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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Six D's of a Debut Author

Or, rather, call this the six reasons you won't be a debut author.

Doubt- Should I write? Am I good enough to write? What if no one likes what I write?

Self-doubt is authorial suicide. You need to love your work. You need to be passionate about your projects. Let other people doubt. You, work.

But it takes so long. I need another draft. My dream agent sent me a form rejection letter.

So what? The trail to success is littered with the bodies of writers who quit because they didn't hit the finish line in some pre-defined time frame. If you quit, you lose. If you want to see your debut novel on a shelf you keep moving forward.

Yes, some days it is hard. Yes, there are days you will be tempted by doubt. But you don't quit. You sit down and you write.

I'm just checking my e-mail. I need to do a little research. I just want to watch one TV show. One hour on Facebook won't kill me.

No matter how you gloss it over, an hour not writing is an hour NOT WRITING. Sometimes we have RL jobs and commitments that need attention. There's nothing wrong with that. The problem is when we purposefully put stumbling blocks in the way to keep ourselves from writing. Distraction is just another word for delayed failure.

Diligence (lack thereof)- I need a break. I'm not feeling creative today. My muse isn't talking.

There's a whole post on what I think about muses. Look, you can make any excuse you like but either you get your butt in that chair every day and write, or you don't. No one is going to write this story for you. No one is going to edit this story for you. No one is going to write your query letter and answer agent's phone calls for you.

Do the work. Reap the rewards.

Disobedience- Glittery query letters are pretty! A manuscript written in purple crayon is bound to get noticed. Readers will love it if I switch tenses every other line!

No, they won't. Back away from the glitter and don't even consider touching a crayon. There are rules to publishing because it is a business. Learn the rules.

Some rules, granted, were made to be broken. I can trot out examples of books where prologues worked, telling was the norm, and copious backstory was used that all made their publishing houses wealthy beyond dreams of avarice. But you need to know the rules before you can break them. And once you know the rules, you need to learn which ones you can break and which ones are Law.

I'm not a good writer. This book sucks. No one will ever read. I'll just find another hobby.

Stab. Stab. Stabbity stab stab.

Believe in yourself. And believe in your beta-readers. Take good advice where you can find it, and when you can't find it, keep going. Quitting is the unforgivable sin of publishing. When you give up, it's over.

Never give up.

Any questions?


  1. Well said! I agree. I have a problem with the distraction part some nights. Bejeweled Blitz on facebook is a huge time sucker...

    Thanks for the post :)

  2. Ah, great list! So very true. Thanks.

  3. Hi Liana :)
    Excellent 6 D's!
    I'm thinking about printing it out & pinning it up.
    Thank you for sharing,
    All the best,

  4. No questions, just a compliment -- great post! ;)