Monday, 15 December 2008

Advice for new writers

At BubbleCow we come into contact with writers on a daily basis and over the years the advice I have offered has changed. It used to be that a writer needs to find the best publisher/agent and work with them to develop their career. However, in the world of the internet it all changed. The writer has become a brand and a good web platform is now essential.

Here are my top six tips for new writers:

1. *Make your work the best it can be.* This means you must edit, edit and edit again. Let friends and family read your work and listen to their feedback. You need to leave your ego at the door and open yourself up to the painful process that is editing.

2. *Cut away the dead wood*. Every piece of writing I have ever edited I have suggested the writer remove sections of the text. The work needs to be slick and mean. A writer should go through every sentence and remove anything that does not move the narrative forward.

3. *Find the correct publisher/agent*. Writers need to do their homework on this one. They need to pin point the correct organisation for their work. It’s no good approaching an agent that specialises in children’s fiction with an adult Sci-Fi novel. It seems obvious but it happens - a lot!

4. *Publishers/agents are looking for a reason to reject you*. Publishers and agents read hundreds of manuscripts each year. This is time consuming and they are always looking for a reason to reject. You need to make sure your submission meets their particular standards (you will find them on their website). Also make sure that your grammar and spelling is spot on, poor grammar equals rejection.

5. *Don’t give up*. This one’s easy. You only fail when you give up. There are hundreds of stories of authors getting hundreds of rejections before getting into print. You need to take each rejection on the chin, take a deep breath and carry on.

6. *Build a web platform*. The publishing industry may not be sure what to do with the in internet but one thing is for sure it’s here to stay. New writers need to get themselves a blog (and/or website) and set about blogging on a regular basis. Every day you should visit as many other likeminded blogs and leave comments. These comments will form a breadcrumb trail back to you blog. If you blog well then a year down the line you can be looking at a fan basis of hundreds (if not thousands) of readers.