This post is from the Kindle Support Forum, dated September 7, 2013. It’s reproduced here in its entirety with permission from the author.
Next month will mark my two year anniversary of being a full time writer. By then, I’ll have exceeded 250,000 sales across 11 titles. Recently on another forum, the topic of “what have you learned,” came up. I thought I would share my remarks here:
1. While everyone may have a novel inside, it should never come out unless it’s causing stretch marks. This goes for book two, three and so on…
2. You don’t really know who your friends are until you write a book. You don’t know who really loves you until you write the 2nd book.
3. All author’s are natural born liars, all liars are not necessarily writers.
4. A good story trumps everything – cover, editing, blurb, marketing, you name it.
5. Nail the reader to the book in the first paragraph. That’s all you’ve got. Pull them in… make them care in the first 10 sentences.
6. A good story editor is invaluable. Find them, reward them, keep them. Kiss their precious butts and fill their pockets with cash.
7. A lot of people can write – that skill isn’t anything special. Composing a story demands slightly more capability. Being able to finish a book is extraordinary. You can always improve the first two, but the wherewithal to actually finish a book is a rare gift.
8. Many writers are like dogs, circling each other and smelling one another’s butts. (I can’t remember who said this, it’s not my quote)
9. Writing is no different than any other occupation I’ve experienced. It requires discipline. You must write, even when you don’t want too. Assembly line labor works if they have a headache – they have discipline. Salesmen sell when they’re in a bad mood – they have discipline. Writers must invoke the same ethic and motivation – you must have discipline or you will experience hunger.
10. Books are like children – no one loves “yours” as much as you do. No one thinks they’re as cute, no one wants to see their vacation photos, and for sure, no one wants to limit any conversation to YOUR children. This especially holds true on social media. These days, books have another thing in common with offspring – almost everyone has procreated what they call a “book.” It’s now nothing new or special – just like kids. Be proud of your book-children… love them to pieces, but do so in the privacy of your own mind.
Copyright ©  by Charles O’Donnell, All Rights Reserved