This week’s topic is:
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
There are a few traps to look out for in my opinion. I’ll list them below:
1. Rushing the first novel because you want to ‘get it out there’.
Yes, I rushed ‘The Porn Detective’ (now re-written as ‘Mind Games’) back in 2013. Words were tumbling out faster than I could write them down. I finished the book in about 3 months and sent it off to some agents. One London agent deliberated with colleagues for a week whether to represent me, before declining. Another one said she would be interested if I could re-write it. I put it on the back burner as I couldn’t be bothered to write it out all over again, however, 4 years later I did re-write it and sent it back to both agents. They still declined! Maybe if I’d done a better job of it in the first place …?
2. Taking part in ‘writing’ contests that only want your money.
There are a lot of shyster writing contests and screenplay contests out there. Funnily enough they all want entry money – usually about $50. What happens to the winners if there are any? Who knows? Good writing contests need to be researched thoroughly!
3. Paying out for services that you can do yourself.
Just like the Klondike miners found back in the 1850s, there are many people willing to charge for aiding you in your quest to be an international bestseller. These charges might be for formatting, publishing, editing, or cover design for example. To quote W.S Gilbert, small publishers abound like ‘asparagus in May’. You can find your own print-on-demand publisher and publish your book yourself without having to pay ‘setting up fees’ to a small publisher who is only interested in taking part of your royalties.
4. Not getting discouraged by negative reviews and giving up.
All writers receive some negative reviews, and you cannot please all the people all the time. The trick is to ‘suck it up’ as my US friends say, and carry on writing.
5. Paying out large sums of money to vanity publishers.
Don’t do it! Self-publish while you’re waiting for one of the Big 5 to whisk your book away. You’ll probably do a much better job than a vanity publisher, who is only interested in your money.
6. Not listening to constructive criticism.
Yes, your book is the bees knees … you’ve sweated blood and burned the midnight oil to get to the end of it. However, an ARC reader or beta reader might have a different opinion, and can point out the flaws that you might be blind to.
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