Can Someone Help Mentor Me With a Publishing Plan?


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Thread: Can Someone Help Mentor Me With a Publishing Plan?

  1. #1

    Question Can Someone Help Mentor Me With a Publishing Plan?

    Hi there WF!

    I'm Daniel, in-case you don't know me. I'm trying to become a better writer and being here is doing a good job. The thing is, I want to start publishing and I'm not sure that traditional is the correct route. I'm looking for a plan, and some assistance, with this. My goal is to, within the next few years, end up making approximately $150-$200 CAD/month by writing (through all my work- including any royalties.) This would, in my particular situation, allow me to live off of my writing. I would love to say that I could do this by magazine/journals, but the extremely long wait times regarding this are, especially for my country, extremely strenuous (6 months in some cases) and I'm feeling discouraged by this. I was wondering if you, kind WF's, could help me devise some sort of battle plan to help me get my bearings together.

    As to date, I have implemented the following tactics:

    1) Plan each piece. I find that the piece becomes stronger if I do this than if I do not.
    2) Commit to a writing schedule each and every day. I sit, I write, I achieve this.
    3) Reading habits: I read voraciously throughout the day- not just one topic.
    4) Contacts. I have a friend who is willing to edit my pieces. This does not serve as a professional editor, but nonetheless gives me a leg up in the sense that my pieces are not only glimpsed by my eyes only.

    Now, I need the help to make the next step. Can anyone help me? I'm looking for guidance and advice. As of yet, I'm getting a piece published in a small startup magazine, but its taken such a long time to get together that I'm not sure if it's the best idea for long term stability. I know that writing, especially for a novice, is meant to be challenging, but I want to be able to call myself a writer at the end of the day. I'm willing to work EXTREMELY hard at this and consider this as my main, my primary, goal. I've been SO impressed by the work that I've seen here that I feel this is the only place that I can ask without being bashed or criticized.

    If you can, please correct me where my assumptions/presumptions/insinuations are wrong and help me along this journey. I will appreciate every word that you can offer me. I'm going back to college, and then university, for an extended period of time (and I find it fuels the writing.) I intend for this period to help me grow as a critical writer and refine my skill-set. It also will give me the time to implement the guidance that any/all of you will offer.

    In short: How can I publish, with the right tactics, to facilitate my own measure of success? How can I orient my attitude towards writing to make my goals a reality? How can I earn this amount of money to sustain my ambitions?

    I will also reply if you answer me- I'm here!

    P.S. Maybe I'm wrong in my sense of how writers make money as well. I've heard, from attending a local writing conference, that many writers make their money from appearances and seminars rather than through their writing itself. Is this how it works? Please educate me!
    Last edited by Bard_Daniel; July 3rd, 2019 at 12:14 AM.

  2. #2
    Publishing is a funny old business. Frustrates the hell out of you for the most part, makes you laugh, swear, but most times just makes you knuckle down and get on. I wish there was a magic formula to control it all, I really do, but most times it's trial and error, but the one good thing about writing forums is that it will hopefully cut down on the errors.

    As to date, I have implemented the following tactics:

    1) Plan each piece. I find that the piece becomes stronger if I do this than if I do not.
    2) Commit to a writing schedule each and every day. I sit, I write, I achieve this.
    3) Reading habits: I read voraciously throughout the day- not just one topic.
    4) Contacts. I have a friend who is willing to edit my pieces. This does not serve as a professional editor, but nonetheless gives me a leg up in the sense that my pieces are not only glimpsed by my eyes only.
    Let's take a look at this:

    1) Plan each piece. I find that the piece becomes stronger if I do this than if I do not.
    Good. You have to work with what works best for you.

    2) Commit to a writing schedule each and every day. I sit, I write, I achieve this.
    This is good, but don't feel disappointed if you don't do it! That can send you on a bad guilt path. If you keep a notepad by you and you note something that really interests you for your writing, see that as getting your quota for the day too. Doesn't matter how small it is -- it's still part of the process, as is research or just running through a conversation in your head. I sit and write about once a week, if that, but my weeks are still full of writing, whether it's just note-taking, researching a plot point in my head, looking at photos for inspiration, or playing out a scene in my head before I commit it to paper. It's also a good way to stop thinking about writer's block: there's no such thing as writer's block so long as you have a mass of tunnels under over it that you can count towards writing.

    3) Reading habits: I read voraciously throughout the day- not just one topic.
    Again good, but make sure it's in your genre, with the latest novels that have been released. It's not about copying, but it is about knowing what's out there and recognizing why.

    4) Contacts. I have a friend who is willing to edit my pieces. This does not serve as a professional editor, but nonetheless gives me a leg up in the sense that my pieces are not only glimpsed by my eyes only.
    If you're going the trade route, getting the script to your best ability (with good beta readers etc) is all you'll need, as you'll work with an editor. If you're going self-pub... I'd recommend getting an editor, but like with everything else: do your research! Look at and use an editor's X amount of pages edited for free, and go to different editors in your genre.

