10 Things I Wish I Knew About Being an Author that I didn't know as a Blogger: A Guest Post by Namrata
Moving onto become an author from a blogger now there are a lot of things I learnt which I didn’t know as a blogger. Though I am yet to incorporate each of these lessons and practice them they are nevertheless important. Sharing some of them with you:
1. Writing a full length novel is no mean feat – Having been a blogger for 5 years and writing fiction on it I was used to trying my hand on different styles like micro fiction, flash fiction, 55 fiction and short stories. Somewhere in those attempts I started enjoying writing fiction and concluded it would easy to write a book as well. To be honest how much could you tell in those few words and hence a lot was left on the imagination/ understanding of the reader. While for a novel you need to write at least 50000 words and to ensure a reader’s attention is held till the last word is no mean feat!
2. Flawless language is imperative- When you write a blog post rarely you have anyone come up with comments that highlight the flaws in terms of grammar, spelling, tenses or maybe glaring mistakes in the plot but in the book the feedback does have such features. It could be maybe because they pay for your book and hence expect value for money while a blog is free to read. It isn’t that while writing blogs I was never cautious about such mistakes but whenever they happened inadvertently they were easily overlooked. While in a book a simple typo by a publisher in the name of the chapter leads to a detailed discussion.
3. The importance of published tag – Being a famous blogger might not make heads turn but being a published author surely does. The tag of “published” comes at a price where now even strangers want to become friends and strangely sometimes friends turn foes. I have experienced that very closely. The blogger fraternity doesn’t feel threatened by another blogger’s success as they all believe they have their own niches. But the moment you become an author who is published the algorithm changes with people feeling skeptical about your skills and if you really deserve all that you are getting. The published tag does make a lot of difference as the overall perception of people around you changes drastically.
4. Reviews and their role- As a reviewer/ blogger I love reading books and write very honest reviews. I never took the liberty of bashing authors even before I become one because I believed there is nothing called a bad book. But after becoming an author I have realized how one single review can make or mar a book. Perhaps as a reviewer we don’t realize the impact our words can create. Every time you hold a book in your hand you are holding months or maybe years of hard work, sleepless nights and aspirations of someone. Whether it is good or bad is completely a different argument altogether. The very fact that it is someone’s blood and sweat (in some cases tears too!) it needs to be respected. Having said that I am not averse to criticism. We all need some, but a constructive one that helps an author grow.
5. Dealing with Marketing / Promotions – As a blogger it is very easy to promote blogs with platforms like BlogAdda, Indiblogger etc. But as an author promoting a book needs real hard work. I never knew the importance of marketing till I became an author because blogging taught me that good writing is always talked about even if you don’t talk about it. While this also works for a book but because the stakes involved are high there is a greater amount of planning that is needed behind promoting a book.
6. Carve an Identity – I started blogging with a pen name – Privy Trifles. No one cared who was Privy Trifles or from which country. I still remember having an argument with my first publisher to keep my name as Privy Trifles on the book as people knew me more by that name rather than my real name. My social media accounts were also in that name. He flatly refused saying it doesn’t work in India. I cited the example of Desperate in Dubai a best-selling novel by an anonymous blogger from Dubai which he pushed aside calling it a rare phenomenon. The moment you become an author people want to know the real you, the person behind the book. They need a connect with you in terms of your pictures and also glimpses of your personal life which may or may not be limited to things ranging from likes and dislikes in food to views on movies and social issues. After becoming an author I learnt I could no longer hide behind pen names!
7. Social Media Presence - As a blogger I managed to stay away from Facebook and Twitter till 2013.*Gulp* Yes! I did and it made no difference to my blog statistics in terms of readers. Rather if I were to say honestly that was one of the most productive phases as my only concentration was on writing during that time and I lay blissfully unaware of anything that needed my attention. But as an author the first few things that are told to you are “social media presence”. Be omnipresent- be on twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, having a Facebook page and stay active. Though I could never understand how one can write while doing all this but yes it did work well for a book. I didn’t know the magic wand called social media till then. I have even seen authors promoting their books one year in advance starting it when it was just a plot and sharing regular updates about how and what has been added or removed from the story. Becoming an author introduced me to the role of social media in our lives, so to speak.
8. Silence is not golden – Bloggers are often used to silent readers of blogs where they mostly refrain from commenting or letting the blogger know about them in any manner. And up to some extent it is perfectly okay. I remember receiving emails from complete strangers talking about some post which had made them think and then we would go on to discuss it bit by bit. I really enjoyed that. Sometimes those silent readers would send me requests to write posts on and it was fun trying to think what answers they wanted through that post.
