What are your burning questions about becoming a book author?

Why are so many aspiring authors reluctant to ask questions about what they want to know? It would be comical—like a hopelessly lost motorist refusing to ask for directions—if it weren’t actually sad. Generous, knowledgeable people are offering assistance online. Almost nothing about the process of creative writing and book publishing hasn’t been revealed somewhere by someone. The information is there for the taking. For free.

I’ve posted just about every piece of advice I could think of on this blog over the years. Much of it addressed questions that were posed to me offline. I enjoy gathering the information so I can share it, but the longer I do this, the fewer unanswered questions remain.

Today, I’ll simply offer an observation for your consideration. I communicate with hundreds of aspiring authors each year, and by far the majority seem to have no clue how many personal qualities they must possess and how many professional skills they need to master in order to become successful enough to make their living as creative writers.

Granted, the necessary skills take lots of time and effort to ace, but the sooner you begin learning, the sooner you’ll acquire the expertise. I shouldn’t feel sorry for those who are going around in circles in order to avoid whatever it is they don’t want to do.

Where to start

In these fairly comprehensive lists, identify the unfamiliar concepts or the skills and strategies that you know you haven’t picked up. Then get busy learning in 2016. No excuses.

Do You Struggle with the Learning Curve? by author Jami Gold

All the Things that Are Wrong with Your Screenplay in One Handy Infographic (handy for novelists as well)

Grammar Girl

The Key Book Publishing Paths by Jane Friedman

25 Steps to Getting and Working with a Literary Agent

Over in the blogroll… Resources for Writers

If you still can’t pinpoint your manuscript’s weaknesses, then you can obtain a professional evaluation. The capacity and willingness to learn are two of the personal qualities you’re going to need to succeed.


4 Replies to “What are your burning questions about becoming a book author?”

  1. Thanks for the shout out to my post! We all started somewhere, so you’re absolutely right that many authors are willing to share their knowledge to pay it forward. :)

  2. You’re quite welcome, JG. Your list is a good one. It’s reassuring to see that you’re keeping tabs on who’s talking about you online—another of the many everyday tasks successful writers learn the value of accomplishing. Best of luck to you in the new year!

  3. It sounds like a lack of confidence, which can be overcome with practice… writing. On the other hand, you could find that you enjoy research, but the pleasure of writing, or having written, never compares. Either way, you’re going to discover something about your abilities that will move you along your life’s path. It’s the coolest thing to be doing at the start of a new year.

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