Most people will have this somewhere on their bucket list; to be a published author. Recently I read this book by Kiruba Shankar which is very helpful. Aptly titled ‘First Book’ talks about how you can accomplish that.
The book is a veritable treasure of tips and good practices. That’s the USP of this book. It is not preachy, rather each chapter is introduced in one or two paragraphs and is followed by quotes from famous and published authors, related to the chapter. Not only do the quotes make an interesting read, they help understand the concept better and, what I loved most was to see how diverse these published authors are and how they come from all walks of life. So, you will find Elinor Stutz (CEO of Smooth Sale, who authored the best-selling book ‘Nice Girls DO Get the Sale’) on the same page as James Patterson.
The book is fast-paced. It has forty-eight chapters, and all the chapters average three pages, the longest being ‘It’s ok to write badly’ which is eight pages. Some chapters that I really found helpful were –
- Its ok to write badly
- Don’t get it right, get it written. In order to write well in the future (second draft) you have to allow yourself to write a little crappy now (first draft). - Catherine Howard
- If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word. - Margaret Atwood
- Start small
- Start a blog and a Twitter account – they are a great way to keep writing and a fantastic way to connect and keep in touch with other writers and help you feel less ‘alone’ through the writing process. - Hazel Gaynor
- Don’t start out writing novels. They take too long. Begin your writing life instead by cranking out a lot of short stories. One per week. Take a year to do it. It simply isn’t possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row. I waited until the age of 30 to write my first novel. - Ray Bradbury
- Importance of feedback
- It took me a long time to learn to be a writer. One must find themselves an editor or, failing that, a group of people who will tell you the truth about your writing, and are not afraid to say, ‘This really isn’t good enough.’… Unless someone can tell you that what you are writing is no good, then you won’t know how to push it to a point when it can start being good. - Salman Rushdie
- How to handle criticism
- You have to know how to accept rejection and how to reject acceptance. Writing means putting yourself at the mercy of anonymous hecklers and shameless sycophants. Learn to make most of the insults and distrust the praise. - Ray Bradbury.
This book is a must read for all those who want to be published but don’t know how and where to start. But as Kiruba says, “All the advice, however, is of no use if you don’t put them to practice.”
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