Author of ‘Love You Better’, Natalie K. Martin tells us what are the eight things that she has learnt as a writer.
1. You don’t have to write every day. The advice I’ve always read was to write every single day. In an ideal world, this would be what I’d do but the reality is, we all have lives. I don’t write every day – it can be hard on a three week road trip where I spend more time behind the wheel of a car than anything else, so my advice? Don’t beat yourself up if you couldn’t make it to the laptop today.
￼2. Get ready to lock yourself away. Okay, so I don’t write everyday, but I do have dedicated work days, wherever I am in the world. As Cypress Hill once said, it’s a fun job but it’s still a job and even though they were talking about music, it still applies. Writing can be a lonely pursuit and there’s been many a time when I’ve had to hunker down away from social gatherings to put pen to paper. It’s a sacrifice but you’re never going to get the book written if you’re spending all of your time in the pub/cafe/wherever your friends hang out. While I was doing my yoga teacher training, I’d often watch my classmates head off for communal lunch or swim on the beach, but I’d stay behind and grab a few precious moments with my laptop.
￼3. The End is just the beginning. So you’ve taken the nugget of an idea into an 80,000 word novel. Hurrah. Now the work begins. The End is merely the start of a longer journey: Editing. But don’t give up. There’s a saying that everyone has a story, but not everyone is a writer. It takes perseverance, but you’ve got this far, so keep on going!
5. A good editor is key. If you’re self-publishing, there might be a temptation to skip hiring an editor and just have friends read through your book. My advice? Don’t! A good editor does more than just look for spelling and grammatical errors. They can be pricey, but they are worth their weight in gold. Try to go with an editor on recommendation if it makes you feel better about what you’re spending, but don’t skimp on this. Same goes for a good cover designer.
6. Modesty doesn’t help. When I published ‘Together Apart’, I had very modest goals – 500 sold in a year and I’d be happy. This was the wrong way to go. If you’ve put all your heart and soul into something, then make it work! Aim to sell as many as you can. Want to get into the top 10? Then aim for it! Get to grips with social media and shout, because books don’t sell themselves (at least in the beginning).
7. Develop a thick skin. It’s daunting putting your book out there for (hopefully) thousands of people to read, and it helps if you understand from the beginning that you can’t please everyone. You will get one star reviews, you will get people who think reading it was a waste of precious hours they won’t get back, but who cares? Brush it off. They didn’t get it, and that’s ok, because there are others who will. If it helps, look up your favourite book and read their bad reviews. We all get them and, if you’re really lucky, it can even help you hone your writing to make it better.
8. It’s totally worth it. Yes, it’s daunting, yes it can be expensive and yes, you have to be a social hermit sometimes, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
You can buy Love You Better from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.