Steps To Indie Publishing - Outsourcing Pt. 2 of 3 - Editing & Covers

Hey, gang! You might recall a couple of weeks ago I covered the basic steps to Indie publishing (a mostly serious list). As a refresher, I basically listed a bunch of things like editing, covers, formatting, etc. that lead up to you getting your book published. 

At the end of that post, I made a case for considering hiring someone to do those things for you. 

As promised, here is part two (of three... sorry, there's a lot of information to cover!) wherein we'll take a look at the first three steps I listed previously (writing, editing, and covers) checking out the basic why, when, how much, and what of outsourcing those publishing tasks.

I'd also like to remind everyone of our mantra: Quality matters!

I know a lot of you in the audience are actually hiring out as editors and cover artists, so in an attempt to do a little love connecting, I'm providing a link list for you to let people know about what you do and where to find you.

ALSO, if you want to learn more about Indie publishing and outsourcing, I highly recommend you stop by our special 1 hour early (8 PM Eastern) #NALitChat tonight on Twitter

We'll be chatting live on air (we do an audio show along with tweets, so if you're not into tweeting you can just listen) with Kate Tilton who works with Bibliocrunch--a one-stop-shop website that connects Indies with editors, artists, distributors and more. 

You can join the conversation (or just follow it) on Twitter using the #NALitChat hashtag. Should be a lot of fun with tons of information shared.

Keeping in mind this is based off of my experiences and research, that the cost estimates are intentionally broad, and that your mileage may vary, let's get to it!

Step 1 - Writing

As I mentioned before, I'm going to assume you actually want/like to write and aren't going to hire a ghostwriter to do it for you. Furthermore, I know nothing about ghostwriting, so we'll move right along...

Step 2 - Editing

Why you should hire it out - Okay, the distinction needs to be made up front: Professional editing is different than having beta readers and critique partners. You need those, too! But a professional editor is the next step. This person will be paid (and handsomely--we'll get to that) to scour your manuscript and make that sucker sparkle. 

They don't get to pull the "my kids are insane demons", "the cat vomited on my computer", "OMG Walking Dead just started again!" excuses a beta gets to use. Why? Because they are on the clock, and their business reputation is at stake--just like yours. It's a magical relationship, really.

Can you have a tight manuscript without paying an independent editor to look at your work? Maybe. But can you guarantee that your critique partner wasn't distracted by life and possibly their own manuscript when they looked over yours? No. Furthermore, can you hold them accountable if they were? No. Free is free, and you don't get to bitch about it if they miss your comma splices and word spamming.

When to find an editor - The first thing to understand about editing is that there are different types and levels of editing. If your betas are ninjas and your critique partners omniscient, you might just need some proof/line editing (think typos, homonym screw-ups, etc.) or copy editing (think style, form, and presentation of the text). 

But let's just say your mom is your only/best beta reader and loves everything you do. THEN you might want to find someone to do some developmental editing (think BIG picture stuff like plotting, pacing, and character development) for you.

So, the type of help you need will dictate when you need to seek an editor out. If you've got a fairly raw draft, you'll want to find a developmental editor earlier on in the project. However, if you've got something pretty polished on your hands, you might wait until you're closer to the publishing point for a little more focused help.

In either case, keep in mind that editing takes time, and reputable editors book up sometimes a year in advance. But before you go all ants-in-pants on me, remember that quality matters. Good things are worth waiting for.

And don't assume they're too busy to help you. Always ask, because they sometimes have unexpected cancelations, etc.

How much is it going to set you backThis will likely be the most expensive thing you outsource. It's also probably the most important. Basically, if you can only spend your money in one place, put it here. 

All the marketing, fabulous covers, and glitz in the world aren't going to cover up sloppy writing. Yes, I know (Insert Horribly Written Book Title Here) sold a billion copies, but yours won't. Trust me. 

Expect to pay $250-$2,500 depending on the length of the work (most charge by the word) and the type of editing you need. Developmental tends to cost more because it takes more of the editor's time and more interaction with the author. If they are a busy and well-established editor, probably on the high side of that estimate for a novel.

Considerations - Always shop around, talk to customers, read testimonials, and carry a cross and rabbits foot with you. Then, make sure they give you a sample of what to expect from their editorial feedback, demonstrated on YOUR work. It shouldn't take more than a few pages to see if they know what they're talking about, and if you'll be able to work with them.

