Throughout my writing career, I’ve devoured countless blog posts, podcasts, and interviews by authors talking about the advice they received when starting out. Learning from mentors helps us to improve and evolve in our chosen field, and I still recall the advice given to me at the start of my writing journey.
In 2019, to honour my mentors and help the next generation of writers’ young and old, I started a feature whereby established authors shared their words of wisdom and top ten writing tips.
It was a huge success and I’m delighted to bring the feature back for a second season!
Meet Tanya Ross
Tanya Ross was born and raised in San Diego County, her “happy place.” Although Southern California is a particular kind of paradise, she desires a world where everyone is kind, compassionate, and upbeat, which became one of the themes of her first novel, Rising Up.
For thirty-two years she was an educator of English, history, AVID, and student leadership. She loves teaching and kids, her students a daily inspiration. Her exit from the educational arena allowed her to indulge her hopes, dreams, and goals in what she taught for so many years–writing. This first novel, Rising Up, began her lifelong dream of writing meaningful novels for young adults.
When she’s not creating new worlds, you can find her reading, and spending time with her husband and two kids. Discover more on her website.
Tanya’s Top 10 Writing Tips:
- Be confident. I know that’s hard because I struggle with it all the time. But if you’re your fiercest critic, you won’t be able to make the kind of progress you need. If you have to, give yourself some positive self talk or watch a motivational video. Chances are, people will love your work. And if they don’t? It’s still okay. You won’t please everyone.
- Be disciplined with your writing time. It’s doing the work each day, whether you are “inspired” or not. Sitting down on a regular basis at the same time establishes a habit. Some days you’ll get a lot written. Other days, not so much. But there will always be something.
- Get in a writing group. I can’t stress this enough! I participate twice a month in a read and critique group through my local library. There are about 12 of us, and the feedback I receive is worth its weight in gold. You not only have people that give you suggestions on how to improve your work, you have a support group of people with the same goals as you. I couldn’t have published without my group!
- Read everything. Read other Indie authors’ work and support them with reviews. They will hopefully do the same for you. And read all you can about publishing or listen to podcasts. Many are free. Join Facebook and Instagram groups where authors share their knowledge. Soak it up with a sponge. Believe me, it is like a free college for writers.
- Lean into your own strengths. You are you. Don’t try to be someone else. Recognize your abilities and concentrate on those rather than striving to be something you’re not. I’m a “slow writer,” and even though I don’t like that, I’ve had to accept it. And, I believe the quality of my work is there as a result.
- Purchase good software. Having tools like ProWritingAid, Vellum, Canva, and Book Brush are critical for success. It’s some money upfront, but I don’t regret it. It will save you money and frustration in the long run.
- Don’t go on the cheap. You can make your own cover or buy one for less than a hundred bucks. I don’t recommend it. You are worth having someone design you a great cover. Your sales depend on people judging a book by its cover. I made this mistake—bought a premade, and it didn’t sell well. I gritted my teeth and paid a designer, and I have never looked back.
- Find what inspires you. For me, listening to music helps me get great plot ideas and puts me in the mood for writing.
- Have a social media presence, but don’t live there. IG and FB posts do not sell books. Those platforms are there for people who already are your readers.
- Write what you love. A lot of people “write to market.” If you’re lucky enough to have a passion for what’s hot in the market, great. If not, writing can be drudgery, and you won’t have your heart in it. And that’s a very big waste.
Massive thanks to Tanya for sharing her top tips with us. Check out her novels, Rising Up and Facing Off here:
Multiple outlets: https://bookstoread.com/u/31KR1v
Multiple outlets: https://books2read.com/u/b5oYqA
You can also connect with Tanya here:
Rising Up Book Blurb:
2021 YA WINNER OF THE INDIE AUTHOR PROJECT FOR THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA!
“Ross’ addition to the dystopian genre leaves teen readers with an understanding that their emotions hold great power, adult readers with an appreciation of metaphor and imagery, and all readers eagerly awaiting the next installment.” Deanna Bennet, Librarian, Vista Unified School District
A city under glass. A girl under pressure. When secrets come out, which one will break first?
Sixteen-year-old empath Ember Vinata is devastated by her mother’s mysterious death. But in a disease-free domed metropolis where happiness is electronically monitored and enforced, expressing her grief means exile to The Outside.
The only person who can help her is a smoking-hot government agent.
When strange prophetic dreams compel her to investigate, and she discovers the source of the fatal illness, Ember is stunned to discover the perfect city in which she lives is nothing like it seems. And when her new boyfriend appears to be torn between seeking justice and remaining loyal to his oaths, she fears there is no one she can trust…
…Or would her world be rocked by a criminal from The Outside?
Ember’s quest for the truth could set her free – or make her a captive pawn.
Rising Up is the thrilling first book in The Tranquility YA dystopian sci-fi series. If you like determined heroines, the power of emotions, and fighting injustice, then you’ll love Tanya Ross’s raw crusade.