- They write. They find a writing routine that works for them and they stick to it. Maybe it's at 5:00 am every morning before the rest of the family gets up, maybe it's at 10 pm after they go to bed. Whatever it is, just do it.
- They listen to constructive criticism. I am a huge advocate of critique groups, so: get one! This can be a group of like-minded local writers, an on-line community, or even one trusted reader. The point is they need to tell you what works and what doesn't work. And, as authors, we need to actually consider what they say. :) Note, this doesn't mean blindly follow everything they say.
- They learn about the writing biz. For short stories, they learn how to find markets and submit to them. For example, here at Electric Spec we only publish speculative fiction (hence, the name!). We like science fiction, fantasy, and horror and combinations thereof. We like original plots. We like authors with unique voices. For novels, they learn about different agents and editors and what they like and submit appropriately.
- They build up their credentials. Successful authors create a track record that shows publishers they have what it takes. FYI, short story sales are awesome for this! :)
- They don't give up. 'Nough said on that one.
Okay, I've come down off my high horse. :) What do you all think it takes for authors to succeed?
In other news...the next Electric Spec production meeting is this weekend. Everyone who got their stories in before the April 15 deadline should have heard something from us. Early next week authors will hear final decisions if they are in hold-for-voting. And can I just say, all the stories in hold-for-voting are very good. It breaks my heart a little bit to have to choose among them. :(