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Seven lessons For Your Journey

Seven lessons For Your Journey
Improve Your Craft – You have a story, but do not have the tools? Research and learn. Aim to improve your craft. It is not very difficult with so much information on the net - online courses, workshops, articles, writers’ retreats and more. Read as much as possible. Absorb.

Invest in a Good Editor – You need an editor as when you are writing, you get you're your story and characters (content for non-fiction). You need someone to take a macro view. There are many editing services available online in all range of costs. Do take a sample first and give the assignment to the person you feel understands your style. Your bonding with the editor is also important.

Traditional Publishing or Self-Publishing – This is a very tricky decision. Today the publishing landscape has changed drastically. This decision would depend on many factors. I would devote a separate article with in-depth discussion on this. Key point to remember for this is immediacy of the theme (many publishers ask you for six months time to revert on your manuscript), your level of patience, the topic of your book, etc.

Don't Get Boggled by Rejections - If you have decided to go Traditional Publishing route - next comes the stage of learning to write queries and sending it to Publishers / Literary Agents. You can buy a directory of Publishers and Lit. Agents - Jeff Herman’s is the one I would recommend. (https://www.amazon.com/Hermans-Publishers-Editors-Literary-Agents/dp/1608684040). After sending your query letters, get ready to receive rejections. Here is a very important lesson. The day I received a rejection, I sent out five more queries. It is important that you have faith in your work. It is important that you believe within that you will find a right home for your book. A rejection does not mean your work is not good. It means it is not accepted by that particular Publisher or Literary Agent. There can be many reasons for it, possibly they have published something similar recently or your writing style is not something they can identify with or feel it may not sell. It however does not mean it is not good. But do take their feedback and see what you can do around it.

Invest in a Professional Book Cover Design - If you have decided to self-publish, do please invest in a good book-cover design. Do it professionally not with some self-designing tool. A good book cover is your selling tool. According to Smashwords founder Mark Coker, “when we see an image, it makes us feel something.” A great cover, he says, can “help the reader instantly recognize that this book is for them.” This is the reason, that also, if the cover is bad, it can turn us off a book to a large extent.

Professional Book Launch – After managing a few ourselves from my agency, I have learnt the importance of developing an invitee list much ahead of time, a good invite design, a PR campaign and a professional launch event. If you think this is a mountainous task, do seek help from an agency.

Develop Your Platform and Branding – Whether you have decided to go Traditional route or to Self-Publish, what is most important and you must start it much before you complete your first book, is to build your writer’s platform. Get your website designed professionally, build your social media handles and more. Today, most publishers look for Authors who have a ready platform to support the marketing of their own books. Developing your platform will take time. Even for designing your website, get professional help if you think it is too tedious and takes your time away from writing or your full time career.

I read a great tip in a blog when I started out, that one of the most important things is to keep your day job and I can understand why. Self-publishing does have a lot of expenses.

I offer writer’s retreats / workshops in Himalayas (India), Dubai (UAE), Slovenia, Nepal. Please join our mailing list to stay updated - retreat@thewritescene.com

About Deeba Salim Irfan

Deeba Salim Irfan is a writer, a poet and an entrepreneur based in Dubai.

She is the founder of ‘Young Author Awards’ which is backed by industry experts from India, Middle East and UK. She has launched it under the banner of ‘The Write Scene’, her portal for aspiring writers.

Her debut novel, Urma, with a backdrop of Iranian revolution was published in India, translated into Urdu and nominated for an award. A few of her poems from her book – ‘Charcoal Blush’ have been translated into Nepalese for their leading literary journal.

She is also a ‘Brand Expert’ – with extensive experience in advertising and events She has launched multinational brands and has handled mega scale international events and awards and now uses that expertise to helps authors build their brands.