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Five Things Every First-Time Author Should Know

Congratulations! It’s wonderful that you have decided to write a book. Writing is unlike other careers, as one usually does not pursue it for money or fame. One chooses to become an author, for it is a dream they want to see come true. Words are magic – they give you the power to weave a new world, characters, and scenarios and allow the reader to experience them in their mind’s eye. They transport the reader to another world and take them on a journey incomparable to any other. Put your pen to the paper or start typing away at your keyboard and experience the unexplainable rush that writing brings! As delightful as it sounds to be an author, there are setbacks to being one, just like every other career. Before you start working on your first draft, here are some tips that would benefit every first-time author:

    1.Write a captivating character sketch

Sometimes, authors introduce a character and then describe their physical traits in great detail. They talk about their protagonist’s chocolate brown eyes, muscular physique, black hair and other attributes, but it would be better to describe them through their behaviour and actions. The protagonist’s body language and motivation behind their actions would form an image in the reader’s mind and would be more interesting to read about. This is not to say that one cannot talk about physical attributes, but try to include them while describing behaviour and reactions to a scenario.

    2.Avoid info dumps through dialogue

It is dialogues between characters that keep a reader glued to a book. As an author, you might be tempted to add a lot of information for the reader’s benefit, but do not explain too much and give the reader the opportunity to fill gaps with their imagination. Dialogues need to be natural, believable and have a rational explanation. Figure out if a dialogue benefits the character and serves a purpose in the book. Try to reflect the character’s personality in the dialogues by paying attention to not just the language used, but also the mode of delivery, such as sarcasm, affection or complaints. Also, in real life, not every conversation goes back and forth till the end. There are pregnant pauses, facial expressions and many non-replies that add depth to the conversation. Instead of your character saying that they disagree, she could pursue her lips. To express exasperation, she could throw up her hands or bang the door and walk out. These moments subtly enhance your character’s personality and will prevent the much-dreaded info dump on the reader.

    3.Editing, cover design, and interior design services are not optional!

A good book is a joint effort between the author and editor. While the author is the brainchild behind the book, it is an editor who breathes life into it. Editing is never an option. It is mandatory for every book to undergo extensive editing to check for plot holes, character development, grammatical errors, spelling and other loopholes. Another important thing to consider before publishing is the book cover. It should entice customers and lure them to pick up the book and read the blurb. While the book cover is an important aspect to consider, it is equally important to check the interior layout and design of the book. The font, positioning, and typesetting should be done effectively to ensure easy reading.

    4.Research publishing options before you finish your manuscript

Writing and publishing is a creative industry where many options are available to ensure that your work reaches readers. Self-publishing is the right choice for every author, but it is especially apt for first-timers who will require assistance in every step of their publishing journey. There is no need for one to feel discouraged and give up, when self-publishing houses aim to make every writer’s dreams come true. A self-publishing house like Notion Press offers every service required to a budding author, from editing to cover design and marketing to distribution.

    5.Ensure that you enjoy the process and never lose sight of your goal

Publishing a book is your goal, but writing is the process. It is inevitable that you will face roadblocks on this path, such as writer’s block, tirelessly rewriting drafts, finalising the manuscript with the editor and brainstorming for effective marketing strategies. You will need to work tirelessly and constantly tackle obstacles on this journey, but there is nothing more rewarding than holding a copy of your book! When you write that first book, your struggle will seem endless, but do not get dejected. You can do it!

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Aishwarya Mukundarajan

Aishwarya is an MBA graduate from Symbiosis International University, Pune. When asked what her hobbies are she points to an overflowing bookcase.

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  • Subroto Sinha

    I am awfully inspired by the tips that you have given. As a first-time author, who has been permitted the honour of being published by your esteemed publishing house, I am particularly impressed by your following sentence, “A self-publishing house like Notion Press offers every service required to a budding author, from editing to cover design and marketing to distribution.” Thank you.