I don’t know which new Indie Author needs to hear this, but it shows in your writing if you don’t read.
It is said that writers write, which is true, but writers also read. It is through reading that we learn the basics of how to write. This means that reading and writing are a partnership, and one cannot exist without the other.
This is not to say that someone who was never into reading can’t write a book. They absolutely can, but only if they are willing to start reading. There is no way around this. Aspiring writers need to consume books like aspiring doctors need to go to medical school.
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”
There is no such thing as loving to write but hating to read.
This is one of the biggest issues I see in the Self-Publishing community. It is not the act of Self-Publishing that gives it a bad reputation. It is the audacity of people who never enjoyed reading and writing in the first place who suddenly want to write a book.
“It’s hard for me to believe that people who read very little (or not at all in some cases) should presume to write and expect people to like what they have written, but I know it’s true. If I had a nickel for every person who ever told me he/she wanted to become a writer but didn’t have time to read, I could buy myself a pretty good steak dinner. Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
The first red flag that someone doesn’t read is when I am sent a manuscript so badly formatted that it does not resemble a novel or book or anything. It is just letters on a page with weird spacing and no chapter headings.
This is because the writer isn’t familiar with the story structure, which comes from reading books. They are hoping I can take their scrambled notes and turn them into something legible. They want me to write the book for them. (If you want someone to write the book for you, you’ll have to hire a ghostwriter.) The same issue arises when new authors are choosing genres. I can’t tell if this is supposed to be a cookbook or a romance novel.
How the book is published is not the problem, weak writing is.
If you want to publish a book but you’ve never been into reading, that’s an easy fix: Just start reading. The more you read, the more you will write, and the better you will be at it.
Reading books in the genres you want to write in to familiarize yourself with them is also a good idea. Want to write a poetry book? Read poetry. Memoir? Read memoirs, and understand they are not the same as autobiography. Wanna write historical fiction? Read historical fiction, and so on.
Ready to publish your book but not sure where to start? Click Here.
My name is Leila, though I sign my stories as Katherine Joe (long story). Currently, I live in London but originally I’m from Iran.
Iran in the house ya’ll. What are some major differences between living in London and Iran?
A lot of differences, not only in how I live, but mostly how my personality changes. In Iran I mostly depend on my parents, I would stay most of my time at home and with the people who are our close family/relatives. Here though I change to a different person and I have to decide about everything myself. From the basic things such as my home decoration to how to manage my money. It’s harder but worth it. I love my personality more in London than in Iran.
Sounds like you enjoy the independence of living in London. Cool beans. Are you employed outside of writing?
I have never been a one-dimensional person. I study PhD in computer science and systems biology and work as a tutor and a teaching assistant.
That’s awesome. What job do you think you’d be really good at?
I think I am good at teaching and research. I hope to be good in writing too.
How many siblings do you have?
I have an older brother who is married and has a child.
What was your childhood dream?
I had many; I have forgotten most. The ones I remember are: I wanted to be a famous mysterious author who no one knew about her. I wanted to be a teacher and an astronaut. I had a lion pet and was living in a village.
Sounds like your dreams have come true somewhat. You’re a teacher and you write under a different name which is kinda like the mysterious author lol. What is the most annoying habit that you have?
I lose confidence in a blink. Just something comes to my head, a small thought, I think it over and over and then conclude that I’m no good.
Happens to the best of us. We all have our moments of doubt. I commend you for being courageous enough to put that out there. We just gotta stop those thoughts immediately and replace them with good ones!
What’s your favorite color?
My favorite color is White.
Beautiful. Let’s talk about writing. Who is your favorite writer?
My favorite authors are Agatha Christie and J. R. R. Tolkien.
Why is writing important to you?
I love writing my thoughts and creating my worlds and running away to them from reality. With writing them I can share them. Inviting people to my world seems exciting. Knowing I am showing them something they have never seen, as amazing.
What genre do you write in, why?
Sci-fi and fantasy, because I enjoy running away from real world. Drama and fiction to teach myself and others about the real world.
What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?
The most difficult is that a writer has a huge responsibility. It is important what we write and teach the reader. How we influence their way of thinking and their beliefs. At the same time, it is the most exciting thing. A writer is teaching something to someone which can change their lives.
I agree. Does blogging help you to write?
