Want To Be A Successful Author

A Clue for Adrianna (Captain’s Point Stories) The first novel in the Captain’s Point series.  A romantic women’s fiction/family saga/chicklit novel written by Annie Acorn & Juliette Hill writing as Charlotte Kent.

Also available in print on iTunes and for Nook and Kobo.

A Man for Susan (Captain’s Point Stories) The second novel in the Captain’s Point series.  A romantic women’s fiction/family saga/chicklit novel written by Annie Acorn & Juliette Hill writing as Charlotte Kent.

Also available in print on iTunes and for Nook and Kobo.

Chocolate Can Kill (Emily Harris Mysteries) a full-length, cozy mystery by Annie Acorn.

Also available in print on iTunes and for Nook and Kobo.

Once again, NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – has arrived.  Everywhere I look I see aspiring writers and accomplished authors committing to writing their hearts out in an effort to attain the Holy Grail of the written word – a completed novel.

Some will zoom across the finish line in what for them is a record time.  Others will start, and the beginnings of a work in progress that shows promise will end up in a drawer.  Sadly, many with real dreams and genuine talent will never even get started.

Many decades ago, I picked up my first pencil and applied it to a piece of paper, at first able to create nothing more than unrelated marks on the page.  Then my great-aunt showed me how to guide my efforts and produce an O, followed by a T and then by an I.

Gradually, the letters became words, the words became sentences, and the sentences were discovered by me to have taken up residence between the covers of books.  As I learned to read, I memorized, finally spending hours copying my favorite stories onto clean pages of my own, like a mini female version of a long ago monk.  Soon, though, this exercise no longer satisfied for obvious reasons.

I wished to write a story of my own, and, like you, I had to learn how to do it.  For more decades than I’m going to share, I have made my living from written words that were committed to the page – first from my pen, then on a typewriter and, eventually, through a keyboard.

I have written advertising copy, marketing tools, training documents, survey instruments, grant requests, insurance reports, business plans, magazine articles, contracts, newspaper columns, and government agency reports that would finally make their way, all or in part, to Congress.

Along the way, I became a professional user of Track Changes as I became accomplished at editing technical, nonfiction and fictional works – this necessitated by the need for my own writing to become the best it could be, so that I could successfully write the fiction that I loved to read.

Over time, I have written short pieces, short stories, memoirs, novelettes, novellas and novels – all of them widely read, evidenced by the money I have received for them.

I have also used my writing skills in one form or another, while managing all six of the businesses I have owned.  Make no mistake about it.  A successful author is by definition a business owner, especially in today’s publishing world.

In an effort to better market my own work, I embraced social media, especially Twitter where, much to my surprise, my followers soon numbered in the thousands – many of them listing aspiring writer in their bio.  Gradually, I began receiving requests for everything from one small tip to editorial input on completed manuscripts.

Being only one person, I sought to stem the tide by tweeting out a few tried and true writing tips.  Soon my followers – God bless them each and every one! – were asking for even more.  Now I have decided to write occasional posts aimed at passing on what one lone author has learned over a lifetime.

Do I know everything that there is to know about writing?  Absolutely not!  No one does.  Each and every day I learn something new – often from a beginning writer who has reviewed the processes involved with a fresh eye.  Hopefully, you will find what I intend to offer over the coming months useful, whether you are still aspiring or already accomplished.  After all, none of us knows everything, right?

Want to be a successful author?

The first step along your road to success, as trite as it sounds, is to read, read and read some more, and if you’re an already accomplished author, it never hurts to go back and read again.  Before you can become a writer, you must know who you are as a reader.  Then and only then will you have some sense of the type of story you will enjoy writing.  This is important because, if you aren’t passionate about your work in progress, then no one else will be – not now, not ever.

What kinds of books appeal to you – mysteries, science fiction, romances, or nonfiction?  What is it that draws you to this genre over that one?  Is it the puzzle, imaginative details, or inherent suspense?  Whatever has drawn you to a particular type of book, be sure to incorporate it into your own work in a balanced way as you begin writing – just don’t hit your readers over the head with it.

Ask yourself which books that you’ve read are you keeping and which ones have you passed on to others?  At this point you should have a fair idea of the genre(s) you prefer to read and for which you could be passionate about writing.

Now go back and reread some of your favorites.  How did the greats do it?  Why did they choose to use this word and not that one?  How did they structure their book as they introduced key components?   Can you identify how they showed you as opposed to telling you what was going on?  What made their characters memorable and three dimensional as opposed to flat on the page?

Learn to read as if you’re taking a course, and you’ll end up way ahead of the pack.  Now, don’t just sit there.  Get started!

In a couple of weeks, I will begin to outline for you exactly what will be required of you as you journey towards fulfilling your goal of becoming a successful author.  Don’t waste your time, if you aren’t committed enough to stand firm in the face of these insights!

Becoming a successful author isn’t easy, but then those things that are worthwhile to achieve rarely are.  There will, though, be a whole string of us lined up to greet you at the finish line.

Best wishes

Annie Acorn

A Tired Older Woman: Loses Weight and Keeps It Off! by Annie Acorn

Also available in print on iTunes and for Nook and Kobo.

Murder With My Darling (Bonnie Lou Mysteries) by Annie Acorn

NOTE: Author is NOT responsible for anything the main character says!

Also available in print on iTunes and for Nook and Kobo.

Annie Acorn’s 2013 Christmas Treasury (Annie Acorn’s Christmas Anthologies) edited and stories by Annie Acorn

Also available in print on iTunes and for Nook and Kobo.

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4 Responses to Want To Be A Successful Author

  1. Davilyn says:

    Looking forward to hearing more. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for sharing this! I’d like to throw in that for established authors and successful freelance writers (I’m currently the latter, aiming to be the former eventually), reading–analytically or not–is pretty much the best thing to do when you’re having difficulty with an assignment. At least, I find reading a chapter in a great book always inspires me to get back to work.
    Dianna L. Gunn recently posted..Author Spotlight: HL CarpenterMy Profile

    • Annie says:

      Dianna – I agree wholeheartedly. There’s nothing like another’s great words to get your own flowing, especially when it comes to nonfiction, although I find that with fiction my characters usually take over and set me straight. Come again! – Annie 🙂

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