I'm an established full-time author - willing to answer questions if you have them




I don’t know if this has been asked to you before. Apologies if it has. How do you keep your story original so that readers have something new to appreciate and make it stand out but not so original that no one picks it up?

What’s the hardest part of sustaining a writing career. It’s hard to break out, but is it worse to keep that momentum going?

Thank you for your time to answer these. I really appreciate it.


Michael, sorry replying just now. I actually read your response a little while ago.

What you say seems to be correct. I will definitely consider going the novel route. I wrote one YA thing which I think has a great concept but, admittedly, I probably didn’t compose it in the best way possible.

I think one of the reasons why I started thinking along these lines is because I’ve seen some Deadline articles talking about some Wattpad stories becoming pieces of filmed content. Also, I’m wondering if short stories may someday trend because of Jeffrey Katzenberg’s short-content startup (think it was called NewTV at first, now I think it has another name, Quibit, if I recall).

Great advice, I appreciate your time…(and I guess for now I will continue with the shorter works until I get confidence to do something longer)…


Natalia, thanks for your thoughts.

I do have to say, it does appear that a story has to be of a certain market to work. So far I’ve had no traction with my stuff, but I’m still fairly new.

You’re correct as well about having to go out and make it happen. It’s difficult for me to get out there and put a lot of work into my writing because of some health reasons, but I have tried for many years to get some stuff published/noticed. Succeeded a little bit, but nothing that would translate into an option or a sale of rights.

Thanks again…


Do you have any advice for young authors who want to get into writing as a serious career? Is there a point where you should wait to consider publishing until a certain age, or would you consider it one of those things where it’s never too early to get started? My end goal is to at least get a polished manuscript that I’m satisfied with finished by the time I complete high school, getting published being the endgame goal. (Probably not by the time I graduate high school, let’s be realistic here, but that would be the dream.) Is there anything in particular I should be thinking about if I want to make this my livelihood?

(Thank you so much for this thread, by the way. I’m learning so much from it just by reading through. :smile:)


These days self published books are doing well as well. The debate is heated but it all comes down to what YOU want. Would you like to look for an agent? Are you willing to spend time (could be months to years) to send your work through and wait till a publishers actually accepts it?

  1. I was ambitious regarding traditional but I reevaluated my own circumstances and realized that I do not have time to work on strict dead lines, and I cannot deal with a ‘‘team’’, as I prefer to do things on my own schedule and without third party being involved. I do want to make BIG bucks but I do want my book out there for people to read. This made me realize that for me, indie publishing is the best option.

  2. Every publisher has a set guideline on how they want the manuscript. So I think you format it exclusively looking at the guidelines set by that said publisher.

  3. Inkitt is a good place to start. Like wattpad it allows you to publish your work online and gain a following. Goodreads is a really good one too! You can make around a 1000 friends in less than a week because most people who read the same books as you, will 100 percent accept your request. You can engage easily with people there. You can also be on the writeblr community on tumblr. Its still a growing community but everyone there is VERY helpful and supportive. I made some good friends there.


@MichaelJSullivan First off, thanks for responding to all of our questions. I noticed you mentioned that novels are the way to go if one wants to try and make money at this. My question is are Ebooks really a better road to take over a physical books in terms of sales and is giving away a book as a way to build a readership a better approach than advertising and having the novel for sale?


That’s really helpful, thank you!

I definitely agree in saying that the more important part of writing is having people read it. I’m considering a paycheck from it as a side-effect of people reading and enjoying my work.

Have you personally self-published? How difficult did you find the marketing and promotion part? I don’t have a huge network of people that I can market to so that’s a piece I’m worried about.


I think if I were you, I would just stop thinking about getting optioned and right for yourself. It feels like you are just stuck in this mindset where you must get your writing on screen. Not all books translate into good on screen stories. I know it would be nice to see something of my own to get optioned, but I’m realistic about it. I have way too many scenes in my books where it will be extremely hard for smaller production companies to get that many extras. Let’s say 20 thousand people for one scene.

You need to write for a right reason. Not to get optioned but for yourself first. For that one reader who is patiently waiting for your next chapter. To tell your reader something, to give him a message.

