This may be a helpful post for any other writers who read this blog, specifically those who want to publish a novel someday.
Personally, I don’t like to be told what to do and, especially in terms of getting your work out there in the form of a novel or even a blog, you can often be given a lot of advice you haven’t asked for and don’t want or need.
Sometimes being told what not to do can be more helpful, as these are concrete, finite guidelines to disregard only if you want to fail.
Author of How to Be Inappropriate, Daniel Nester, recently submitted a blog post to We Who Are About to Die, entitled “13 Don’ts I Learned While Writing, Editing, Marketing and Promoting My Book.” I won’t go into too much depth, but feel free to check it out if you’re planning on becoming a novelist anytime soon.
1. Don’t worry about the niche until the niche finds you.
I have found “finding a niche” to be an annoying piece of advice, but as this blog goes on, I feel I am falling into one, rather than starting off with a clear-cut idea in mind.
2. Have a gimmicky title, but don’t take it too seriously.
Titles “grab people’s attention, but that’s it… The people who take titles too seriously, by and large, are reviewers…”
3. Don’t rely on yourself as a proofreader.
I cannot stress this enough. Incorrect grammar and, especially, spelling is my biggest pet peeve, and I can’t stand it when I see typos in published works. Facebook, Twitter and blogs are a bit of a different story, but I’m still pretty unforgiving when it comes to even that!
4. Don’t proofread your own galleys, either.
“So your book looks perfect because it’s all in a different font and there are page numbers, right? Wrong. Also, if you’re sick of your book by then, it’s probably not a good book.”
5. Don’t ask famous strangers for blurbs.
Nester asserts that to keep the dust jacket as “organic as possible,” it’s better to ask people you know who have expressed an interest in and generally like your work. “And ask them personally.”
6. Don’t read from your book at readings.
For those of you with eye conditions, “Print out your pieces in 14-point writing with ample margins.”
7. Don’t read from another book at readings.
I thought this was a given, as people who buy tickets or show up to readings by an author of their latest book generally want to hear writing from that author’s latest book.
8. Don’t take reviews too seriously.
At the end of the day, not everyone is in agreeance as to what constitutes a good piece of writing (see Negative Amazon Reviews). Speaking from personal experience, back in my uni days I worked my butt off on a research piece on the Chris Benoit double murder-suicide, only to receive a dismal C. If anything, the bad mark made me more loyal to and proud of the original work, and to strive to get better when writing future pieces. On the other hand, my Year 12 media project was a mock magazine, which wasn’t the greatest thing I’ve ever done, but my markers saw how much effort I put into it and thus, I received an A. Maybe it would have been a similar story if my damn uni marker had seen me slaving over the laptop…
9a. Don’t give away your books. Sell them.
9b. Do give out free stuff…
… in conjunction with the buying of the books.
10. Don’t feel guilty not having your event at the local indie bookstore.
Bottom line is, independent bookstores don’t cater to everyone’s needs, or may not pull the target audience you believe would be interested in your book.
11a. Don’t forget to time your readings.
See the original blog post for a profanity-laden anecdote on death matches.
11b. And don’t read more than 15 minutes.
12. Don’t have more than one drink before your reading.
“There’s plenty of time afterward to get drunk.”
13. Don’t forget that all this is supposed to be fun and joyful.
You had your book published! “Hug people… wear a silly outfit”!