Authors Helping Authors

Authors helping authors

Authors helping authorsThere are three formative stages in an author’s life: the larva, the butterfly, and soaring eagle.

A budding young writer – and sometimes not so young – reads a stack of books and decides that writing doesn’t look all that hard and decides to produce one of his/her own. Our aspiring author, images of instant best sellers and movie deals sparkling in his eyes, may or may not understand the importance of manuscript formatting, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. This plunge into the turbulent waters of swirling words can be in the form of a short story or two, or a deep dive into a novel … with lead weights. Coming up for breath is by no means a certain thing, and he many end up floundering on the murky bottom. That’s the larva stage.

The butterfly stage can be an exciting time when the author posts his work on Amazon, Smashwords, or some other self-publishing outlet, and waits for royalties to come flooding in. Or it can be a sobering wakeup call that seeing his name in print does not automatically bring recognition or financial reward, or the letters he sent to dozens of literary agents end up unanswered. What a butterfly author does not realize, but may have read about on social media and ignored, is that predators lurk out there to snap up an innocent butterfly.

There are dodgy agents out there who demand up-front fees to promote our author, vanity and hybrid publishers offering fame and world-wide distribution of his book, provided he hands over a thick wad of dollars, and you never hear from them again. Then there are reviewers who demand payment. Our author may choose to get published with an ebook publisher, and gets suckered into a 30% royalty contract with no exit clause. Lastly, there are media companies who offer to turn the story or novel into a movies script and introduce the author to a producer or director – for a fat fee, of course. Yes, sir, there are lots of circling predators out there waiting to gobble up our butterfly author.

Then we have the soaring eagle author. This guy has seen it all. Perhaps he has been bitten by a predator or two, but managed to keep flying, his scars proud badges of honor. He may have started out getting published by an ebook publisher, and learned to cut the umbilical and self-published. He may have gotten lucky and has an agent and a traditional publisher, giving struggling authors trying to break into the market condescending looks. Or this author may have decided to share his hard won experience with those just starting out, and extend a helping, guiding hand.

The Internet and social media is awash with ‘How to’ books and articles for authors, experienced or starting out. How to write your novel, how to get a literary agent, how to get your manuscript edited … published … marketed … Enough! Too much information perhaps. How does a new author pick out the relevant stuff from the hype? There are only three ways I know off: research and research; seek help from LinkedIn and Facebook groups; find an author who has seen and done it all and ask for help. Of course, the combination of all three also works. A soaring eagle author may hear his/her call and extend a hand to help our budding author fly, steering past the traps lurking out there.

Are you a soaring eagle author?

A comment for our budding author: help your case by approaching the craft of writing in a professional manner. You will not help yourself by being sloppy, or that soaring eagle will dump you.

Read more articles on all aspects of writing and publishing on my website.



2 comments on “Authors Helping Authors”

  1. Been there, done all of that, now have 20+ titles in print, both fiction and
    nonfiction. A word of advice: never pay an agent a “reading fee.” If you
    book is good, the agent will be compensated from his/her commission on
    royalties. Also, you do not need an agent to find a publisher. In my
    experience, it was easier to find a publisher than an agent.

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