I know how to scribble on paper. Am I a writer? Nope.
I live amongst characters that don’t exist in real world, but to me, they are as real as my mother. They also shout at me as much as my mother does. Am I a writer? Yes.
Most people think that writing is all about putting words on paper or on WordPad. Technically, it is writing, but if we talk about creating a fictional world with authenticity, then this mundane skill doesn’t qualify a person to be a writer. In fact, far from it!
What makes a writer is the ability to create a world that sounds and feels as authentic to the reader as if it is a real world. And yet, in today’s time, the ability to create authentic fictional world is NOT
what makes a book a success story.
Then what is it that makes a book a success story?
They are 3 Ps of the Writer’s Life: Publication, Platform & Productivity.
1- Publication: Up until a few years back, publication meant luring a literary agent, sending the book to publication houses, and then waiting for them to revert back with a contract.
Today, publication itself is divided in two broad and equally lucrative career options for a writer:
- Traditional Publication
- Independent Publication
There are pros and cons of choosing one option over the other.
Benefits of Traditional Publication route:
- Less involvement at editing, cover designing and other stages of putting the book in the world
- Broader distribution
- Potential of greater traditional media coverage. I use the word potential because it is not necessary that a first time author will get the support from traditional publisher.
Benefits of Self Publication route:
- Unimaginable independence and freedom to express what the work of author represents
- More involvement at every stage of book production
- More direct involvement in building readership for the book
A writer needs to pick his team for whatever route he chooses. This team is going to be his foundation of a successful writing career.
2- Platform: What does the word platform mean? Technical definition of a platform is; a raised level surface on which people or things can stand. And that is exactly what a writer is expected to do when he or she creates her platform. She needs to raise level surface from which she can talk for people to listen. In today’s noisy world, the most difficult thing to elicit from others is attention. And an author needs hours of attention from her reader. That is the reason why platform building is one of the most critical part of an author’s business.
3- Productivity: This is the part where chasing the muse comes in the picture. A writer who has a great publication team, either for traditional or self published route, but has no books is like an unbreakable digital safety locker with no jewellery. With best of the team, from tallest of the platform, a writer can’t make a career without A GOOD BOOK.
And therefore, to make a long lasting literary career, a writer is supposed to do the most basic thing in the life of a writer – WRITE.
The single most important advice to a writer is-
Write… write everyday as if your life and career depends on it. IT DOES!
- In this article when I use the word author, I mean fiction author but the advices also apply to non-fiction writer.I use the pronoun he and she in alternate paragraph but they are not suggestive of any gender and applies to both genders.
Postgraduate in Clinical Psychology. She also holds a Diploma of Performing Arts in Dramatics. Later she joined the FTII, Pune for screenplay writing course. Moved by the #Nirbhaya case in 2012, she wrote #IAm16ICanRape as her first fiction novel.
A mentorship series on writing effectively and beautifully. You can find previous posts here