RESEARCH YOUR SUBJECT – If you intend to write about something or somewhere that is not familiar to you make sure you do your research or it will be blindingly obvious that you don’t know your subject. When gathering the requisite information do not translate this verbatim, always add your own slant and embellish if necessary, i.e. when I was writing my debut novel Fire and Honey I had to research the origins of Voodoo in Haiti and the history of the religion it is based upon. I did not reiterate what I had discovered in depth, just a general outline, as the reader would probably find it boring.
WRITE ABOUT SOMETHING THAT YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT – Don’t be afraid to delve into the psyche of human feelings and relationships when writing about romance.
WRITE ABOUT SOMETHING THAT YOU FIND INSPIRING – I was inspired by books I had read as a boy, such as The Coral Island by R.M. Ballantyne and Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Tales of far off desert islands with all their flora and fauna, dovetailed with my love of nature. Later I used that inspiration to write Fire and Honey, an erotic romantic fiction based in the Caribbean.
TARGET YOUR READERSHIP – Keep in mind who you are writing for (adult or children).
TRY TO KEEP TO A PARTICULAR GENRE – I.e. romance, fiction etc., as retailers like to put books into categories. My book, Fire and Honey crossed genres and a consequence of this is it has been more challenging to publish.
DEVELOP YOUR OWN STYLE OF WRITING – Try to imbue your writing with a style of your own and avoid copying another author’s style.
WRITE DESCRIPTIVELY – Perhaps using metaphors or similes. You need to paint a picture, like an artist, but with words. Describe how something feels, how it sounds or how it smells.
TEST OUT YOUR WRITING ON FAMILY AND FRIENDS WHOSE OPINION YOU VALUE – When you have written something you deem good enough to show to the world, start by asking friends and family to review your work and point out any weaknesses in your writing or where it can be improved or any perceived shortcomings so you can rectify these before approaching a publisher. But if you think something you have written is good then have the courage of your convictions and stick to your guns.
HOW TO GET YOUR WORK PUBLISHED – There is the conventional route (self-publishing) or the route I chose – partnership publishing where you and your publisher spread the financial risk by sharing the start-up costs of the first run of books, usually a minimum of 500 copies. A publisher like The Book Guild who I have published with. Their expertise and industry connections have been invaluable. It is easy to be seduced by the success of books like 50 Shades of Grey etc. but be aware that success of this magnitude is very rare, so be realistic about your expectations.
WRITE SOMETHING YOU WOULD ENJOY READING YOURSELF.
C. J Evans’ debut novel, Fire and Honey is out now and is available to buy from Amazon or from bookguild.co.uk