Resources - Check sites like Predators & Editors and popular writing forums like Absolute Write for the skinny on specific editors. And definitely ask your writing friends. Word spreads quickly in writing circles.

Bottom Line - Do your homework before giving anyone your money.

Step 3 - 

Why you should hire it out - Look, some people just don't have an eye for visual esthetics. That's cool! But when it comes to the cover of your baby, don't pretend. A rocking cover is very important to the overall package of your work, and as an Indie author it's maybe your best weapon in the fight to get noticed amidst the see of traditionally published books out there.

And be honest with yourself: If you don't have a clue what pixel count is, you have no business doing your own book covers in the digital age. 

When to hire a cover artist - This one is really up to you. Some writers like to have the cover in front of them as they draft for inspiration. Others don't want to think about a cover until the book is almost ready for the presses.

Whenever you decide to contact a cover designer, just be sure to have a reasonable grasp on the basic elements you want included in your design. Keeping in mind that most cover designers will not be reading your manuscript cover-to-cover, they're going to rely heavily on your vision and synopsis of the work.

A cover can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months to complete depending upon the type of work being done and how many 'revision cycles' you go through. 

How much is it going to set you back - $75-$1,000 This will vary greatly upon the considerations listed below, and the amount of work you're requiring of the artist you're hiring. Some charge by the hour, others by the project, so be sure to ask upfront.

Also, be aware of how many feedback/revision cycles the cover artist will give you. (Usually listed in their terms.) Typically, the more you pay, the more say you're going to have. If someone is putting together a $50 cover for you from stock images that already exist, don't expect them to change the eyebrow color of the models fifteen times.

Lastly, look for bargains! New design studios are popping up every day, and the new ones sometimes offer a good discount to help build up their clientele. Ask for sample covers, and if you like what you see, give 'em a shot.

Considerations - Do you want something illustrated--an original? Do you want to use people (models) on your cover? Are stock/public images okay? All of these things will likely impact price. So keep the variables in mind. Simpler concepts usually = less money.

Again, don't assume the cover designer is going to read your novel. In fact, many do not. They rely heavily on the author to give them the details they need to convey an entire book in a single image. Not easy to do, so it's important to find a cover designer you can work with, and who can quickly share your vision for the story.

Resources - You can find tons of cover artist with a simple Google search, and you can also check this Goodreads list. Here's a nice blog post on finding and working with cover artists.

Also, many talented authors are talented cover designers as well. So ask your writerly friends! Here, here, and here are a few of mine who do covers. :)

Bottom Line - An effective, nicely designed cover doesn't have to cost a fortune, but it might take someone with a little know-how to get it done.

That's it for part two! Be sure to keep an eye out for the final installment where I'll talk about formatting, distributing, and marketing.

Do any of you have experiences outsourcing to publishing professionals? Any tips to share in the comments? Did I leave anything out?

Also, be sure to add your business/service title and a website to the link list below if you're providing some of the services we've talked about. You never know who might stumble across this. :)


Follow Fest 2013!

Hey, gang! As promised, here is my post for Follow Fest. It's basically a networking campaign for authors in attempt to connect those of us who are writing in similar genres, etc.

It's organized by blogger-writer Melissa Maygrove and there's still time to sign up (through Thursday!) if you'd like to join in.

Name: E.J. Wesley

Fiction or nonfiction? Fiction

What genres do you write? Mostly speculative, in the New Adult category. I have a YA fantasy-dystopian-thing I'm gnawing on, too. I'm also trying my hand at some contemporary stuff. :)

Are you published? Yes. The first three installments of my Moonsongs series are available now, and 4, 5, and 6 will be out before the end of the year. Or at least I'm willing to die trying to put them out by the end of the year. :)

Do you do anything in addition to writing? I do covers and a few other publishing-related things, but nothing I'm hiring out for. In my spare time I play the guitar, read comics, watch the Walking Dead, play a few video games, throw a tennis ball to my dog (lots), run, hang with my family, and generally try to stay relaxed and inspired.

Where can people connect with you?
Is there anything else you’d like us to know? I host a New Adult litterature chat on Twitter (#NAlitChat) every Thursday night (9 PM Eastern). I'm a contributor to the NA Alley Blog.

Brrrr... Is It Cold In Here?

Happy Friday, gang! I've got one final post to share with you this week. My NA Alley Blog cohort and author supreme, Lynn Rush, released her latest book, Frostbite. And the cover is gorgeous! But I first want to set the table for next week's blog shenanigans...