It does, yes. What a writer always wants is to be read and internet has made it easy. With the blog, your art is out there and people can enjoy it. It is so fun especially when someone puts a comment on your post to criticize or compliment.
Gotta love that feedback right? Are you religious Katherine?
I believe in God and I consider myself a Muslim. But I think about my religion a lot. Sometimes I’m lost. But I want to believe in something for my own heart warming.
Can you elaborate a bit on what you mean when you say that sometimes you are lost and want to believe in something for your own heart?
Well, I was born in a Muslim society but I was never like others to accept what they hear immediately or to deny all the thoughts simply because they judge the religion on the society and not itself. I always enjoy a friendly talk about religion and comparing them to each other as long as we both respect the other party’s beliefs (which sometimes it cannot happen). I look for the best way of living and I believe someone introduced religions to guide us in living a better life. Sometimes I get so confused yet I keep my faith in the things I believe. So I assume I am doing my best, to the best of my knowledge.
We definitely have to do some sidebar chatting. What do you love about yourself?
I think the thing I love about myself the most is that I am different and I can easily be a teacher to myself and comment on my own behavior, analyze them and see if I was doing the right thing. I also love the fact that I am honest, no matter the circumstances to everyone and most importantly to myself.
Beautiful. I love that you can self-examine yourself! It’s of crucial importance that we understand that. What don’t you like about yourself?
I underestimate myself and I am happy with “good enough.” Though I want to learn to be perfect at something.
The ability to understand both what you’re good at and what you think needs improvement is an important leadership skill!
Would you say that you’re political?
I’ve never liked politics. I find it boring and complicated.
Lol. I hear you. What do you wish you knew more about?
I would love to know more about Astronomy, God and humans.
What’s your favorite TV Show? Movie?
TV show: Friends. Movie: don’t have one.
Whaat? You gotta have a favorite movie! What songs have you completely memorized?
Fire on fire Sam Smith, Reflexion from Mulan.
In your own words, define racism.
Not being able to love another person, or judging them at first glance simply because of their appearance. Not only skin color, anything.
I like that. If you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be?
Justice, which I could give everyone what they really deserve. With that I could give discipline to this world.
What TV channel doesn’t exist but really should?
Comedy channel where they only shows comedies.
Does Comedy Central count?
I have never heard of that channel, not sure if it in on channel list in TV in UK. But if it plays comedy all day long, then absolutely it does count.
What would your perfect writing / reading room look like?
I can write almost everywhere, and for some reason when I am surrounded by people and noise my brain has a better function. So my writing room is a small room full of books and a desk under the window and the view of the alley where people may pass every thirty minutes or so.
If you had unlimited funds to build a house that you would live in for the rest of your life, what would the finished house be like?
The house has 10 bedrooms. A big master bedroom for myself, with an enormous bathroom and a huge changing room/closet. The other 9 rooms are suited for children I have adopted….
Wait, you want nine children??? Don’t answer that, go on. This getting good…
Each have specific color yet no animation characters on the wall; for I want my children to create their favorite characters in their heads. My dining room’s walls are decorated with green-blue bookshelves and while there is a 12 seater wooden dining table, there are two yellow armchairs under the window, with a round coffee table in front of them and a tall standing lamp beside each which is the reading spot. This stops anyone in the house from skipping a meal for reading.
You are so detailed I love it
Then the kitchen is just beside the dining room. It has all white wood cabinets and an island in the middle where the sink is built. I can see my children in the living room and the dining room while I’m there. The living room has a huge TV and half-circle grey sofas so everyone can sit. Big windows on each wall are the best light source and I decorate them with blue curtains. There is a wooden coffee table in the middle with a glass top and a round rug with the combination color of blue, grey, yellow and green on the ground.
On the other side there is a chimney and in front of it four armchairs, two green and two yellow, are located. A square coffee table with another rug is there as well. It is the “important discussions” spot.
On the rug, there are many cushions in different colours so it can seat everyone on the ground, if not on the armchairs. There is the hidden attic too. It is “I-need-space” spot. It is decorated with just a bed and a desk just like Anne Shirley’s room.
If you could live in a movie, which would it be?
Chronicles of Narnia. Because of Aslan.
What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
In real life? Having a backpack and going around the world, not fearing a thing. In my head? Quite the same thing, with dragons, swords and monsters.
