Those who are heading down the road toward traditional publication will be familiar with this beast known as a synopsis. Many agents and publishers require that you submit a 1/2-page synopsis with your submission materials. The chore of writing a synopsis that length is a frightening task and many writers have been known to want to run screaming. So, when I mention that writers should write synopses as an editing tool, it’s not surprising that many look at me like I’m crazy. But believe it or not, an “editorial synopsis” can help you craft the perfect story.
There are some out there who are so afraid that they’ll make a grammatical error on a blog post that they never update or release that blog post. Mistakes happen. No one is perfect. Even this editor has made a few whoppers (i.e. you’re instead of your, and colonial instead of colonel). It’s okay. If you strive for perfection, you’ll never get anywhere. Publish the post anyway. However, if you do notice the mistake after it’s been published, then go into the system and edit it. It’s that simple. At the end of the day, it’s just a blog post.
It doesn’t matter if you are traditionally published or self-published: books don’t promote themselves. You need to put some time, effort, and energy into book promotion. It’s all about getting the word out there. To make matters worse, there are no magic answers. (If you know of a magic answer, please tell me. I could really use one.)
The moment you make the decision that you want to become published, start thinking about a writer’s platform. It’s never too early. Get involved in Twitter — start connecting with other writers. Connect on Facebook — lock away a custom author’s page. Think about a blog/website. Maybe you like taking photos, so use Instagram. There are so many options. Let’s face it, agents, publishers and fans will google you. The more hits you can get on the Google search, the better off you’ll be.
Writers are the worst procrastinators around, able to find any excuse not to write, edit or anything else in preparation of that manuscript — even stare at the ceiling and count the holes in each tile. Social media is our worst procrastination tool because it holds all the illusions of productivity. If you’re struggling to get the words down, put yourself in a bubble and disconnect from the world. Remove the distractions. However, it won’t stop you from staring at the ceiling.
The publishing industry has changed in a big way, thanks to the Internet, social media and self-publishing. While some aspects have opened doors to so many writers who would have struggled in a big way to become a published author, there are some aspects that have actually closed the doors to traditional publication paths.
Writing is PUBLISHED the moment it’s in the public domain. Think twice about hitting that submit button to your blog or sites like WattPad. Let me explain further…
Sometimes the reason that writers get stuck is because they don’t know their characters well enough. Shift gears slightly, and work on the character development. Even if you write a few paragraphs of pure backstory that will be taken out of the final manuscript, it all helps to create the insight that you need, as the writer, to put yourself into your character’s shoes.
It’s okay to write off-screen scenes, even if you know they won’t be included in the final version of your manuscript. Sometimes a writer needs to write a scene just to get it out of their heads, or to work out some detail that might be vital for another scene. If you know you won’t be including that scene in the final version, you might want to mark that scene in some fashion so you can find it during your edits.
Events such as CampNaNo and NaNoWriMo focus so heavily on word counts, but to some that word count target is daunting and out of reach. These events, while rewarding high word counts, are actually about developing a habit for writing — a little more everyday. As such, shift your goal away from word counts or pages. Aim to finish that chapter today, or that scene. In the end, the word counts don’t matter; the fact that you’re writing does.