Fiction

Being a Writer – What’s in a Name?

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There are thousands, if not millions of writers out there. There are many genres from articles to best selling fiction. Not all writers are recognised. A novelist, who has written books that have captured the imagination of its audience will probably be known for their style. Many of these become famous and their names become very well – known. In fact sometimes they sell books purely because of their name. Some of these authors sell millions of copies and make a lot of money.

It is hard to break into fiction and usually the manuscript will not be looked at, unless a literary agent is used. Non fiction is easier and if you are an expert on a subject, there is a chance you will be able to break in. Don’t send anything on spec, as these are rarely looked at. Write a proposal and send it to the editor. There are several books explaining how to write a winning proposal. Outline what the book is about and your qualifications for writing it. Before sending a proposal, which can include sample chapters, you can write a short letter asking if the editor would be interested in receiving a proposal on the subject. Usually an agent isn’t required for non fiction, so in most cases material can be sent straight to the commissioning editor. A reply is usually pretty quick for non fiction, and if the editor likes your proposal, he/she will put your idea before a committee, who will decide if the project is worth going ahead with.

Once the committee gives the green light, you will receive a publishing contract and the hard work begins. You will usually be asked how long it will take you to write it. Once you have given the publisher a date, you must keep to it, unless circumstances change, in which case the publisher must be informed. Once the book has been put together you will be sent proofs. This enables you to go through the manuscript and look for any typing errors. A proof reader at the publisher’s will have gone through it, but you will be a second pair of eyes. Major changes at this point are not allowed.

Another route that can be taken is self publishing. There are many reputable self publishing companies that will help you achieve your dream without breaking the bank. Now, with the print on demand system, each book can be printed when there is a demand. There is no need to have dozens of copies gathering dust. Many now publish on line through Amazon, free of charge, and receive healthy royalties.

Another genre that is pretty easy to break into is writing articles for newspapers. This is an area where the writer is paid very little, or nothing at all. Writing articles for magazines can pay well, but are not always that easy to break into. Again, a proposal is often required by the publisher, so they know they are dealing with someone who knows what they are talking about. Research your subject in – depth before sending anything.

Another lucrative area is copywriting. This involves writing eye catching copy for the advertising world. This is not always easy to get a foot in the door, but if you have a flair, techniques can be developed and a good living can be achieved.

Writing poetry can be satisfying for many, getting your take on the world in print. Unfortunately, it won’t pay for your next holiday. Most poets write for the love of it, as there is very little reward, if any.

Other forms of writing includes script writing, songwriting and play writing. All of these can be lucrative, but getting your foot in the door can be difficult. Having said that, it is not impossible, and with talent, ambition and determination, they can be achieved.

A lot of writing projects won’t get your name known, but they can help to top up your bank account. Most people only note the by lines of famous authors. A by line in a newspaper wouldn’t get much attention as it is the news story that is of interest, not the person who wrote it. It could be written by anyone. The same applies to non fiction books. The reader won’t care who wrote it, as long as they can find out about the subject. A non fiction writer passes on knowledge that already exists. By research and interviews, they put together, in one book information that otherwise could be hard to find. Non fiction authors are not put in the creative writing category. They are not having to create like a fiction writer, certain situations, such as make up what the future will be like years down the line. A successful fiction writer will, like a pop or film star have their name recognised. In most cases as a non fiction writer you may always be thought of as Joe Bloggs, but Joe Bloggs with a very healthy bank account. I wish you well in whatever genre you decide to go for.

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