Saturday, January 23, 2016

Guest Post: From Reader to Writer by Dane Cobain

From Reader to Writer: How My Love of Books Led Me to a Career as a Writer

by Dane Cobain

I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember – my parents used to use them to keep me quiet in the back seat of the car on long journeys, and they worked a treat. A lot of people can’t read while travelling, but this early habit has led to me reading on the bus during my commute to work, which is where I usually get the most reading done.

When I was about fifteen, I sold the vast majority of my books on eBay, a decision I’ve since regretted – I’ve spent the last five years trying to rebuild that collection, and I’m back up to about 1,000 books, which I’ve been working on reviewing for SocialBookshelves.com, my book blog. I have about another 50 reviews to go before I’ve reviewed everything I’ve ever read, although not all of the reviews have been posted.

And it was SocialBookshelves.com that led, indirectly, to my publishing deal with Booktrope. As well as reviewing books, I also interview a lot of other authors, and many of these came through Allie Burke and Jesse James Freeman, two of the early members of the Booktrope crew. Jesse asked if I could share that they were open for submissions, I said I could go one better than that, and the rest is history.

For me, it’s important for writers to be readers because you can learn so much about the craft just by seeing what other people are doing and by learning from their mistakes, or by taking techniques that they’ve used and improving upon them. They say that there’s no such thing as an original idea anymore and that execution is the key – I don’t necessarily agree with that, but I do think that literature is a melting pot, and that it’s your job as a writer to take what’s already out there and to improve upon it.

I’ll always be a reader first and foremost; after all, as a writer, I write books that I’d want to read myself, and that’s how I make sure that I don’t just descend into self-indulgence. It’s a strategy that seems to work, at least so far, and I’m still keeping up my book blog because even after being published, it’s one of the greatest assets that I have from a marketing point of view. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to read and to write about the books that you love.

That’s why, when Clarisse was interested in hosting a guest post, I thought it would be fun to write about reading – two of my lifelong loves, coming together. It’s been a lot of fun – thanks for having me, and if you’re a keen reader yourself then be sure to check out No Rest for the Wicked. I’ll see you soon!

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