1. When you have finished writing your book, the real work will begin. Make sure you have the time, energy and commitment.
2. Don’t think you can write a book and become a household name instantly. It’ll take you years of serious work to become even mildly famous.
3. Never be in a hurry to publish that book you’ve been working on. No one is going to steal your ideas. It does not need to be published as soon as you type ‘the end’. Be patient. Do not release it until it has been edited (professionally), got a super eye-catching cover, been proof-read, been sent to beta-readers and has been formatted. This should take three to six months depending on how busy people are. If you get antsy, write something else while you are waiting for the final scripts to return.
4. The release date of your book is more important than you realise. Many magazines will only mention your book if it is brand new and ignore it even if it’s only a few weeks old. The same goes for radio, television, interviews, and newspapers and so on. Contact magazines three months before you intend releasing your book. You should start a marketing campaign at least six weeks before you release your book.
5. Write articles that can accompany your book so you can submit them to magazines rather than try to get your book reviewed by them. They will be more interested in you if they think you have more to offer than just a book. They get hundreds of requests a week. Dare to be different.
6. Make sure you have an up-to-date biography, photographs, website and social networking pages. Don’t let them slide. You’ll be surprised at who checks you out.
7. One book is not going to make you a millionaire (unless you are exceedingly fortunate). It’s difficult to say what an author is likely to earn. It varies hugely from author to author. A PR expert who represents writers told me if a new author sold 4,000 copies the year of publication it would be extraordinary. They would be more likely to sell 150 copies. If you want to earn money from writing, prepare a business plan and arrange to do spin offs like writing articles for magazines and giving talks.
8. Keep writing more books even if the first ones have periods where they don’t sell. Each one you release, introduces your writing to new readers. If they enjoy your writing, they’ll buy another of your books.
9. Be prepared for long lonely days and nights shut away in your room, typing. You will have days when you forget how to function in the real world and your family will think you are quite mad.
10. When looking for a publisher, check out the small publishing houses rather than wasting months and months trying to attract the attention of one of the big six. There are some excellent publishers but do your homework and again, don’t rush to the first one you find.
11. Join an online writing/support group. Not only is it great to have input and support from other writers, you need to acquire new skills and ways to promote or new ways of presenting your work. You will keep learning throughout your writing career. It’s a new technological age and you need to understand how it can help you as a writer.
12. And finally, don’t eat huge bags of wine gum sweets or equivalent when typing to help you concentrate. You’ll pull all your filings and crowns out and need an entire decade of royalties to pay for the dental work.
Hindsight is always twenty-twenty vision. However, what you have learned can always help someone else starting out on a similar journey. So, what would you tell your pre-writer self?