Public speaking has been defined as the number one fear in Western society today. Number Two? Death. As one well-known comedian pointed out: This means that at a funeral you’d rather be in the coffin than giving the eulogy.
A writer writes, correct? But in the 21st century, a writer must also network, market and sell. This calls for some comfort in the public speaking arena. If you’re anything like I was when I started out, speaking in front of a group seemed less inviting than stapling my fingers together
Successful writers will probably have to speak in public at some point. Book signings, launches and author talks can all generate a portion of the income we need to support our writing habits.
Accepting these opportunities can make a huge difference to a writer’s career.
So you’re considering the possibility of becoming a freelance writer, but you’re not really sure what steps you need to take to make it all happen. Sound about right?
Becoming a successful freelance writer is a bit of a whirlwind; nobody seems to fall cleanly into the career path. Instead, those who ultimately become successful will almost always tell you that there was no shortage of pure luck at hand. Every success story is different—someone may tell you they got their start with one blowout piece and the work has been rolling in ever since. More likely there were a lot of smaller pieces that paid a bit here and a bit there that ultimately went into building a strong reputation.
Regardless of how most people start, if you are serious about giving freelance writing a shot, there are a handful of things you can do to prepare yourself. Of course, there is no step-by-step guide to success, but having the basics figured out at the start can put you off on the right foot.
Editing makes up a HUGE part of the writing process. Oh, if all we writers had to do was sit down and slap glorious words on a page. If only it were so easy. For those new to this profession, here’s a truth bomb. This job is rewarding but it isn’t for the faint of heart. Writing is tough.
Professionals only make it seem easy.
I recently turned in my ghostwriting project. My client has given me permission to share in some of the glory, so to speak. The Trap: Sex, Social Media, and Surveillance Capitalism is now LIVE. Yes, my client worked in the adult industry for twenty years. It’s a book about the pitfalls of adult entertainment (for performers as well as the audience).
Aaand the final ended up at around 91,000 words (though, believe it or not, it’s a super quick read for being such a deep book).
Sure, writing about this topic was tough. Writing with a partner, the research, making sure I held true to the client’s voice, etc. was enough to make me want to go live in a blanket fort with my old Barbies and tubs of frosting. All in all, though, the writing was easy compared to the editing.
For those who are new, who maybe don’t know this next part, feel free to skim down to the tips .
Editing is More Than Proofreading
Many new authors enter into professional publishing believing a few myths, which I shall now debunk. First of all, there are MANY types of editing/editors and the cost will vary. When I wrote my first 187,000 word ‘novel’ I:
was an idiot who was too epically stupid to know I was epically stupid
believed editors were only there to check for grammar issues, typos, punctuation, etc.
thought that I didn’t need to sully my hands hunting down typos because editors would catch all my boo-boos for me
I started writing when I was around eleven years old. I wrote a short play in my english class that my classmates put on and did some other short stories as assignments. My english teacher, Ms. Weber, told me I was good and to keep writing and I have!
2.What motivates you to write?
I’m a day dreamer and I love to read so I’m motivated by the world and my own imagination. Also I have a desire to see more diverse characters and themes in the genres I love. We underestimate the importance of inclusive writing. Especially to BIPOC readers.
3.What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre?
I write mostly urban fantasy and paranormal romance. I’ve always been a fan of this genre since I was in middle school back reading R.L. Stine. I like the fantasy and horror elements and I also love a dash of romance. I also like the escapism but in a world that isn’t too unfamiliar so it’s manageable.
4.What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?
Well the hope is always that you build an audience that appreciates your work. My goal is to entertain and reach readers that were underserved or just wanted new points of view.
5.Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?
Absolutely. I try to write outlines for my stories to help with that but I don’t mind taking breaks if I have to. If I’m struggling writing then my reader will struggle to read it and I don’t want that. So I’d rather step back and revisit something when inspiration hits. Going for a meditative walk has always been helpful with any block I have.
6.What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?
Keep writing. That’s the biggest thing. Especially for indie authors. A lot of our success can come from building a brand which comes from having several books published. This way you give readers something to come back to. Also writing that first draft is tough but don’t stop. Even if you know you’ll change something, just make note of it to go back to later and keep moving forward in the story. Once the first draft is done I think it gets easier and more rewarding.
7.Please, tell us about your work.
My latest book, Dark Hauntings, is the start of a spin off series in my Paranormal World. In this world, there was an apocalyptic event that ended up killing off 50% of the population and turning most of the survivors into supernatural beings ten years ago. At some point in that time, the heroine in this book, half faerie/ half demon, Francesa Ross, had her memory stolen by angels because they thought she was dangerous. However, now they are having trouble returning it. They are also holding the promise of returning her memories over her head to get her to do their dirty work. In this book she’s asked to go on a mission in a vacation town to check out some odd happenings. Of course, there is more than meets the eye. At the same time, she has become a magnet for demons and this could possibly shed some light on her past and missing family. Oh, right, and a possible romance, with a Nephalim she might have been in love with in her hidden past.
Thank you for being my guest today.
