Author Topic: What advice would you give to your younger "aspiring author" self?  (Read 290 times)

Anarchist

Most of us have been doing this for years. We have plenty of experience and likely a few regrets.

Imagine you could travel back in time and advise your younger self who is about to start their "indie author" adventure. What advice would you give regarding craft, production, marketing, packaging, etc.?

"The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.” – Thomas Sowell

"The State is an institution run by gangs of murderers, plunderers and thieves, surrounded by willing executioners, propagandists, sycophants, crooks, liars, clowns, charlatans, dupes and useful idiots—an institution that dirties and taints everything it touches.” - Hans Hoppe

Nothing that requires the labor of others is a basic human right.

I keep a stiff upper lip and shoot from the hip. - AC/DC
 
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Eric Thomson

Re: What advice would you give to your younger "aspiring author" self?
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2021, 03:49:47 AM »
Give up and become an accountant -- which is exactly what I did back then  grint
 
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Post-Crisis D

Re: What advice would you give to your younger "aspiring author" self?
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2021, 04:01:46 AM »
Take that class in small engine repair.
Mulder: "If you're distracted by fear of those around you, it keeps you from seeing the actions of those above."
The X-Files: "Blood"
 
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R. C.

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Re: What advice would you give to your younger "aspiring author" self?
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2021, 04:07:28 AM »
Posts here are pointing to doing something other than being a writer. I go in the other direction... I should have started earlier. 

Waiting until I was in the second half of my lifespan was to deny myself the gift of doing what I enjoy.

Being good at writing is a tuned muscle, it gets better with time. Monetary success would be nice but secondary to a happy life.

Advice: Stop lamenting the "what if" and "go do."

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idontknowyet

Re: What advice would you give to your younger "aspiring author" self?
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2021, 04:10:59 AM »
Start slower with lower expectations.
No matter how many times I remind myself this is a long game not a short one and that I am actively making what many would consider self inflicted mistakes, I still expect instantaneous results.
 
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Eric Thomson

Re: What advice would you give to your younger "aspiring author" self?
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2021, 04:20:39 AM »
Posts here are pointing to doing something other than being a writer. I go in the other direction... I should have started earlier. 


In all fairness, I was only half joking. But, while I wrote five novels in my late twenties and shopped two of them around, KDP wasn't even in a glimmer in Bezos' eye, because Amazon didn't even exist back then. I only discovered KDP in 2014, when I was fifty-one years old, but the two novels I'd shopped around, and polished every year for almost twenty years, were instant successes. By then, I'd wrapped up a successful military career, become a Chartered Professional Accountant and was a senior IT executive. All that life experience and accrued knowledge helped make me a better writer and able to launch a successful writing and publishing career. I've more than made up time since then, with my 23rd novel published two weeks ago.
 
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Lynn

Re: What advice would you give to your younger "aspiring author" self?
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2021, 04:21:16 AM »
Worry less, write more!

I would tell myself to get medicated and stop self-sabotaging my writing career. I wouldn't have listened so it would be a waste of time but I'd try anyway.

The single biggest thing holding me back is the fact that I cannot be consistent with my production. I do not write regularly. (Although I have times when I write every day for xxx number of days, I inevitably stop, take a long break, then have to start all over again.) Regular writing (and publishing, as a result) would have made a world of difference to where I am at now in my career.
Don't rush me.
 
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Writer

Re: What advice would you give to your younger "aspiring author" self?
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2021, 04:47:10 AM »
I'd tell my younger self to stockpile novel length works in connected series, so that when KDP is invented, I'm first on board with dozens of books to release in the first couple years. I'd tell myself to be less of a perfectionist and just focus on finishing things. And not to waste time looking for agents and publishers because soon I wouldn't need them. Just spend that time writing and saving my manuscripts. Also, to buy stock in Amazon.
 
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Vijaya

Re: What advice would you give to your younger "aspiring author" self?
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2021, 05:40:29 AM »
Remember all those games you played as a kid, making up stories as you watched people? Write them down.
Remember your dream of becoming a physician-turned-writer just like AJ Cronin? Begin writing.
How I wish I'd started earlier and not in mid-life.


Author of over 100 books and magazine pieces, primarily for children
Vijaya Bodach | Personal Blog | Bodach Books
 
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R. C.

