I attended the Ottawa Independent Writers (OIW) October meeting, where author Nichole McGill made a presentation regarding writing successful books. I was advised by my mentor, Mrs. W., to touch base with a writer’s group if I could and I was lucky to find this one. They have monthly meetings covering different topics. I will be attending next month as well when they present on “Starting out as a New Writer” – which will be all about putting the stories that swirl around in one’s head on paper.
Some general tips from Nichole:
1. KNOW YOUR STORY
- What is the soul?
- What is the journey of your main character?
- How does the character’s journey change?
You should be able to explain to others the WHAT and WHY of your story in just a few sentences. Nichole calls the WHAT, the logline and describes this as “the spine of your story on which everything is hung.” A logline is one sentence that describes
- Who is your main character?
- What is their transformative action?
- What is the end result?
Essence is the moral of the story and otherwise known as the WHY.
2. KNOW YOUR MARKET
Nichole says that with the advances in technology and the resulting changes in the publishing industry, as an author, it’s more important than ever to know your audience and know the market for your book. She highlights that the more “niche” your book is – the better. One thing to remember as an author is that you must not only sell the story to the publisher, but also who will be the marketing audience.
3. KNOW YOUR READER
- You need to get the voice right (e.g., young adult)
- Never underestimate the intelligence of your reader
- Test your manuscript with real readers (i.e., target audience)
- Acknowledge the new power that readers have (readers as bloggers and reviewers of novels)
4. EMBRACE THE ITERATIVE PROCESS
5. KNOW HOW TO REACH OUT TO YOUR READERS…DIRECTLY
- Learn about e-books and e-marketing
- Take control of your digital rights
- Make sure your potential publisher is e-savvy
- Take charge of your online presence
- You should own/have
- yourname.com or yourname.ca
- Facebook author page (after being published)
- Twitter – @yourname
- LinkedIn – your name
- Good Reads – author page once published
- Indigo/Chapters – author profile
- You should own/have
- Book bloggers are your friends!
I found the presentation to be useful and informative. These were all items that I had thought of in connection with the preparation and publishing of my novel, but it was nice to see the ideas and suggestions wrapped up in a neat package and tied with a bow.
Hope this is helpful to other writers out there ! 🙂