As an author it is imperative that anyone who reads your work voices it out for you. Good, bad or ugly… bouquets or brickbats you want them all because that is how you can increase the sales of your book. If someone even sends you a personal email or message on WA or FB messenger you take screenshots and share it on social media as a promotion for your book. Silence in this case is no longer golden; it is the voice that becomes platinum.
9. Research is important – Like I said in point no.1 there is not much that you can write about in 800-1000 words. According to popular researches any online readers’ attention span is not more than that and hence anyone writing articles online is always asked to limit it to those word limits. So there are times when even the lead characters go without names. They are merely a he and a she. Not much research is needed as there is no detailing in fictional scenes, the play is around words as you try to capture a moment and present it in those few words.
While in a novel as you have a good number of words to play with you cannot leave a lot to a reader’s imagination. Background is important, character sketch is equally needed and so is research about that particular era, clothes, language, mannerisms, political situations or social etiquette depending upon the setting. Becoming an author taught me the importance of research in writing. I witnessed how criminal it could be to have a female character wearing latest clothes of 21st century in a story set in the 17th century and how out of place would a particular word sound in period drama for it was a slang coined recently.
10. Full time writer and its perks – One of my relatives recently invited me to a holiday. I politely refused saying I couldn’t afford that trip right now both financially and personally. She laughed and stated, “Stop kidding me! Let’s be honest you don’t want to come. I know authors earn in lakhs!” Some benevolent cousin had apparently briefed in detail to anyone who wanted to know about my earnings. As a blogger nobody assumed that writing was a full time opportunity that could be paying me well. But as a writer it is assumed that writing is my full time career with amazing perks apart from name and fame. In blogging the investment is very less but the returns are too high while as an author the investment is huge and the returns minimal, spread across years. (P.S: Apologies but couldn’t help the investment banker in me coming out to express how I really feel about this point!)
These days becoming an author is not only about writing a book. You need to know how to sell it too apart from various other skills like social media and offline promotions. Earlier the writers had only one job- write and rest everything was taken care of. And due to absence of proper channels more often than not they were completely unaware about direct feedback on their books. But today’s writers have a plethora of options to get feedback from ranging from alpha readers, beta readers, editors and of course the reviewers apart from the readers. Does this complicate things? Maybe yes, maybe no! But it surely extends the list of things on the to-do list for an author. Now it is no longer just plot-research-write it is much more than that.
Give life another chance. Laugh a little longer. let go of your past. Hold onto what you love. In short LIVE rather than just exist!
Some told, some untold, some heard and some unheard - this collection of stories will make you look at life in a different light and make you ponder over its definition of it till now.
Quotes from Metro Diaries 2:
All the money his parents earned sadly could never buy a moment’s peace for any of them as they kept drifting away like lost constellations into the space. Together they surely were in a way, but light years away in every manner. There was absolutely no connection between them. They just were like every other thing that existed in the universe… the oceans, the sky, the earth, the stars, the sun and the moon. You couldn’t change anything about them even if you didn’t like the way they were. – The Last Kiss (Metro Diaries Part 2)
You are enough in everything and anything you do in this world. Others are here to serve as a distraction so that they reach their goals before yours and become winners. – The Last Kiss (Metro Diaries Part 2)
At times in life we always see what we are being shown and not what lies behind that cloak of disguise. We believe all that comes our way without doubting that there could be a trick or maybe just a hallucination. – Charlatan (Metro Diaries Part 2)
Life they say is a like a jigsaw puzzle and we are all like those pieces trying to find where we fit in. – Labour of Love (Metro Diaries Part 2)
Perhaps she had forgotten the thumb rule for survival here. There is nothing called yours here. No will, no desire, no dreams, no ambitions….nothing. Not even your name. – The Plummet (Metro Diaries Part 2)
What else do you do when you are a teenager? Life seems to be one long party full of fun and frolic with your best friends all around. You just know your world is full of rainbow colours; sweetness of chocolates filling it and abundant beautiful dresses to doll you up. Love and relationships take a different meaning altogether now making you look at everything around including yourself in newer light. – Love v/s hate (Metro Diaries Part 2)
I always felt I knew what I wanted in life. But today I realized how wrong I was. I was chasing mirages as the reality kept going away from me and now I am left with nothing in hand – Rags to Riches(Metro Diaries Part 2)
People make memories and then reach a phase where memories make people! – Mou Athena (Metro Diaries Part 2)
About the Author:
Namrata is A Lost Wanderer who loves travelling the length and breadth of the world. A published author in various anthologies and magazines she enjoys capturing the magic of life in her words. She is forever in pursuit of a new country and a new story.
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