Sunday, May 15, 2011
Getting Started as a Commercial Novelist
You know you have talent. You have the drive and the will. You love the people who talk to you all day long in the privacy of your own head, but you’d prefer to share their quirky visions of the world with a larger audience. Yet you know no one in publishing and have no idea where to start. Where do you turn?
I was in exactly that position when I decided to become a novelist more than 20 years ago. Let me give you a few clues that may help you to avoid some of my pitfalls:
1. Read industry blogs and web sites. Yes, I know. You’re a busy person. You have work, family, responsibilities, and in addition to all that, you’re trying to write the next great romance (or mystery, or what-have-you) and there is simply no time in your life for following author blogs. Make some! The tips you can learn from watching what other writers have done successfully are well worth your time investment. You must believe that; after all, you’re here! ;-D
Some agents and publishers also offer great tips on how to approach them with queries, proposals, etc., so read those as well. Look them up under “author’s representatives.”
2. Attend writers’ conferences. Wow, talk about no time for that! And no money, either. Do you really want to spend most of your year’s vacation and several hundred dollars on going to some out-of-the-way place to hear writers talk about their craft? Absolutely you do! You can learn more in a 2-3 day conference than in a year of figuring it out for yourself. Besides, where else do the
professionals you long to meet come to you? Go! By all means, go! New York
3. Network! When you pick up a great tip from someone’s blog or meet a helpful writer (editor, agent) at a conference, send an email and let them know what their advice has meant. Stay in touch. The old adage that it’s more who you know than what may be more important in publishing than anywhere.
Those are a few good tips on your way to breaking in. Get going and have a great career.
Do you have any great tips to share for getting started? Any exemplary stories about how networking has served your career? Please send an email and share