by Sondi Warner
1. Stuck In Your Head
That brilliant book idea will never make it out of your dreams without careful planning and execution. That’s right, it’s a two-step. Whatever is holding you back—whether inexperience, under-confidence or a busy schedule—can be overcome when you plan how, what and when you will write.
For newbies, an outline will be your best friend, helping you answer the how and what, but you need to get acquainted with a calendar so you can pin down an exact ‘when.’ Pencil in dates and times for writing because writing is work. After all, if you didn’t have a scheduled shift at your regular 9-5, would you ever really clock in?
Here’s a tip:
Join Book-In-A-Week for a tiny donation of $3 by PayPal to set and tackle goals alongside other motivated writers. Become a part of a community where you can set word count goals, check-in with your progress and win prizes when you participate. Sometimes all it takes is a deadline to take a book from idea to start.
Sometimes all it takes is a deadline to take a book from idea to start.Click To Tweet
2. Stuck On the Internet
It happens to the best of us. Chances are, you’re writing on a desktop or laptop with the internet constantly at your fingertips, and sometimes you can’t avoid going there. You might search the web for your book. You might hop on to do some platform building or to handle marketing. Whatever the lure, once you’re sucked into the world wide web, getting out can be tough. Therefore, you need help to kick your internet addiction. Luckily, there’s an app for that.
Here’s a tip:
Author Jane Friedman curated a list of 10 Apps to Help You Stay Focused on Your Writing. Some of her top choices include Anti-Social, an app you can set to block you from social sites for a prescribed amount of time, as well as the diabolical Write or Die, which will either gently prompt you to keep writing, play an annoying sound if you stop writing or unwrite what you’ve written if you pause for too long. If that doesn’t motivate you to get to work, then I don’t know what will.
3. Stuck On Your Draft
It’s been said you should ‘write fast, edit slow.’ What that means from one writer to the next varies. According to “The Daily Word Counts of 39 Famous Authors” from WritersWrite.com, Anne Rice of Interview with the Vampire reportedly wrote about 3000 words a day, while Ernest Hemingway of The Old Man and the Sea only cleared about 500 words in the same timeframe. Whatever your numbers, what will definitely slow you down is trying write, rewrite and edit all at once. It’s a common mistake, but there’s a way to avoid it.
Here’s a tip:
Get in the zone and go with the flow state. When you achieve flow, your productivity increases and you tap into almost superhuman abilities with an influx of norepinephrine, dopamine, anandamide, serotonin and endorphins. This practice teaches you to leave the editing for later as you hammer out your word count goals. I tell you how to induce this miracle state in my article, “The Ultimate Guide to Addictive Flow,” including how to create an environment free of distractions with the right conditions for writing.
Don't try to write, rewrite and edit all at once. It’s a common mistake, but avoid it.Click To Tweet
4. Stuck Editing
Although some of us mull over a draft for what feels like forever, others breeze through the writing only to get stalled editing. We add a word, take a word out, change a name, reconsider the murder weapon, delete a kiss, add a description—but the heavy lifting of content and line editing gets put off in favor of nitpicking with minor details. Editing involves correcting grammar, punctuation, spelling and formatting, as well as fact-checking. However, it also involves checking for plot inconsistencies, weak characterization, stilted voice and under-developed setting. Sounds like a lot of work, right? It is. So, you don’t have time to get hung up on the words instead of the story.
Here’s a tip:
Whether you’re an indie author or publish traditionally, while your final draft will likely head off to a professional editor, you should make sure your manuscript is as clean as possible with a good self-edit. Writer’s Digest guest columnist Mike Nappa provides this helpful advice, “How to Edit Your Book in 4 Steps.” Thank you, Mike. You’re welcome, writers everywhere.
5. Stuck Unpublished
As hard as it is to write a book, the work isn’t over after you type The End. It’s only beginning. You either have to search out an agent or shop your book around to publishing houses that accept unagented open submissions. You could self-publish. All you have to do is click publish, right? Wrong. You need a professional book cover and a catchy book blurb, and you have to choose a platform: CreateSpace, Amazon, Smashwords, IngramSpark? Being swamped with options isn’t necessarily a good thing. If you’re having trouble getting your newly written book published, there’s hope.
Here are some tips:
- Looking for an agent? Find one who will fall in love with your book.
- Want to try your luck with publishing houses? You’ll have to do your research on this one because your targets depend on what you write, but you might want to read Why You Should Never Submit Unagented to Publishing Companies. It’s a blog post with a thought-provoking perspective.
- Thinking about self-publishing? Read “the bible on self-publishing,” Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual, which you can find on Amazon for under twelve bucks. Find out just about everything you need to know in this comprehensive book for indie authors.
It's hard to write a book, but the work isn’t over after you type The End. It’s only beginning.Click To Tweet
6. Stuck With No Marketing Plan
Be you self-published or traditionally released, these days every single one of us needs an author platform, and we each have to take a hands-on approach to promoting our books. However, few writers double as marketing gurus. When I became an indie author and released Jonquille, I had no idea I should start promoting my book well before hitting publish and continue advertising it for the long haul. I didn’t know having an email list was a best practice or that getting reviews to boost my visibility would be a lot like pulling teeth. If this is where you’re stuck, too, you have to come out of obscurity and sell your book.
Here’s a tip:
89 Book Marketing Ideas in a comprehensive list that covers writers with and without a platform, although none of the tips are extensively explained. In short, in order to learn the ins and outs of marketing your book, you’ll have to do your homework. But, you’ve gotta start somewhere, and this is a great place to start.
7. Stuck On Your First Book
Well, did you know that the best way to sell your book is to have more books to sell? Over at the Author Marketing Institute, at the top of the list of “5 Things You Can Do to Sell More Books on Amazon” is Publish More Often. Although writers should market, market, market, sometimes the best marketing is having more than one book under your belt to increase your visibility and credibility as an author. So before you settle in for the long haul of promoting your one great book for the next twelve months after you hit publish, remember most books have a “90-Day Cliff,” meaning you have about 90 days before your sales begin to taper off, no matter how much marketing you pour into it.
Here’s a tip:
This one’s simple. Do what you do best. Write another book.
Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.
About the Author
Sondi Warner of Wrought Iron Reads is author of indie published contemporary romance, Jonquille. Please feel free to follow her blog Writer People Problems, where she delivers quality content covering all things #LifeAsWriter. When she’s not writing, she enjoys family time with her four children and partner in picturesque Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Sondi welcomes readers who want to connect on Twitter and Facebook.