A Writing Anniversary: Things I Learned During My First Year As a Serious Writer (Part Two)

by K. Kris Loomis in Writing

In my previous post, A Writing Anniversary: Things I Learned During My First Year As a Serious Writer (Part 1), I discussed some things I’ve discovered on this writing journey of mine. Things that have nothing to do with the actual writing part of the business. Here are a few other things I’ve learned this past year!

Authors Need to Learn How to Prepare Their Work for Publication

Once you finish your WIP (work in progress), a different type of work begins. You must prepare your work so that it can be presented to the public on your chosen platform.

My chosen platform for the moment is Amazon. You can see my Amazon author page HERE. In order for your book to be placed in Amazon’s system, it needs to be formatted for Kindle as a .mobi file (or .epub). And if you want to offer your book as a paperback you have to format it as a PDF file.

If you a self-published author, you are responsible for the formatting, so you either have to learn to do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you. Amazon will not help you with this part of the process!

I invested in Scrivener, a writing software program that allows the user to format in the above file formats, as well as all the other major ones (.rtf, .doc, .docx, to name a few).

This powerful program has a pretty steep learning curve, but I suggest all serious writers at least consider trying it because it is a piece of software that is specifically geared toward writers and supports all different stages of the writing process, from early outlining to formatting for publication. You can check Scrivener out at Literature and Latte. (This is not an affiliate link…I just really love the program!)

Authors Need to Remember to READ FOR FUN!

I have read more this past year than I have in the last ten years. Problem is, it was all geared toward learning the publishing business. A lot of what I read was online, blogs and courses. I also read books about publishing, how to protect your website from being hacked, how to grow your email list, and tons of other things that would bore anyone not doing these things.

This past January I realized I had stopped reading for fun! This is really bad, especially if you are a fiction writer. REALLY bad. So bad that Stephen King said this:

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

Yep. Reading, and specifically reading in your chosen genre, IS that important. And, truth be told, you can’t learn everything about the business all at once anyway. Plus, you have to be willing to keep learning and adapting, little by little, because the business is constantly changing.

So don’t stop reading for fun!

Authors Need to Admit They Can’t Do It All

Boy. This is a toughie. Especially for indie authors. We tend to think we need to do everything. But you have to learn to honestly admit your weaknesses and find the appropriate people to fill in the gaps if you want to be an author.

For instance, I know I could learn how to design my own covers, but I also know it would take time away from my writing. And just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should do it. Designing covers is not one of my strengths, and knowing how important a good cover is, I decided early on to hire that out.

One thing most beginner writers will skimp on is editing. Believe me when I say, DON’T! Writers are horrible editors and proofreaders. Really dreadful. Trust me on this one. If you only take ONE thing away from this post let it be that you MUST work with an editor if you want to be taken seriously as a writer. Period.

Whew!

The past year has been full of challenges I didn’t even know I’d have to face once I decided to give it a go as a serious writer. But I am loving what I am doing, and really appreciate all the wonderful help and advice I’ve received along the way. I am always willing to learn from another writer’s mistakes because it saves me valuable time!

If you are on my mailing list, THANK YOU for your support! If you’re not on my mailing list yet but would like to join, just hit the “Free Short Story” tab on my menu bar to get a sample of my fiction writing and twice monthly updates about what’s going on in my writing world.


K. Kris Loomis is the author of the humorous travel memoir, Thirty Days In Quito: Two Gringos and a Three-Legged Cat Move to Ecuador. She also writes adult parables and short stories as well as books about yoga and meditation. Kris is a determined chess player, an origami enthusiast, a classically trained pianist, and a playwright. She lives in South Carolina with her husband and two cats.

Get a free short story by signing up for Kris’ bi-weekly blog! And you can connect with Kris anytime on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest @kkrisloomis.

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2 Responses to “A Writing Anniversary: Things I Learned During My First Year As a Serious Writer (Part Two)”

  1. Thanks for sharing all these lessons-learned! I am currently in week 4 of writing full time (for the first time in my life ever), and it’s so nice to read about other folks who are succeeding. I found your advice in Part 1 helpful – especially the importance of growing a quality mailing list. Also, I did not realize until reading Part 2 that I also have stopped reading for fun. It’s like a little light bulb went off. Thanks so much for the reminder!!

    • Thanks for reading, Krystal! Glad you could relate to some of my ‘lessons!’ I am rooting for you and can’t wait to see where YOU are in a year’s time. Happy writing AND reading 🙂

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