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  • Writer's pictureLilac Mills

You want me to write a “what”?

You’d think, as an author, your writing commitments would stop at writing the story, wouldn’t you? I certainly did, when I was young and naïve (okay, maybe not that young!). My idea of being an author, before I joined the real world, was that you wrote a novel, sent it off somewhere, someone would jump up and down with glee when they clapped eyes on it, and you’d merrily dance off into the sunset to write the next one, your job done.

Hmmm. That’s not exactly how it works in the publishing industry, as many of you already know, especially my writer friends, who are all too aware of what goes on behind the scenes. Aside from the numerous drafts, the editing, and the proof reading, which all are all part of getting a book published, there are things which an author needs to do which aren’t quite so obvious.

Firstly, there’s the synopsis, which all books should have when they are sent to a publisher/agent for consideration, and let me tell you, they’re tricksy little blighters. My first attempt was nearly as long as the darned novel itself, and cutting my lovingly constructed story down to a couple of dry sides of A4 felt sacrilegious – and not to mention, impossible.

Then let’s don’t forget the introductory letter to said publisher/agent. I had no idea how to sell myself, how to pitch my story to a total stranger, so I Googled some advice. “Tell them what else you’ve written, what awards you’ve won, or any writing accolades”, the advice says. Er…shopping lists, birthday cards, an annoyed email to complain about poor customer service? Somehow, I didn’t think any of those things counted. Under the Cherry Tree was the only thing I’d written. Not much to put on a CV, was it? And as for winning anything, I once won a mountain bike… Accolades? Sorry, no.

Then what about the blurb, eh? Those captivating words on the back of the novel to entice readers to buy your book? Yeah, that gets written by indie authors themselves – something else I didn’t realise until I decided to self-publish. A few short sentences, with the sole purpose of grabbing a reader’s attention? Hmm. Not as easy as it sounds. Worse than the synopsis, in fact!

But the list doesn’t stop there – emails to reviewers, posts on my website, guest posts on other people’s (like this one!), question and answer sessions, twitter and facebook posts…

For a writer, I can sure run out of things to write about very quickly.

I don’t know about other authors, but I’m not the most gregarious person, and when I research suggestions on what to write about when doing a guest post, my heart sinks. Do readers really want to know about the ins and outs of my rather boring, slightly frantic everyday life? How do I make myself sound interesting? Is it actually possible? It’s the people in my head who are interesting – after all, they lead much more exciting lives than I do!!

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