Sunday, 9 September 2012

Getting Started

Writing books is not easy.  However talented or determined you are you're bound to come up against obstacles, some of which you can over come by experience, some by hard work and persistence.

The internet is a great source of writing advice, some good, some not so good.  Here, I'll be collecting the best of the tips I've found as I make the move from non-fiction into fiction.  Having a 'great idea for a book' is in no way the same as being able to write one, but if you're really determined I hope what you find here will set you off in the right direction.


1. Join Twitter.  No, seriously, do.  It's a fantastic place for writers and pretty quickly it will become clear who really knows what they're talking about.  Follow them.  Listen.  Learn.

2. If you are starting from scratch, Write to be Published by Nicola Morgan is well worth a read.  It's packed with sensible advice, and (even better) it's funny too.  Actually, even if you're not starting from scratch it's worth a look.  You may be surprised by how much you already know.

3. Write.  It may sound obvious, but many 'writers' who want to write a book never get round to the actual writing part.  Writing takes discipline, and like any skill the more you do it the more you will improve.  Be prepared though - it may come as shock when you realise how much drivel you are capable of spouting.  This is good.  It means you are able to look at your own work critically, and make it better.

4. Read.  Read intelligently, and keep abreast of what's being written in your chosen genre.  What are these writers doing well that you could do better?  Take it on board.

5. Never, never, NEVER pitch your book to an agent via Twitter.  Submission guidelines are there for a reason.  Would you walk up to a random doctor in the street, drop your trousers and shout, "What do you think of my boil?"  Thought not.  Just remember that.

And finally, a word from the marvellous Nathan Bransford.

Because, in a nutshell, this is what it's all about.

Nathan Bransford: The Publishing Process in GIF Form  

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