We all are storytellers. It all began when you would ask your mother or father to tell you ghost stories with all the dramatic pauses and widening of eyes. Only few reach out to their memories and weave them into the stories and become an author.
You want to become an author and bring your stories for the world to read? You wish to let the storyteller in you grow into an author but do not know how? Let me tell you a secret.
There are no shortcuts or magical tips for writing a book.
There is no special ingredient to the recipe for creating a good, even great book. Finding an answer to how to become a writer will lead you to the question of how to become an author.
The only tips for writing a book great authors will ever give you is, write. If you want to become a writer, and someday, an author, there is only one thing you need to be religiously committed with: writing.
Writing is not an impossible task. The first and the foremost step to becoming an author from a storyteller is to stop being an amateur writer.
How to Become an Author: From Amateur to a Pro
Amateur Writers write when they feel inspired, whereas, Pros do not let the lack of inspiration stop them from working towards their goal. Even when they are not inspired to write, they write.
Amateur Writers think they are good, better than they actually are, which ultimately restricts their learning process, whereas, pros know that they are a perpetual student and they keep learning, keep reading, keep writing.
Amateur writers work only as per requirement, whereas, pros do not stop at one point. They make it a point that they keep moving forward. They keep up with what they have achieved. So, before they become masters, they embrace themselves as students and learn their way to the top.
Amateur Writers fear of failures; Pros know that failures are stepping stones to success. Amateur writers want to succeed. To them, success will only come with a big break or being published by a famous publishing company. But pros understand that with failures, they will know their weaknesses and then turn them into strengths. The basis of success does not lie only in hard work, it lies in failures too.
Amateurs look for an opportunity, whereas Pros create one. Amateur writers write to get noticed while the pros will keep writing to be remembered. They understand a simple thing that one that lasts longer is truly successful. What good will it do to a writer who gets a big break once and fails to deliver the next time?
Keep educating yourself, keep reading. Anything. The instruction manuals, the content behind a bus ticket, online articles, old textbooks, song and rap lyrics, children’s storybooks, ad pamphlets etc. All this information is stored in your subconscious mind and comes into use when it is needed. More varied your reading is, more distinctive writing yours will be. Even when you have become a professional author, reading never stops.
To become an author, one must leave behind being an amateur writer. Making a commitment to write everyday, like a routine while maintaining the daily job is what it takes to be on the path of becoming an author.
Before you lean how to become an author, you have to be a writer. And to be a writer, you have to stop thinking and acting like an amateur who waits for ideas and inspiration to kick in. If it demands you to sit in front of the computer screen for an hour before a sentence forms, do that. Make sure that once you sit to write, you get up after you have written to your daily goal’s extent.
Once a sentence forms, it is hard to come back from it; you tend to write to make your attempt count. Sometimes, it is 100 words after trying hard a day and sometimes, a 3000-word marvel takes form in a matter of a few hours. But the key is, to keep trying; keep writing.
Now that you have started writing with routine, stick to it. It is time to seek answers to how to become an author! Here are the 6-tips a writer needs to put into action to become a published writer:
Why do you want to become an author?
Understand why you want to become an author. There can be endless motivations, both internal and external as to why you would choose to write novels and books:
- You were meant to write (I mean, why else!)
- To make money (Obviously!)
- To become famous and distinguished (Sure, why not!)
- A side business? (Absolutely!)
Or simply, because writing is your true calling. Writing makes you interact with the world in a better manner. Writing makes you connect with your soul. Because this reason is enough for you to set into working mode and accomplish your goals.
You present your work to the publishers, editors. They help you reach the readers you want your work to reach. And if you are working on a non-fiction project, it can be a great means of fame and income alongside your existing business.
How to Become an Author: 6-Steps
1. Find your Niche.
You want to write, be published, bring a change with your works. But what kind?
- The kind of topics or stories or novels you want to read.
- The genre you are specifically interested in and have knowledge about.
- The perspectives, opinions and information you bring forth to the world.
- Your experiences, your expertise and your mastery need a written account.
