Wednesday, December 7, 2016

My Top Five Secrets of Success by Susan Sleeman

In our writing, we learn as we go, but isn't it great to get an idea of what to expect from someone who's been there, like author Susan Sleeman? -- Sandy

Susan: I have been writing for fifteen years now and have over twenty five books published. Along the way I have learned so much about writing and the publishing business that I would have loved to know before I started. So I thought I’d share my five secrets to a successful writing career.

1. Think like a professional writer
Attitude is critical for success. If you believe you are a writer, you will do the things necessary to become a published writer. Think of your writing as a small business. The only way a business gets off the ground is with a lot of work, determination, and dedication. The success to your new business is setting aside regular time where you commit to write no matter what. So set aside that time. Set a word count goal and write, write, write.

2. Accept constructive criticism and grow from it
Don’t be unteachable. Evaluate the comments and opinions offered on your WIP with an unbiased outlook. Use the comments that will make your WIP better and let the other ones go. After all, not only will it help you grow as a writer, but it will prepare you for edits and negative reviews once you’re published.

3. Read in the genre you’re hoping to publish
Look for best-sellers in your genre and read them. You certainly don’t want to copy the books you read, but reading will give you a flavor for what a publisher is looking for and even more importantly what readers are buying. Analyze the book. Look for pacing, structure, character arcs, and an overall feel of the book.

4. Persevere.
Don’t quit. If you haven’t already wanted to quit, you will at some point along the journey. That’s natural. Even when you’re published, there are days when you ask if this career is worth it. But if you REALLY want to be a writer, you have to work through your emotions and keep writing.

5. Know when to move on
There are times when the WIP that you dearly love, just isn’t going to be picked up by a traditional publisher, yet you keep trying to perfect it in hopes it will sell. You edit it more, polish the proposal more, and so on. This takes up your writing time and your focus, but more importantly, it keeps you from writing something new. Know when to put this book aside (or indie-publish it), but stop trying to perfect the book. It’s okay to let go, move on, and start something new.

What other tips or advice have you've received from someone with more experience? What is something you wish you would have known before committing to a writing career?


SUSAN SLEEMAN is a bestselling and award-winning author of inspirational/Christian and clean-read romantic suspense books. In addition to writing, Susan also hosts the popular website Susan currently lives in Oregon, but has had the pleasure of living in nine states. Her husband is a retired church music director and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law, and an adorable grandson.
To learn more about Susan stop by any of these locations on the web.
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