The first step in being a writer is having a story to tell. Now, the next step is telling that story in an interesting and unique way. Whether your book is about farming, finance or romance how you engage your readers is the foundation to your success. First things first. Sit down and write the most important page of your book. The first page, it will be your hook. You will have roughly 250 words at your disposal. Make them count. This is your first and most important task and it will be a challenge. The next piece of advice, make it sexy. How do I make my Finance book sexy? Think Mad Men. Sell it to your readers. It’s a crowded market out there and you need to stand out.
Having a good story is important but marketing is vital and an enormous part of your publishing journey. Social media will become your best friend. Your book is a thumbnail amongst millions on Amazon. Make your book cover as eye-catching as possible. You will need to promote your book and get those all important reviews. Booking a Book Tour is a must.
Present the very best quality manuscript. My publishers adhere to The Chicago Manuel of Style. Editing is the most important part of your book. I edit by Chapter during times when I can't write. I don't call it writer's block but my imaginative rest time (IRT). During these periods, I edit and refresh my mind with the story I've written so far. I often find that after doing this the story flows once more and I'm back writing, but I've cleaned up those earlier chapters. I hate editing, but I make myself do it as I go along as I find it too overwhelming to tackle a full manuscript. Next, do you have a word count in mind? Set yourself a goal eg. 90,000 words. Plan out your Chapters. Each character has their own Point of View and if during your chapter you change character, then you need to change POV, which means adding a scene break. I always stick to 57 Chapters. I start by numbering them and leaving the last 7 -10 Chapters for my ending. I may start my book with my lead character Benedict so I put his name against Chapter 1 and then I follow with another character, Siena, which becomes Chapter 2 and so on.
I use pro writing aid which is a free online tool that helps with grammar, sticky sentences, and repetitive works. I use Beta readers once I've completed my first twenty chapters. Feedback has often seen me ripping my chapters apart and this is more manageable in sections. I've learned so much since I've published my first book and it's been a steep learning curve but my writing has improved as a result. If I had to give one piece of advice I'd say have patience. Writing is a bit of a waiting game. Building your fan base takes time. Rome wasn't built in a day and so forth. Enjoy it regardless of sales and most of all be proud of what you've achieved.
About J. A. Kerr