writerbn
 
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Writer BN, my long term plan is to be a full time writer while possibly working as something like a Walmart greeter for 1-2 days a week just to have a fallback minimum income.
writerbn

Posts: 5,237
Registered: 05/12/12
Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 11, 2016 9:30 AM   in response to: Muswell in response to: Muswell
 
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A backup plan is essential. Technically, I've been a full-time writer (self-employed full time for 10 of the last 15 years) but not with writing fiction. That's still a dream.
Jonathan B

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Registered: 10/23/12
Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 11, 2016 9:59 AM   in response to: Benjamin Long Jr in response to: Benjamin Long Jr
 
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Publish as an eBook sooner. I did the iUniverse option in 2009, just to see a book in my hand. I did one more book in 2010. I sold 98 books up until spring of 2012. Life got in the way, and I didn't write any more for awhile.

At an airport lounge in 2012, I saw a man with a Kindle, and we started talking. I told him I had a book in the same genre as what he was reading. He said he'd buy it and tried to find it on Amazon, only it wasn't there.

After I got home, I contacted iUniverse to ask them why it wasn't available. They told me I hadn't paid the $90 for conversion. I paid and got the two eBooks into Amazon. I did a free promo, and after the promo was over, I sold 700 books that month. I did some research, ditched iUniverse, and my writing career started.

So to answer your question, I would have self-published on my own in 2009 instead of wasting three years.
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