Be a dick –Let’s be honest. The easiest way to live in infamy as an author is to be “that” person. You know the one. They do outrageous things, like stalk reviewers or spend all their time and energy bashing other authors—especially those who are more successful than them. When they’re not tweeting about their book and demanding that you buy it now, they’re trolling for attention. This strategy is a great way to gain attention and marks you as someone to watch. Do it right and hundreds of people will know your name. The fact that they’ll probably never buy your books shouldn’t deter you.
Throw your book at the heads of prominent figures –It might seem like a good plan, but I’m pretty sure it could be mistaken as an assassination attempt. But hey, you’ll have tons of time to pen your magnum opus from behind bars after they determine you are a threat to others as well as yourself. Just think of the news stories though!
Find people who love your work as much as you do and enlist their help –The writing community is a great place to find yourself and grow. It’s a place where others have been where you are and can provide insight that will keep you from falling off that cliff over there, you know the one. You were headed for it two minutes ago, it was disguised by vampire romances and the discarded gears of a runaway steampunk series. They were there as a warning, and you misread the signs. They’re good, but until you understand the nuances that make them good, you won’t have the parachute they had to keep them from dying on the rocks below. (wow, that metaphor went weird fast). Look at the people you admire, cultivate relationships with people who are willing and able to offer suggestions through their writing/tweeting/blogs. Understand who you are, where you are, and how they can help you even if it’s just through the osmosis of their work.
Play by the rules and know your stuff –If you’re on the internet and reading agent blogs/twitter feeds, you’ll see a lot of notes on when people don’t play by the rules. If you do, you’re already a step ahead. Agent’s put rules in place for querying and submissions because they’ve been doing this for a long time and they know what works for them. If you don’t follow their guidelines, you stand a chance of being tossed from the pile without a second glance. Writing itself has rules you should follow, plot structure, pacing and grammar are important. If you don’t do your homework and just throw words on the page, readers aren’t going to get very far.
Flout the rules and do your own thing –Ignore every convention. There are lots of rule breakers out there. Literary rebels manage to knock it out of the park every so often. They look at those rules and come up with a way to do it differently that works. Fair warning, you have to know the rules to break them successfully. Write that SF told from the perspective of a jelly brain that resides inside the belly of a fire beast with seven different timelines and more unpronounceable words than you can count.
(And please don’t flout agent rules, they’re not going to be happy with you.)
Write about people who are definitely going to get upset –You know what’s a great idea? Pick a touchy subject, write about it in the most offensive way, and then fight anyone who calls out your book. It’s just fiction after all. No one’s lives have ever been changed by fiction. It’s not like portrayals of things directly effect the perception of your readers. So what if you cause a massive internet outcry. All publicity is good publicity, right?
Work hard & never give up –This industry is the kind that will rip your heart out if you let it. It’s a constant learning curve and even people who’ve been successfully publishing for years feel like outsiders in their own field. It’s a business that will lift you up one day and drop you on the ground the next. But it’s one that requires perseverance and hard work to see through. Just remember. Your work matters, no matter how many people read it, how many bad reviews you get. Your work matters. Keep writing and keep getting better and keep your head up.