Daryl Devore's Blog

Daryl Devore's Blog

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Writing is Hard - A writer's advice to a new author #writing

At a critique group I belong to, a new author has been banging her forehead on her laptop. She's penned a few discontented emails venting that frustration.

As a slightly seasoned author - This is my response

Without trying to sound funny - welcome to a writer's world and you haven't even got to the fun part yet.

Being a writer isn't easy. A lot of people have the wonderfully romantic vision that we sit in our offices in our cottage in some remote south Pacific island and write a book every other month. Then we fly off to fabulous parties with A list celebrities. When the book is published - the world loves it and everyone praises us for being Goddesses or Gods.

Truth is - most can't find the time to write the book they want to write. Life is too hectic. When they do get it finished then it is the horrendous issue of trying to get an agent or publisher. Rejection after rejection can become very disheartening.

If lightning strikes and a publisher is found then there are always edits. A person could go through 2 - 4 rounds of edits - which are someone else pointing out what you did wrong. It may be as simple as a misplaced comma or it could be a massive plot problem. Their job is to be as nit-picky as possible.

And yes, the publisher would like a "polished" manuscript before being sent to editor as it isn't the editors job to "make a horrible book good" - it's to make a "good book better." Editors can be very expensive and the more hours they spend pointing out edits for every paragraph on every page the more $$ it costs the publisher and this is worrisome especially if you are an unpublished - therefore unproven - author.

Things are pretty much the same for an Indie author except they have bypassed the agent/publisher rejection part. Many indie authors hire editors and again those edits can be expensive - as the $$ comes right out of their pocket - so the cleaner the manuscript the better.

Once the book has been edited and then released - next comes promotion - trying to get your book noticed by the millions of readers. Such a monumental task can easily be described as the proverbial - looking for the needle in the haystack. What do you use for promotion to get your book noticed? Everyone says "A" works. Then it just seems to disappear. Then it is "B", but not much success - especially with a first time author - sales are low. Very disheartening.

But - luck strikes - someone reads your book and then they post a review. Fingers crossed the review is good, because bad reviews can hurt to your core. Some bad reviews are just stupid - most likely a troll, but still they hurt. Other bad reviews rip apart your story exposing flaws that no one spotted (no cp, no beta, no editor and not you) and they can make you feel like such a fool.
I forget the actual saying - so I'll paraphrase - one good line of a review makes your day - one bad line of a review haunts you forever.

And through all that - the lack of time - the frustrations of writing - edits - bad sales - painful reviews - you are supposed to go off and write another book - somehow shutting out the bad stuff and letting your creativity and talent surge.

Writing is hard.
Being a writer is hard. Lots of people think they can write a book. But only a few do.
This is one of those jobs where - literally (lol) - only the strong survive.

So - we hear you - we really do - because we've been there. The standard responses are "grow a thick skin", "suck it up", or "buckle down".

If you want that book published then you are going to have to make some hard decisions - but always keep it in mind - the book is yours and ultimately the responsibility of the book rests on your shoulders.

You hate your book at the moment.
If I asked the critters how many at some point just want to delete the whole thing and pretend they didn't write it - a lot would raise their hand. But luckily they don't hit the delete key. They go get some chocolate or some wine - or both - and they breathe - when ready - back at it they go.

 How about you? Ever hit that - I hate this book moment? Did you delete it?
Any advice for a new author?


  1. Thanks Daryl. It's really important that each writer persevere if they want to write a book and this is a wonderful post! You are correct, there comes a time during each book you write where you hate everything about it, but you continue on, work on it, and then send it out to the world.

    Great post!!

    1. Thanks Valerie. Sometimes it just needs to be said.

  2. I have to agree with every word Daryl and Valerie have penned. I'm a few months off of getting my debut novel published and am going through the tortuous stage of edits from the publisher. It's been hard work for me, partly because this is the first book I've written. But also because it's a romantic comedy and I'd never read even one romance novel before I started it. I don't suppose it helps that at almost 73 years of age it's some 57 years since I left school. Talk about making it hard for myself. So,with all that against me, if I can get a novel published then just about anybody can. So to our struggling new aspiring author I say if I can do it you certainly can. Good luck.

    1. And we are all behind you cheering you on, Peter!!

  3. Yup yup! It's more Hemmingway than Californication, isn't it? Life, that vicious bitch, will suddenly strike and wreak havoc, undermining the writing roll you were on and any confidence you felt in yourself. And yet we persevere. We finish a sentence, a page, a chapter. Our initial draft is complete, so are edits and more edits. Daryl, this is such a great post. I found myself nodding and smiling and agreeing as I read.

    1. Thank you, Sheri. And thank you for suggesting I post this here rather than just a the critique group. I hope one person reads its and it helps them - just a little.