Advice for New Writers

Advice for New Writers
Re Post from Richard Ridley

I am periodically contacted by beginning writers looking for advice on a variety of topics related to the craft of writing and the business of publishing. In almost every case, they don't have specific questions they want addressed. Their questions are generic in nature. I get the feeling that the person contacting me just wants to know that they aren't alone in their pursuit and struggles to find their voice and audience.


Here are the five most frequent issues and topics I discuss with those new writers:


  1. The one-sentence rule – If you can describe the plot of your book in one concise sentence, I believe you have a story idea that will connect with readers. Why? Because I know you have a grasp of what your story is about, and I know you know how to convey what your book is about. Those are two crucial elements to writing a successful book.
  2. Readers before sales – Your focus shouldn't be on how many books you sell as a beginning indie author. Your focus should be on how many readers are exposed to your brand. That means giving books away is going to be a crucial part of your marketing plan in the beginning. Over the long run, as your readership grows, the passive sales will grow as well. It just takes patience.
  3. Don't be in a hurry – Speaking of patience, building an author brand is a long-term commitment. This isn't a get rich scheme. It's not even a one book and done scheme. Building an author brand takes time and a catalog of books in order to be robust enough to pull in sustainable sales over time. Relax and enjoy the ride.
  4. No unsolicited material – Never send an unsolicited manuscript to someone and ask them to read your book. Strike up a conversation with them, create a relationship with them first, and then ask for their feedback. This tactic has worked on me every time.
  5. Don't let frustration get to you – Pursuing a dream is worth it because it is a pursuit riddled with frustrations and pitfalls. Succeeding in spite of the difficulties and obstacles is enormously satisfying. Hang in there and work your way through to the other side with your head held high.


Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.