What do you hate most about writing advice? What do you love?
Mostly, it help you get better. Even if it’s an advice which you don’t agree with, it makes you look at your work from another aspect and think twice. Though, I don’t like the ones which come from the people who think they know everything, but they know nothing.
These are facts. What skill would you like to master?
I would love to master in writing what comes to my brain, also I love to learn how to draw. My brain knows how to, step by step but my hands cannot do what I think I want to do. I love singing though I don’t have a good voice and I love playing music as well.
When did you publish your first book? What was that like?
I published my first book on Amazon, in February 2019. I did it mostly for myself confidence and I got great advice from the people who read it. They helped me through it a lot with reading my work and commenting on it. I also started believing in myself and I’m working even harder for my new work now.
Thank you Katherine for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!
Katherine was born in Iran in 1993 and has been writing since she was ten-years-old. She always has lots of ideas and sometimes she dreams about them. She believes if she does not write, her brain will implode (:D). Other than writing, Joe does photography as a hobby, plays the piano and is a student and researcher.
Today, I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Dana Kearney. Welcome to the PBS Blog. Let’s get started!
What was you childhood dream?
My childhood dream was to be a doctor. Then I realized hospitals and sick people scare me. So I had to find something else to be and I always loved writing.
Cool. In your own words, what is love?
Love is a connection that you cannot describe. It is so powerful when you feel it you know because you have never felt it before. It is a part of the air you breathe. It is unconditional. Love has been around since the beginning of time. Love lasts through the universe and galaxies. It is a selfless feeling that transforms you into your highest self. Love is when frequencies align, your life is complete, and the passion is at its peak. Love is when you see stars in their eyes. Love is balance with the universe.
Okaay Dana. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
A trip around the world would be the most exciting to go on. You could travel many different ways and see so many historic sites.
I love that. Who is your favorite writer?
My favorite writer is Zora Neale Hurston. Her stories transcend, time, space and culture. She takes us through two worlds where some of us live. She describes a time that has passed, but it is also infinite. She gives our lives space, meaning, love, and divinity.
What kind of music do you like?
I like rhythm and blues, hip-hop, pop, old school music from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Sometimes I pick whatever makes me escape into another place and other times I pick what resonates with current moments in time.
Nice. Dana, define racism.
Racism is the power to negatively impact millions of lives through housing, employment, and natural resources based on race.
Nicely put. What’s your favorite TV Show? Movie?
My favorite movie is Gladiator. I love stories of Ancient Times. I love how the actors bring you into the story. They make you root for one over the other. Behind all the backstabbing and treachery it is a love story and a father trying to return home after he avenges his family.
What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?
The most difficult part about being a writer is getting your thoughts into a familiar structure. The most exciting part is giving your perspective on life.
What does that mean, getting your thoughts into a familiar structure?
Putting my thoughts into a format that people are comfortable with. As your thoughts come out they may not be organized or naturally flow.
Ahh. Got it. That’s true. Is there anything you don’t you like about yourself?
I don’t like my need for perfection. It stresses me out but I still strive for perfection.
Life is not always pretty. We all experience hardship every now and again. What is your best advice for reducing stress?
My best advice for reducing stress is take care of yourself. Do what makes you happy. Take time to meditate or pray. Take time to do your favorite things. Take care of yourself.
I love it.
Thank you Dana for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!
Dana Kearney was raised in Oakland, CA and graduated from the University of California Davis. Dana was a public school educator for ten years. She loves to read, write, swim, teach, and travel. Dana still lives in California and is currently working on Diamonds or Light? Part II
In, building connections as a writer on social media, it’s important that you are authentic in those interactions. What does this mean? It means to be genuine and true, to be real but what does this mean? To be genuine and true is to be yourself in a way that does not force others to accept you, but brings together those who share the same passion as you do. People can tell if you are sharing something just to sell your books or sharing something because you deeply love it and you care about sharing that love with others for their benefit. You genuinely want to educate people, inspire people, empower people, or you want to make them laugh, or help them to heal or evolve. What people get out of getting to know more about you? What value do you offer that helps to make their lives better? This is what building relationships are about. It’s not so much about the book itself, it’s more who you are, who we all are and how your book seeks to make us better. It doesn’t matter if you write fiction or non-fiction, in what way are we better from reading your book? This answer is revealed in your genuine interactions with others. People can tell if the information you are sharing is not authentic. We can tell if you’re sharing something just to sell your book versus sharing something because you want us to be better.
