Sunday, September 14, 2008

3 Ways to Make Yourself Irresistible to Any Agent or Publisher (Part 2)

2. Develop your craft.

The author Somerset Maugham once said, "There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are."

Fortunately, we can be more helpful when it comes to developing your craft:

  • Read.

    The Six Golden Rules of Writing:

    "Read, read, read and write, write, write."

    --Novelist Ernest Gaines

    Read what you love to read and write what you love to read. Read for inspiration and to establish criteria for your writing. Become a life-long learner about writing publishing.

  • Love words. Like your computer, words are the tools of your trade. Your words will affect your readers in ways impossible to predict or imagine. Every word counts.

  • Understand what makes books work. Analyze what makes the books you love effective; you will be on your way to accomplishing your literary

  • Get Experience Writing. There are more ways to make a living as a writer than ever, and any kind of writing experience makes an impression on agents and editors.

  • Come up with ideas.

    There's a cartoon that shows two women nursing cocktails and one is saying to the other: "I'm marrying Marvin. I think there's a book in it."

    There are more subjects to write about than ever before. A publisher will buy your idea in one of two forms: A first novel usually has to be finished. But publishers buy ninety percent of nonfiction books on the basis of proposals.

  • Research your subject. Hemingway believed that you should know ten times as much about a subject as you put into a book. The more you learn, the more you earn.

  • Outline your book. When you set out to construct an enduring edifice of prose, give yourself a solid foundation on which to build.

  • Establish a work-style. There is only one right way for you to write: whatever way enables you to produce your best work.

  • Write. Craft leaps off the page instantly. Every line of your copy must motivate readers to read the next line. The essential virtue of salable prose is that it keeps readers turning the pages. Write as if your future depends on it; it does.

  • Revise. Keep revising your work until it's 100%, as well conceived and crafted as you can make it.

  • Share Your Work. Share your work with five kinds of people who can help you make it better: friends and family, potential buyers of your book; literate, objective readers; experts on the kind of book you're writing; and a devil's advocate who can spot everything that can be improved or removed.

  • Do a Final Revision. Follow only the advice that makes sense to you.

  • Submit your work properly.

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