To Be, Or Not To Be, A Writer
Wanting to write isn’t a crime
I do love a good play on words. Geddit? To be or not to be, play on words, Shakespeare? Oh well, never mind. We can only try as writers to entertain, but one person’s meat is another’s poison. So, you want to be a writer, but everyone you know tells you not to be crazy. You will never make it as a writer. It’s not something normal people do. You’ll never make any money being a writer.
I’ve heard all the arguments against being a writer, put forward by those know all friends and family. But I have never heard anyone tell me that it was a good idea wanting to be a writer. Not one person thought it was a good and wise choice to make, and I’m going back 50 years+ since I first wanted to write a novel.
I wonder sometimes, if there’s a little bit of jealousy going on with those always wanting to put down wannabe writers. Because it’s patently obvious to me that many, many people actually make a living at being writers. Take your average journalist. Newspapers employ them. Magazines employ them. The media in general employ journalists and indeed it is something you have to learn to be by taking a course, even getting a degree in journalism. So where do our friends and family get the idea that being a writer is not for us?
Making the write choice
I admit that wanting to be a writer of novels is, on the face of it, a bit of a stretch considering most novelists don’t actually make a living out of writing. But, and it’s quite a big but, a lot of wannabe authors get something more than monetary independence, they get a great deal of pleasure.
Wanting to be a writer, novelist, author, journalist or a blogger can be such a rewarding experience that even if you don’t make a lot of money, you can still enjoy your writing journey. And that writing journey can be full of pitfalls and pleasure. You have to choose which way you want your writing career to go. Up or down, it’s ultimately up to you.
Write, write I bloody well write!
Where do you start on your writing journey? It’s actually quite a simple process with the aid of modern technology. Gone are the days of portable typewriters and correction fluid. Out the window, if you so choose, is the traditional way of publishing and in comes the reign of the indie author. No longer do you need an agent, but, if you want one then send an email because most agents have embraced technology and don’t require your typed manuscript through the post. That’s going to save money and time, so don’t be afraid of emailing an agent or publisher, they’re only human like the rest of us.
But I don’t know how to write
There comes a point in every wannabe writer’s life that he or she realises that writing requires a certain amount of skill. I have read some shockingly bad books by indie authors and I’ve read a few brilliant books by indie authors. And, hands up, I’ve released some early work that was far from ready to be published. But that’s a good thing, in a way, because you need to be told if you’re writing isn’t up to scratch for the paying public. It is the paying public, if you want to earn living, that will ultimately decide if you’re any good or not. If you fail to get reviews, good reviews, then sales will not happen and your book will be confined to the digital dustbin.
A book review is worth more than mere stars
This is your ultimate goal as a writer. Doing the actual work, publishing the traditional way or the indie way and getting your book out there is only part of the story. You need sales and you need reviews from those sales. Here’s where it’s all taken out of your hands. For selling via the likes of Amazon, you can’t buy reviews or get your entire family to buy and review your book. These days Amazon have ways and means of detecting a phoney review and if they smell a rat they simply refuse to publish the review and may even close your account. To get good reviews and lots of them, you’re in the hands of the lady luck and your ability to market your book. Take a look at this piece from BookBub to give you some ideas on marketing.
Writing and selling your book can be down to pure chance
It’s an unfortunate fact of life. It’s up to you to market your book. Whether you are published by a traditional publisher or you go the indie route, it will ultimately be down to you to market your book via a blog, website, social media and or advertising. It isn’t easy, in fact I would say it’s the hardest part of being a writer. But, it is an essential part of your writing journey. You may have written the best book in the world, but it’s all to no avail if you can’t market it and sell your book.
So, when I say good luck on your journey, I am emphasising luck as much as skill.
Copyright © Tom Kane 2020
On my writing journey, I’ve moved from the UK to Cyprus. It didn’t make me a better writer, but it did produce several books I would never have written otherwise. So have a sneak view of my books about Cyprus, in particular A Pat on his Back with tells the story of my journey in Cyprus.
And here’s a few other books about what life is like as an expat in Cyprus.