#1: A Primer for New Authors – Everything You Need to Know

Before we get going, I suppose I should explain what makes me an expert in How to Start a Writing Career.

My credentials: I started a writing career.

I began writing – while completely ignorant of the process – on August 1, 2006. My inspiration was Diana Gabaldon. I finished reading the first five books of her Outlander series, and then devoured her Outlandish Companion. In this book Diana explains that the best way to learn how to write a book is – in her opinion – to actually write one.

That seemed reasonable to me. So even though I was teaching high school full time I bought a laptop, picked a random character that had floated around my awareness for a few years, and decided to see who she was and what happened to her. I decided to write a romance because I am a sucker for passion. And, a happy ending – and those are severely frowned upon in literary fiction.

I completed my first 100,000 word historical romance manuscript in 10 weeks (at 250 words per printed page, that equals a 400-page book). In my naïveté I thought, “Gee. That wasn’t so hard.” What I didn’t yet know was that I had made every first-timer’s mistake, and in spades. (FYI – one of those mistakes is using clichés.)

Furthermore, I had no idea what to do next.

Over the past 3-and-a-half years, I have pieced together what to do next. Now I’ll share it with every aspiring writer that stumbles across this blog. It doesn’t matter what genre of fiction you write, the process is going to be the same.

And there will be a happy ending here as well. I have completed 4 additional manuscripts. My 4th manuscript got me an agent and – between edits – she is shopping me to traditional publishers. (This is the route I’ve chosen; more about publishing options later.)

By the time this series of blogs is complete, I’ll start a series called, “What To Do When Your Manuscript Sells”.

I expect to write that from experience as well.

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