Most people who want to publish a book do their research. They study not only the how of publishing, but the why. Namely, they reflect on their motives and understand the risk (and reward) of self publishing or working with a small press to distribute their work to a wider audience.
But are you really, truly dedicated to the craft? Are you serious about publishing your book and willing to go the distance? If your answer isn’t a definite “yes,” then it’s time to reevaluate.
It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes, writers approach me who clearly haven’t taken their writing seriously enough. Here are some tried and true signs you’re not a serious writer and not ready to publish.
Are You a Serious Writer? Here Are Some Signs You’re Not.
- You don’t study the craft – It’s great to have an idea on paper, but are you doing yourself (and readers) a favor when you try some experimental grammar choices? Chances are, you’re just going to confuse people. Knowing the rules of the road first – from basic sentence structure to proper tenses and word choice – will allow you to break those rules later.
- You’ve never cracked open a style guide – If AP and CMoS sound like the names of robots to you, you probably haven’t been taking your writing seriously. Making a decision early on to learn about style guides shows readers you aren’t an “aspiring” writer, but genuine.
- You don’t practice enough – Not blogging enough? Typing more text messages than chapters? If you aren’t writing, you’re not growing. It’s not enough to write a short story and call it quits. How else can you use your time to improve your writing?
- You struggle with the basic concepts – Look, it’s fine to get confused about semicolons or to struggle with dialogue. But if you’re using the wrong version of your/you’re, it’s time to go back to the drawing (er, writing) board.
- You’re afraid to learn to change – Fear can be a serious deterrent for the many choices we make. Unfortunately, letting it hold you back will hamper your writing and strain your creativity.
- Criticism doesn’t come easily – If you’ve had someone review your work and chafed at the feedback, then you’re probably not taking your writing seriously enough. There’s criticism, and then there’s constructive feedback, but if you put up a wall no matter what, maybe you aren’t as serious about improving as you thought.
- You’re not willing to review your work until it’s burned in your head – It might sound a little nuts, but the serious writers who self publish read their stories so many times they get sick of them. Are you willing to take the extra steps to meticulously review it, go through the editing process, then read it 2-3 times more before you publish? If this sounds tiresome or too burdensome, it might be better to step away from the story for a while.
While these words are harsh, it should be important to you to put out the best quality work you can. Serious writers take the necessary steps to learn what they are doing, craft a story that is interesting and well-written, and work with professionals to get the work out there and read.
If you’ve read this and come away empowered rather than afraid to begin, then we’re going to get along great! Please don’t hesitate to contact me with your questions.