We're thrilled and excited to participate in the 2015 YA Debut Author Bash, featuring one of 2016's hot new books and authors! Take it from me, pre-publication and that all-important debut year with a traditional publisher are a HUGE learning curve where you re-examine everything you thought you knew about writing and publishing. I love being able to have authors come and share what they're learning, so I'm thrilled to have Kim share this post with us. If you're an aspiring author, sit up and pay attention. : )
Ten Things I Would Say to Aspiring Writers
by Kim Savage
I am so grateful to Adventures in YA Publishing and YA Readers America for the opportunity to say Sage Things. So here’s my early holiday gift to you. Feel free to re-gift, exchange, save it for the Yankee Swap. I won’t be offended.
In order of importance, here are the top 10 things I would say to aspiring writers, with 10 being the most important.
- Train for it. I could write, but not until I became a journalist could I tell a story.
- Use everything. We don't all have reams of titillating life experiences to cull from. Unless your dream is to unseat Sebastian Junger, the fact that you haven't personally wrestled a jackalope makes absolutely no difference. More on this in my latest Pop Goes the Reader post.
- Resist tropes. There is no faster way to lose a reader. Your concept can be familiar, but your characters better not be.
- Fall off the grid. In the realms of real life and social media. You can always hop back on, and NOTHING WILL HAVE CHANGED. Trust me.
- Write like no one’s watching. It might not feel like it, but the pre-published stage is special. Magical, even. When After the Woods got bumped from Fall to Winter, there was a period when no one was looking for my work, at least not yet. It was the best writing I’ve ever done.
- Choose your battles. Plan to fight changes that will make your book into someone else’s book, but trust in your editor for the rest. Same goes for cover art and titles. Unless you've been an editor or an art director, they have perspective that you don’t.
- Writing is a vocation, not a job. And it should feel like it (mostly). Writing shouldn't feel like blood-letting on the page. If that YA Contemporary is killing you, stop and write a short story, preferably with an MC who’s an alien or a turn-of-the-century indentured servant.
- On promotion versus actual writing: get used to being a prostitute in the morning and a nun in the afternoon, as they say. However, plan to be the prostitute on fewer days. Like, maybe twice a week. Your conscience will thank you, and so will your work.
- It’s okay—and awesome—to write characters and situations that will create better understanding in this world. But foremost, tell a story. And make certain it’s yours: never write to a trend.
- If you get grouchy when you’ve spent more than two days not writing, that’s a strong sign you were meant for this.
About the BookAfter the Woods
by Kim Savage
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Would you risk your life to save your best friend?
Her best friend, Liv, was also abducted by the same man, but she managed to escape while Julia was left behind. Is Liv’s guilt over leaving Julia in the woods the reason she’s starving herself? Is hooking up with Shane Cuthbert, an addict with a volatile temper, Liv’s way of punishing herself for not having Julia’s back? As Julia struggles to make sense of her friend’s self-destructive behavior, she realizes the one person she thinks she knows best—Liv—is the person she knows least of all.
Buy the Book on Amazon | Add to Goodreads
About the Author:
You can follow Kim on Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter, and visit her at kimsavage.me. This is her debut novel.