Sue Moorcroft is a prolific short story writer and an accomplished novelist whose books have been nominated for and won many prizes. She has edited two anthologies of short stories by Romantic Novelists’ Association members and has written many articles on writing. Her book, Love Writing, is a popular ‘how to’ book on making money from writing romantic fiction. Who better to invite to share some tips with us? Go for it, Sue!
As I write novels, serials, short stories, articles, columns and writing ‘how to’, I’m sometimes asked for my tips. I’ve collected them together in this post:
- You need to know about more than just writing.
- You need to know about publishing. Publishing is an industry and has to make money to survive. If you don’t learn something about how it works you’re making your life unnecessarily hard.
- You may need/prefer to know about self-publishing. You get control and you get more of the cut each time your book is sold. And you get all of the work, or have to pay/persuade people to do some of it.
- You need to know what ‘discoverable’ means. Promotion will almost certainly be part of your life. Website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, ELLO, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram … OK, you don’t need to know all of them but many publishers expect you to have a platform. Readers want to find you and tell you how cool you are. Journalists need to research you before interviews. If you’re self-publishing the need may be greater than if you’re traditionally published.
- Networking can be fun, if you enjoy parties, conferences, seminars, literary festivals, forums and classes. Or it can be a nightmare if you don’t enjoy parties, conferences etc. Either way, it’s almost always useful. You get your name in front of editors and agents and learn a lot from other writers. You hear about possible destinations for your work and a lot about what-not-to-do. Learning what-not-to-do is a lifelong process for me. *You can network on social media, too.
- You can’t be without self-motivation, if you want to be a writer, unless you’re already a staffer on a paper or magazine and motivation is provided for you in the form of ‘You’re fired!’ if you don’t write. In your study at home you can work in your dressing gown, you can drink tea all day, you can go on Facebook whenever you want. But a month’s work takes a month. If you want work done, you have to do it. Nobody will fill in for you when you’re sick or on holiday, either.
- Rejection. (Cue scary music and a feeling like cold mud in your belly.) Almost every writer gets rejection. A lot of rejection. The trick is a) to learn from it b) not to let it stop you writing. Swear and throw something at the wall if you must (I must, personally) but then get back to writing.
Final tip: Become reasonably proficient with every piece of technology that will help you in points 1-7 or identify which skills you’ll pay for in others. Learn to type. Touch type. Yes, really! Your writing life will be so much easier.
Great advice Sue! It’s the self motivation bit that’s sometimes hard for me – once we know we’re loved by our readers, the motivation is much stronger. What do other find most challenging about being a writer in today’s world?
Award winning author Sue Moorcroft writes romantic novels of dauntless heroines and irresistible heroes. The Wedding Proposal, Dream a Little Dream and Is this Love? were all nominated for Readers’ Best Romantic Read Awards. Love & Freedom won the Best Romantic Read Award 2011 and Dream a Little Dream was nominated for a RoNA in 2013. Sue received three nominations at the Festival of Romance 2012, and is a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner. She’s a past vice chair of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and editor of its two anthologies.
Elle Jamieson is a private person, in relationships as well as at work – and for good reason. But then she’s made redundant and with no ties to hold her, Elle heads off to sunny Malta. Lucas Rose hates secrets – he prides himself on his ability to lay his cards on the table and he expects nothing less in return. He’s furious when his summer working as a divemaster is interrupted by the arrival of Elle, his ex, all thanks to his Uncle Simon’s misguided attempts at matchmaking. Forced to live in close proximity, it’s hard to ignore what they had shared before Lucas’s wedding proposal scared Elle away. But then a phone call from England allows Lucas a rare glimpse of the true Elle. Can he deal with Elle’s closely guarded past when it finally comes to light?