Other than Craft:
1. Read in your sub-genre. You have to know what’s being published to know how your work will fit in or stack up.
2. Get a good chair! With the amount of hours you’ll have to sit behind your computer to finish that book, your back will thank you. A reliable laptop is also a must have for portability and the ability to change your surroundings!
3. Subscribe to a writing or industry magazine to stay abreast of what’s going on. I get Romantic Times, the RWR (as an RWA member), Affaire de Couer, and Writer’s Digest.
4. Be prepared to promo your books, etc. yourself. Publishers aren’t footing the bills these days. So find ways to be thrifty (to hold onto that advance or take home pay), but still get the job done professionally.
5. Invest in building strong friendships with other writers. You will need them down the road, and you’ll appreciate being their friend when you have to weather tough times.
On the Writing Front:
6. Make sure you have enough conflict in your plot. This is what will keep you from that sagging middle. But be sure the conflicts, especially the main one, isn’t contrived or easily solved.
7. Create characters that people will love and possibly hate (as a villain). The secret is to have your hero, heroine and secondary characters strike a chord in your readers.
8. Don’t be afraid to do something different. You want an X-factor that only you can provide. Voice is one of the number one selling points these days.
9. Build a story that lends itself to a series. These days publishers are more apt to buy in pairs or trios, instead of a single title. Be sure you have something tucked up your sleeve instead of leaving yourself in a lurch.
10. Embrace your emotion and write it like you feel. Describe details about romance, love, loss, and the rest of the emotional gamut to convey the true relationships in your work. Write as if you were living in that moment and you’ll do just fine!
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