Historical Fiction 101: A Comprehensive Guide to Writing Historical Fiction
Part 8: Publishing
by Diane Vaughn
Accept early on that not everyone is going to like your story. Even bestselling authors such as J.K. Rowling and Stephen King have harsh critics, so it’s okay if people don’t like your writing. It’s really all a matter of taste. If reviews are enabled on your site, be sure to acknowledge people who are reading your story and respond to them personally in some manner if you can. If you have someone who flames your story, do not give a response! I once had a person who flamed a fan fiction of mine, and I made the mistake of firing back because I just could not keep my mouth shut. Needless to say, I had a flame war going within my private messages. I also had a friend of mine who had a flame war going on in her reviews page because her friends started replying to the person that flamed her story, and she was caught in the middle of a flame war on her reviews page between the reviewer and her friends.
If you happen to receive constructive criticism, bear in mind that it is not flaming. Even with all the best editing software and beta readers in the world, you may inevitably get constructive criticism. Good constructive criticism (and how I critique when I beta read or review) is when the reader brings up things they liked about your story but pointed out things they felt you could have improved. They often (and should) offer advice on how to improve the flaws they found within your story. You do not have to take every piece of advice, but do keep an open mind to what others have pointed out. Explore the suggestion at the very least and simply go with what works for you. A good writer is always improving.
If you are met with harsh criticism, however, you need to learn to accept it and be mature about it. I admit, even I have difficulty with this. It is very difficult for a writer when her story isn’t loved by every person on the planet because this was something that you worked very hard on! Instead, try to learn from the comments, even though you want nothing more than to find that person and throttle them.
If you are publishing on a website and you plan to update as you write, be sure to work at least three or four chapters ahead. Until recently, I was very bad about posting as I wrote the chapters, because life or writer’s block would sometimes get in the way, and I would wind up not updating for months. Therefore, I would wind up losing some or most of my audience, depending on the lapse between updates. If you have the extra chapters on hand and edited, you can put up those chapters and attend to other and more important needs.
Last but not least, keep in mind that while writing historical fiction may be a challenge at first, it gets easier to write, as with any genre. Your current story may be your best one now, but this will not be the case the more you write and allow yourself to evolve and explore writing historical fiction or any type of genre for that matter.
Diane Vaughn aspires to greatness, that is, to become a published author. Currently, she lives in Poplar Bluff, Missouri with her husband, Jesse, and their two fur balls, Andy and Bo.
Diane teaches English Language Arts at Poplar Bluff Senior High School, and in her free time, she enjoys working on her various writing endeavors which include writing poetry, fan fiction, and drafting her fan fiction-turned-original fiction. Her favorite genres of literature are the classics, historical fiction, and fantasy.
Visit her website Lexeme Sketches for more information and ways to connect with her.