This is my fourth post answering questions friends have posted on Facebook. Enjoy!
Steps are really popular these days- for example- 21 steps to becoming a super model. How many steps would you give the process of publishing?
That could be an entire blog post on its own. I think that the journey is unique for every author. But here’s my generic attempt.
1) Write, write and write some more. Whether devotionals, non-fiction, poetry, articles, short stories, flash fiction, novels, and no matter what age group you are writing for. Write.
2) Read. Read other books, read about writing. A writer can’t write well if they are not also a reader.
3) Revise, edit and have others read and critique your writing.
4) Connect with a writer’s group of some kind (I’m with ACFW, American Christian Fiction Writers) for support, resources and networking.
5) Attend writer’s conferences You can network, meet others, learn and ask questions and to pitch your story to editors or agents.
6) Get into social networking even before you have a book written. It takes time to build an audience and people need to like you before they will buy your book. Agent and editors will check this.
7) Don’t quit. And remember that God uses the journey as part of your ministry and impact, not just a published novel. Don’t lose sight of the work he is doing because you are so focused on that one goal.
There are plenty of people out there who think or even say out loud, “I should write a book” and then don’t. What do you think the biggest obstacle to writing is, and how did you overcome it?
Most people will give the excuse of time, but I think the real reason most people don’t do it is fear. That’s why I’m a huge champion of National Novel Writing Month (www.nanowrimo.org) because it becomes a community endeavour and the encouragement of others it’s easier to take that step. That’s what got me started but I don’t need it now to write fast or complete a novel.
Do you have particular music that you listen to while you write?
Usually I listen to nothing. When I write the Regency time period I sometimes listen to classical. My last three novels the soundtrack was a compilation of songs by Burlap to Cashmere and Steven Delopoulos.
What’s your biggest pet peeve while editing?
Pet words: that, then, have, feel, look . . .I’m always having to reduce and eliminate those in my writing.
If you could only pick one, who would your favorite author be and why?
God. Only he could write a book filled with drama, romance, crime, poetry, imagery, parable, prophecy, history, biography and then combine them in sixty-six separate stories that are unified throughout the whole. I’ve read the Bible more than any other book.
It’s probably safe to say that most writers have goals and dreams. What’s your ultimate goal as a writer? When will you know when you’ve “reached” your goal?
I would sweet to sell a ton of books and have validation as a best-selling author. I would like it if I could support my family with my writing. But knowing that my stories encouraged someone, helped them when they needed it, or encouraged them to hold tight to their faith in difficult circumstances would be the sweetest thing. It’s an ephemeral goal at best, but when I get that kind of feedback it warms my heart.
How do you get your ideas on what to write about?
My God-given imagination and dreams while I sleep. Two stories in my Orchard Hill series sprung out of a real life (but majorly changed) situation I had read about.
That’s it! Any more questions that haven’t been answered – go ahead and ask and I’ll try to get to them again at a later date.