Meet C. C. Solomon
A B O U T T H E A U T H O R
C.C. is originally from Baltimore, Maryland and has actively written fiction since the age of eleven. She’s an avid “chick lit” reader and urban fantasy fan. During her days, she works in Civil Rights for the federal government. In her free time, she sings karaoke, travels the globe and watches too much TV… when she’s not writing of course.
Here are seven literary agents actively seeking clients.
Rebecca Eskildsen is actively growing her list, with a particular interest in middle grade, YA, and adult fiction. She is looking to elevate LGBTQ+ and BIPOC voices, among other underrepresented narratives.
Delia Berrigan Fakis is looking for nonfiction, as well as literary and commercial fiction, mysteries, and children’s picture books.
Alison Lewis represents a wide range of nonfiction and fiction, with a particular focus on journalism, narrative nonfiction, cultural criticism, history, science, literary fiction, memoir and essays.
Kathryn Willms is seeking History; Memoir; Sports; Business; Biography; Health and Wellness; Women’s Issues; Culture; Current Affairs; Journalism; Food and Drink; Self-improvement; Science; Film.
Sulamita Garbuz gravitates primarily towards nonfiction, with an emphasis on books with a social justice bent.
Nicole Eisenbraun is looking for middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction, in all genres.
Lisette Verhagen is seeking fiction and nonfiction, especially from immigrants and foreign language writers.
Always check the agency website and agent bio before submitting. Agents can switch agencies or close their lists, and submission requirements can change.
NOTE: Don’t submit to two agents at the same agency simultaneously. If one rejects you, you may then submit to another.
Unfortunately there are too many writers who are not supported by their loved ones. Thanks for this great article, Anne R. Allen!
I’m always amazed at how many people I know — friends who would go out of their way to help me physically — cannot say one supportive thing about my writing. Some even ask for one of my books and then never mention it again. Others make fun of the fact I’m a writer. “Yeah, but what do you do for a living?”
When I tell them I’ve written a blogpost about a subject that interests them, they make elaborate excuses for not reading it. Or they say “I’m not a blogger” as if that prevents them from reading online content.
Even after three bestsellers, a highly successful blog, and multiple awards. I have a lot of unsupportive friends who don’t acknowledge that I’m a writer. And I’ve discovered I’m not alone.
It turns out a whole lot of people can’t deal with having creatives for friends.
Self-publishing does sometimes get a poor name, but if you do it right, people can’t tell the difference between self and traditionally published books.
If you have a beautiful book that has been:
Professionally designed inside and out
Professionally edited and proofread
Appropriately set-up for online and wholesale distribution
Most people do not even think to question if your book was self-published and many bookstores do carry these books.
However, if you bring in a book with a cover that looks like your granddaughter’s artwork, with no clue of wholesale or trade terms it’s going to be highly unlikely that the bookstore owner will want to carry your book.
I’ve mentioned before that I don’t review books I don’t like. So, without naming names, let’s talk about why some books are not on my review list.
Passive phrasing: If you watch them in real life, people don’t “begin” to pick up that knife. They don’t “start” to walk away.
They reach for the knife. They take the knife from the drawer.
They walk away.
We’re thinking and writing the story as it falls from our heads. Because we get into storytelling mode, the dog begins to bark, and the neighbors start to complain. In real life, the dog barks, and the neighbors complain.
When you write with a passive voice, it’s easy to use too many quantifiers, such as “it was really big” or “it was incredibly awesome.” It becomes easy to “tell” the story instead of showing it: “Bob was mad.”
Kristen Lamb once more provided us with an excellent educational post about writing. Thank you so much Kristen. You know we always appreciate your posts and you sharing experience and knowledge!
The burning desire is the beating heart of all great stories. Without the burning desire, the story will fall apart faster than a reality star who’s lost her hair extensions.
We’ve discussed story structure more times than I can count on this blog, and for good reasons. When we understand the fundamental parts of story and how they work, why they work, etc. THEN when something seems ‘off’ we possess the knowledge base and vocabulary to detect WHY the story isn’t working then fix it.
The Burning Desire for the BBT
I know it’s been a while, so super quick review. The first crucial ingredient for any story is a core antagonist to create the main problem in need of resolution by the time we reach THE END.
Since the whole ‘antagonist’ concept tied my brain in knots for YEARS, I finally invented my own term—Big Boss Troublemaker (BBT).
Because every story must have a core antagonist or, by definition, it isn’t a story.
That said, not all antagonists are villains. Villains are only one type of antagonist. Very useful in thrillers, horror, mystery, science fiction, and the like, but not so much in general fiction or literary fiction.
To understand more what I mean about the BBT, feel free to go HERE. If we fail to understand the BBT, then frankly the burning desire is a moot point.
While all stories must have a core antagonist (BBT), that alone isn’t enough. We must also figure out what drives the BBT. What is the burning desire fueling the goal that will eventually come at odds with the protagonist and (eventually) create a hero?
If we look back at some of the most iconic books, movies and series, we will see the writers NAILED the burning desire.