Write for yourself. If you are writing the book you want to read that passion will shine through and it will help you stay motivated to get the writing done.
Briana Morgan is a YA horror and fantasy writer, playwright and freelance editor. She loves dark, suspenseful reads with angst-ridden relationships and complicated characters. We caught up with her to talk about the trap of comparison, counterintuitive book marketing tactics and the surreal experience of having her play brought to life.
What made you want to be a writer?
I have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl, my grandfather instilled a love for storytelling in me. He’d spin beautiful tales that would keep my brother and me enthralled for hours. Also, I became obsessed with reading at a young age. Naturally, I kind of “fell” into writing from there. Once I realized I could create my own worlds like the ones in my favorite books, I was hooked.
What inspires you to write?
Quite simply, my love of writing. Beyond that, the idea that I can inspire thought, instill fear, and incite discussion through my words is a powerful motivator.
Is there any particular incident that has happened along your writing journey that you’d like to share?
About a year ago, I had the chance to attend a performance of my play, as well as participate in a talkback with the cast and audience afterward. It was surreal and so rewarding.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. This advice can apply to a lot of different facets of life, but it is essential to heed it as a writer. If you obsess over other authors with publishing deals or spots on the New York Times Bestseller list, you’ll always feel inadequate. Here is a hard truth: someone will always be more “successful” than you but you choose what being successful means to you. If you want to be happy as a writer, you should only strive to be better than your previous self.
What do you think is the biggest marketing challenge for new authors?
A lot of new authors think you have to spend money to market yourself. While money does help, you can definitely still get the word out about your work without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars.
What methods of book marketing do you find the most effective?
It sounds counterintuitive, but not telling people to buy my books. Also, even if you don’t have a book but you are publishing soon, start building your author platform now. Otherwise, when the book comes out, there won’t be people wanting to buy it.
What struggles did you face in the writing/ publishing process?
Every book presents a different set of challenges for me. If writing my first draft is easy for one book, the next might be more difficult. Just because I overcome a particular challenge while writing one book does not mean I’ll never face it again.
Also, after writing my first book, I knew I wanted to self-publish. I had no idea what that process was like, so it took a lot of research and asking questions on my part. If you want to self-publish, keep in mind that there is a learning curve. When you hold the finished copy in your hands though, all the struggle feels worth it.
How do you handle rejection as a writer?
I don’t take it personally—or at least, I try not to. No book can possibly appeal to everyone.
How do you deal with isolation, as writing is an inherently private exercise?
I make an effort to see my boyfriend several times per week, as well as my friends. When I’m writing, I take breaks on social media, where I’ve cultivated an online community. Also, I like to go for walks on breaks.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with aspiring writers?
Write for yourself. If you are writing the book you want to read, that passion will shine through. And, it will help you stay motivated to get the writing done.