On Tuesday, I'll be participating in Follow Fest, a blog hop/networking event organized by our pal Melissa Maygrove. It's premise is simple, and its importance vital. We're going to share our vital FYI in a single blog post. Basically, who we are, what we write, and links to all the different places we can be found on the Web. See, simple.

As most of you know (evidenced by my involvement in the Insecure Writer's Support group, Indie Life group, NA Lit Chat, etc.), I'm a huge proponent of joining hands with other writers... but not so much for advertising and marketing. 

I can't tell you how many emails and private messages I've shared with my fellow authors and blogging friends in the last two weeks. Sometimes it's simple encouragement, like congratulating them on a new release, sometimes it's a vital exchange of information on how to do something related to this writing gig, and sometimes it's simply to say, "I'm so frustrated I want to gouge out eyeballs--and not my own!" 

The point is, being a part of the blogging-writing community is a HUGE asset to you as both a professional and as an artist. So why miss an opportunity to connect with more people? 

There's still time to sign up for the blog hop. You can do so HERE as well as check out all the details.

Outsourcing Your Publishing Tasks Pt. 2

Last week I did a post on the steps to publishing a book independently (a mostly serious list) as part of my Indie Life series. I'll share Pt 2 next week, which will be focused on where and how to find professionals to do those steps for you.

It's also a good lead into our New Adult Lit Chat for next week, when we'll have Kate Tilton (an Indie resource finding wizard who works for BiblioCrunch) on to talk about the how, what, when, and where of finding editors, cover artists, and more.

It'll be a special, 1 hour early NA Lit Chat (8 PM Eastern instead of 9 PM) with an audio panel discussion. If you're interested in joining in the discussion (or just listening) be sure to follow the #NALitChat stream next week and follow me @EJWesley or @NALitChat on Twitter.

If you've missed the audio stuff we've been doing alongside our regular Twitter discussion, I recommend checking out our YouTube stream HERE

Frostbite by Lynn Rush

Amanda gives a whole new meaning to cool…

Amanda Smith is sick of getting chased from town-to-town. So when she lands in tiny Trifle, Arizona, she hopes it’s her last move for a long time. Despite hating the smallness of the town, she settles in and finds a best friend, and even a boyfriend. Normality at its finest.

But for a girl who can shoot snow from her hands and lift a two-ton truck over her head like a bag of feathers—normal is not an option.

The scientists who murdered her mother come barreling into Amanda’s quiet life. She must decide if she’ll run again or stay and fight. The price of either choice might be her life or the lives of those she’s come to love…

Book Details:

Title: Frostbite (Touch of Frost Trilogy #1)
Buy Link:
Word count: 72,000 
Release Date: 9/17/13 
Publisher: Lynn Rush, LLC 
Genre: Paranormal Romance – New Adult/Upper YA 

Lynn Rush is a pen name that is a combination of two sources – Lynn, the first name of her mother-in-law, who passed away and Rush – since the author is a former inline speed skater and mountain biker. All of Rush’s books are dedicated to Lynn, her namesake, and a portion of the proceeds benefits cancer research and treatment.

Rush holds a degree in psychology from Southwest Minnesota State University and a master's degree from the University of Iowa. Originally from Minneapolis, Rush currently enjoys living in the Arizona desert with her husband of 17 years and her loveable Shetland Sheep dog. When she’s not busy writing her next trilogy, she can be found pounding the pavement, training to run her first marathon.

Lynn loves connecting with her readers: 

Catch the Rush®:

Other links of interest:
Amazon Author Page:

TOLD YOU THE COVER WAS RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME! Plus, it sounds like a great read. Congrats Lynn!

And to all of you fine folks, have a great weekend!


A Ninja Captain Plays Favorites?!

Hey, gang! As I'm sure you've noticed if you're even remotely plugged into the blogging world this week, our very own Alex Cavanaugh (AKA the Ninja Rocker, AKA the Ninja Captain, AKA the Blogging Maniac, AKA Robo-Alex...) released the third and final installment of his Sci-fi space opera series, CassaStorm.

As part of the occasion, Alex is storming the Web and answering a bunch of random questions from his blogging buddies. I've had a blast reading all of the Q&A, and am excited to finally be able to post my own.

Also, be sure to omment on Alex’s blog this week for a chance to win a Cassa mug, mousepad, magnet, and swag!

