The Good Habits of Great Writers

As the Creative Director of Galileo Games, it is part of my responsibilities to suggest writers for our upcoming projects – if that’s writing flavor text for a game, or suggesting a writer to participate in anthologies. As I’ve done this, I’ve noticed several habits of writers that make me think of them when a new project comes up.

Pleasant to Work With: I like to work with pleasant people who are friendly and easy to communicate with. Someone who is kind, who responds to e-mails quickly and who has a positive attitude will be someone I keep in mind in the future.

On Time: I cannot emphasize how important this is. It is so important! We like to release content on a regular schedule, so that there is always something new in the pipeline. If an author is late, it can push our schedule around and clog up our publishing pipes. I understand that sometimes this is unavoidable, but if it happens often it lets us know we are a low priority. We aren’t interested in being a low priority. An author that lets us know things may be late is helpful, and can help us plan. An author that just disappears? Not good.

The Final Draft: I want authors to send me their final draft first. I always have some edits for the writers who send me their stories, but I like to know that a writer is sending me something that they feel is their completed, finished piece.

Receptive to Edits: I love an author who takes my edits seriously. When I edit a story for Galileo Games, I think hard about what would make it stronger. I’m not casually throwing out ideas.  An author who is receptive to these edits and who makes the changes we request in the time frame that we request them is great. We all want the same thing: to give our audience the best story possible.

Talk about the Project: When an author talks about the project on their blog, links to it on social media, and lets their fans know where they can pick up the book, that gives them a gold star in my eyes. Of course it’s not the authors responsibility to get word about the book out there, that’s our responsibility, but when the author points their fans in the right direction, that’s a huge bonus.

Sometimes authors don’t feel that they have enough fans for this to matter. I understand that feeling, but the very fact that I see an author do this, even if it only makes one or two extra sales, lets me know that they really care about the project and it’s success. Having an author who cares means a great deal to me.
Great Storyteller: The most important thing, of course, over all the rest of these things, is that an author is a great storyteller that writes a great story. This is the most important quality. However, often a project has only so many slots open, and if I’m choosing between two authors, both of whom are great storytellers, but only one of whom turns in their work on time, it will be the author who turns in their work on time who gets called back for more work.