FREQUENTY ASKED QUESTIONS
SHOULD I SELF-PUBLISH MY NOVEL?
Aim for traditional publishing unless it's a niche publication for a small market, e.g. to mark a milestone birthday. It costs a lot of money to publish quality, and the publisher takes that risk for you.
DO I REALLY NEED AN AGENT?
Most English-speaking markets use agents, and publishers in the UK and North America don't accept unsolicited manuscripts at all. A good agent works very hard for you. Here are some tips from a reputable source.
I CAN'T AFFORD WRITING TUITION. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Read widely, for pleasure. It's highly instructive. Then find good books on the craft. Try Stephen King's On Writing and Francine Prose's Reading Like a Writer. Enter competitions; if you're ever lucky enough to get feedback, use it.
I DON'T HAVE TIME TO READ, BUT I'VE WRITTEN AN AMAZING BOOK. CAN YOU HELP ME PUBLISH?
Editors, publishers and readers agree on this point: people who don't read don't write amazing books. I can't help. Unless you start reading!
I'D LOVE YOUR OPINION ON MY WORK, BUT I CAN'T PAY. IS THAT OK?
Unfortunately I'm not in a position to do unpaid work. You could try to find writing groups on Craigslist or Meetup.com
DO YOU EDIT POETRY?
Poetry is tremendously specialized, and I wouldn't try my hand at it.
HOW MANY DRAFTS WILL I HAVE TO WRITE BEFORE MY BOOK GETS PUBLISHED?
The book currently lying on your bedside table is likely a fourth, fifth or sixth draft. Yes! And that's normal in publishing. In each draft we make improvements, to plot, to pace, to characters ... to LOTS of things. So, if your editor tells you to rewrite, fear not. It's normal.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN, SHOW, DON'T TELL?
"Tell" means saying it like it is and "show" means creating a picture for your reader. Imagine watching a movie. You were shown the movie. Or, imagine your friend saw the movie alone, and now he's telling you about it. That's, you guessed it, telling. And nowhere near as exciting as the shown version.
SHOULD I USE US, UK OR CANADIAN SPELLING?
Use whichever you're familiar with, but be consistent. Agents and editors are sharp enough to know your spellings are not a mistake. If the style needs to be changed to US or UK, your publisher's copy editor will take care of it.
WHAT IS YOUR WRITING PROCESS?
When I'm in the writing phase (not in the research or planning stage) I write 1 000 words every single day. The daily writing is important for building and maintaining momentum.
IS THERE A MAGIC
Magic ingredient to becoming a better writer? Yes! And it's delightful: just read, read, READ. Read widely and voraciously and you'll learn by osmosis. Tah-dah!