Goodreads
Goodreads asked Kallypso Masters:

What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

Kallypso Masters Here are a few of the biggies:

1) Take all the writing classes (online, adult education, local community college, wherever) and workshops (conferences, local writers groups, etc.) and learn the craft of writing. You need to learn about point of view; pacing; writing dialogue, description, scene setting; show don't tell; active voice more than passive; conveying deep emotion; plotting (if you are a plotter); and SO many other things that, quite frankly, aren't inbred in many of us. I studied writing for decades (off and on--mostly off) and that's how I could put out my "first" book and have it be a bestseller. I paid my dues. And, yes, there are rules for various genres, if you're going to write in a genre. You need to learn those rules before you can break them. Of course, there are lots of great books on how to write available. Go to a local used-book store and check out their reference section. Read and learn from the masters!

2) Find a mentor or critique partner willing to read your work and give you honest feedback and suggestions on what you need to study further (see #1) so that your prose will compel people to read it. (Note--Kally does NOT offer this service. I can't critique. I find myself just rewriting it to my own voice, and that's not a critiquer.)

3) Decide whether you are going to go the traditional route with a publisher (whether New York-based or a small press) OR be an indie author. I can't offer advice on going with a publisher because I didn't choose that route. If you want to be indie and self-publish, then make SURE you have the money to hire a professional team of editors, cover artists, formatters, and anyone you need to make that book look better than what the publishers are putting out.

4. If you decide to go with a publisher because you don't want to market your book (you just want to write lol), then you might want to reconsider publishing your books at all in any fashion (unless you just want family and friends to read them). Publishers do very little to market books (unless you are Stephen King or James Patterson). ALL authors, regardless of how they published, need to get out on social media and market yourself by ENGAGING with readers day in and day out (unless you have a good excuse not to be online). Start even before you publish your first book. Set up accounts under your pen name IMMEDIATELY because building a following of friends and then switching names on them won't make you any sales. They need to know you are working on your first book all along and many readers love to discover new talent, so they will follow you. (Just don't promote yourself blatantly on some other author's FB page. That's rude.)

5) Don't put out the first book as soon as it's done. To get noticed by readers, you need at least three. (Some say five, but I did well with three.) I published my first three in August, September, and December 2011. If you can write fast (and at this stage in your career, marketing isn't going to take as much time as it will later, so you probably can write fairly quickly), you can space them out like this. If not, then wait until that third one is finished, PROFESSIONALLY edited (not by your high-school English teacher, PLEASE), and ready to go and then put them out either all at once or in close succession.

6. Sell the first one for no more than 99 cents. When possible, make it free. Most readers won't try a new author unless they were recommended by a friend, another author, or a trusted blogger OR they can get the book for free. But you don't want to make a first book free if there aren't two or more others for readers to buy when they fall in love with you. Don't expect them to remember you months or years later. They won't.

7. Publish as often as you can. Obviously, what *I* can do and what other authors can do aren't the same. They remain in the public's eye constantly with releases every few months. I do well to have one good book put out a year. (But I write slowly and won't put out a book before I'm completely satisfied with it and proud to have others read it. While it's nice to make money on my writing, I prefer to build a fanbase of readers willing to wait 9-15 months (or however long it takes) for the next book from me.

Hope this helps! If you have any specific questions or follow-up questions, please ask. I kind of covered everything from beginning to write to becoming a bestseller. lol

Kally

About Goodreads Q&A

Ask and answer questions about books!

You can pose questions to the Goodreads community with Reader Q&A, or ask your favorite author a question with Ask the Author.

See Featured Authors Answering Questions

Learn more