The problem is not that “artistry” doesn’t sell. There is no debate to be had about writing as an art and as a business. It is both. Integrity is everything and I personally believe no one should ever compromise that. Even more so, I believe it is this very integrity that makes us interested in an artist in the first place whether that artist is an author or musician or painter. There’s this debate about wanting to make real money from writing or treating it as an art I do not understand. There is no competition to be had. It is possible to be a serious businessperson and artist at the same time. The problem is too many new Indie authors aren’t authentic about the art enough to build trust among readers to the extent that we care about supporting that author’s work.
This isn’t about trying to find anyone to read our books. You are in search of people who share your passions, goals, and belief system. You aren’t here to force people to share those passions and beliefs but to connect with those who do. This isn’t about trying to make people like you. This is about genuinely connecting with those who do. These are authentic connections. It doesn’t matter how many times you talk about your book if I know nothing about you or share your vision or if I don’t care about what you are bringing to the table, I am not buying the book and I am not the reader you want. You don’t want me. You want the reader interested in the value you are bringing. To get here is to start with offering value where being yourself is not a gimmick.
If you would like to take the step toward helping your potential readers to get to know more about you and your passions and how you can help to make us better through your writing, be sure to take part in my Author Introduce Yourself Feature, specifically designed to help us to get to know you better. Learn how to do so HERE and stay tuned for tomorrow’s featured author.
Also, don’t forget that FOUR of my books are on sale for the month of February. If you are into Black Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction or poetry, choose your favorite book by clicking HERE and pay just 99cents from now through 2/28.
Welcome to Introduce Yourself, a new and exciting blog segment of The PBS Blog dedicated to introducing to you new and established authors and their books.
Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Meredith Gibrahar. She’s our first Aspiring Author! Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.
What would your favorite writing / reading room look like:
My perfect writing/reading room would be a clean table with just a computer and a comfortable reading chair.
What is the most annoying habit that you have?
The most annoying habit I have is to say, “I’m sorry!” I am on disability for a mental illness.
What do you hate about writing advice? What do you love?
What I hate about writing advice is that it’s not specific enough. What I love about writing advice is learning more and more each day.
I feel you. Can you give us an example of what would be specific writing advice for you?
How do you develop a character in fiction? How do you set up a scene in your book?
What do you think you’ve mastered?
I think I’ve mastered the skill of painting with pastel and watercolor paints.
Ooh. Nice. Do you have any siblings Meredith?
I have two brothers.
Cool. What was your childhood dream?
My childhood dream was to be a secretary so that I could use a typewriter.
My dad had a typewriter! We broke it of course lol. In your own words, what is Humility?
Humility is to be honest about your achievements.
I love it. In your own words, what is Love?
Love is something to be shared between two people.
What is the most amazing adventure you’d like to go on?
The most amazing adventure would be to go on a safari to take photographs.
Thank you Meredith for spending this time with us!
I am a new Canadian author. Just starting out and trying to get some interest in two new books. I have experienced much in life and think that I have a rich past and a rich imagination that will create two thrilling and suspenseful books.
More about Meredith:
Meredith was born in 1958 in Ontario Canada. She wrote a play in public school and have written one scientific article and a thesis. She writes poetry and fiction and is working on a non fiction book called The Dominant. She is a single parent.
Great advice for both new and established writers. Post Quote: “Reality 1. Readers have no idea who you are. You need to market yourself and your books. You need to understand social media, marketing, selling, and general good business practices.”
I was at a book signing the other day, and a person asked me a question that caused me to have to think a little before blurting out an answer. The question was, “What should every new writer know?” My answer at the time seemed to satisfy the person asking but after giving it a little more thought I decided that my reply was at best adequate and at worst incomplete. Now thanks to the Mystery Thriller Week I have been given another opportunity to adequately express what I have no come to call My Advice for New Writers that Every New Writer Should Know Before Deciding to Become a Writer. I think you can tell from my title that the thought process has grown from my initial response at the book signing. Also, if you have decided to become a writer no matter what anyone tells you, I would…