    Now, I need the help to make the next step. Can anyone help me? I'm looking for guidance and advice. As of yet, I'm getting a piece published in a small startup magazine, but its taken such a long time to get together that I'm not sure if it's the best idea for long term stability.
    Most do start small. It takes time to build an audience. I'd want to know if you only write in one genre, in magazines in general (short stories?). If you know your genre, you can go on the likes of Goodreads and join groups who have readers/authors in your genre etc. There's no better marketing than other authors in the genre, mostly because if a call goes out from a publisher etc, authors share the call, and you can share leads like that. I've just had a colleague pass me a link on to a giveaway of works from different authors in my genre, and I'm going for that.

    If you can, please correct me where my assumptions/presumptions/insinuations are wrong and help me along this journey. I will appreciate every word that you can offer me. I'm going back to college, and then university, for an extended period of time (and I find it fuels the writing.) I intend for this period to help me grow as a critical writer and refine my skill-set. It also will give me the time to implement the guidance that any/all of you will offer.
    You've got a hell of a lot on your plate. The more you push one, the more the other could suffer. You have to keep your love of writing. But I'd also look at writing as you would university: research it -- get to know it inside and out.

    In short: How can I publish, with the right tactics, to facilitate my own measure of success? How can I orient my attitude towards writing to make my goals a reality? How can I earn this amount of money to sustain my ambitions?
    Once you write one story, write another, then write another after that. Each new story will help sales on your old titles. So it's vital you don't sit around on one story waiting for any money to come in. You do also need to be social, if just one or two posts a week. Think about a free website, about Facebook, Goodreads, about knowing what calls publishers are putting out for authors and what their deadlines are.

    But before you do all of that, make sure to research how to write a query letter, how to write a synopsis, how to write a damn good story! Then look at how to submit to a publisher and learn the basics of getting the formatting right. If they ask for a word.doc 12 point, Times New Roman, 1.5 line spacing... that's how you submit the document.

    I don't know how much of that will help. It is all trial and error, where you learn to find your own feet. I've just gone that way with audio and most times you really do just have to take a deep breath and walk on.

  3. #3
    Such a detailed, informative, and time-sensitive response! Thanks so much Aquilo!

  4. #4
    Daniel:
    I apologize for not seeing this thread earlier. I was prolly goofing off debating semantics with Scars or Glass. Sorry, didn't mean to leave you hanging.

    There are a few things about publishing that will ruin your current plans.
    The first is the SALES ARC. Book sales follow a parabolic arc after they are released. They climb, peak out, then drop to near-zero.
    Even Rowling faces the arc...she just has a much, much bigger arc than you.
    The arc exists in its current state because of the Amazon algorithm.
    For this reason, you would be wrong to look at book sales as a steady paycheck.


    In simplest terms, the Amazon algorithm determines how high you float on various lists based on sales, reviews, and activity around your book.
    More sales/reviews/clicks floats you higher.
    Once you exhaust whatever market you can reach, your sales drop off, and the algorithm drops you down the list.
    75,000 books published a month on Amazon, so your book quickly becomes a drop in a very big ocean.
    Last edited by Ralph Rotten; July 13th, 2019 at 03:48 PM.

  5. #5
    But the real question is: are you ready to Indie publish?

    When you write for an established publishing house you have the safety net of a professional editor who can guide your story, make it better than it was.
    But when you self-pub, it's all you. Sure, you can get an editor, but you really need to have some solid skills or you risk becoming just another self-published hack.*

    So, not to discourage you, but approximately how many words have you written total?
    If it's less than 200,000 words, then you may wanna keep working at it, perfecting the craft.
    Too many new writers rush to publish, and the failure breaks them. I left writing for a decade after one spectacular flop.



    *BTDT, but under another name.

  6. #6
    Yes, I've been thinking and I believe that I need to just muster it out and aim for traditional publishing. I've written WAY more than 200,000 words-- probably over a million, but I don't think (in the next ten-fifteen years) that I'll be able to manage enough money to do this so I'm back to seeking work at a job for the time being while writing on the side (I guess as a hobbyist.)

  7. #7
    If you have racked up the miles, then you are prolly ready.
    It also means that you likely have enough material for some test books.
    Nothing says you have to pub under your own name...or even the same name.
    When I first started eBooks, I used a few throwaway manuscripts (and other people's books) to practice on.
    Only after I figgered out what to do did I start publishing under names I wanted to promote.

    But if you decide to Indie publish, lemme know. Also, Mikey is a great source on marketing for Indies. I think he just published a book on that subject.

  8. #8
    PS: Jan 5, 2019 - Authors are having to take on other work. Only 57 percent of full-time published authors derived 100 percent of their individual incomes from book- and other writing-related activities combined.

    https://www.authorsguild.org/industry-advocacy/authors-guild-survey-shows-drastic-42-percent-decline-in-authors-earnings-in-last-decade/

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