Most of posts will have this same intent, but for those that don’t want to search for a specific topics, here’s a series of steps to get you started. (There’s only 9 steps, which is one less than ten. I feel like ten would be more rounded, more perfect, be to be honest, 9 is okay too. It’s a multiple of 3.)
STEPS TO BECOMING AN AUTHOR
I cannot emphasize this enough. As I have learned in my classes for becoming a teacher, we learn 2 ways: on purpose and by incident, and because of this, everyone should read because it’s the direct opposite of writing. You should read to absorb how someone writes, and you should read with a critical intent to learn. Forever ask yourself, why? Why does their character act this way? Why is this the conflict? Why did the author structure their book like this? If you can ask yourself how and why while you’re reading, you’re already on your way to improving your style and efforts.
This is equitable to dreaming, thinking. Basically, at this point you should be imagining the million possibilities of universes, people, conflicts. To really start a story, you have to get attached to an idea, so go ahead and play with a billion of them. It only takes one to start!
3. Invent a story
Here is where the magic starts, or should I say work. That one speck of an idea, that one seedling, you have to make it grow. Develop it. This is where you think of all the details that make your story real. Where are we? What time period? What’s going on? Has society changed at all? Is it the same or different? What about your people? They should have a face, a family, friends – emotions, dreams, fears. Start crafting your world. It’s always to start this now than to go back and add it later.
I think this is one of the easier steps, probably the most fun out of any of it. But, that’s just sheer opinion. At this point, everything is at the forefront of your mind, and you should be writing. Every day, not every minute, but at least consistently write every few days or so. It gets harder to write the less fresh a story is, and the more you write, the quicker it will come out. If you get stuck, steal a conflict from your life. Find a complication without your setting or character and bring it back. Just keep writing!
This is the hard part for me. I’m going to call this the ‘big’ edits. A lot of people call this developmental editing. Here, you should maybe write a timeline of your story or plot and examine each step of the conflict. Does everything make sense? Is there a different scene or problem that would make more sense, make it more real? Here, we’re examining the gist of the story. This is still where a lot of writing may take place, where either your style or conflict may change.
After step 5 (which I would repeat at least once), you get to polish your story. This is the easy part. It’s all just stylistic changes. Maybe it makes more sense to break up these sentences a little more. Quicken the story’s pace. Or, maybe slow it down. Elongate your sentences. Here, we’re mostly checking grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.
At this point, most people would recommend to start creating author pages. Send your stories out to a few beta-readers and encourage reviews on their website or other sites like Goodreads. You want to start getting your name out there as soon as possible, so if you can also set up pre-orders, or generate excitement with trailers, pictures, etc. Go for it!
Before publishing, you’ll need a biography and a short summary of your story. Then, you’ll need to write a query letter, which is similar to a cover letter, except demonstrates your skills in marketing your book. You need to be able to “sell it.” I would recommend using Query Shark for help. After this, look for specific magazines or publishing companies within your genre, and send off your story! (There’s also the option for self-publishing.)
If you publish through a company, they may or may not expect help in this department. But, either way, you should be advertising yourself. Create author pages through every online venue (basically every social media outlet). Make yourself a page on Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads, Amazon Authors, etc. If there’s a way to attend writers convention, make appearances, advertise through other blogs or websites, do so.