Jenny Kane: Coffee, cupcakes, chocolate and contemporary fiction / Jennifer Ash: Medieval crime with hints of Ellis Peters and Robin Hood

50 Things: Part 4

Part 1 of my ’50 Things’ series saw me contemplating the things I (personally) needed in my life to be able to write.

Today, the focus is more general


(assuming they are writing to build a readership, rather than just for fun)

Never underestimate the importance of reputation

While you need to be able to write well to get on as an author – that isn’t enough.  Building up a readership and good networks with publishers and reviewers is vital to your survival. To do that you need a good reputation.

Always keep deadlines; be known for being reliable.

Don’t be an author who hangs on the coat tails of other people’s successes. Don’t copy in famous people (you don’t know) on FB and Twitter etc, just because you think you write like them, or have characters like theirs in your work.  (unless you have their permission)  Behaviour like this gets noticed – and not in a good way.

Don’t add your successes onto other people social media streams without permission. It’s rude.

Don’t boast.

Don’t lie.

This all sounds so obvious – and a bit killjoy like perhaps – but the fact is, you don’t know who is reading your social media posts or you blog. If you are hoping for an agent, new publisher, or a book club to contact you – your chances are much lower if you have a reputation for poor social media etiquette, or for being unreliable.

Never cut corners

Just don’t. All that work you’ve put into writing a story will be wasted if you are in a hurry.

If you need to edit – then edit.

If your cover needs improving- improve it.

If you need to do one more redraft – do it.

Cutting corners might get your work out faster – but readers aren’t stupid- they can tell if an author has rushed their work. And if you don’t care enough about your work to address every issue and make it as good as you can, then why would a reader care enough to come back to you a second time?

(Of course, no one’s work is ever 100% perfect – but we should try to get as near to perfect as possible)

Never think you’re alone

Writing can be lonely – and writers are often their own worst enemies. We constantly question our ability -living hand in hand with imposter syndrome.

Social media is awash with writer’s groups. You can meet other writers, and have a good old moan about what ever part of the writing process is getting you down. Within minutes you’ll find you are not the only one going through it.

There are also in person local author groups all over the place. Be brave and join one. Chances are, it’ll be full of people obsessing over the same things you are.

Never take any success you have for granted

If you get a good book deal – embrace it. Love it. Enjoy every second of it. But do not take it for granted. One deal, does not mean they’ll be another one.  Never assume you won’t have to work just as hard for the second one. (Sounds cynical – but it’s true)

Never think you have to write if it isn’t fun anymore

Writing is hard work – but it is also great fun. What better way to earn a living than to make up lies all day?

But if it isn’t fun anymore – stop. Life’s too short!

So- that’s 2 lists down – 8 to go!

Jenny xx


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  1. Loving these posts, Jenny. And applying the last line to everything at the moment:
    “But if it isn’t fun anymore – stop. Life’s too short!” Cheers Judithx

    • I’m so glad you’re enjoying them. I have to admit, they’ve been both fun and challenging to put together. xx

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