Today’s guest blog post is brought to you by Amy Lynch.
- Write about what you know. It’s a cliché, but it is true. I know nothing about space exploration. Ditto the history of Japan. I do, however, know about relationships, babies and weddings. Hence, my stories often revolve around these things. This is comfortable territory for me, and it doesn’t feel forced.
- Persistence pays off! Rejection is all part of the author experience, but if you really believe in yourself, and truly want to be published, don’t stop until you get a yes!
- Use criticism to improve. This is easier said than done, and something I struggled with and had to learn to master. In order to get published, you may have to improve your manuscript. Hiring an editor may be necessary, as it is hard to see the flaws in your own work. Read a lot, especially in the genre in which you write yourself, as you will subconsciously pick up tips.
- Learn how to write a sharp pitch letter, concise book summary and author bio. Research publishers and agents and personalise / tailor each letter. 99% of manuscripts end up in “the slush pile.”
- Make sure the first chapter or prologue is demonstrating your best writing skills. For me, the first chapter was not my strongest, so I moved another chapter forward, which made the start more exciting. The reader must be hooked straight away. I am fickle when reading other books – if I don’t like it straight away I will not finish it! Try and introduce a dilemma early on to peak interest.
- Write every single day – even if it’s only a half hour before bed. Too busy working? Well, if you really want something, make time for it! Flex that writing muscle as often as you can, and it will come naturally. Stephen King recommends writing 1,000 words a day. This might seem like hard work if, like myself, you are juggling a day job and children, but if you enjoy writing it doesn’t feel like a chore.
- Write short stories for magazines. Seeing your name in print will be addictive, add to your repertoire, keep you busy, and boost your confidence.
- Think about a successful author in your genre – find out about their path to success and try to follow it. Contact him / her and ask for guidance. Pitch the publisher or agent that represents them, saying that you are similar.
- Get a literary agent. This will hugely increase your chances of attracting a major publisher, as some do not accept unsolicited manuscripts! It will also help to have an agent at the negotiating stage!
- If you still have no luck, but want to show off what you can do, commission an amazing book cover, self-publish on Amazon, create some hype and get good reviews! This could impress a major publisher and land you a major book deal. While you’re waiting for your big break, keep writing. Once you get a book deal, it will be a good idea to have a back catalogue of other books, so that you can keep them coming!
Thank you, Amy. That was great. My favourite is no.2. If you want to be a writer you will never give up.
Amy Lynch is an Irish author of humorous romantic women’s fiction, but not always with fairy tale endings! She has been working in the charity sector for many years, is married and has two young children. When she is not writing, she can be found juggling school runs, packing lunch boxes, tackling the laundry mountain and walking two large rescue dogs who stare at her until she walks them. Talk about multi-tasking!
- Her debut novel ‘Bride Without a Groom’ is a laugh out loud Bridezilla comedy, and
will be published by Avon, Harper Collins in May 2015. Amy has published articles in Women’s Way, TV Choice Magazine, Sunday Times, and The Irish Examiner’ Ahe is represented by literary agent, Frank Fahy. You can find Amy and her book at:
- Twitter @Amylynchauthor
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