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


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Benjamin Long Jr

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Registered: 02/06/16
If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 10, 2016 8:40 PM
 
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Hi everyone!

I posted this in the "General Questions" by mistake, but I think this is really the forum to ask this question. - Sorry for the double post!

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 8:53 PM

Ralph E Vaughan

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Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 10, 2016 9:02 PM   in response to: Benjamin Long Jr in response to: Benjamin Long Jr
 
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If you have a story to tell, master the tools of the writer, then tell your story. Then rewrite it until you get it right.

If you don't have a story or don't want to work to develop a unique voice, then trade school is always an option.

Good luck with your writing.
Marjorie Jones

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Registered: 11/21/13
Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 10, 2016 9:14 PM   in response to: Benjamin Long Jr in response to: Benjamin Long Jr
 
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Benjamin Long Jr wrote:
Hi everyone!

I posted this in the "General Questions" by mistake, but I think this is really the forum to ask this question. - Sorry for the double post!

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 8:53 PM


I would have joined writers groups earlier. I would have learned to hone my craft. I wouldn't have married and had children as early as I did. I would have gone to college and majored in either Journalism or Marketing or both so that I could have had a "bona fide" career that involved the written word.

I'm not saying that there aren't really talented authors working at McD's. There are. I was one of them, but I would have much rather been reporting for the AP from some cholera-ridden hell-hole as I earned my living gaining experiences I may have applied to the "great American novel."

I'm happy writing genre fiction, but I have no illusions that any of my writing will be the topic of some future student's doctoral thesis.

And certainly there are English majors out there who couldn't write a novel if their lives depended on it. Talent is something which which one is born and is honed through experience and learning. It isn't something that can be taught.

Ultimately, I would have started my actual learning process earlier than 33 years of age. I've been writing since before I could hold a pencil, but I have only been writing well for the past 10 years or so.

M
da49ve

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Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 10, 2016 10:36 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.
Ned Kelly

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Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 10, 2016 11:33 PM   in response to: Benjamin Long Jr in response to: Benjamin Long Jr
 
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I'd strangle/shoot/run-over with a steam roller a business partner I agreed to jointly author a novel with and do it all myself..
camellifolia

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Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 11, 2016 9:50 AM   in response to: Benjamin Long Jr in response to: Benjamin Long Jr
 
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No Benny, we can't change the name of the forum.

If I were to start over, I would have kept my pseudonym and not told anyone I knew in my entire life that I was writing a book. At the time I thought a pseudonym was cool, you know - kind of romantic. Then I told someone I wrote a book, what a bunch of crybabies and whiners. I looked on Amazon and I couldn't find any book by you. - I told you it was under a pseudonym. Can't I have a copy without buying it - for everyone in my book club? I told everyone at church about your book - did you tell them it was about terrorists and death and destruction and that it had some sex scenes in it?

I ended up changing the book (took out the sex scenes and an entire subplot about a homosexual) and putting it under my own name. Someday I will return it to its original form.

It is also important to realize that you might spell a word or 2 wrong. An editor would have been very helpful at the beginning, but I didn't even know what one was.

It would have been nice to know what type of book I would be most successful at writing, but some things just grow on you and take time to work out.
camellifolia

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Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 12, 2016 4:32 AM   in response to: Benjamin Long Jr in response to: Benjamin Long Jr
 
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Duplicate post due to mods

Edited by: camellifolia on Feb 13, 2016 4:57 AM
camellifolia

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Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 12, 2016 4:34 AM   in response to: Benjamin Long Jr in response to: Benjamin Long Jr
 
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Duplicate post due to mods

Edited by: camellifolia on Feb 13, 2016 4:57 AM
camellifolia

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Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 12, 2016 4:43 AM   in response to: Benjamin Long Jr in response to: Benjamin Long Jr
 
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duplicate post due to mods

Edited by: camellifolia on Feb 13, 2016 4:58 AM
camellifolia

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Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 12, 2016 4:44 AM   in response to: camellifolia in response to: camellifolia
 
