Advice for Writers for 2018

I bet you’re expecting this post to be full of fantastic ideas as to how you can improve your writing, or create a cover, or market your book?

You’d be wrong.

So if that’s what you’re after, stop reading now because it’s the antithesis of that.

Put your hand up if you’re sick of reading other people’s advice.

Every time I open any form of social media I am confronted with ‘helpful’ ideas as to how to do all the things I cite above; i.e. writing, producing the perfect cover, constructing the perfect ad, learning how to market your work, etc., etc., and at the end of all the waffle to hook you in, I get to the crux of the post and read: ‘I can help you do this for the very low price of…’ (or a variant thereof).

The bit that comes next is aimed mostly at new writers, so if that’s you, read it carefully and try to remember that this is just my opinion: I’m a member of several writing groups on social media, and I’ve seen posts by more new writers than I can count asking how they should do all of the above things before they’ve ever picked up a pen (or switched on a laptop and opened whichever writing program they have chosen) and actually written anything. I’ve seen them post pictures of the cover they’ve chosen, seen them angst over whether or not to have their own author website or whether they should be paying for this course or that.

Look, there are people out there who will take advantage of you. Probably not intentionally, but if you run a business (for example) creating beautiful book covers and someone approaches you, wouldn’t you try to sell them something? So what if the cover they buy doesn’t actually end up relevant to the book they eventually write – it’s not their problem, right?

If you haven’t even begun to write, that fantastic, all singing, all dancing, marketing course you signed up for won’t be relevant by the time you need to use it. Social media rules regarding advertising change all the time! What works now (and saturates the market) probably won’t be working by the time you need it to. As an example, FB changes its rules with regularity and is making life difficult for authors at the moment by only delivering their posts to a fraction of the people who follow them unless they pay for that visibility; it’s also banning certain ads that it regards as spam, and actually, that’s fair enough, they’re running a business and they’re entitled to run it as they see fit. The point I am trying to make is that by the time you’ve actually written your book, the rules will have changed again – probably several times. So why throw money at something that will be redundant by the time you need to use it?

Some of the people running these courses (caveat: please note I said some – they’re not all the same and some are worth their weight in gold – when you take them at the right time) must be laughing in their sleep. They don’t count sheep to drop off – they count dollars, or pounds, or whatever the currency is where they come from. And you know what? I don’t blame them! If people are silly enough to chuck money at them in the hope of becoming rich and famous before they’ve even put pen to paper, I’d be rubbing my hands together in glee, too.

Make 2018 the year you actually write something – and make it the best writing you have in you. Celebrate it! And let me know when you’ve written it because it will call for a toast to you!

Wishing you all an amazingly happy New Year – may all your dreams come true!

Jill

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