E.J.'s Question:  What are your top 3 science fiction stories (movies, TV, books, etc.) of all time? (I know this is going to kill you! bwahahahahaha)

The Captain Answers: EJ! That is so unfair. Well, I’m not going to play fair with my answer, either. (We knew you couldn't play favorites!)

Top science fiction stories of all time – Firefly/Serenity, Star Trek (all), and Stargate SG1/Atlantis. And yes, those cover television, movies, and books, as I’ve read adventures from all three.

You should have to name your favorite now…

E.J.: Fair enough! Star Wars (movies, books, & animated), Ender's Game (book), & Battle Star Galactica (2004 TV series).

Everyone else: Be sure to tell us what your favorites are in the comments!

By Alex J Cavanaugh

From the Amazon Best Selling Series!

A storm gathers across the galaxy…

Commanding the Cassan base on Tgren, Byron thought he’d put the days of battle behind him. As a galaxy-wide war encroaches upon the desert planet, Byron’s ideal life is threatened and he’s caught between the Tgrens and the Cassans.

After enemy ships attack the desert planet, Byron discovers another battle within his own family. The declaration of war between all ten races triggers nightmares in his son, threatening to destroy the boy’s mind.
Meanwhile the ancient alien ship is transmitting a code that might signal the end of all life in the galaxy. And the mysterious probe that almost destroyed Tgren twenty years ago could return. As his world begins to crumble, Byron suspects a connection. The storm is about to break, and Byron is caught in the middle…

“CassaStorM is a touching and mesmerizing space opera full of action and emotion with strong characters and a cosmic mystery.” – Edi’s Book Lighhouse

“Cavanaugh creates such an unforgettable world, and these characters will stay with you long after their story is over.”
- Cassie Mae, author of Friday Night Alibi and How to Date a Nerd

“…the racial conflicts propelled much of the plot in this story, driving home a message that's relevant to our own world and giving the book an interesting texture.”
- C. Lee. McKenzie, author of Alligators Overhead

$16.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 268 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.

Science fiction/adventure and science fiction/space opera

Print ISBN 9781939844002 eBook ISBN 9781939844019

$4.99 EBook available in all formats

Find CassaStorm:

Barnes and Noble -

Amazon -

Amazon Kindle -

Goodreads -

Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The author of the Amazon bestsellers, CassaStar and CassaFire, he lives in the Carolinas with his wife.

Website –

Twitter –

Goodreads -

What's Under The Cover? I'll Need Your Help To Find Out!

Hey, gang! I've got book covers on the brain today for LOTS of reasons. 

First, our New Adult Lit Chat last night was all about book covers and what takes them from good to Oh-My-God-Did-You-See-That?! If you're curious about what we talked about, or maybe looking for a few tips, you can listen to our audio show and read the Twitter transcripts, HERE.

The second thing that's had me pondering the beauty behind the pictures that are literally worth (or represent) thousands of words is the number of FANTASTIC new covers I've seen floating around the blog world this week. Here are a couple of favorites:

This is the cover for Christine Rains 13th Floor collection. Besides housing one of my favorite series of short, speculative fiction, I think this cover is totally creepy and evocative--just like the stories! You can learn more about the series and author HERE.

Now this one is truly an all-time favorite of mine now. Sheena-kay is a dedicated blogger friend, and I think this cover is out of control with awesome! I'll admit I'm biased here, because I'm such a huge fan of graphic novels and comics, but I truly don't know how anyone couldn't be at least a little curious to read this based upon the cover. For more info on the book and Sheena-kay, head over HERE.

Finally, the last thing that's had me thinking about ye old book cover is that I've been working on the one for the next story in my New Adult, speculative fiction series, The Moonsongs Books. This will be book 4, and I definitely learn a lot each time I go through the design process.

And thinking along those lines, I was hoping to recruit some of you fine folks to help me share the cover when it's ready. Specifically, I'm shooting for October 15-18, with book 4 being released shortly thereafter.

So, if you think you could share the cover for my latest on one of those dates, please sign up via the form below. I'll be in touch to provide all the details in the weeks ahead. 

I truly appreciate the help! Here's a sneak-peek at the cover to tide you over in the meantime:

Any guesses as to what kind of nasty thing could be hiding behind the curtain? I'll just say it's going to be Jenny's biggest test--and craziest adventure--yet. :)


Indie Life - Outsourcing Pt. 1 of 3

Hey, gang! Today I'm posting as part of the Indie Life blog group. Basically, it's a collection of independent publishing professionals who share their tips, thoughts, and trials on the second Wednesday of every month.

