Planning and Writing Your Fiction Book: Some Do’s and Don’ts

DO

  • A rough plan: plot, characters, genre, age of the reader (adult, teen, children, young children)
  • Research press release sites, free if possible, to get the news of your new book out there
  • Carry a notebook and pen with you and write down your ideas when they pop in your head before you forget them
  • Write in a quiet environment if you can; if you can’t, have some music on in the background, preferably instrumental and not too loud
  • Write something every day, even if you don’t feel motivated. A few lines is better than nothing at all. Some days you’ll find you’ll write more than others
  • Take a break when you feel you need one. You don’t want to end up thinking it’s a chore
  • Have an internet presence: website, blog, Twitter, Facebook page, Instagram, whatever. A potential reader will find you there, but stay off the internet while writing! Do whatever promotion, networking, research, blogging you need to do when you take a break, then when you go back to your book close the browser
  • Edit, edit, edit, but shop around for editors and proof readers who can help you polish your book
  • Send your book to a literary agent or publisher supporting your genre if you want to go down the traditional publishing route
  • Approach bookshops to ask about book signings, if you have the balls! You might also be able to get an interview with a local newspaper if your story has a local interest slant

DON’T

  • Tell yourself you’ll do some writing tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes!
  • Write with the telly on! It’s distracting and if your favourite programme is on you’ll miss most of it
  • Do the housework unless you need a break. Yeah, you might need to polish the bookcase, but unless the dust is feet deep leave it for another time
  • Give up or doubt yourself or your book. Shit happens, life gets in the way and your book may not be progressing as quickly as you want it to, but you will finish it eventually. Unless you die first, in which case you won’t be bothered
  • Worry about rejection letters if you send your masterpiece to a publisher. It’s their loss; send it to someone else. Send it out to more than one publisher
  • Dismiss self-publishing or POD. Check out Lulu, Createspace, Blurb, Completely Novel etc. It doesn’t mean your book is of a lower standard because it’s self-published
  • Just think about your book in print, think about it in eBook format, too. Most readers have a Kindle or Nook and Kobo these days; you can also download eBooks from iTunes and Google Books. Bear in mind, though, that if you want to promote your Kindle edition, Amazon get shirty if your eBook is available elsewhere
  • Dismiss online promotion. There are some cracking sites, many free, happy to spread the word, Readers Gazette being an excellent example. Many of these sites offer author interviews, too
  • Pay for reviews or promotion unless you can absolutely avoid it. Independent Author Index, Independent Author Network, Readers Views and Readers Favorite are among some of the popular ones used by indies that are inexpensive
  • Think that when your book is finally finished that’s the end of that, you have to promote it and get as many readers as you can interested in it. That’s where the promo and review sites and possible book signings and interviews come in
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