Today I have on horror author Troy McCombs talking about writing and publishing.
by Troy McCombs
They say writing is a lonely man’s job. Maybe, maybe not. If you have characters who tell you what to write about them, it’s not so lonely after all. It took me many years to understand how this worked, and I’m still learning. Sometimes the story takes over and your fingers hit the keys, while your spirit, in some metaphysical way, leaves your body. If feels like someone else is writing… perhaps the spirit of another writer?
To achieve this magical state, it takes practice. I will tell all beginning, up-and-coming writers this and this alone. Practice makes you better. So does lots of reading, good and bad books. You see what to do and what not to do. Practice is everything. You can even think of reading as practice itself. Also, when you read–if you ever see a word you don’t know, don’t skip it; instead, highlight it and look it up in a dictionary afterward. Words are your best friends. The more you know, the easier things become. Otherwise, when you get to certain passages in your story, you will rack your brain trying to find the right word to use.
After your book’s done, then what? Self publish? Seek an agent or a publisher? First, leave it alone. After a month, go back and polish it up like a new penny.
I can’t tell you what to really do with it once it’s done. Some people consider self-publishing a no-no. Then again, you could always self-publish it while you’re waiting for all those publishers/agents to write back. But in this day and age, I find nothing wrong with self-publishing. Just please, please make sure it’s edited well.
Getting your book out there may be harder than writing the darn thing. And if you don’t have money to do a lot of advertising, there are two things you need to know more than any other: Word of Mouth and Exposure. Exposure can and usually does lead to word of mouth. There are many ways to do this: blog tours; reviews; free giveaways; joining forums and posting (caution on forum/posting: don’t simply post over and over; mingle with the people first. People don’t just buy your book; they buy a part of you, as well). Other than these outlets, you can simply…Use your imagination. Find new ways of finding exposure. The only limitations are the ones you create yourself.
Break down those barriers. You can do it. If you can write a book, you can present it to the world!
My name is Troy. My first, truest, and ultimate love is self-expression. I’ve been writing since the third grade, when our teacher made us write a story for class. That did it for me. I was hooked. I’m 30 now; I was 9 then. I’ve taken long breaks over the years, but I’ve never completely stopped, not even during my more depressed and doubtful times. Horror, science fiction, and fantasy are my fortes, though I have branched out: screenplays, poetry, philosophies, short stories, coming-of-age dramas, action, suspense … you name it, I wrote it.
One of the biggest contributors, I believe, to why I enjoy it so much, is because since childhood, I’ve had a crippling social anxiety disorder. When I’m around crowds or people I don’t know, I freeze up, become very quiet. My heart pounds against my chest. I used to even black out and have panic attacks (very unpleasant experience, in case you never had one before). Don’t know why I was always shy and awkward. Kids in school made it even worse. So, since I couldn’t express myself verbally, I guess I used writing as a second form of communication.