What can we learn from published authors?

If you follow my blog, you will know I love to interview authors one of the main reasons I enjoy doing this is to pick at their brains for knowledge. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be an author, so if you’re like me, wanting to get your own novel published we can use their insight to help us.

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One of the questions I love to ask is: Is there a piece of advice you were given when writing that you feel would help other aspiring authors? Could you share it with us?

Samantha Webb, the author of The Cornlings and Glub, told us:

“I was advised to get a copy of The Children’s Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook and I am so glad that I did. It answered so many questions that I had and made the process seem a lot less daunting.”

Click the name to read the full interview.

Sherry Christie, the author of Crash Bang Ooooooo and the Orangutan with a chip on his shoulder, told us:

“My one piece of advice is, make every word count. I spend a great deal of time searching for the best adjectives and restructuring sentences to cull unnecessary words. It really lifts the writing to a different level.”

Click the name to read the full interview.

Poppy Chase, the author of The Story of Dinosaur School, told us:

“The only advice I received from professionals in the world of publishing was discouraging. Essentially, people told me that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for an unknown writer to have his/her work published. When I asked if they knew anyone that I should approach for advice, all I would hear is that literary agents, editors, and publishers of children’s picture-books are overworked and few and far between. One literary agent that I approached required authors to have a large online presence, to have been published on “high traffic sites,” and to have an impressive calendar of speaking engagements during which he/she sold a few thousand books. Usually, however, the rejection was (is) quite brief, “I am closed to submissions and cannot take on another thing. I’m sorry.”

So my advice is this: In your (our) pursuit of a long and faithful relationship with a literary agent and/or publisher, wear strong shoes, and do not give up. Rejection notices are painful nose-bumps, but keep marching and keep writing!”

Click the name to read the full interview.

Rebecca McDowall, the author of Regan, told us:

“Don’t allow rejection letters to distinguish your drive. I can’t tell you how much this piece of advice helped me. I received some rejections which were your bog standard email, and others that told me they loved my work but as a new author, they weren’t prepared to take a risk on me. It took about a year of rejections before I received an offer and signed with Vanguard Press.

Don’t just sign any old contract either. It’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement of receiving an offer but try not to get ahead of yourself.  I rejected three offers as the contracts were not right for me.”

Click the name to read the full interview.

Nelou Keramati, the author of The Fray Theory, told us:

“Make it about the characters. Exposition and descriptions of scenery can be beautiful, but nobody will care if they haven’t become emotionally attached to the characters. For this, your characters need to have what Peter Russell (Hollywood Script Doctor) calls a ‘Core Wound’. Something emotional the character must deal with/a wound they must heal in order to be able to reach their goals. If a character is perfect or has no inner obstacles to overcome, they’re not real, so why would we care?”

Click the name to read the full interview.

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To simplify it so we can utilise it:

Think about your storyline, map it out. – If you don’t map out your story properly it may become incoherent.

Think about how you write, make sure every word in your novel accounts for something.

Research publishing – If you don’t know anything about publishing, research it before you apply for a contract.

Read all contracts you receive properly! – You do not want to get yourself into a publishing contract that doesn’t fit your needs.

I hope this has helped some of you when you are thinking about writing a novel.

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