My first piece of advice is always the same. Join a-no-holds barred Critique group and grow a thick skin. I have a couple of books that would not exist if it weren’t for my critique group. We pass around 7K words of each others’ manuscripts to devour and give constructive and honest feedback on.
This does a few things: It keeps me writing, even if it is only 7,000 words a month! It gives me real feedback from several different perspectives, from others also honing their craft. These folks are great at pointing out discrepancies, repeated words (of which I am a repeat offender), things that don’t make sense and pull them out of the flow of the story. Things that would keep a reader from enjoying the book fully.
Reading other authors works in progress gives me the chance to think critically, and I tend to take away thoughts and ideas of how to do things differently with my own work. I learned how to take real tough feedback. And this has made me a much better author and a more objective thinker when it comes to reader reviews. Now I appreciate ALL reviews for exactly what they are. One person’s opinion.
So, in closing, without having had this group of amazing writers to help me perfect my words, I never would have finished or released Agent Colt. Never would have felt good enough to submit it to contests. Never would have found out that I could win awards with my words.