Friday, July 16, 2010

Tips from Authors

On my last blog post some of you inquired as to the types of tips and advice that some of the professional novelists I had written to had given me in their responses. I’d say if I had to boil it down to one phrase it would be: Knock on Every Door. Valerie Martin, author of Property, told me this one. Basically, it means that you should always investigate every possible opportunity, ask ever possible person, in essence knock on every door looking for a chance to take your manuscript to the next level. Of course, easier said than done, but there are ways to practically applying this technique.

For instance, writing to authors like I have was something that Valerie Martin praised. Even though both she and Jeff Shaara admitted that they were swamped with their own projects, they still wished me luck on mine and reminisced of the feelings still vivid in their own memories of trying to start out as a writer. They also brought to light something I had not expected, namely the fact that just because they’re well known authors doesn’t mean they’ve figured out the secret to the publishing industry either. Valerie Martin, in fact, admitted that despite her success, she hardly knows any other literary agents out there other than her own. So even at their stage of success, they still continue to knock on every door. That means pinging literary agents, talking to other writers, and attending writers conferences.

In essence, it all boils down to you as a writer. This was something that a lot of speakers at the San Francisco Writer’s conference emphasized too. It’s like running a small business by yourself, and the product is your books. You will always be the main promoter, mover and shaker of taking your writing to the next level in the publishing industry. Just like the stock market or real estate, the selling of books remains an unpredictable business. Even agents and editors who have worked in the industry for decades cannot predict what will make it big and what wont. It’s really up to the masses, with plenty of luck/fate involved. But you can always make sure that you’re done everything to the fullest on your end. I believe as the saying goes, give a hundred percent all the time and never have to look back and second guess yourself. I hope that this helped answer some of the questions regarding the business side of things for those budding writers out there like myself who continue to seek out knowledge and inspiration wherever and whenever we can.