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Becoming an Author

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They say getting a book published on your first try is as likely as winning the lottery. This is true. The book industry is one of the most competitive industries out there. Publishers are flooded with thousands of manuscripts and query letters each month, so if you’re serious about publishing, you really have to set yourself apart. Like the lottery, there is some luck involved in publishing. But it also requires education, research and natural ability.


Education

Take as many writing courses in high school and college as you can. Choose a college or university that offers a great creative writing program. The education and advice from your teachers and peers is invaluable.


Research

You can't just get an idea and write a story. You have to research the market. Before you even begin writing, you must READ a ton of books in the genre you plan to write. Reading is the ultimate research. You also need to know what types of manuscripts each agent and publisher is looking for because not all publishers accept every genre. Your best bet is to read The Writer’s Market—an annual publication that lists publisher guidelines, agents, industry trends and so much more. The Writer’s Market is like the bible for writers.


A Finished Manuscript

Once your book is finished, get feedback from your friends and family. And most of all, take their criticism. The only way to improve your book is to find the negatives and turn them into positives. That’s what editing is all about.


Paycheck

An author’s income is unpredictable. Some authors will get royalties (a percentage of every book sold), and others will get an advance against royalties (a sum on money up front). Typically, first-time authors make between $0.00 to $40,000 for their first novel, most averaging around $6,000.


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