Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category
I expect stories to grab me at the start (see earlier post “Do you start with a bang?“) but occasionally writers take this to mean that they can solve all their story’s problems / secure representation just by cracking the technique of writing a successful opening. The rest of your novel has to live up to the standard of your opening. Why it’s important to pay attention to opening is not so you can fake it, but so that your opening doesn’t stop the reader reading your great story.
Imagine your were selling your house. You declutter and redecorate inside. Put in new carpets and clean every inch so it’s sparkling. But you forget that the paint’s peeling off your front door, the doorstep’s covered in slippery lichen, and path is full of weeds and bits of broken plant pots. What if a prospective buyer won’t give you any longer than their first impression of what they see when they draw up outside? You’ve lost them before you’ve even had a chance to show them the house.
Equally, putting a lick of paint on the front door and mowing the front lawn won’t count for anything if it’s a mess from the minute your prospective buyer does step inside.
Next week I’m going to launch a blog competition to find the best unpublished novel opening. The prize is a full critique of your opening chapters and a meeting with me for your choice of drinks / lunch / afternoon tea to discuss your writing. So take a critical look at the opening of your work-in-progress: is it the best it really can be? And check back here shortly for details of how to enter.
UK authors should have an had email today from UK PLR alerting them to the fact that they can automatically transfer all their book details over to the new Irish PLR system, to which they may be entitled to payments for borrowings from public libraries in Ireland. The process is simple and involves logging into your online account and pressing the “I agree” button at the end of the message which automatically appears on logging in.
There is only two weeks to do this, after which you would have to register directly with the Irish PLR system. I googled a few libraries in Ireland and found a number had editions of my books so fingers crossed there should be a few pounds (or will it be euros) coming my way from across the Irish sea in the future.
Especially in tough times like these, any opportunity for authors to increase their earnings is welcome news and so do take the opportunity to register for Irish PLR while it’s a ten second process.
When you’re an author, dealing with rejection can be really hard. This is because it is almost impossible not to take it personally. I think this is because writing is such a personal thing, and you can (and should) put your heart and soul into your work.
What I hadn’t anticipated was how personally awful and down I would feel when my clients’ work is rejected by publishers, especially when a publisher has had a full manuscript for a while and been seriously considering it. Yes, I can keep telling myself ‘this is business’ but my feelings don’t seem to want to listen and obey.
What are your any tips or strategies for dealing with rejection? Are some rejections harder to bear than others?
… to be sending agents submissions. I seem to have received a good half dozen over the Easter weekend. However, the London Book Fair is next week, and with preparations, the Fair itself and then the aftermath. I have the least time in the world to consider submissions.
Please bear with me until normal service resumes sometime after the Book Fair.
This week I have been asked – via email and in person – why have a literary agent?
I think it is a personal decision for a writer to choose whether or not to be represented by an agent. One of the most obvious advantages these days is that many publishers will only accept submissions from agents. But the role of an agent goes further than simply selling work. In my view agents are there to mentor the author in terms of career guidance and on editorial matters (if needed) and help nurture relationships on behalf of the author with publishers and others.
The downside is that an agent will take a percentage, typically 15%, of work sold. But that’s the only thing of all the things we do we get paid for.
Do you agree?