T. A. Anderson

Writer

Oh, hey! I wrote a book, and you can too. Just follow these 5,000 easy steps.

DISCLAIMER: I’M NOT A PROFESSIONAL, BUT MY MOM SAYS I AM, SO I’M KIND OF A BIG DEAL.

Step 1: Decide to devote every waking moment to your inner thoughts. Once you open the fictional flood gates, not even a super plus tampon can stop that shit.

Step 2: Become one with filth of every kind. Now, I don’t know about all authors, but my experience taught me that showering, changing out of my pajamas, cleaning my home, and bathing my child, were all neglected during the process of writing. An easy solution: ALWAYS carry a can of Febreeze. That shit is deodorizer from the deodorizer gods.

Step 3: Apologize to the people in your life in advance. This will come in handy when you start ignoring phone calls, opt out of dinner/ lunch dates. Also, when someone is talking to you, but you’re thinking about the next chapter in your book, and not really paying attention to the conversation, you can say I’ve already apologized.

Step 4: Know your shit. What shit do you need to know? Well, for starters: What are you writing about? If it’s a subject like mental health, military, or anything that would require some sort of research. RESEARCH IT. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a book that I’ve wanted to chuck for it’s lack of good RESEARCH. I realize fiction is, well fiction, but really, do your research.

Step 5: Find a good a support system. This gig is no joke. It takes HARD work. COMMITMENT. SACRIFICE. You NEED people who will boost your fragile ego through this process. These people must also tell you when you’re being a jackass, and when your writing is awful. Honest people are hard to come by. Find some. Keep them. Learn from them.

Step 6: Learn everything there is to know about, Amazon, KDP, self publishing, other publishing platforms, blurb writing, marketing, book blogs, all of it. I went into this process blind. If I knew then, what I know now, it would have made the process much smoother.

Step 7: Don’t expect other authors to drop what they’re doing to help you. Yes, some authors will be gracious and answer your questions, but they will not give you all the trade secrets. There are none. Work your ass off. Expect nothing but producing a fantastic story. That’s the real secret. Also, don’t be that guy. The one who spams an authors wall with your book info, or hound them about reading your work. All authors are busy; indie, trade, big, and little. If they offer, jump on that shit. If not, don’t be an asshole by fangirling the shit out of them in the hopes of them reading your book. It’s not cute.

Step 8-4,995: WRITE. WRITE. WRITE. WRITE. This is the most important step. I can’t tell you how many times someone has said to me, “I want to write a book”, since they found out I wrote a book. You know how many people out of hundreds I’ve spoken with, who have actually started writing a book? Maybe three. Tops. It’s so easy to say you want to write. But you actually have to write. Talking about writing, thinking about writing, dreaming about writing, is not writing.

Step 4,996: Find an editor who knows their shit. You don’t want to pay someone an assload of money who doesn’t know the difference between to, too, and two. Also, you need a formatter, cover designer, website designer. All of these pieces fit together when it comes to branding your product. Which is YOU, and your BOOK. Spend the money. It’s worth it.

Step 4,997: Edit. Edit. Edit. Edit. I think I edited my first manuscript five or six times. No book is perfect, but you can come pretty damn close if you put in the work.

Step 4,998: Have your inner circle read your work. You need honest opinions about your story. You can also find beta readers who are very valuable in helping with plot holes, and consistency issues. Then, edit again. After this round, you *should* be ready to publish.

Step 4,999: Hit publish, then sit back and watch your baby sell thousands of copies, and hit all the best sellers lists. Just kidding. Unless you’re an established author, or by chance a big blog is pimping your work, overnight success will not happen. Hit publish anyways, because if writing is your passion, at the end of the day lists don’t matter. Sure, everyone wants to be a best seller, but if that’s the only reason you’re doing this, you’re in it for all the wrong reasons. Your success as an author shouldn’t be determined by how many copies you’ve sold, or how many favorites lists you’ve made. Being an author is about taking the leap, shoving your heart and soul into your work, and laying it out for the world to rip apart.

Step 5,000: Figure out how to grow a thick skin. Then make it thicker. Once you hit publish, that’s it. You’re inviting every Tom, Dick, and Hairy Asshole to critique your work. If you can’t take criticism, back out now, otherwise you may have a heart attack induced by bad reviewers and naysayers. Even King, and Rowling have to deal with this. That’s life. Take the bad reviews and learn from them, unless the reviewer is just being an asshole, then pray that person steps on a Lego. You can’t make everyone love your words, but you can make damn sure that what you write is from a place that no one can mar with a one star review.

-Peace, love, and hair grease.

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