Five Top Tips
1. Read your contract: It sounds obvious, doesn't it? But in the excitement of receiving that first 'yes' from a publisher, it's mighty tempting just to scribble your name on the dotted line without even pausing to read through what you're signing. Yes, it is dull to read 16 pages of legalese, and you won't understand some of what you read. But take the time to do it, because that book of yours might just become a smash hit bestseller, and you could be signing away an awful lot of money. In the UK, the Society of Authors offers a free contract reading service, which is more than worth the price of membership.
2. Be honest about submission dates: If you plan to start writing your book while you are also working full or part time, be aware that a book of 50,000 words takes a long time to write. If you are in a high pressure, full time job and you have family commitments, it is going to be tough, perhaps even impossible, unless you have a lot of support. Don't promise to submit on a date that you're just not going to be able to make. Publishers and editors like authors who submit their manuscripts on the date that was originally set. If your publisher likes the way you work, they are far more likely to commission you to write another book.
3. Learn to type: This might seem like a weird addition to a 'top tips' list, but the fact that I can type at about 80 words a minute means I can potentially get almost 5,000 words onto a page in an hour. Invest time in learning to type - as a writer, this is a skill that allows you to ply your trade.
4. Get involved in marketing: Once your book is on the shelves, seize every opportunity to help your publishers market your book. Although they will give you support in finding marketing opportunities, it is the author who needs to make it happen. The more radio interviews, press articles, bookshop talks you do, the more likely you are to sell copies of your book.
5. Make sure you receive all the monies you are due: Your book will earn you money via library loans and photocopying, as well as via sales. Register your books and any articles you write with both PLR and ALCS. If you don't, you are potentially throwing money down the drain.
For lots more advice and top tips on how to earn a living as a writer, see my book: The Seven M's of Writing for a Living