For more information on the group, and to learn how you can take part, click HERE.

Outsourcing Pt. 1 of 3 - Identifying the Steps to Publishing Independently

Indie Life lesson numero uno ought to be: When you hit 'PUBLISH' with a price tag associated with whatever you're publishing, you're no longer just a writer or just an author, you're a publishing professional. Moreover, you're also a small business owner. 

Your business is writing, and then publishing that writing. It's that simple... 

*throws head back and cackles maniacally* I'm totally kidding! It's SO not that simple.

There are like a bajillion steps in between those two things, and a bajillion more after. For the sake of not getting bogged down in minutia and/or triggering a nervous twitch, today we're going to take a look at the broad checklist for publishing your own work.

These are the big-picture, guidepost things that you can tack to your office wall and work your way through--or at least know you'll have to address them at some point. 

But before we do, I want you to promise to shout these words infomercial-style after you read about each of these steps: QUALITY MATTERS! Got it? Good, let's get to it!

1. Write - Simple in theory, but the Devil is in the details as they say. So make sure you do all the things those books on writing, critique partners, and teachers tell you to do to not suck at it. When you're pretty sure you don't suck, move to step two.

"Quality matters!"

2. Edit - You're writing MUST be edited. And I don't mean your sister reads it and squeals at the kissy scenes. You cannot consider yourself a publishing professional unless you do a little quality control on your product. People aren't paying to read your misspelled words, runons, cliches, etc. Well, they might be paying for it, but they'll be pissed about it afterwards. You've been warned.

"Quality matters!"

3. Cover - Every book distributor (see - 5) I know of requires a cover image to be uploaded before you can publish. The catch is that other than basic resolution requirements, there's no rule to say it can't be a really crappy cover. So there's some judgement to be made here.

"Quality matters!"

4. Formatting - Whether you plan to publish your book electronically, in print, or both, some formatting must occur. Now, this can sometimes be done by "massaging" a Word document, and it can also be done by myriad other methods (learning some HTML, becoming a wizard, etc.) Basically, all those awful images conjured by the expression "many ways to skin a cat" should be springing to mind now. You're welcome. :)

"Quality matters!"

5. Distributing - Once steps 1 - 4 are completed in some order (4 might be slightly reliant on 5 btw), you need to upload your book to Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the Oracle (totally made that one up)--wherever. The point is, until you give your book to retailers, readers won't be able to buy and read it--which is kind of the point of this little rat race of ours.

"Quality matters!"

6. Marketing - This technically can--and probably should--start before now, but especially after you've published your book. You need to figure out a way to let readers know it exists. 

Oh, and the days of being able to shuck your britches and run through the town square shouting your author name, book title, and genre are long past. Well, you can still do that, and if someone uploads a video of you doing so to YouTube it might even work. But you'll most certainly also spend some time in jail. Plus, there are easier ways, which I'll get to.

"Quality matters!"

*squints* Yep, I think that about covers it. Now, if you've actually done this Indie thing, you're probably flapping your arms up and down saying, "But, E.J.! You didn't tell them about the snuffles, the blithertoos, and the jumbles. And you definitely left out the bandysnatch, the widdersnaps, and the scuffles!" (You all speak like Dr. Seuss in my imagination... just go with it.)

I haven't forgotten at all! It's just that it would take SOOO much time to go into the detail of each of those steps, and Good Blogging Digest says I should keep this to around 500 words. (Completely disregard every other way I defy the rules in Good Blogging Digest...)

So, if I might, I'd like to offer you a simpler solution: Outsource it. Let someone else do the work.

Most small businesses are small for a reason. It's because they don't, and can't, do everything at an efficient or practical level. They aren't Amazon, Walmart, or Huge Corporation X with the stupid amounts of money needed to control every aspect of running a business. So they assess things they can do, and the things they can't, and then turn those can't things over to those who can.

Independent authors are no different. In fact, Steps 2 - 6 above can all be outsourced. Heck, you can probably even outsource 1, but we'll pretend you actually want to be a writer and not just call yourself one. Personally, I've had to pick and choose the things I've outsourced, so you can definitely do the buffet approach. 

Maybe you're not made of money, and that's okay. There are lots of places and people who do some of these things on the cheap--and aren't bad at it to boot.

