Six Nuggets of Advice for Novelists New to Publishing

Six Nuggets of Advice for Novelists New to Publishing

Many first-time writers honor some well-intended but misleading advice about how to be an author. The advice usually falls along the vein of: “Anyone can be a writer! All you need to do is just have discipline — write every day, and pretty soon you’ll have your debut novel. After that, reach out to agents and publishers to begin the publishing process. If you work hard and keep at it, success will find you sooner or later!”

The problem, of course, is that this advice simply isn’t true. 

How I’ve Written: A Voyage of Exploration

I don’t think there’s a “One Weird Trick” approach to building a writer’s toolkit that will work for everyone. The ways I’ve written in the past don’t work for me today, and today’s method may not work for me a year from now. What’s important is that your infrastructure blend into the background; you should use it, without being aware that it’s there. And when it doesn’t work, change it up.

The Mysterious Art of Preparing a Fiction Synopsis

Although publisher/agent guidelines vary in the specifics, most novel queries require a cover letter, one to three sample chapters and a synopsis. Synopses, however, tend to bedevil early-career writers. They’re presented, usually, as an afterthought, or as some sort of back-of-the-cover tease — and therefore, the synopsis becomes the silent killer of what otherwise could have been a perfect pitch.