3 Ways To Get Started As a Young Writer

A Guest Post by Kimberly Kelly 


The publishing industry is intimidating, especially for a young writer. Breaking into it as a newcomer may feel like gearing up to jump out of a plane. It’s a long ride up, you’re going to have to do some waiting before letting it all go into open air, when you’ll squeeze your eyes shut hoping beyond hope that everything goes according to plan. Once you’re freefalling you’ll realize that this may be a good kind of exhilaration. Once you land, you’ll want to go back up and do it all again. Or maybe you’ll be content with it being a onetime thing. Either way you won’t know until you try.

Here are three suggestions for how to get started: 


Take Control: 

Writing is hard. First you need a good idea. Then you need to be able to put that idea into words—and make them sound good! Now you have words on a page, your words, words that came from your thoughts and your mind and you’re supposed to give them away to a book-based conglomerate? 

The esteem that comes with being traditionally published is understandably desirable and a huge goal for many (myself included), but what if there was another way to get your books, your words, your thoughts out there?  

Well, we’re in luck! Self-publishing can be just as rewarding while remaining worlds easier. Don’t be fooled though, there is just as much, if not more, work involved. It is up to you to write, edit, market, format, and design your book. Of course, you can enlist some help, but finding the help is up to you as well. There won’t be any Big 5 pockets to dig in to, you’re in charge.  


Use Your Network: 

Now, I know I said the publishing industry is intimidating and then went on to imply the intimidation that also comes with self-publishing but stay with me. The allure of self-publishing is the control you get to keep. Yes, everything is up to you, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re in this alone. What it does mean is that you can curate your team. Do you have a good friend talented in design? A family member with a decent social media following? A lasting relationship with a professor who can help you proofread? You are more than welcome to handle everything on your own, but you are in no way constricted to a lonesome experience. You can choose who you want to work with without the limitations of an in-house team at any publisher.  

If you don’t have a personal list of people to help make your book the best it can be, Barnes & Noble Press does! Self-publishing through B&N Press provides you with a list of curated experts in their respective fields whether it be formatting, design, editing, or marketing. B&N Press has taken the time to find and form relationships with qualified partners to help you publish your ideal version of your book. Choose who you want to work on your book. 


Social Media is Key: 

Social media is a beast to be tamed when it comes to self-promotion. As the necessary evil it is, social media will be a key factor when finding an audience for your book. Maybe you’re already a part of an online community, or you listen to a podcast whose audience may overlap with the one you’re trying to reach. Don’t be afraid to put your work out there.

You wrote a book, you want people to read it, so do what you can to introduce people to your work. An added bonus of publishing with B&N Press is the opportunity to be highlighted alongside other independent authors on bn.com! If you know any other successful self-published authors, don’t be afraid to send them a copy of your book and kindly ask them to write a review. Get in touch with an influencer (a BookToker, perhaps?!) and express your enjoyment of their content and how much you’d appreciate if they gave your book a try. It never hurts to ask.  

That being said, be sure to remain polite and cordial. Everyone’s trying to find their place in the world. With so much industry competition, not everyone is going to be a team player. Let’s all help each other when we can and understand that not everyone will share the same sentiment. 


What’s Next:

Self-publishing is an invaluable tool for getting your feet wet within the publishing industry. You won’t have to answer to anyone, you’ll have complete creative control, you decide who sells your book, you set the price, and get to keep most of the profit. You’re also under no time constraint when self-publishing. It’s hard to get to a point where writing is your full-time job.

Self-publishing allows you to get done what you can get done whenever you have the time. If the idea for a story is itching around in your head while you’re trying to focus on school or work or whatever else you have going on, you are still able to get that story out there. You get to make a schedule that works best for you and be able to dedicate time to your book only when you have it. You’re not at risk of losing a deal if you can’t deliver by a certain date.  

You know your book. Be the person calling the shots and reap the royalties. Create something you’re proud of and celebrate the accomplishment of doing it on your own terms.  

Good luck and happy writing!


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