I've had a lot of emails lately from people who want to be authors (also from attendees at the writer's conference I attended this weekend, see below for pics). Here's my advice:
- Write three manuscripts--if this sounds daunting, it is. But only at the begining. You'll learn so much from those three manuscripts. Plus, now you have three manuscripts to query, and when one of them is accepted, you have two more sitting in the drawer, ready to go. You'll be far enough ahead that you can concentrate on marketing and there won't be so much pressure sitting on your shoulders. Plus, you'll know if this is really something you want to do.
- While your writing your manuscripts, learn from professionals: follow at least 1 agent's blog. I recommend Rachelle Gardner. One blog on the business of writing. I recommend Katherine Rusch. Sign up for David Farland's daily kick in the pants to learn about the craft of writing.
- Join a critique group.
- Read at least 5 books on the art of writing. I'll recommend three: The Elements of Style by Strunk and White, How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card, On Writing by Steven King (skip the first part by of both Card and King's books).
- Attend a writer's convention or writer's workshop to learn about the craft.
- Develop a group of trusted alpha and beta readers.
- After all of this work, start querying.
I don't mean this to be discouraging. Being published is totally doable if you're willing to put in the work and you have a little natural talent for it.
Q4U: For those of you who have been at this a while, what's your advice for beginning writers?
*I'll be signing this Saturday the 24th at the Layton Utah Barnes and Noble from 3-5 (thanks to Carrie for setting it up!). Address: Layton Market Center, 1780 North Woodland Park Drive, Layton, UT 84041, 801-773-9973
I hope to see you there!
Amber and Lisa Mangum