Well, my first writing class launched today. And yes, indeed, I was quite nervous. I know my presentation was far from flawless, but I really did have a great time chatting with this group of wonderful people. I'm most thankful for this opportunity.
I started by sharing my writing journey and expressing my philosophy on writing. I titled it "The Philosophy of Writing," so perhaps that was a little overarching, but as we eased into the discussion, we all seemed to agree. In my last post, I promised to turn my "class" into a blog post, so here goes:
I write for an audience of One. I want my writing to have a message. To have meaning. To relate truths that better the world. And in my life, that means I write to glorify God. I am blessed to have dedicated readers, but ultimately, my responsibility is to my Creator. With that in mind, I write for Him.
Now, I do try to avoid preaching in my writing. I want to reach people, not make them feel judged or condemned. Beyond my words, I've been there. I know what that feels like, and I don't care for it. I want my readers to understand the depths of God's love and to want to explore that on a deeper, more personal level. That's where I feel my calling lies.
Over the years, I've developed a love for science-fiction. I'm not into everything out there, but I do have quite a few things in the genre that I love. It's a natural fit for me to write sci-fi. And as I've written in previous posts, I feel like sci-fi and God go hand-in-hand--limitless possibilities! The general market has taken sci-fi in a much different way, but I know a handful of folks out there who love a good space adventure without the explicit content. Folks like me. And so I started writing.
If one decides to publish in Christian marketplace, genres are pretty limited. I've learned to accept that, of course. If one decides to publish in the mainstream marketplace, much of the Christian content might be removed. I've actually had ABA publishers tell me they didn't know what to do with a religious sci-fi book and that was the basis of their rejection.
With that in mind, though, this is a great time to be a writer! So many options out there! I've experienced vanity, small press, and self-publishing. Let me say this, I never paid to be published, and I never will. Vanity presses do offer some great services to people who can afford them. I've also seen people hurt by these kinds of companies. The best way I've heard it put is that the author is the customer. They will make money through the various publishing packages and services they offer.
Small press is a totally different ball of wax. There are some great ones out there who publish professional quality products. There are others consisting of authors who got tired of being rejected, decided to self-publish, and then thought they could offer these same services to other authors as a traditional small press. You really have to do your homework and research when you encounter these groups. And if you can't find anything about them, ask the authors (or former authors) in the press's library. You'll be able to get a solid feel from them.
And I never thought I'd say this, but more and more, I am becoming a proponent for self-publishing. It's easy, fast, and offers you ultimate control. With that said, you are still responsible for putting out a quality product. Every book is a promise to your readers, and if you don't fulfill it in the best way possible, you'll lose your audience. Hire a professional editor. Secure a decent cover. (Believe it or not, people certainly do judge books by them...) Do what it takes to put a polished book on the market. Also, don't expect these books to show up on the shelves at Barnes & Noble. It just won't happen. But you can do book signings and other events to sell your book.
When it comes to writing, learn all you can. Be teachable. There are rules for writing. And when done correctly, those rules can be broken. Also realize, at some point, you have to step up and apply what you've taken in. While you are learning, don't take everything everyone says as law. Figure out what works for you. Do your research. A "teacher" may not offer correct information. After all, a lot of conferences and workshops operate on reputation, not the education or actual credentials of the speaker. Because this is such a subjective industry, you have to personalize it and go from there.
That was most of my advice that I shared today. We had a good discussion about agents and the industry in general. The next class will be on point of view and tense. A bit more technical. Always exciting!
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3