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Advice For Self-published Authors - You Are Working!
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It's sad when others think because you're not working for wages or selling a million books a day you're not working or you're not a success. I have run a business from home for several years and I haven't drawn a wage from an employer. My mother still asks me when am I getting a real job. I'm nearly 50 so I don't think I could get a 'real job' if I wanted to - I'm too old! What my mother doesn't understand is that there are many different ways to earn an income and writing is as legitimate and important as any other.
When you sit down to write you are working. Creating a story from scratch is hard work and while there might seem that there are many published authors there are still many people who cannot take their idea for a story and create a whole book around it. Characters have to be developed; story lines trialled and tested and; it is important to have a believable ending - this can be the trickiest part. You also have to aware of word limits if you're writing for children or if you are under restrictions from publishers who charge you more if you go over a certain page number.
These things, among many others, are hard work. I have many characters in my books and I have to keep track of them. I use a white board to keep track of the characters and what they are doing. Each one had to complete his or her mission and then return to the main action and help save the day.
Once your manuscript is finished you have to edit it, re-read it, do re-writes and all sorts of things to make sure it is ready for publication. You'll have to print off a copy and read through it out loud. I share my manuscript at this stage with as many people as I can and I ask them to scribble all over it. I then have to make time and consider their ideas and corrections. This is work! Believe me - very hard work!
If someone comes into the room where you write tell them you are working. When you get up from the dinner table tell everyone you are going to work for a couple of hours. I call my writing room an office and I have a desk and computer in it but I also have the walls and shelves full of things I love. Things that make me feel comfortable and creative. However, I still feel that I am working and that writing is my job.
Don't worry if you're not selling a lot of books. Book sales don't always equate to success in some ways. There might be many years between the time or writing and selling books. Becoming a successful author does mean you will have to sell books but it doesn't mean that writing a manuscript or tossing around ideas is not work.
Be proud of what you are doing. Writing a manuscript is devilishly hard work and shouldn't be taken lightly. Becoming a successful author is hard because it takes time, and lots of qualities that include confidence, persistence and courage and it's work!
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