Friday, August 17, 2012

'Starting Out As a Writer' Guest Post by Author Loni Flowers

Today's guest post comes to you from Loni Flowers, author of Taking Chances. She shares with us the five things she learned when starting out as a writer. Be sure to read all the way through to learn more about her and her debut novel. Enter to win an ecopy of Taking Chances. You can also enter to win a print book, bookmark, and some other fun swag!

Starting Out as a Writer

(5 things I learned)

Through the journey of writing my own novel I’ve come to realize a few things that I’d like to share and you may find interesting. Before you read these, I’d like to mention that what I’ve listed below are merely my own observations and certainly may not apply to everyone.

1. Crazy emotional feelings!

I know this one might sound funny, but it’s so true (at least for me). When I started out writing, I thought on more than one occasion… “What are you doing, this stuff sucks and I’m completely wasting my time!” But then the very next day I’ll write a scene or paragraph or an awesome one-liner line and think, “Holy crap! This is amazing. I sound so writerly!!” I’ll have good days and bad days. My best advice is to keep writing. It may suck today and be awesome tomorrow but it’s something everyone goes through. I’m pretty sure it’s a job requirement.

2. You’re finally finished writing your book. You’re done!

Not!! You’re not even close to being done. Sure that seemed like the hard part—while you were writing it—but now you’re done and you have to edit, edit, edit…after all, you want it to be the best it can be. I had my own test subject, bribe them to read my work and give me their honest opinion and then edit some more. At times, it will feel like a never ending cycle and you’ll never finish. But it you keep pushing
through and have the support of your friends and family pushing you… you reach your end result.

If you decide to query, you’ll need to research an agent/publisher that’s right for you, send tons of letters (if you’re not lucky to get a hit on the first go). OR you can skip that step all together and self-publish. This doesn’t mean it’s any easier, there still are plenty of other things to do, like get yourself a fancy book cover made, format your novel into any eBook format you wish to have your book available in (you can pay for these services.) and market your book to get sales.

Self-publishing can be done 100% if you have the time, patience and skill for it. If you don’t, there are plenty of books and blogs online to get the help you need.

3. Books don’t sell themselves.

True statement. They don’t. You have to be willing to promote your book however and whenever you can. I’m not one to force something down someone’s throat and I take a, “Read it if you’d like, if not, that’s okay too,” prospective.

I don’t tweet about it fifty times a day or post my author page link all over my FB page. Don’t get me wrong, for those that do, that’s up to you, but for me, I just can’t. It makes me feel pushy, like I will start aggravating others with my constant…”Buy me, buy me,” campaign slogan. I try to find a happy medium. I may tweet a couple times a day—one for the morning crowd, one for the night crowd—and let it be. This
could very well be the reason I don’t sell as many as I could, but I’ll just have to take that chance. It’s not my style and I didn’t start writing to become rich anyway. This leads me right into the next topic…

4. Don’t write to be rich… it’s not going to happen!

If you’ve got it in your head that you’re going to write this book, publish it and quit your day job a month after it’s released… well you can go ahead and hang your hat up. It’s more than likely not going to happen. Kudos to you if it does! I haven’t heard too many overnight success stories. I know that there are some really awesome Indie authors out there and all the ones I know authors who worked very hard to get where
they are today and I think it’s because they love what they do.

If you write because you love it, that should be a reward enough in itself .

5. Grow thick skin.

Seriously, if you can’t take the heat… get out of the kitchen. It’s better if you have a little talk with yourself now. Prepare yourself that not everyone is going to love your story. I’ve accepted it. Sure, it still hurts like hell but I just have to remind myself that my story wasn’t what they were looking for. And that’s okay. It’s another job requirement. Everyone is entitled to have their own feelings and opinions about
whatever they want—including your book, so if you can’t accept that, you’re not going to make it very long in this business.

It you can handle the heat… get cooking on the story!

So there you have. Five things I learned as a writer… and there are plenty more. I learn something new all the time and that only makes me understand this business better. As for my first novel, Taking Chances, it took me a while to get all the kinks worked out. I finished my rough draft and worked on editing many other drafts before I was satisfied enough to let a professional editor get a hold of it. Then I debated back and forth countless times on if I should go the traditional route or take the task of doing it on my own. In the end, I decided on Indie publishing, which seemed to be the best route for me. Everyone has their own reasons for going Indie versus traditional, and they vary greatly.

For me, I don’t regret any of the decisions I’ve made through publishing Taking Chances. It’s fellow writers out there in the blogosphere who lifted me up and give me all the encouragement I could stand.

Well, that’s it for me. I hope you get a chance to read my debut novel and I look forward to publishing my second novel towards the end of this year.

Thanks so much for having me here!

Blurb/Book Description:

At age twenty-three, Alex has had a hard life. His parents died when he was quite young, leaving his grandparents to raise him. Right before his high school graduation, his grandparents passed on too, leaving him all alone.

After losing everyone he's ever loved, Alex turns to the streets in a self-destructive pattern until he finally ends up in Springhill, where he tries to make a new life for himself.

Clair’s childhood was normal until age thirteen, when her father left the family and she never heard from him again. Consequently, her mother went into a deep depression, forcing Clair to grow up quickly.

After finishing high school, Clair’s heartache over her father’s absence as well as her unbearable mother drive her to strike out on her own. But having nowhere to go and no family to speak of, Clair wanders aimlessly from town to town, homeless, and without purpose. Looking for work wherever she goes and living hand to mouth on the streets is tough, Clair discovers, but living with her mother is worse.

Now twenty-one years old, Clair has found her way to the last place she and her family took their final vacation as a family--Springhill. While in town, she crosses paths with Alex and their ensuing relationship grows faster than expected. Soon Clair wonders if coming back to Springhill and meeting Alex was the best decision or the worst decision she ever made.

Buy links: Paperback | Kindle | Barnes and Noble | Smashwords

Author Bio:

Loni Flowers lives in Eastern North Carolina with her husband; two wild toddlers, who never slow down for a second; and three couch-potato dogs, who only raise an eye when foods around. She spends her days working full-time for a well-known bank. When she's not playing on the internet or chatting on Twitter or Facebook, she spends her free time with friends and family waiting for the next big idea strike.

She enjoys reading most anything, but is a sucker for a good romance story. Contemporary romance is her writing genre of choice but isn't opposed to writing something different should an excellent idea hit.

Some of her favorite authors include: L.J. Kentowski, Stefne Miller, Cassandra Clare, J.K. Rowling, and Karen Marie Moning, Nicholas Sparks, Jodi Picoult... just to name a few.






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