Tuesday 3 January 2012

Still Waters Blog Tour: Emma Carlson Berne on her Top Tips for Aspiring Authors!

Today I'm welcoming Emma Carlson Berne to the blog! Emma has stopped by to offer her top tips for aspiring authors and also to let you know about her book, Still Waters, which was released last month. I've been reading lots of good (and creepy!) things about this one, and can't wait to read it soon!

Still Waters by Emma Carlson Berne
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release date: December 20th 2011

Hannah can't wait to sneak off for a romantic weekend with her boyfriend, Colin. He’s leaving for college soon, and Hannah wants their trip to the lake house to be one they’ll never forget. 

But once Hannah and Colin get there, things start to seem a bit...off. They can't find the town on any map. The house they are staying in looks as if someone's been living there, even though it's been deserted for years. And Colin doesn’t seem quite himself. As he grows more unstable, Hannah worries about Colin’s dark side, and her own safety.

Nothing is as perfect as it seems, and what lies beneath may haunt her forever.

Guest Post: Emma Carlson Berne's Top Tips for Aspiring Authors.

I sometimes get asked to provide tips for aspiring authors. I’m wondering, as I’m writing this, if other professions get this question – like tips for aspiring doctors, or aspiring attorneys, or aspiring accountants. Or do writers (and other artistic types, like dancers, etc) get this question because everyone knows writing is a notoriously hard profession in which to make a living?

Nonetheless, here are my five tips for people who want to write and publish and make money and be an author, all that good stuff:

1) Find a patron, as in the days of the Renaissance. This is a little tongue-in-cheek, but I also mean it. Basically, it takes a while to get started making any money writing (and by “a while,” I mean like a decade) and you need a way to both have enough money to eat and pay the rent while at the same time, having enough time to write. The best way is to find some rich person who wants to support a starving writer. A little harder to do these days than in the days of Rembrandt (and all of those guys still had to spend a lot of time painting pictures of noblemen, since they were the ones paying the bills), but if you have a nice, supportive spouse, that’s a good substitute. (Just kidding about the rich patron, but you get the point. Get ready to not have much money for a while if you want to be a full-time writer.)

2) Treat it like a job. As in: show up. Every day, with your coffee and your showered self, at your desk. Even if you have a cold, even if you have fifty loads of laundry staring you in the face. Even if you have a hangover. If you hate the printed word on that particular day, work it into the story. But show up.

3) Decide if you want to get published or if you want to create your masterpiece. For the lucky few, both of these things are possible. But if you’re willing to research the market and write what insiders tell you is selling, you’re going to have that much more chance of getting published. On the other hand, you don’t want to sound like just the latest knock-off. But if you are determined to publish your 500,000 word opus on corn germination techniques without cutting a single word, just be prepared to put it in a drawer. Flexible is the key word here.

4) People-watch until it’s embarrassing. Notice the random life around you. Excellent people-watching places: grocery store, any public transportation, red lights.

5) Don’t be afraid to take little jobs to get big ones. There are lots of very unglamorous, paying writing gigs out there, if you’re willing to take them. Little books for schools, research books, ghostwritten books. These don’t pay much, and your name may not be on them, but writing these books can get you contacts in the larger publishing industry and teach you how to craft tight prose on a deadline—while still getting paid. 


  1. Oh I hadn't heard of this one but it looks fantastic I love the cover too! *adds to wishlist* Happy new year Leanna and best of luck for 2012! x

  2. Great tips! I am SO looking forward to reading this book, it's been on my wishlist for ForEver! :)

  3. Very sound advice. I get asked a lot of the same questions and am constantly surprised how many people think that getting a book published means never having to worry about money again. It's a job, not a lottery ticket.

  4. Great tips!

    I think the one that I need to really stick to is 'show up'. Life especially lately has been so busy that writing has been put aside and I miss it.

    I'm looking forward to reading this book at some point - it's on my wishlist! :D

    Also I just love this cover - it makes me want to pick it up and start reading right now.

  5. Thanks for the great comments. I agree, Jules, that by far the hardest part of writing is showing up. I'm full of self-loathing when I don't, but I find guilt to be a great motivator.

  6. This is really good advice! I think "people-watching" would definitely be the most interesting for me! :P Really looking forward to Still Waters - fab post! :)

  7. Great post!

    Enjoyed it and I so respect writers for everything they go through to get the books out to the hungry readership.

  8. Such a great guest post! Thanks for hosting this, Leanna, it's really helpful writing advice even if you're not an aspiring novelist.


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