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duplicate post due to mods

Edited by: camellifolia on Feb 13, 2016 4:59 AM
camellifolia

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Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 12, 2016 4:45 AM   in response to: camellifolia in response to: camellifolia
 
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Duplicate post due to mods

Edited by: camellifolia on Feb 13, 2016 4:59 AM
Patrick A. Smith

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Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 12, 2016 5:13 AM   in response to: Benjamin Long Jr in response to: Benjamin Long Jr
 
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that's an easy question to answer.
1. If I could start over I would only go with Zon instead of multiple platforms. I sold hardly any, now on here alone I sell many.
2. I started out writing what I wanted to and made very little money. 6 months later I started writing something people want to read and have sold thousands. I love writing and when I started earning money I loved it more.
3. I would not pay $100 for a pro cover. I now do fine with photoshop
4. I would have started in 2009, had I known I could.

Edited by: Patrick A. Smith on Feb 11, 2016 6:28 PM

Edited by: Patrick A. Smith on Feb 11, 2016 6:37 PM
senior chips

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Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 12, 2016 10:47 AM   in response to: Benjamin Long Jr in response to: Benjamin Long Jr
 
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Take your time.

Really. Don't be in a hurry. Do things right the first time.

Start by reading the publishing guidelines at KDP. This is a frequent mistake that many people make, believing they know more about formatting and publishing at KDP than KDP does. Read the guidelines, then read them again. Do what they suggest. Set up your document in the way they suggest. Do it their way, not yours, and you'll have a better formatted, more readable product in the end.

Really. KDP knows more about publishing at KDP than you. Shocking but true. Better to make things right the first time than to make excuses later.

Then study what other authors have at Amazon. Look at the good sellers by at least ten indie authors, and learn what they have done. There will be similarities between all of their books, and try to see what those are. Then look at the low performers and learn what they have done, what the similarities are between those. Which do you want to emulate? Do it that way. Don't learn from authors who have sold ten books; learn from ones who have sold ten thousand books. Study this, it is important.

Take your time in deciding on a genre, theme, plot, character development, scenes, and style of dialog. Take your time in doing research. Once you have figured that out, it's time to begin writing. Use good grammar, correct punctuation and spelling, good transitions, and don't make up fancy languages just to make the story interesting. It won't. This is also very important.

Write until you think you have finished.

Then give the story a rest. Once you've been away from it for a while, sit back and read it. Start making changes, editing, and editing some more.

Then give it another rest before editing it even more.

Then proofread it. Then send it to a professional editor, then make the changes they suggest. Then pay a professional proofreader.

While all of that is taking place, get a good cover that reflects the theme and elements of the story. Make sure it is professional, not cartoonish.

Make sure you have picked out a title that reflects the content of the book, and is compelling. Just like the book, the title is for others, not for you. Seriously consider a pen name. If your book is a flop--and yes, there is a high likelihood it will be--do you really want to look like a nitwit in front of hundreds of thousands of Amazon book shoppers?

You get one chance at making a first impression. Don't screw it up by putting a piece of crap in Amazon,just because you were in a hurry.
10blade

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Registered: 08/22/11
Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 12, 2016 7:01 PM   in response to: Benjamin Long Jr in response to: Benjamin Long Jr
 
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Hi, Benjamin

After pondering your question I have to admit I wouldn't have done anything differently. I have been spared both very good and very bad fortune, so the circumstances of my life are pretty much of my own making. Being the same person, I'd end up taking the same road. You can probably tell I don't sell too many books with this attitude :-) That doesn't bother me much since writing is more of a solace than a career for me. The advice you got here is great, I will try to profit from it myself.
5kira

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Registered: 04/05/12
Re: If you had to do it all over again...
Posted: Feb 13, 2016 7:52 AM   in response to: Benjamin Long Jr in response to: Benjamin Long Jr
 
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I wouldn't have paid $1000 to iUniverse to publish my first book.
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