Have you published a book yet?
You may have heard over and over again that you need to treat your fiction writing like a business or you’ll never be a successful author, but what you don’t often hear is that doing that could be the very thing holding you back.
If you haven’t had your first book published yet, then I believe focusing on the business of writing is wasting writing time, and we all know what a precious resource time is.
Building a platform, blogging and posting on social media regularly, getting your branding right, having professional headshots taken and more. Not to mention your day job, family commitments, etc. It’s exhausting just thinking about it all!
And when are you supposed to find time to write?
Don’t get me wrong, it is important to take any business seriously, but a creative pursuit isn’t the same as a regular business venture. Writing a novel is a labour of love and there isn’t a totally right or wrong way to do it. There isn’t a checklist of what to include that will automatically result in a best-seller. The whole process is more complicated than that.
I feel that the assumption you can build a creative business the same way you would for other products or services, leads to a lot of heartache. Sure, in the end you hope to have a book that sells and make money from it, but a regular business venture isn’t founded in the hopes and dreams of the creative arts. It is grounded in measurable goals, trackable data and profitable results right from the start.
The truth about an author business
“But people make money out of writing books”, I hear you cry.
They sure do, but by that stage you will usually find one of two things has happened.
1. They are prolific enough to produce books regularly, so as to keep up with algorithms and reader appetites; and/or
2. They have diversified and book sales are only a portion of their income.
Now, I’m not suggesting you don’t need to think about the business of writing, but at the optimum time. There isn’t any point wasting precious writing time doing stuff you don’t enjoy or that takes you away from the whole point this journey, BEFORE YOU ARE EVEN PUBLISHED.
The very best thing you can do for your author career when you first start out is WRITE BOOKS.
Indulge your creativity, spend time fantacising about plot scenarios and chatting to imaginary characters. Read articles, do courses, attend webinars and talk to likeminded souls. Learn the craft by writing your way into it … all the way to the end of your first novel.
By all means, if you enjoy blogging, do it. If you love interacting on Instagram, go for it. But if you have limited time and/or aren’t totally confident in your writing technique yet, take a step back and focus on what’s really important right now: storytelling.
Get published … THEN spend time developing an author platform, a readship, marketing and business plans.
If you haven’t written a publishable novel, then you are better off focusing your efforts on mastering the craft and creating an unputdownable story. After all, it’s the very foundation of your author career. You need to complete this first step so you have something solid to build a business on.
Where to next?
If you’re ready to stop feeling overwhelmed by the publishing industry and figure out what the next best steps for you are, book a complimentary Storytelling Clarity session with Sandy Vaile.
This article was originally published on the Romance Writers of Australia blog on 18/09/21.
Immersive Deep Point of View (POV)
When Things Happen to the Character
When something is happening to the character, you only show what they can hear, see, touch, taste and intuit. Their mind and body takes in raw information and it appears on the page exactly how they experience it, e.g. how it sounds, looks, feels and tastes to the character. Use physical sensations, body movements and language, e.g. dialogue or thoughts.
Example of normal Third Person POV:
Nervous energy pumped through Anne’s veins as Don stared at her, shaking his head slowly, lips pursed in disappointment.
Example of Deep Third Person POV:
Anne shifted from foot to foot, fingers tapping on her thigh as she waited for Don’s reaction. His mouth pressed into a thin line and he shook his head slowly.
When the Character Reacts
When the character processes or reacts to what’s happening in the story, only share their immediate visceral and physical responses, not the conclusions they reach or the thought process that got them there. The way they experience the situation will depend on their personality, current emotional state, the beliefs and scars from their past and skills.
Continuing with the previous example:
Then Don sighed. He didn’t say a word before he turned and walked away. Pin pricks stabbed at Anne’s eyes and she blinked rapidly, holding her breath least a strangled cry made itself out of her mouth before he was out of earshot.
See how the author doesn’t tell the reader that Don was disappointed and so decided to leave, or that Anne was nervous about his reaction and upset when he turned his back on her, but they can surmise all of this from the characters’ actions.
Move In and Out of Deep POV
Being up close to emotions constantly can be tiring, so I prefer to save Deep POV for times when there are high emotional stakes. At other times you can pull back to a more distant POV, so the character (and reader) have time to process emotions, think through how the situation affects them and make decisions based on what the experience means to them.
As characters move through you story, put yourself in their shoes and experience situations as they would. When you translate this onto the page, focus on their immediate visceral and physical responses. Show the reader what they are thinking and feeling through facial expressions, body language, dialogue and tone of voice. Rather than explaining what is happening, just show the action as it unfolds and let readers draw their own conclusions. This will more thoroughly engage them emotionally and intellectually, resulting in a more satisfying experience for them.
This article first appeared on the Romance Writers of Australia blog on 23/08/21.
Empowering modern fiction writers