Mentoring Aspiring Authors
My mentoring of others for writing began with my work as Managing Editor for the indie publisher BigWorldNetwork. As much as I adore writing, I enjoy editing as well and helping people craft their work.
I helped edit over 60 novels and many more online series, and I consider the five years I spent with the publisher some of the most rewarding, both for how I advised other authors and my editing team.
The most important thing to me was to ensure that what we were editing never took away from the voice of the author but was more technical focused while also being conscientious of any plot/scene moments that weren’t coming across clearly. Readers don’t want cookie cutter voices from their authors, so everyone doesn’t need to be exactly the same in execution.
I also went out of my way to give feedback on those submissions we received that weren’t accepted, still providing edits, suggestions, and the opportunity for repeat submissions if authors went back, revised, and tried again. We even published a few who were initially rejected. Other publishers simply don’t do that.
I love telling aspiring writers to not compare themselves to other authors because we’re not competing with each other, readers always want more to consume, we only compete with ourselves, bettering ourselves and our writing. I think approaching publication that way helps a lot.
I’m also just a natural cheerleader who wants to see others succeed. Writers who are wary of putting their work out there? I’m here to tell you to believe in yourself and try, especially when it comes to some of the amazing fanfiction I’ve read over the years.
Most of my novels are adapted fanfic, and I like sharing that with readers and writers I engage with online to encourage them to consider how they might adapt their fanfiction to reach a broader audience. Often fanfics are better than the ‘best-selling’ novels out there. Most fanfic authors do so just in their spare time and never consider their work going beyond a website, but fanfiction is just as valid as any other writing and is one of the best tools for beginners to build their skills and craft their voice.
The other bit of advice I never stop giving is to write every day. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriNo) was the kick in the pants I needed a few years ago to jumpstart my writing habits, and I’ve never looked back. With NaNo you HAVE to write every day, and the tendency stuck with me and only for my benefit.
So, I say—don’t give up. Take a chance. You can be a teenager or full-time accountant or middle-age mother of four, it doesn’t matter, you can still share your writing, and I aim to encourage as many people as possible to embrace that and share their stories.