Kelly McClymer began writing long before the digital revolution changed publishing forever. Through the decades, she learned a lot. Some of what she learned needed to be discarded in the new age of publishing. Some of what she learned helped her make the leap from author to authorpreneur.
Kelly hopes that some of what she has to share will help other authors avoid the think-and-spin-and-do-and-wait career cycles Kelly endured over a lifetime of writing. A much better model is the think-do-learn-optimize cycle.
If you believe the same, you may want to join Kelly’s writer’s list and get her Become a Bestseller Checklist.
First lesson of a selling writer — a blank page doesn’t sell.
Kelly began her writing career writing for her high school newspaper. She had a movie review column that had to be filled every issue. When she began to write short science fiction, she had a monthly critique group that expected a story from her every meeting. Now she has readers to ask her when the next book is coming out.
Second lesson of a selling writer — know your audience.
Kelly began her career submitting short science fiction and fantasy stories to magazines like Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction and Analog. Neither magazine ever accepted her stories, as her lead characters were primarily women and mothers. She made her first sale to Housewife Writer’s Forum, the short story “Napping on Jungle Time.”
Second lesson of a selling writer — to do is to learn.
Kelly attends conferences, belongs to author groups, and has taken many classes on writing, marketing, and business. Opportunities to learn are everywhere, and Kelly believes the best way to learn is to try anything that seems like a good idea. She has written short stories, novels, essays, reviews, blogs, articles. She is not afraid to try a new genre, a new storytelling technique, or a new writing or marketing tool.
Third lesson of a selling writer — the right feedback can rock your world.
Kelly credits the successful (traditional) publication of her first historical romance novel The Fairy Tale Bride, to her critique group. Over muffins and sandwiches and coffee, this group focused on excellent storytelling with a smidge of market advice. Their support and interest kept her writing, even in the years when agents and editors sent back nothing but rejections. And their feedback helped Kelly create a series of books that continue to delight readers in indie release.
Fourth lesson of a selling writer — the best way to deep learning is to teach.
Teaching is one of the best ways to learn anything in depth. Kelly taught for LongRidge Writer’s Group for twelve years, ran a course on how to write a book in 8 weeks, and has given talks on many diverse topics related to writing. Now she offers an online course, Hack Your Muse: Finish Your Novel in 8 Weeks. The Hack Your Muse FaceBook page (open to everyone) offers quick tips and inspirational quotes to put even the most stubborn muse in the mood to write a great scene.
Fifth lesson of a selling writer — marketing and promotion are not shameful concepts.
In the “olden” days, you may be shocked to learn, authors were not expected to market their own work directly. Publishers talked to distributors and distributors talked to bookstore owners. There were big catalogs, with the books the publisher expected to do well having full page featured, and the rest being laid out according to their ranking in the publisher’s estimation (the designation midlist comes from this process).
Sixth lesson of a selling writer — experiments past your comfort zone may take you someplace amazing.
Storytelling options are nearly limitless. Audio, video, animation, manga, comic books, graphic novels, VR. AR. OR (okay, that last one is a dark joke prompted by my 2016 surgery on a broken wrist). Recently, Kelly began testing the possibilities of creating a reading recommendation engine that will make it easier for readers to find the next book they’re going to love reading. She’s ventured far outside her comfort zone to a place of numbers, math, spreadsheets, data and programming, but she knows it will be worth it in the end. You can follow along her NovelPath journey by reading all about the NovelPath startup.