Like many of my friends here in Brisbane, I snapped up tickets last week for the Foo Fighters Sonic Highways tour coming to our shores next year.
I’m a huge fan of live music, having played guitar in bands a good few years ago. Making plans to get to the venue and meet up with friends before the concert next year got me thinking – what lessons can writers take from putting on a show of this size?
1. Turn up for work
Sounds simple, but how many times are you guilty of saying ‘I’ll just check my emails’, ‘I’ll send a few tweets’, ‘Ooh – look! Cats on Facebook!’
Those rock stars might lead a party lifestyle, but when the time comes to get on that stage and rock, they do it. You have to as well.
The sooner you train your brain to start writing as soon as your backside hits the seat, the easier it will get. It’s about forming a habit, keeping to a schedule, and delivering the goods.
2. Put on a show
Don’t be a lazy writer. Sure, slap down those words any way you want to during the first draft, but you must deliver quality. That means getting a professional book cover, having your work edited, and making sure readers can get hold of your work through several outlets.
Similarly, when you’re asked about your writing, you have to be enthusiastic. Don’t whine to a potential reader that your sales are poor, or the words aren’t flowing this week – keep those conversations between you and your writing buddies.
You’re on a stage, so be prepared to put on a show. Be professional at all times. Answer interviewers’ and readers’ questions, even if you’ve answered the same ones before. Help other writers, and for goodness sake, keep your social media output professional.
First impressions count, people!
3. Leave ’em wanting more
If you have more than one book available, put an excerpt at the back so readers get a taste of what else you’ve written.
If it’s your first book, direct them towards your website and social media pages so they can find out when you’re publishing next, and how they can keep in touch with you.
It doesn’t matter whether you write novels, short stories, screenplays, or poetry – when your reader finishes that piece of work, you’d better have something lined up for the encore.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to dust off that air guitar…