As for the health, I’m sorry to hear that. I know how that feels. I have a rare genetic disorder that causes some of the things in my body fail over time, and I also developed a nerve damage in my arm and neck and it has become very painful for me to type as much as I used to type. I went from 5k words a day to 1k. You just make it work. Do your thing slowly but surely. Try not to think about getting optioned. Think about the story and what you want to say.


Not the OP but I was in your shoes not too long ago. Being in grade school, writing a couple novels, and saying THIS IS IT!!!

The fact of the matter is, if you love writing, you will continue to write for many years. Getting traditionally published is a good goal but it’s extremely difficult, especially for someone so young. It’s extra pressure you don’t need to put on yourself. Seriously, when I stopped worrying about all that stuff was when I felt like I was learning more about my craft and the type of stories I wanted to write.

That’s just been my experience anyway. You can get published at 20, 30, 40, etc. There is no age cap on getting published. I’m 20 and want to be published. But I know I’ve still got a lot of work cut out for me.


Thanks for the advice! I really appreciate it. :smile: I’ll be sure not to worry about things so much, lol.


op? o.o


Original Poster


Oh ok thanks.


Not yet! I recently decided that I am going to indie publish, and have started doing research on it. Still new on the cruise, which is why its always helpful to interact with indie authors.
I suggest you should check out LANI LENORE, she is my fav indie author and her wordpress blog has been really helpful.


Thanks for the tip, I will definitely have a look!


Nothing about the “publishing business” is easy. It takes talent, hard work, and a lot of persistence. So yeah, people who aren’t out there building an audience aren’t going to get far.


Both are viable paths, and there is not a single “universal” answer to which is best. It’s going to depend on the author’s goals and capabilities. Self is harder, but you have more control over the outcome. In traditional, you need others to decide your book is worthy but they’ll have all the say over a wide range of matters. If they do well, the book has a better chance of success, if they do poorly…it may fail with no fault of your own. There is a lot required to make a professional book (that goes beyond writing it). Title, cover design, editing, marketing copy, pricing strategy, distribution, etc etc. You can learn these things, and if you are able to make a book that stands toe-to-toe with those produced by traditional publishing, then self is an option, but if you can’t…then traditional is a solution as they have people on staff to do all those things. Without know specifics about your situation I can’t say what is best for you.

The “industry standard” for submitted manuscripts is 12 point font (Times New Roman is a popular choice), double spaced with 1" margins all around. There is some variation about what to have in the margin (some agents want word count and title, others want title and author name). Look up the website of the person you are sending it to in order to see if they have a stated preference - and then follow that preference to the letter. If they want the word count in the upper right - don’t put it in the upper left. For some agents they reject work that doesn’t follow their convention because it’s an indication you didn’t do your research before submitting to them.

Well the first thing to keep in mind is that we all start out at the same place (virtually no platform). It does grow with time. I don’t think Wattpad is great at building readership that will transfer over to “book buyers.” I think the better venue for that is Goodreads. I’d start with a blog and a newsletter, talk about your passion, why you write, what motivates you and develop a few short stories you can offer for free for people who sign up to your mailing list.


Being “out there” does help to drive sales. I devote my time and effort to Goodreads becuase that site is 100% readers whereas Twitter and Facebook has everything from foodie to politics being discussed.


My take on things is that execution trumps originality. Look at Harry Potter. Rowlings used every tired old troupe in existence: ancient evil defeated and returning, an orphan destined for greatness, a “poor but loyal” best friend, the “know-it-all” girl, a wise mentor. But her execution was brilliant. People cared about the characters, they WANTED to visit her world. Focus on the characters and their trials and tribulations is my best advice.

“Breaking into” the world is the hardest part. Once you have a foot in the door the rest is MUCH easier. I have no problem keeping momentum going because writing is what I love to do the most. That said, some authors do have problem putting their butts in the chair, so YMMV.


I hope it works out for you.

I thin the Katzenberg thing is more experimental than income producing. A way to encourage creativity but not really something you should be looking at for income production.