So you want to be an author. You read avidly. You love shifter or vampire or historical or…whatever genre it is, there’s always a book open on your lap under your desk when you’re supposed to be working on those spreadsheets your boss asked for. It’s ok, it’ll be our little secret. But the point is, you’ve been reading for years, absorbing all the nuances of the stories you love; words are beginning to stream through your mind; characters are talking, moving, demanding their stories be told…
It’s time to sit down and write your book, right?
Slow down just a sec, because I’ve got a bit of advice you’re completely free to ignore…but if I were you, I wouldn’t – because I’m one of those people on the receiving end of aspiring authors’ hopes and dreams.
My advice is simple. Corporate spying. Well, not really, but what every aspiring writer should do is start researching the publishers of their favorite books, in fact all publishers of the type of book you want to write. See who’s writing them. How they’re writing them. What elements have they included? Get a true feel for what is already being published. And then write your book, right?
Wrong. What you need to do next is realize that those publishers already have those books, and some of them are selling really well. So why would they need yours? Hmm…good question, right? Now you need to figure out, within the genre you love and wish to write, what’s missing. What haven’t your favorite authors done? What fresh angle can you bring to the genre? How can you bend or change the rules in a way that will make an editor suddenly sit up straight, blink twice, and experience that surge of adrenaline that only comes from discovering something exciting. And new. And special.
As I said at a writing conference last week, don’t build your book around something that’s already being done. Begin your world-building from the ground up. Make new rules. Surprise us. Thrill us. It’s what we live for.
Oh, and please remember to give the manuscript a good proof before you send it.