By Narelle Atkins
I started writing my first book last century. Fourteen years later I sold that book to a traditional publisher in a six book deal. My writing apprenticeship of fourteen years is long by today's standards.
A debut author has options in 2017 that didn't exist when I started writing. They can pursue traditional publishing opportunities or independently publish their first book. Both options are legitimate. The wisdom lies in an author discerning which publishing path (traditional, indie, or hybrid) is best for their writing career and whether or not their book is ready to be published.
Writing quality matters. In many ways it matters more in 2017 than it did last century. The book market is saturated with books that aren't going out of print. The supply of new print, digital, and audio books available for readers to purchase or borrow increases every day. Millions of books are available online. Readers are no longer limited to reading what's available on the shelf in their local book store or library. The best quality books will stand out in a crowded market where word of mouth marketing sells books.
My fourteen year writing apprenticeship was largely spent on two key things. Firstly, I invested time and money in learning the craft of writing. I took writing classes, read craft books, attended writing conferences, worked with critique partners, and entered unpublished writing contests.
Secondly, I learned how to write a marketable contemporary Christian romance that attracted the interest of an editor at a publishing house. Both of these endeavours required skills that aren't born from natural talent. A writing career requires persistence, hard work, and a willingness to learn.
The hard work doesn't end when your debut book is published. Marketing and book promotion activities become part of an author's life. Readers who enjoyed your first book eagerly await your second book. And your third book. They want to be wowed again and again by the stories you create.
Writing professional development is a lifelong pursuit for authors. Traditionally published authors have to wow their editor to obtain their next contract. All authors have to wow their readers to inspire them to buy their next book.
In March I'll be blessed with the opportunity to attend a Margie Lawson Immersion Master Class over a holiday weekend. In Australia. In Canberra. Only a fifteen minute drive from my home. I've wanted to work with Margie for years, and I'm thrilled that I can fit the Writing Intensive Master Class into my 2017 schedule. The timing is perfect for a bunch of reasons.
Have you made plans in 2017 to pursue writing professional development opportunities? I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences.
A fun loving Aussie girl at heart, NARELLE ATKINS was born and raised on the beautiful northern beaches in Sydney, Australia. She has settled in Canberra with her husband and children. A lifelong romance reader, she found the perfect genre to write when she discovered inspirational romance. Narelle's contemporary stories of faith and romance are set in Australia.
Twitter: @NarelleAtkins https://twitter.com/NarelleAtkins