Writing: Advice for New Writers

Yesterday I met with a writer who wanted to talk to a published person before she sets her book off into the world of publishing.

Here’s what I wrote to her this morning after thinking a little more.

Everyone’s mode of transport as to how they learn to express themselves is so different. paintings, sculptures, stories, music, gardening, fashion.

Everyone has a story to tell, you just have to find the right mode of expression. And I think everyone’s experience is unique. You are a born writer and I think you will be successful. The time is right for you.

Some people have many, many rejections which only spurs them on to be better.

Some people slip into the stream without realising it and find they belonged there all the time.

Some people take their time to get there and savour every moment of the trip.

I am hopeful that some of what I told you helped.

Reality versus expectations, I suppose. 

Here are my final golden rules that I have learned so far.  I am sure there will be more as I keep going along the road:

  • Listen to your agent and ask them questions so you can learn about the industry. Have responsibility for your career
  • Have an idea of what you want from a publisher
  • Don’t expect to have any input on the covers/design etc, they will show you but won’t ask for your opinion, might be different for more arty/foody books
  • Don’t hang onto your title, most likely they will change it 
  • Listen to you agent and publisher as they have to sell it and they know the market
  • The publishing industry is tough, it’s down 25% in Australia
  • Tell you publisher agent you will use all your networks etc to be able to sell yourself and your books
  • Don’t attach to the outcome of the writing. Let it go and see what happens
  • Don’t’ ask for the big advance because it’s enormous pressure to try and earn it back
  • Don’t read your reviews
  • Find your ideal readers/reader and trust them to read your work before you send it out
  • Double space, 12pt font, please. Times New Roman, Arial or Century Gothic at a push
  • Find other writers/books that you can say you’re similar to so they can position you in the market
  • Once you take the money it’s business and you have to do what you can to make it work. Your responsibility is to write great stories and the publishers responsibility is to sell them. You have to work together.
  • Your editor is both your mother and your headmistress. Love them and listen. 

That’s it.

Happy writing.



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