Yes, almost all of the items on that list can be learned with enough time and perseverance. (I'm going to rule out editing... please don't self-edit. Especially at the copyediting stages.) HOWEVER, always keep in mind that as a small business owner, your time = $$$. And depending upon your knowledge base going in, it can take a LOT of time to learn these things. 

Remembering always that quality matters!, and that time = $$$, be brutally honest with yourself about what you can and can't do. 

Done that? Great! Hope you'll come back for part 2 of my outsourcing discussion. I'll go into detail on what to look for, where to find it, and how much you can expect to pay.



"When you hit PUBLISH you're no longer just a writer or an author, you're a publishing professional."  Click to tweet.

"-quality matters and time = $, so be honest with yourself about what you can and can't do." #IndieLife Click to tweet.

"You cannot consider yourself a publishing professional unless you do a little quality control on your product." Click to tweet.

IWSG - 10 Tips For The Beginning Writer... A Mostly Serious List

Hey, gang! Time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) post... or as I like to call it, the We're A Hot Mess And Damned Proud Of It Support Group. (Can't really blame Alex--founder of IWSG--for not calling it the WAHMADPOISG, can we.)

Actually, the group is more about encouraging other writers by confessing our insecurities, talking about how we overcome them, and generally keeping it real. 

This month marks the two year anniversary of the IWSG, and I'm really proud to be a part of this group. For more info on the IWSG, and to learn how you can take part, click THIS.

IWSG - 10 Tips For The Beginning Writer... A Mostly Serious List

As noted, this list is only mostly serious. Like being "mostly dead", mostly serious mean it might also be partially silly and inapplicable to anyone but me.

Let's get started!

1. Being a good reader is a very important part of being a good writer.

2. Being a good reader does NOT make you a good writer.

3. You should write about what you know... then twist the hell out of it until you're convinced you know nothing about it anymore--after all, that's how most of your readers will enter into the deal.

4. Write the craziest, bravest, most devious, and over-the-top characters you can dream up. Then make them crazier, braver, even more devious, and so over-the-top your grandmother will blush at their brazenness. That's when they become unforgettable.

5. No one is ever going to give you a letter grade, stamp of approval, keys to a magical 'For Writers Only' grotto in the Alps, or any other kind confirmation that you are indeed a writer. So just think of yourself as one as soon as you type that first sentence and get on with being one.

6. Write like you have millions of fans dying to read your next story, even when you're pretty sure your dog is the only one who cares when it's done--and that's just because you'll finally take her for a walk. It'll keep you writing through the inevitable 'dark' days. 

7.  Dark days will come when you feel like you're no better a writer than you were when you started (insert number) years ago, and that you're no closer to your goals than when you hadn't started at all. It's best to embrace them, and eat a buttload of chocolate, go for a run, shop, sulk, piddle on the Internet, consider a career as grizzly bear tamer because it would be less emotionally dangerous or do whatever it is you do to cope with crappy days. 

Then, when you have a little perspective, go find a mirror, look into it, and say, "I'm a writer. Being a writer means I'm going to suck some days. It's just part of the job." Now go back to the chair and do the other parts.

8. The more you think of writing as a very cool, very necessary  and very difficult task or job that needs doing--and doing well--the easier this will be for you. Writing is not magic. Becoming a good writer does not require an altered state of being, a muse, Da Vinci-esque levels of creativity, or unicorn-horn dust. 

It DOES require patience, an inquisitive nature, being humble as it relates to your own ability, having an appreciation for getting most everything wrong before you can get it right, a dogged determination, and being willing to learn at an almost constant rate. 

9. Don't try to write like anyone else, and when you discover you are (and you will), figure out how and change it up a little so people say, "ooh, this reminds me of XYZ... but different!" Also known as the Colonel's secret recipe for voice.

10. Writing is a paradox in that it's a solitary task that can't be done alone. So make friends with other writers as quickly and as often as you can. They get you, they get this writing thing like no one else does, and they'll likely be your first and dearest fans. That's why groups like the IWSG are so important. 

What about you? Any tips  you wish someone had given you before you started your writing pursuit? 



"Being a writer means I'm going to suck some days. It's just part of the job." Click to tweet.

"write about what you know... then twist the hell out of it until you know nothing about it anymore" Click to Tweet.

"Writing is a paradox in that it's a solitary task that can't be done alone." Click to tweet.