FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the best advice you can give a new writer?
Persist. Accept you will get rejections. It really is nothing personal. Take out a subscription to Writers’ News/Writing Magazine. Not only do you receive market advice, they run competitions which can give you good experience in (a) writing to a deadline and (b) writing to a word count (1500 to 1700). Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from the Society of Authors if offered a publishing contract. Don’t be taken in by vanity publishers. Rather than give away your rights, consider self publishing and keeping those rights to sell for yourself later, hopefully. Self publishers have been known to be taken on by the mainstream publishers.
If you can join a group like the Romantic Writers Association or the Crime Writers who have schemes to encourage new talent, do so. Know what you are selling to a publisher (particularly important for novels). Try to get an agent (I’ m still trying!). Visit the writing and editing websites and blogs. You’re bound to find useful tips and hints. I’ve found loads. Edit, edit, edit. When you can get feedback do so and be prepared to listen to good advice. It’s a question of weighing up for yourself whether you agree or not. Those behind critiques are not out to get you, honestly, but are genuinely trying to help. Make your work as good as you can make it before sending it anywhere.
What are your favourite writing magazines and websites?
Writers’ News/Writing Magazine and Mslexia are the writing subscriptions I take out. I’m also a member of the P.G. Wodehouse Society (UK) and find their magazine wonderfully entertaining plus of course there is much to learn from reading another writer, especially one as brilliant as Wodehouse. I also read Hub magazine (web-based) which covers science fiction and fantasy and I use this mainly to give me a flavour of what’s out there. I’ve also discovered Words with Jam.
Turning to the web, I love Time to Write, The Elephant in the Writing Room and Stroppy Author’s Guide to Publishing (says it all really!). I visit other sites too but I would say the ones I’ve listed here have probably given me the most good advice. They’re entertaining too.