© 2015 Kebba Buckley Button, MS,OM. World Rights Reserved.
This is the fourth in a series of 35 articles I call “The Effective Author”. Since I have found that my writing life is over 80% non-writing activities, I am offering this series to save other writers a lot of frustration. If you have just dropped in on this series, get out your notes and start processing along.
We have talked about finding your delight in writing: your passion topics, past/present/future, fiction/nonfiction/blends/both. I’m recommending that everyone notice what excites and absorbs them, in reading or in their own writing. These are the topics and formats that will pull you forward and energize you as you write. Notice I say “these”. You may have multiple areas and formats. A number of authors do, and they actually write under different names for the different series or areas.
Some people love to have a marketing name and perhaps an avatar (cartoon-type image of themselves) to go with the marketing character. Some like to write under their own name, no matter what they are writing; I’m one of those. In the academic environment, sometimes faculty are expected to be very serious. Sometimes, they are expected to publish only scholarly works. In 1970, a professor of Greek and Latin literature, at Harvard University, learned a hard lesson in this area. He wrote the blockbuster best-selling novel, A Love Story, and then he wrote the screenplay for the blockbuster movie. Erich Segal might have had better politics with his academic community, had he written his popular works under a pseudonym. Segal wrote not only scholarly works, but a variety of screenplays (e.g. Yellow Submarine) and novels.
And this brings us back to the question of what formats will be best for your writing. If current life interests you, blogging (300-800 word articles) or articles for news media may be for you. Write a variety of articles on timely topics, and submit them to newspapers, the Huffington Post, The Observer, and any other online news outlets that your topics seem to fit. Submit your articles in the style and length(s) you see in each publication. Do you want to write about lifestyle, prominent people, fashion, skincare, or financial management? Do you write humor? These topics may fit best in magazines, trade publications, or in the Lifestyle sections of newspapers, online or in print. Any of your short articles can be linked together to become books. Let your imagination run wild at the countless combinations that are possible.
If you like characters, actions, and story development, either biography or fiction may be for you. Major biographers can make a lot of money. And some people’s lives have been at least as exciting as fiction.
In fiction, first try writing microstories (around 300-500 words) such as One Minute Mysteries. You can write short stories of, say, up to 20 pages, or novellas of perhaps 40-75 pages. Full novels can run up to 600 pages, continuing in trilogies (e.g., Lord of the Rings) and even prequels. Novelist Jeffrey Archer also writes short stories, which he publishes in collections (e.g.,Twelve Red Herrings). If you start with short stories, you may fall in love with some of your characters, and you may find them informing full-length novels.
Stephen King said,
“Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials,no batteries,hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn’t carry a book around for those inevitable dead spots in life.”
The Effective Author wants to create that perfect entertainment, in any number of lengths and forms. Are you making notes on your passion areas and your possibilities? Are you checking the Best Sellers lists? I want you to become that Effective Author. Questions welcome.
- Kebba Buckley Button is a stress management expert. She also has a natural healing practice and is an ordained minister. She is the author of the award-winning book, Discover The Secret Energized You (http://tinyurl.com/b44v3br), plus the 2013 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core, Second Edition. Her newest book is Sacred Meditation: Embracing the Divine. Both that book and Peace Within are available through her office. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For an appointment or to ask Kebba to speak for your group: email@example.com.