NY Times bestselling author Karen Hawkins offered her advice this morning at the Florida Romance Writers meeting. Here are some of the guidelines she offered based on what she’s learned through the years as a professional writer.
- Don’t ignore the market unless you’re willing to wait for the market to swing around to what you want to write. Write what you love and love the market, but stay true to your voice. Find out where your voice will fit in the current marketplace.
- Don’t write for one editor. Write for the genre. Be broad enough so that your work has appeal. (i.e. If you write to one editor’s tastes and she rejects your work, then where does that leave you?)
- Start a self-editing checklist. If you’re hearing the same things over and over from contest feedback and critique partners, it’s time for you to listen.
- Treat writing as a business in terms of keeping ledgers, records of expenses, estimated tax payments, etc.
- You need at least four books in the same genre for readers to find you. Don’t genre jump or jump on the new trend. Every book you write should offer what readers expect from your brand.
- Be assertive. Stand up for yourself or get an agent who will do it for you. Don’t sell yourself short. There’s a lot more out there to ask for if you try.
We can learn from the mistakes other multi-published authors have made and the lessons they’ve learned, because we’ve all been down the same road at one time or another.