After I finish a riveting read I’ve often found myself asking, “Why didn’t I write that book.” Or after watching an extremely different and exciting movie I’ve asked, “Why didn’t I write that?” (The Hunger Games) What was so special that this book/movie grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let me go?
I don’t know what took me so long, but the truth is – I could learn something from this. What, you say?
A writer is only as good as his/her last book. We all agree with that. I even read an article where Dean Koontz said, “I’m always learning, trying to perfect my craft.” Whoa . . . his writing is sooooo good! I think he’s right. We should constantly ask ourselves, “How could I have made that book better?”
I’m not really envious of all the great stuff out there, but I do want to believe my books are every bit as good – or better. We must have confidence and believe in our books. Example; I was at a training with fellow employees and of course during the lunch hour we mingled with the attendees. One of those attendees mentioned she loved one of my books and we started discussing writing, etc. My fellow employee also had a book on the market, and I mentioned he was published. The first words out of his mouth were, “I self-published and the subject matter is dark – so don’t read my book.”
I’m in shock here! Say what? Don’t read my book??? Dang, why write it if you don’t want anyone to read it? Come to find out he wants to re-work the book and republish it. Say what? Again . . . I’m so lost here. He’s now working on a prequel to this first book – that will make people want to read the book. Is anyone as confused as me?
I mention this because we first of all should be proud of our work. Never . . . never . . . never submit or publish a book you know is not your best work. Period.
Second, have a plan and goals, and be professional. It would be like writing a trilogy, but giving you book three first. It just doesn’t work. The expression ‘shooting yourself in the foot’ truly applies.
We need to learn the market of writing. Study successful authors. Make a plan and set goals. Be aware what is working on the marketplace and what isn’t. Study. . . study . . . study the craft of writing. If a particular book has you gripped in suspense, study it . . . why is it working so well? Never stop asking yourself how can my book be better? Always be willing to say, “I could learn something from that.”