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Re: What advice would you give to your younger "aspiring author" self?
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2021, 06:26:41 AM »
...
In all fairness, I was only half joking.
...

Yes, I took it a such.

R.C.
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JRTomlin

Re: What advice would you give to your younger "aspiring author" self?
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2021, 07:43:43 AM »
Most of us have been doing this for years. We have plenty of experience and likely a few regrets.

Imagine you could travel back in time and advise your younger self who is about to start their "indie author" adventure. What advice would you give regarding craft, production, marketing, packaging, etc.?
I'd tell myself (like plenty of other people did) to start a mailing list. 🙄
 
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Hopscotch

Re: What advice would you give to your younger "aspiring author" self?
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2021, 07:51:54 AM »
I'd say "Please yourself."  Perhaps travel the world for a stock of adventures and characters to work into novels.  Maybe find one brutally honest critic to read your drafts.  Possibly read a lot to expand your writerly thinking.  But consider that money and success (and being indie), sweet as they are, mean nothing when you're dead.  So please yourself while you're aboveground.
 
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angela

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Re: What advice would you give to your younger "aspiring author" self?
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2021, 09:44:38 AM »
I'm okay with how things worked out because humans only learn through pain anyway, but I have two regrets:

I wish I'd invested in more real estate.
I wish I'd gotten better at story structure sooner.
 
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notthatamanda

Re: What advice would you give to your younger "aspiring author" self?
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2021, 12:07:01 PM »
I wish I had gotten my website going from day 1. I tried, and tried and tried, but I just couldn't figure it out back then.
 
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Lorri Moulton

Re: What advice would you give to your younger "aspiring author" self?
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2021, 12:45:40 PM »
Try writing dialogue!  It's easier and more fun than you think.  :dog1:

Journalism is not the only way to have a career as a writer.

Author of Romance, Fantasy, Fairytales, Mystery & Suspense, and Historical Non-Fiction @ Lavender Lass Books
 
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LilyBLily

Re: What advice would you give to your younger "aspiring author" self?
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2021, 03:32:08 PM »
Great question. I've already answered it several times and deleted my answers without posting them. It appears I will keep doing so. I've enjoyed thinking about this.



 
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Pemry Janes

Re: What advice would you give to your younger "aspiring author" self?
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2021, 04:52:11 PM »
Don't worry so much about getting it right. Just write and worry about improving it afterwards.
Genre: Fantasy
 
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cecilia_writer

Re: What advice would you give to your younger "aspiring author" self?
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2021, 07:49:43 PM »
Even if you're naturally good at writing, you still have a lot to learn.

(I thought at first about some irrelevant life advice but looking back I would probably make the same mistakes again in these other areas)
Cecilia Peartree - Woman of Mystery
 
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littleauthor

Re: What advice would you give to your younger "aspiring author" self?
« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2021, 10:17:15 PM »
Become a librarian and write on the side.
"Not working to her full potential."
 
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Al Stevens

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Re: What advice would you give to your younger "aspiring author" self?
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2021, 07:20:54 AM »
I traveled a lot back then as a lecturer and road musician. I wish I'd taken detailed notes about the places I'd been so I wouldn't be counting on a fading memory to the extent I had to in the years that followed..
     
 
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LilyBLily

Re: What advice would you give to your younger "aspiring author" self?
« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2021, 11:28:08 AM »
I traveled a lot back then as a lecturer and road musician. I wish I'd taken detailed notes about the places I'd been so I wouldn't be counting on a fading memory to the extent I had to in the years that followed..

Fading memory really is a problem. I've tried to keep travel diaries but am usually so exhausted at the end of the day during trips that I don't have the energy to write more than a sentence or two, if that. It's one reason I keep souvenirs and guidebooks and maps. I did write the first draft of a novel based on one of my trips, and I wrote it while the trip was very fresh in my memory so it's chock full of details. But I've never finished that novel because it's a mystery and I don't write mysteries, which means I'd have to write two more just to sell one. Argh.   
 
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The Bass Bagwhan

Re: What advice would you give to your younger "aspiring author" self?
« Reply #21 on: November 22, 2021, 10:51:49 PM »
Devise a business plan and stick to it. A regime, a schedule, performance targets ...
 
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