7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Sunil Robert

This is a recurring column I’m calling “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far,” where writers (this installment written by Sunil Robert, author of I WILL SURVIVE: COMEBACK STORIES OF A CORPORATE WARRIOR) at any stage of their career can talk about writing advice and instruction as well as how they possibly got their book agent — by sharing seven things they’ve learned along their writing journey that they wish they knew at the beginning.

 

1. Stay Passionate. Over the twenty months leading up to the final day when my book was going into print, I went through euphoric highs and depressing troughs as a first-time writer. Staying passionate kept me going. After all, the very reason I write is to tell my story as a memoir writer. If I don’t care enough, why should the publisher, editor, and reader care? Depending on your project timelines, you need the passion and patience of a marathon runner to keep you going.

2. Trade off the occasional small one. I discovered that often when you run into a painfully perfectionist editor or a “we have always done things this way” type of a publicist, be prepared to concede. Not that you have much of a choice, if you are first timer, but gracefully giving into another view point helps the journey enjoyable. Writers, sometimes can be inflexible and stall the progress of the project. Keep the focus on the outcome and hopefully it will be positive.

3. Each book is unique. Often the tendency is to categorize or pigeonhole into a box and treat it accordingly. Stress each time and remind folks that this book is different, even if it broadly falls in a genre or a type. Likewise plead for unique treatment from everyone. Be willing to argue, persuade, make a case.

4. Grab every opportunity. Blogs, Radio shows, Facebook endorsements, any word around the book helps. I particularly like reviews that get blogged and reblogged again elsewhere. Social media made tweeting and retweeting possible. Keep talking to everyone who may be a reviewer, blogger et al. It will finally add to up to what Marketers call “Critical mass.”

5. Once published, you no longer own the ideas. I discovered after my memoir hit the stands that different aspects appealed to different people. Often not exactly in the manner i intended, leading me to question my own capability and clarity. Gradually it dawned on me that the reader is also journeying along and they often impose their filters of understanding. I am now enjoying every response as long as it is complimentary. For every sarcastic feedback, I am vowing to avenge through the sequel.

6. Be prepared to live up to enhanced expectations. A civilized society suddenly raises the bar, once a writer gets published. Rightly so, Now that we have completed our part of the discourse, be prepared to engage with the readers at a higher plane. We are uniquely positioned to shape the conversation and offer compelling views. Be prepared to change the world pivoting around the credibility that is established as a writer.

7. Have a response to the inevitable question, What’s next?
Sometimes the world can be unforgiving, not even offering us the liberty of celebrating the moment. Even before I finished my roadshows, I was asked, “So what’s your next book about?” I labored to explain that I write part-time and therefore my next book may be in a distance. But some of sort of a satisfying, even ambiguous answer needs to kept handy.

 

 

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