Thursday, November 22, 2018

Do as I Say

Happy Thanksgiving!

What advice would you offer a new writer wanting to get their first novel published in today’s highly competitive publishing environment?

From Jim

I’ve just spent three long days moving into our new house in a new city. And there’s still lots more to do. Where did we get all this stuff? And weren’t there any houses available without stairs? Anyway, I’ve fallen far behind on everything else in life, including writing this blog piece. I’m tired and sore and looking forward to Thanksgiving. So I’m offering some brief advice.

Find your own voice.
Don’t give up, no matter how many rejections.
Keep learning.
Treat writing as a career. Be professional.
Don’t wear a hat.
Challenge every word.
Use the right word.
Look for an agent when your book is ready, not before.
Don’t settle. Go for the deal you’ve always dreamt of.
If you self pub, do it right. Get a good editor and a cover designer.
When you find a publisher, be a collaborative author, not a prima donna.
Understand that there are millions of books published every year.
Celebrate your writing.
Celebrate having written.
Write something new.
Write every day. Or as often as you can.
Write books. Writers write.
Root, root, root for the home team.
Let go.
Demand the best of yourself, but be good to your hardworking self.
Do book signings. 
Attend writers conferences.
Be generous with other writers.
Be considerate of other writers.
Cherish your readers.
Pass Go. Collect $200.
Never respond to Amazon or Goodreads reviews. 
Write something outside your comfort zone. 
Do your research. Especially about guns. 
Keep a spreadsheet to track your writing progress. 
Lather, rinse, repeat. 
Revise, revise, revise. 
Revise again.
Revise some more. 
I mean it. Revise a lot. That’s where you’ll make a book.
You’re not revising!
Come up with great ideas. 
Write great books. 
Have fun.
Practice a compelling, succinct elevator pitch.
Eat, drink, and be merry. 
If you think you’re ready to query an agent, don’t do it until you’ve read ALL of Query Shark’s archives. Best training anywhere.

Happy Thanksgiving!


RJ Harlick said...

Lots of good stuff here, Jim. Happy new house. Sit back, have a scotch and don't give the unpacking a single thought.

James W. Ziskin said...

Thanks, Robin! Enjoying a Scotch right now. ;-)

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Inspiring, James.