Welcome to my first blog post as N J Simmonds for my brand new author website, the home of The Path Keeper series published by Accent Press. So seeing as you’re reading all about me, I thought it was fitting to begin my blog journey by dispelling the biggest of writing myths.
To be a good writer you need to be modest.
You know that shy retiring writer type… The cardigan-wearing scribe, surrounded by a clowder of cats and screwed up balls of paper at her feet, hunched over her desk from dawn until dusk. That pale and haunted woman who spends her days turning coffee into wonderful stories that no one will ever read because she’s too afraid to step into the big wide world and talk about them.
For some reason being modest and an author goes hand in hand.
Apparently you are not allowed to be a creative genius, an artist of the word, and tell anyone that your book is any good. I don’t know who invented that unwritten rule …but I’m flaunting it. Much like I flaunt everything else.
It doesn’t matter if you are the next Orwell or the next E.L. James, writing an amazing novel and then being too modest and self-deprecating to talk about it is quite frankly a waste of time. Imagine how many sunny days in the garden you could have had instead of sitting in bed writing a book that no one was ever going to see?
I met a writer once who said to me, “I don’t understand why you need to market yourself if you are a good writer, the book speaks for itself.” If you are reading this then you are either a writer, an aspiring one or someone who likes to read. So let me give you an analogy.
Writing a book that you want people to read but you don’t want to promote is like baking an amazing cake. Imagine it. Your cake has three layers, soft and moist with silky chocolate icing. It has fresh cream and juicy berries on top, and maybe a dash of rum inside. God damn it, it even has chocolate shavings!
So what are you going to do with that cake? Well if you are like the traditional modest writer you are going to put that cake in a tin, put the tin inside your pantry and shut the kitchen door. Then you are going to go outside and lock the front door and never mention that cake to a soul. A few days later you are then going to get ever so, ever so upset that no one…not one person…has said how much they loved your cake. It’s a great cake; you put so much effort into it. Surely the proof of the pudding is in the eating, why haven’t they even tried a piece?
BECAUSE THEY DON’T KNOW THAT YOUR CAKE EXISTS!
So this blog is my first of many posts where I will show you my juicy chocolate cake…no dirty pun intended. I hope by reading my musings and updates and tips you may not only learn more about The Path Keeper series (take a look at my website above for all the details) but perhaps you’ll also learn about how to improve on your own writing and self promotion.
You see, if you want to be a writer and actually get published – and maybe even sell a book or two – you have to look up from your laptop occasionally and make eye contact. Connect with your readers. We live in a time of self promotion where the world is staring at their phones all day, bombarded by information, so it’s far too easy for the best of work to get lost among the overwhelming noise of internet shite. Therefore us writers have had to get louder and smarter to get noticed.
You need to know how to sell yourself, brand yourself, push yourself. And it can start with something as simple and entertaining as a blog…just like this one. To be taken seriously in this day and age every author needs to be on social media, attend events, have a nice website – the list is endless and you can’t expect your publisher to do it all for you. I’ll go into more detail about this in future posts, so you’ll just have to keep coming back (see what I did there?).
Here’s a shameless plug…
Come and follow me on social media (just click on that little F and pretty birdie below please) and you’ll receive my latest news, info on what inspired me to write The Path Keeper and interviews with other amazing writers. Plus you’ll also get to read more of my posts like this one covering subjects like how to write for a Young Adult audience, how to market your book effectively and how to turn the TV off and finish that bloody chapter when you work from home (that one may take a while to write, I’m still figuring it out).
Until next time…