Answers to these will sow the seeds of your writing career, and you will have a mental outline of what you are going to work on. Once you have started working, you need to find your market too.
2. Readership/ Targeted Market
To whom you want your work to reach? Who do you want to influence your writing? Whose problems are you going to fix, if you are writing non-fiction? To become an author, you will need to target the market where your book or novel will be received. Know the competitive list of books with which your book will appear in the bookstores. These practices will help you in the publishing process.
3. Master your Craft
Honing your skills will only enrich your writing. You want to write a novel and you still lack a few writing skills. You can overcome those weaknesses by beginning with writing short stories, blogs, writing prompts etc.
One of the most important tips for writing a novel is writing in small pieces. Short stories are a great way of making your tale-telling art more deft and skilful.
Writing prompts will broaden your horizons and perceptions. Writing for literary magazines will improve your way of researching and learning.
Many new-age famous authors started out as bloggers and short story writers. So, master your craft, hone your skills, and set to work on your novel.
3. Start with the planning
Writing a novel will require a lot of research, a detailed outline, characters profile and development, and worldbuilding (in case of a fantasy thriller or science fiction).
There are two kinds of authors, one who pens down each and every relative detail beforehand. The other, who writes without penning any detail and writes with a flow. Both kinds of writing have pros and cons. Where detailed planning takes lesser time in organising and joining the dots, unplanned writing requires more time while combining all the scattered points. Following points require planning:
- Fantasy world
- Historical, Political, Technological features
- Any new language
- Any living species etc.
You can read the related history books and gather information; write about the future based on the present and the history; write an alternate story to the existing history; create a spin-off. Either way, planning out a story will open endless doors for your story creation.
4. Write and Edit
Write like a professional writer; stick to your schedule, live by your routine, accomplish the daily set goals, take short breaks, do other important chores and come back to writing again. Do not stop to edit before you complete your first draft.
All the first drafts are crappy; they need extensive editing. And this does not mean that you have to become a perfectionist and let your inner critic meddle with your writing.
It is only ideal to complete your novel’s first draft and then edit with eyes of a critic. After you have finished your first draft, give yourself a break; buy yourself something because you have just touched a milestone; treat yourself with steak and wine.
5. Better Your Draft
When you are set to edit your draft, be ruthless; tidy it up yourself as much as you can. Seek feedback from the beta readers. Make your work be analysed, pruned and bettered by fresh eyes. Don’t feel discouraged if the editors find it extra hard to work on your manuscript. Keep at it; keep writing, keep improving.
6. Publish your Novel
Since you have bettered, rectified and polished your script as much as you could, now, the next step is obviously to publish your book. And there can be three ways through which you can get your book published:
- Literary agent
- Traditional Publishing
1. Literary Agent: The large or medium scale publishing companies will not pick up your manuscript simply because you are new. As it happens, the most ideal route to publishing becomes contacting literary agencies who will strike up a deal for your book with big or slightly less than big publishing houses.
2. Traditional Publishing: Some small scale or medium-sized publishers will not require you to bring an agent for publishing. They will accept direct submissions; they will have their own set of terms and conditions regarding sending your script to be printed. It is less costly and most encouraging for the debut writers.
3. Self-Publishing: Self Publishing is one of the options by which new writers are getting published these days. It provides you with a surefire publishing, better marketing services and a larger percentage of royalties.
Either way, your book will be available on Amazon, Kobo, Flipkart and on the shelves of the bookstores. Which means You have become an author!
Become an Author
Your writer’s journey does not end here; It has actually started. Maintaining a position is harder than attaining it. So, like the famous professional authors, you are also striving for a marathon, that is, self-sufficiency and self-sustenance.
Take this time to grow your market and expand your readership; delve into marketing and promotion campaigns on social media handle: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. which are free of charge! And do not stop at this. Have multiple ideas, execute them, keep working on other projects, surround yourself with the community of writers, and exchange ideas with them to keep your thought-process fresh.
If you want to become an author and have questions we’ve left unanswered, why not drop it in the comments below.