Get feedback!

It is commonplace for new writers to be protective of their work. And there’s nothing wrong with that… except that it robs a writer of opportunities to improve their craft and story.

Feedback from peers and mentors is invaluable, especially in the early stages of your writing career.

When you open your work up to others you trust and admire, others with knowledge and experience in the craft, you put their expertise to work for you. Now, that’s priceless!

Some simple ways to get feedback include:

a. finding a mentor

b. finding a critique partner (or partners)

c. joining a writing group

d. sharing free content on your blog or social media (though I would only recommend this to those with a thick hide).

The honest truth is, getting feedback can be brutal sometimes… but the key is to pick out the useful, constructive advice, and run with it. In the end, it’s all about your success.

Dear “Author Who Cringes At The Thought Of Socialising”…

I get that authors are busy… but so is everyone else.

We all have 24hrs in a day, and if you as an author can’t make time for someone who has taken their time to contact you after spending their time reading your book, then at least hire or assign someone (PR Manager) to do so. Because it’s just rude.

This is where social media helps.

I understand a lot of authors are very reclusive, but if something about your book struck deep in your reader, deep enough for them to want to reach out, there should at least be a platform for them to do so.

A lot of people recommend an official author page or website. And these are helpful resources. But they aren’t always practical. It’s better not to have a facebook page than to have one which isn’t active, where you never respond to messages (I learnt that the hard way).

Some publishers and book distributors such as Amazon and smashwords offer author pages. On Goodreads, you could start a blog if it’s something you’re interested in. And if you pick a couple of sites you know you’ll be active and available on, that is easier to manage, less overwhelming and generally better than having an official site and accounts on every social media platform. Plus, your audience knows exactly where to find you.

P.S. if having all those platforms works for you, then go for it. If not, I hope this helps.

Can Your Readers Relate With You?

The number one reason readers buy books is because they know the author.

This doesn’t always mean the reader is a friend of the author. Sometimes, the reader may have read other books by the author, heard them speak or interviewed on a podcast, radio or television. They might have visited the author’s blog or followed them on social media. A connection is made, and this drives readers to the author’s books. 

This is the reason for the “about the author” section in books. Readers want to know who the book came from. They want to know the author is an actual person, just like them. That automatically makes the author relatable. They’re human. And once a reader can connect to an author on that level, it becomes easy to persuade them to buy your book. 

Who the author is plays a big part in the success of their book. If a specialist gynecologist were to write a book on menopause, it’s more likely to be bought by people experiencing said ailment than if a baker who experienced menopause wrote the book. This is simply because the specialist is just that. A specialist! 

Who you are affects how people receive your book. 

Growing up, I never truly belonged anywhere because of my mixed heritage (and the discrimination I faced due to it). For many years, I struggled to fit in because I was too light to be black. Then I moved to the U.K. where I was too dark to be white. And this was part of what formed the basis for Age of The Anathema. I’m a mixed-race author writing about people being persecuted for being mixed race. And one comment I got back when Tainted came out, was by a mixed-race woman who said: “… finally, we have someone who will speak up for us.”  

She bought and read the book because the author was relatable. 

So, as an author, stop and ask yourself:

“Can my readers relate with me? Or am I just another author to them?” 

Glasses: Also a writing tool

 "...And one sunny spring morning, I awoke to find my glasses missing a screw."
***

To all those who wear glasses… you know what it’s like when your glasses just don’t sit right.

For those fortunate enough to never experience such discomfort, wearing glasses that don’t sit right can be really frustrating, especially when you’re writing.

Besides typing, I like to write, draw, and doodle in my notebooks. And recently, my glasses keep sliding off my face. But I get ahead of myself. It all started when…

I travelled for a few months, and got locked down abroad without my spare glasses. One sunny spring morning, I awoke to find my glasses missing a screw. (#crying)

It relieved me to find the screw about an hour later. I fitted it back, thinking that was over and done with.

Until my glasses started zooming in.

I’d be reading, and after a couple of minutes, my glasses would creep down my nose, toward the page. It got steadily worse, and by the time I returned after the travel restrictions were lifted, I was literally having to hold my glasses in place.

Clearly an inconvenience.

And for those wondering, I don’t wear contacts because my eyes water a lot.

Anyway, many reading and writing blogs touch on tools, apps, and equipment creatives need. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen any which touch on glasses. And I know I’m not the only creative who wears glasses (or has had an interesting experience with them).

Glasses are a tool to aid your sight. They’re meant to make your visual experience better, not worse. And I know there are a lot more issues that occur with glasses than them just not sitting right. Things like getting the right prescriptions, and the right shape of frames to fit your face, and the right size so the lenses cover at least 70% of your field of vision. And let’s not even go into tinting and glares.

So, there are many, many things to deal with when talking about glasses. This is just to remind you that glasses are also a writing tool, and as a reader, writer, or just a basic human being, remember to get your glasses sorted.

Read Widely

Reading widely not only broadens your vocabulary, it also expands your mind and exposes you to new concepts and ideas you would never have dreamed of.

You learn different writers’ expressive styles and, in the process, develop yours.

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Live well, then write well

The creativity flows from your heart. When your heart is open to new experiences, that joy, excitement and sense of adventure in you seeps onto the pages of your book/story.

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Write what you would like to read

There’s nothing more frustrating than writing stuff you’re not interested in. The words will lack passion, and it will come through to your readers.

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Remember to live


Life is short… I think anyone past 21 realises that. 

We spend a lot of time worrying about what people think, feel and would say, and in the process cage and restrict ourselves. 

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Only one post away

As I lay in bed fighting the losing battle for serenity, I tried to drown out the sound of the raindrops beating heavily on my window. I guess my music wasn’t loud enough.

The loud pattering of the falling rain seemed to dampen my spirit and aggravate my aching head much more than should have been possible, as I stared at the white ceiling and wished for the words to come flowing from my brain to my type-ready fingers. But it wasn’t happening.

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