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Selena's Advice for Aspiring Authors
Dear fellow writer,

Allow me to offer a little warning before I set you off on your writing adventure. It is perhaps the most important thing to learn when starting your career, and that is: If you really want to be a professional writer, grow a thick skin. And I mean dragon hide thick.

Trust me; you'll need it.

The publishing industry is full of rejection letters, negative reviews, and heckling readers. Every single one will cut you. Make you doubt yourself. Maybe it will even make you want to give up. As a professional writer, you have to be able to shrug off all of that to keep on going.

If your skin is as tough as a dragon's, not even the sharpest of arrows can harm you.

And now, as promised, my advice for your writing career. These are more for fiction writing than "real world" stuff, but I hope they help.

1. You're going to hear this one a lot, but you really need to do it. You need to read. A lot. Not only does reading improve your vocabulary and inspire ideas, it also gives you a better understanding of your genre.

2. Always, always carry a notebook. Your short-term memory only lasts for three minutes, so writing down ideas as soon as they happen is better than saying, "Oh, I'll remember that." And be sure to keep a notebook and pen at your bedside. You'll never know if you'll randomly wake up with a brilliant idea that will be lost by the time morning rolls around.
3. Schedule time to write. Even if you can only write for 15 minutes every three hours or eight hours a day, you're still writing. Protect this writing time if you can. Let others know not to disturb you during this period. Disconnect the internet. Put the phone away. And just write. 

4. Write for the love of writing, not what it might get you. Many a fledgeling writer make this mistake. They write because they believe it's easy work that can lead to fame and fortune. It's not. If you wake up in the morning and the first thing you think about is writing your story, then you love writing. 

5. Don't rush your work; there's no such thing as an instant book. Do the research. Build your settings from the ground up. Write your characters' histories--how did they end up where they are at the start of your book? Get your book edited by an experienced editor. Format your book properly. If you're self-publishing, get a great cover designer.

6. Establishing a relationship with your readers should be done early on. To do it, just remember the three Bs: Be active on social media, build your email list, blog. I'm not going to lie to you; building an email list is a pain, and you typically need some sort of instant reward to get someone to sign up. A lot of authors (myself included) offer a free ebook. Non-fictioners typically offer checklists. Excerpts from your latest work are also   given away.

7. Don't panic. Lots of writers go through the "my writing is crap, I should just quit" phase. Don't belive it. Be confident in yourself and your work, and remember: Even famous authors have a tough time with writing and self-doubt. You can get past it just like they do.

And remember that the experts don't always know what's best for your specific writing project and aspirations. Consider the advice and critiques they offer, but you don't necessarily need to change your manuscript just because they say so.
With love and light,
For more tips and information, consider reading Selena's How To Author, A Guide to the Publishing Industry for the Inexperienced Creative Writer. Available on Kindle.