writing tips from a pro
Firwood Drive resident Julie K. Cohen should have known she was in the wrong career when she carted a laminated copy of a novel she’d co-authored to accounting interviews in 1988. “That was my thing to make me stand out,” she said. “I believe it actually helped me get my first job.”
Cohen’s first published novel, “The Traitor’s Touch,” will land on shelves June 12, just in time for readers to take her science fiction fantasy with them to the beach. While anticipating this release (book one of the Mindwiped series), Cohen continues working on additional series, including a group of romances featuring shapeshifters. Future release dates will be noted at juliekcohenromance.com
Like the heroes in many great stories, it took Cohen, a Mt. Lebanon resident, quite a while to accept that the work she was meant to do was already in her hands. “From the moment I wrote the first book, I considered myself a writer,” she said. However, she didn’t see her hobby as a financially viable career choice at that time.
Cohen, who spent her childhood immersed in the characters she saw on television while dreaming up new plots and adventures for them, became dedicated to creating characters of her own. She then felt so connected to them that she couldn’t give up on their stories. She wrote the first draft of ”The Traitor’s Touch” in 2004 before submitting it to publishers and revising it in cycles. “Raising kids and life also kept me busy so there were times the book sat in a drawer (really on computer files) for years without my looking at it,” she said. “Then I’d pick it up again: revise, wash, rinse, repeat.”
Cohen believes determination is the key to her success in publishing her novels. “Sometimes persistence doesn’t mean taking that one book and working on if for 15 years, but sometimes it does.”
Julie K. Cohen’s Tips for Writers
- Read voraciously
- “Every other subgenre you can think of, I’m reading,” she said. Her research efforts to improve her writing involved reading books with elaborate fantasies, wild romances, paranormal heroes, motorcycle gangs and attractive aliens, to name just some of the subjects she explored.
- Read bad books to boost confidence and learn from the mistakes of others.
- “Revise, revise, revise”
- She recommends allowing writing to rest, so the writer can see with fresh eyes the parts that require improvement.
- Plot out a series with intention
- Create profiles of characters
- Know the books that are coming next.
- Research the business
- Explore marketing, branding, cover design, audiences, genres, self-publishing and professional publishers in order to make good business decisions.
- Never skimp on the quality of your work
- Plots should have twists.
- Characters should have depth.