Aspiring authors, writing students, reading enthusiasts — listen up!
BY Wendy Altschuler For Sun-Times Media
Emily Belden, author of newly released “Eightysixed,” has revealed her writing-and-publishing hand and she has progressive ideas for prospective authors that have a story brewing inside of them. Putting pen to paper is difficult for most people at the start and navigating the publishing process can be just as unwieldy; it helps to learn from someone holding all Aces.
Belden advises to write like nobody will ever read your writing. “Do you think I could have written some of the scenes in Eightysixed knowing that my mother and future in-laws were going to read it? No way! So I had to really pretend like my words were just between me and the computer,” said Belden.
Once you’ve written the entire story, Belden said, re-read the whole manuscript to check for accuracy and flow and to make sure that all of the moving parts add up. “A good story leaves much to the imagination, but never any holes,” said Belden.
Publishing is a whole different animal. Is it best to self-publish or find a publisher? How important is cover art, production, distribution and marketing to you and is a professional necessary to reach your goal?
“Spend some time looking at the pros and cons and head in the direction that works best for you,” said Belden. “Tune out the advice you’ll receive on this and just go with your gut.”
A great way to get the word out on your book and to really sell it to a potential publisher (or literary agent) is to make an online proposal. Belden created www.readthisproposal.com, which Forbes Magazine discovered and covered in an online piece, bringing exposure to Belden’s work.
“My advice is to go with whomever shares a sentiment about your work that is the closest to your own,” said Belden. “I had a lot of publishers wanting the book, only to change this, that and the other thing and it always felt wrong to me. It was my current publisher that said, ‘No way. The imperfections of Eightysixed are what make Eightysixed perfect.’ It was from that phone call that I knew I’d eventually sign with them.”
For more information on Emily Belden, or to purchase her edgy little memoir, visit www.emilybelden.com. Now, go write something!