5 Golden Rules for Aspiring Writers

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This week, we have a guest post for you from Ravi Jain, co-founder of the blogging platform Bookgeeks.in, who has 5 spectacular tips for debut or aspiring writers:

For an aspiring writer, there is no greater dream than getting their book published, seeing that book featured in libraries and bookshops, getting rave reviews on Amazon, Flipkart and Goodreads, and crashing the bestseller charts. But getting the book published is just the first step that an author can take. Many aspiring or debut authors I’ve come across in my five years at BookGeeks think that getting their book published will take it to the bestseller charts.

Sadly, that is not the case. Below, I list five golden rules that will help debut or aspiring authors in promoting their books to the right audience, increase sales, and probably a place on the bestseller charts:

Don’t be Afraid of Failure

29 new titles are published in India on an average every day. Only a fraction of them break even, and fewer make it as a bestseller. If your debut book does not make it to the list, don’t take it as a failure. Rather, take it as an opportunity to be better prepared for your next book. Understand that no book is an overnight success. A lot of effort from a lot of people goes into making a book a success. Work hard for your next book. Take up a creative writing course, read books by great authors, work on developing your characters and subplots, and play with multiple climax scenarios.


Be Open to Constructive Criticism

After your book is published, not every reader will give it a 5-star rating. Tastes, likes and dislikes differ from reader to reader. If it helps, The Alchemist and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone each have over 70,000 1-star ratings on Goodreads. So be open to criticism, but don’t obsess over it. Understand that the criticism is not personal; it is for your book, not you. Don’t try to force people to change their views; respect their opinions but don’t fuss over it.

Be Out There in the Open

This is the most important rule. Be out there in the open – either physically or online. Interact with readers as much as possible. As soon as your manuscript is ready, develop a good personal website (and a separate book website if budget permits); build-up your social presence on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads; visit your local schools, colleges, libraries and bookstores to interact with readers; participate in online Q&A sessions via Facebook Live or Goodreads: Ask the Author; develop your mailing list; get in touch with reputable book review blogs for book reviews or author interviews or blog tours; and prepare marketing and publicity material to be sent out after the book is published. Speak to fellow authors – both successful and new writers – share your manuscript with them and get their feedback. Successful authors’ feedback printed on your book cover or blurb can be a gamechanger.

ernest hemingway

Hire an Expert

I’m sorry to be giving this advice, but writing a great story is not always sufficient for a book to be successful. The current online generation has a very short attention span. Research has shown that an online buyer takes an average of only 6 seconds to decide whether the product is interesting or not. To elicit interest for your book within 6 seconds, the title and the cover have to be great and catchy. Be sure to hire a creative designer to design your book’s cover. The designer need not be a charge-by-the-hour hotshot. S/he can be your artist friend or a budding painter from your town or a graphic design student in a local institute or a freelancer you find online. Being a writer, you can surely come up with a great title, but try to think of at least three. Share the three titles with your circle and gauge their reactions, then choose the best one.

neil gaiman

Write, Write & Write

After your book is published and you enjoy its success, don’t wait for the next wave of inspiration to write something again. Write now, write tomorrow and write something every day. It need not be related to your next book. It can be a blog post for an online magazine, a column for a media house, a short story, a poem, an opinion piece or any other random thing that comes to your mind. It need not even be published. Writing regularly is the best way to keep your skills sharp and your creative juices flowing.

Well, I’ve condensed everything I’ve learnt helping debut authors promote their books in this post. I know it is not an all-sufficing guide to stardom, and definitely not the solution to make your book a success, but develop a plan based on the above guidelines, implement it religiously and you will definitely be ahead of the crowd.

P.S: I’ve assumed your book has a great story. Without it, nothing works.

Ravi Jain is the co-founder of the blogging platform Bookgeeks.in, which helps debut authors promote their books.


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