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8 Things Every New Writer Needs to Know

8 Things Every New Writer Needs to Know applies to almost any industry. A new job, school, systems and procedures all mean getting an education in order to move forward, use the new tool properly, and speak the jargon both conceptually and technically. Entering a new profession means a lot of time catching up to what "everybody else" already knows about the basics and the culture in order to stand equally in the workforce. We often stumble over what we don't know...

8 Things Every New Writer Needs to Know to Avoid Misunderstandings in the Publishing Industry...

1. Overnight success is real. Everyone will buy my book just because I wrote it. OR I'm going to get rich off this one book.
Reality: Learning the industry takes time and intentional effort. No one understands why a certain book becomes a mega star. If they did, all books would be.
So many people are desperately disappointed. The writing industry is complex. Jot notes when something doesn't make sense. Then systematically find out what the answers are to those questions. Study the breakout huge successes. But better, study the craft, marketing, and build your career properly with thought and intention.

2. I can write anyway I want to and send it in.
Reality: Formatting and basic skills equal the bare minimum.
Formatting a manuscript for self-publishing and traditional proposals are completely different. Proposals missing proper formatting and basic skills of grammar, spelling, and communication matter just as the basics in any job matter. Know formatting or the proposal gets trashed. But bare minimums don't win in the marketplace. Someone doing the bare minimum in an office job will be the first to go when funds are tight. Employers, like publishers and/or readers, want someone who goes beyond the basics and wows them.

3. I can do this on my own. (I don't need to go to expensive conferences or bother with local writing events.)
Reality: Networking is crucial — and more than social media.
Networking is about building relationships. Connecting on a human level in order to establish trust between individuals. Handing out a business card is not memorable. Numbers in social media are nice, but virtual relationships are not as solid as in-person connections. Have real conversations and relationships. Then build those relationships over time. Real career writers are constantly adding to their education and their industry friendships, not just their social media numbers.

4. My writing, and every word, is perfect just as it is. No one gets to change my voice.
Reality: Defending every word without accepting expert or well-intended critique (especially from a professional editor) will mark a new writer as someone that's too hard to work with and unprofessional. Defensiveness marks a writer as lacking credibility. Every professional writer understands the editing process. (It takes some work to know all the different types of editing so don't think a spell-check is the end. Editing is a complex process.)

5. I have the best story idea every publisher will want it.
Reality: There's nothing new under the sun. Different publishers have different guidelines. Find out what other books are like your idea already. Find out what publishers like that genre or topic. Don't, whatever you do, send your proposal out like buckshot. It's a waste of time and that will mark a new writer as clueless and unprofessional.

And similar...
6. I don't have to know what else is out there. I'm already unique.
Reality: I need to know what other books have been written on this idea or topic because professional proposals require comparison titles. I need to be able to come at the story/topic from a fresh direction. Do research to find out how your understanding of a story or topic is different. Write your perception in your voice.

7. I can do it my way...
Reality: Business is business. Even authors must understand the basics of business to earn an income.  Set up your business from the beginning. It's really hard to fix it later.

8. I'm better than... or I'm not as good as...
Reality: Comparing against other authors is dangerous. Competitive behavior is different from a competitive spirit. It's also unprofessional as well as unkind. Be gracious rather than and cutting in word and deed. That will mark a new writer as professional while a generous spirit will create a desire in others to work with you. But more important is what comparing yourself to others causes inside—anxiety, depression, frustration or the flip-side superiority, aloneness, and the set-up to the fall from the top. God has called you to write for a reason. It's not the same reason or plan as any other writer. Write to the plan God has given, not to the success of another. Fulfillment comes from doing what you were made to do. Don't worry about anyone else's plan or path. It'll derail you from yours.

So what now? 
You are worthy to write. You're also worth the investment. Give yourself the gift of time to learn the publishing industry and grow your career. Having experienced many of the misunderstandings, or helped others through them, the Pencildancers offer our support here on the blog and in our new book, Worthy to Write. God bless your journey.

About Angela: Angela Breidenbach writes romance through the ages, teaches the business of writing, hosts the radio show Lit Up, and is in process of getting her genealogical studies degree. She's the president of the Christian Authors Network. Angie lives in Missoula, MT with her hubby and Muse, a trained fe-lion, who can shake hands, lay down and roll over, and jump through a hoop. Surprisingly, Angie can also.
Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest: @AngBreidenbach
iTunes: Lit Up With Angela Breidenbach
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