Jon Gibbs is the author of one of my son’s favorite books: FUR-FACE, which was nominated for a Crystal Kite Award.
Recently, my son and I took a ½ hour trek to a local library to hear Jon speak about the ten things he wished he knew before he got published. I love that I have the opportunity to expose my son to talks like this. Originally, he was going to look around the library—but instead, he listened to the talk, asked questions, and stayed at the end to meet Jon. What a great experience for a kid (not to mention for an aspiring author)
As always, rather than rambling on forever, I am going to chop this up into a series. How many posts… ummm, let’s think… Yay to everyone who said ten!
Lesson one: You are not alone
Most of you have already jumped this hurdle. I know because you are here. But it goes further than that. You need to connect personally with other authors as well. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are tons of authors out there who are more than willing to share what they have learned… you just have to ask.
Look for local writers groups. (Meetup.com, FindAWritingGroup.com) Meet others who are going through what you are.
For heaven’s sake, get yourself a beta partner, or two, or five. There is actually a girl in my writing group who has asked me several times what a beta reader is. Believe me… it’s scary at first, but they are worth their weight in gold. Make relationships now, so when you are freaking out as a deadline approaches, they will not hesitate to jump in and help you at the last minute. You will totally thank me for this advice someday.
You know what I’ve started doing, which is a hoot? I contact an author before I start reading their novel. I just say hi, and tell them I’m going to read it. Most of the time, I get a reply, and we cyber-chat a little. Then I get back to them and ask them questions when I’m done. Pretty cool stuff. You can find out a lot about someone, and their publishers/agents just by some friendly chat.
You are not in this alone, as scary as it might seem, take that first step forward and make an effort to introduce yourself. You never know who you might meet.
Note: The above are Jon Gibbs’s main speaking points, with my rambling opinions attached.
Jon is an Englishman transplanted to New Jersey, USA, where he is an ‘author in residence’ at Lakehurst Elementary School. Jon is the founding member of The New Jersey Author’s Network and FindAWritingGroup.com.
Jon blogs at jongibbs.livejournal.com