Did you like the meme? LOL, I don’t know how I came up with that – don’t ask.
Before we begin, I want to post what I’m working on. I know some of you have emailed me, and I promise to respond soon.
Here’s my to-do list:
– Finish beta reading for another blogger
– Finish reading (another blogger’s) story for a book review
– Respond to inquiries (WordPress inquires)
That way, those who contacted me know I’m making my way down the list. Oh, and I’m also working on my own writing projects. Speaking of which, I updated Clash of Tides. If you are willing to leave me feedback on chapter 20, I’ll unlock the chapter for you. Thanks!
So, today, I’m going to discuss useful skills that writers should learn. Of course, being a good writer is number one, but to sell our stories, we need more than just good writing skills.
Now, this post may not apply to you. It depends on what route you decide for your stories. Meaning, do you plan to self-publish or try for traditional publishing? Even if you don’t plan to publish anytime soon, there are still handy skills you (as a writer) should learn.
You’re probably thinking:
I know, believe me, a writer’s life ain’t easy! When I first started writing, I thought I only needed to do the writing part.
In the past, I’ve mentioned marketing! Yes, dreaded, annoying, crappy, marketing! To get readers for our work, we need to market our stories. Sadly, marketing isn’t easy. That’s why people have degrees in it. Now, I’m not saying you have to get a college degree in marketing or even take a class, but you should have some idea how marketing works.
Yes, there is the basic, get people to buy stuff concept, but marketing goes deeper than that. When we market our stories, other factors come into play. For example, book covers, character designs, social networking – you get it.
To do a breakdown, here is the list of skills I feel writers should learn (if they want to):
Drawing – You may think this isn’t important, but being able to draw basic characters can save you money. I know drawing isn’t easy, but if you have an interest in it or have some semi-talent already, expand on that. Buy some basic how-to-draw books, take a class, or watch videos on YouTube. Many writers spend hundreds of dollars getting artwork of their characters done (I should know > <). If you can do it yourself, you can potentially save time and money. And believe me, I know a good character drawing isn’t easy to come by, but if you can expand on another talent you have, why not?
Graphic Design – To me, this skill is amazing for a writer to have. Want to know why? Because you can make your own book covers! Sure, they may not be professional quality, but when you are first starting out, having a basic cover design is essential to getting readers. Let’s face it, most, if not all story sharing sites require book covers now. Finding someone to make your cover can be expensive and overwhelming. However, thanks to the internet, you can download programs like Gimp for free and watch tutorials online. While Adobe Photoshop isn’t free, you can find free articles and videos on how to use it. The covers for my stories were made by a self-taught 22-year-old and a self-taught 24-year-old. Both of them just downloaded the programs one day and taught themselves. It may seem hard, but it’s not impossible. You can also use Graphic Design software to make quote teasers and added designs. Here are some visuals I’ve made for Clash of Tides:
(I didn’t do the artwork, but I manipulated the images using Gimp. The backgrounds are stock photos. I also stayed with my underwater theme. After all, it is a story about mermaids and mermen.)
(This is my wallpaper…don’t judge…)
If you are wondering, yes, I plan to get new Clash of Tides artwork done soon. ^__^
Marketing – Last, but not least, marketing. All writers, self-published or traditional, should know about marketing. I’ve heard writers who traditionally publish still have to do their own marketing. I don’t want to get too into this topic because I’ve touched on it before. But seriously, at least pickup Marketing For Dummies.
Editing – Good writers should know how to edit their own work. Of course, you should still get a professional editor, but the more editing you can do on your own, the less you have to spend on a professional. A handy book I’m reading right now is called, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How To Edit Yourself Into Print by Dave King and Renni Browne. Check it out!
Remember, more knowledge can only help you, not hurt you =) Also, most readers LOVE visuals, as it helps bring them into the story. So, yes, visuals are key when marketing our work.