Sunday, November 20, 2005

Becoming an Editor or Author

Question: I am an English major and was interested in becoming a full-time author and editor. Do you have any suggestions as to how I get started or what books I should read?

Answer: The books you should read would be different depending on whether you wanted to be an author or an editor. Some would be the same: The classics, good novels, Walden, Leaves of Grass, Ulysses, Mark Twain, Hemingway, Faulkner, etc.

To become an editor (again, what kind?), but I presume you want to acquire and edit great books (not copy edit or proofread). If so, you should work at a publisher as an intern, or after graduating, as a secretary, packer and shipper, whatever, just get in the door. Then show them what you can do as a reader and editor.

As for being an author, there are three rules for a professional author:

1. Never write anything until you've sold it.

2. Always sell things more than once.

3. Write every day.

Pretty simple, but the effectiveness of those three points is in the details.

Also, make friends with other authors, especially professionals. Befriend them.

There is so much more that I could say, but then it'd become a book -- one that I have no intention of writing. At least not now when I am still working on completing the 6th edition of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books.
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