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How do I become a full-time author

I was previously talking about the formula to become a full-time author and I mentioned Sean Williams’ Blog post (which I still recommend you take a look at)

This time I’d like to talk about some things that work and some pitfalls to avoid:

1. To become a full-time author you need to write.
It might seem self-evident, but I’ve seen people become full-time students instead of full-time authors because they keep chasing credentials rather than writing.

This isn’t to say that professional writing courses are bad, anything but, however I am saying that they do not replace writing for an audience as the best means of learning your craft.

2. To become a full-time author you will need to sacrifice.
From picnics to birthday parties, once you start writing for competitions, ghost writing, or writing your first manuscript, you will need to set your priority on writing.

3. To become a full-time author you are going to have to grow thick skin.
When someone critiques your work (whether it’s a professional editor or a reader) do not argue with them. Don’t correct them. If you have to explain what you were trying to do after they have read it, then you failed to get the message across in your writing.

Just thank them for the time they gave you and think about how you can improve. This will also help when you finally publish a book and someone hates it -someone will, trust me!- and I can’t emphasise this enough.**

It follows the message I repeat often: The only obstacles you face are those you build yourself. And it’s easy to remember.

4. To become a full-time author you are going to have to learn the business of publishing.
Publishing is a business. If you are thinking about your work as being a piece of your soul or precious artwork and won’t compromise based on an editor’s feedback, stop now. Write for yourself, there’s nothing wrong with writing for your own self-satisfaction, in fact it’s very rewarding.

But if you want to become a professional author (full-time author) you need to understand that this is a very different discipline to writing for yourself. So go and start learning about the publishing industry and, in particular, what they like to see in a manuscript submission.

5. To become a full-time author your writing needs to look the part.
Publishers have style guides which they publish on their websites. Go and check out some publishers you want to submit to and read their style guide and apply it to your documents. Pay particular attention to font size, line spacing and margin sizes.

I will add to this guide in further 5 point add-ons to make it easier to digest so stay tuned for more

P.S. Don’t forget the formula to become a full-time author:

Dreams + (Dogged) Determination = Success!

or perhaps:

Dreams + (Dogged) Determination + Don’t listen to the Doubters = Success!

*For those of you who aren’t Science Fiction readers, Sean is a New York Bestselling Author who has written for George Lucas to create many of the Star Wars books, amongst a legion of his own works and co-authored works with Shane Dix. Not bad for a local boy, eh?

**This also works for business people – Click here for other business tips.

3 Responses
  1. Jie says:

    Valuable info. Lucky me I found your site by accident, I bookmarked it.

  2. Kathy says:

    I read a few topics. I respect your work and added blog to favorites.

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