101 Tips on Writing and Selling Your First Novel
You've heard it. We’ve all heard it. We’re at a cocktail party . . . or a church social . . . or a scouting outing when someone says nonchalantly, “I could write a novel. And I’m going to. Just as soon as I have a little extra time.” No one says, “I’ve always wanted to be a brain surgeon and I’m going to operate. Just as soon as I have a little time.”
Of course, there’s a tremendous difference. Our novels do not relate to actual life and death issues. Furthermore, writers don’t bury our mistakes—although sometimes we’d like to! I would want to dig a hole and die before letting anyone read my first novel. (Although it did come in handy; I’ll explain later. ) There are also similarities. Each profession contains elements of both craft and art. Luck plays a major role, too.
RED ALERT: If you’re expecting any form of academic treatise, stop! Put this book down. Return it to the shelf. If you’re looking for practical information, carry on. You see, craft can be learned and in these pages, you will find a modicum of inspiration, lots of encouragement, and an abundance of useful information. It’s a very personal book because it contains all the things I’ve learned the hard way—by trial and error, by making mistakes, by speaking at writers' conferences in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Nevada, Texas, Canada, and finally, from teaching adult education classes for 20+ years. It’s the book I wish I’d had when I started out.
BONUS TIP: No extra charge! A sense of humor is absolutely essential if you’re going to survive in this crazy business—and it is a business. If you don’t have one, begin cultivating it now.
Many times you won’t know whether to laugh or cry. You'll be over the moon when you make a sale. At other times, you’ll feel like throwing the computer out the window and giving up. However, in the long run, tears and anger and feelings of personal rejection are not only nonproductive, but a waste of your most precious commodity—time.
So learn to laugh at the rejections, at the slights...this is a tough business. You’ll find an abundance of people who’ll tell you your talent is not “significant” or that you’ll never make it as a writer. Just paste a smile on your face. Thank them—nicely. Then get back to your work...which is writing and and editing and constantly learning to write more effectively and efficiently. Success is the best revenge.
That’s what successful, professional writers do, you know.
Day in, day out, we write.
Headaches, backaches, heartaches, stomach aches, we write.
The good news is that you’re never completely alone. You’ll find you gravitate to other authors who will cheer you on and agree with you that the editor/agent is a no-talent idiot who would probably have rejected William Shakespeare. And by all means, keep us posted. When you sell that splendid first novel, drop us a note so we can cheer with you!
Prudy Taylor Board
Delray Beach, Florida