The Reading Addict
Article 15 Blog Tour Guest Post
November 6, 2019

It’s pretty amazing all the advice out there in the world for achieving publishing success. Sometimes I despair that I could spend a lifetime reading, watching, and webinaring, and yet not absorb the half of it. And, gosh, there seem to be so many rules about grammar, covers, descriptions, bios, websites, mailing lists, advertising, social media, reviews, and on and on and on…

How did I get into this mess? Oh, yeah, I wanted to tell a story. Funny how we forget sometimes.

So, I start the day following William Faulkner’s advice: “Don’t be ‘a writer.’ Be writing.” It’s the first thing I do when I get up at 5 in the morning—okay, I mean the first thing after I get my coffee. I write. Before I check emails, or social media, or the news, or the weather, or any of the other digitally delivered distractions being firehosed at me by my “friends” in Big Tech.

Those few hours of scribbling are the most satisfying time of my day. And something to look forward to tomorrow and the next day and the next.

But, if you’re telling a story, then you want someone to hear it or read it, right? Yeah, and here’s the tricky part: getting feedback.

I belong to a couple of writer groups for reading and critiquing my work and the most important thing I’ve learned to do is shut up and listen closely. Frankly, a lot of what gets said has nothing to do with what you’ve presented. People like to talk about things they think they know about—especially their pet theories on the proper written word.

“Too much description.”

“Where’s your hook?”

“Not enough description.”

“Run-on sentence. Another run-on sentence.”

“Death to all adverbs.”

But if you listen closely, you get flashes of insight that are gems of wisdom. What I find most helpful are the readers’ speculations on who the characters are and what they think they’re up to. I know what is going to happen. I should because I’m the writer. What I can’t do is turn back the clock and get the reader’s eye view of the unfolding plot.

And after you factor in all the meaningful critiques into your re-writes? The best advice ever is to get an editor. No matter how many times you and all your beta readers pour over your manuscript you are going to be amazed at the number of typos that have slipped by. Commas are my personal nemesis. They’re never where they’re supposed to be for some reason.

I’ve been extremely lucky to have found Bee, who has edited all my books with an ever-steady hand. And if you think you can skip this expense, well, don’t. Just don’t do it. You’ll be sorry.

Then you’re ready to make the thousand and one decisions about cover art, typography, marketing, blah, blah, blah…

But I look forward to those first golden hours of the morning when I write.