Monday, April 25, 2016

6 Common Questions Writers Ask

Some interesting questions I commonly get asked that I want to share and answer. I work with dozens of writers, and I get asked all sorts of questions about the profession. So here are some common questions and answers:
Do you have a writing routine? For 3L Publishing projects, I have very specific routines and processes. For my own writing, I don't have the time to include a routine per se. What I usually do is work at night and just go for it. Other writers do things like write eight pages per day or write in the mornings or evenings for at least an hour. I do recommend you give yourself some kind of goal. I like the eight-page rule because you know when you're going to wrap it up, and if you want to go longer that works, too.
Do you take input from readers? Yes, I like to do focus groups. I don't recommend you do a focus group with friends and family. You want unbiased opinions. Friends and family can't help but be nice. Nice doesn't sell books. So use social media and take volunteers of associates in your extended network.
Do you use a writing coach even though you're the publisher? Yes, I do like to work with my own coach on projects. It helps me see the proverbial tree in the forest. You can't see the little or even big things that make your work go from good to great. A writing coach with an experience professional will help you pull back and see clearly to improve you work. In my case, I'm not too big for britches to not set aside my ego and ask for help. Sometimes I think our egos are a barrier to our greatness. Besides, if you don't like or agree with something you can keep it as-is.
What can I do to proof my own writing? I love this one: read it backwards. You're focused on the words not the sentence. Reading backwards will help you catch spelling and grammar errors. When we read our eyes can literally put a word in that isn't even on the page. It's strange how it happens, but it does. Reading backwards will not solve the entire proofing challenge, but it will help clean up your work.
How long should the average book or novel be? The average novel should be 50,000 words. NaNoWriteMo requires a 50,000 word minimum for its writing competition that typically takes place in November. Anything below 50,000 words is considered a novella.
Does it matter if it's a novella or novel? Yes, most publishers like to publish novels. Novellas are short, and this format is not the most popular among readers. So aim for 50,000 to 75,000 words, which is industry standard. I always say why go into a very difficult industry to break into by giving yourself a strike before you ever enter the door. Always try and cover your bases - especially if you're a new writer.

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