Slim It Down So It Can Sell
Even if your novel is a character-focused piece, it is vital that you can condense the plot down to a single sentence, followed by an overview of the text that takes no more than one, single paragraph. These are vital because they are what your publisher will use for advertising your book and for the blurb surrounding it in literary circles. Considering that you can only really write these out is when you are not certain of the story and only have an idea of how that story is going to conclude. Beyond that, you wind up just being dumbfounded by your subplots, especially if they have no ties to the character(s) you are focusing the book on.
Success Comes to the Swift
You cannot sell a book if it is not on the shelves. In short, if you want to find success as a writer, you need to get that first book out now. Even I was strapped with the "Curse of the 10-Year First Book." This situation is a great disservice to all involved if only because time is the one resource that you can never regain.
Remember, you are mortal and neither you nor your audience is going to be around forever. For new authors, that first book should be finished by the time you finish high school. After that, you should be pumping out a new story every year until time slows down for you. In my case, time slowed around age 32 and I had produced 14 books. Bear in mind that just because things slow down does not always mean your work should slow as well; establishing yourself enough to collect royalties can be a huge boost to output.
If you happen to strike it well enough to live off your royalties, I have two things to say to you.
- Congratulations, you made it!
- This is now one of your main sources of income and you should redouble your efforts for future production. Aim for two books a year.
If you do not manage live off your royalties as a writer by age 35, double up your output once again. You should never stop writing novels, no matter how long it takes and especially if you want to live off of your own products. Fail to abide by this sort of plant and you will be several decades older than the accomplished author you imagined yourself to be in your youth.
Learn From Others' Failures
I realize that my case is sort of a middle of the road outcome; I'm in my fourth decade and popping out at least 12 books a year because I realized how much I squandered my youth creating the perfect story. Consider this writing advice as coming from someone who learned the hard way. I'm still over a decade behind where I should be and it feels like the foundation of my career as an author was made from sand-one good slip-up and it will take forever to get back to even the point I am at now.
Anyone can write a story but a proper author can get their stories out in a timely manner and even find a publisher while interest in that particular story is hot. While haste makes waste and leads to mistakes, focus on efficiency in your production and get your stories out as soon as you can. Try to produce at least one book each year and amp up the production to two or more as your experience and brand grows. The less time you spend on your current book, the more time you have to work on the next one and on enjoying your life.