My Top Five Tips for Writing and Getting Published
by Jane Linfoot
1. My first tip is, you have to WRITE. This may sound obvious, but with writing it’s very easy to prevaricate, and talk about it, and think about it, but not actually do any. To be a writer, you have to get those words down. A journal is a good way of getting into the habit of writing every day, and sending chatty emails to friends is also a great way of developing an easy, natural style. Any writing is good practice for when you launch into something bigger.
2. Alongside the writing, it’s very important to READ too, because by reading you can learn a lot about the mechanics of how to write. It’s great to read and let yourself get caught up in the story, but it’s also good to read again, in an analytical way. If you look at structure, use of language, points of view, character creation and speech, how an author builds tension and manipulates a reader’s emotion, you will be more aware of how to handle these things successfully in your own writing. Reading within the genre you write lets you see what’s out there, and spot the trends, but reading other genres is also a fab way of getting ideas and inspiration too.
3. FILMS are a great way to learn about how to structure your novel. Yay! You can sit through an evening of rom coms, and call it work, because you’ll be learning loads about timing, and plot, and character, and dialogue. I find books about screenwriting very helpful, because with film the process of story creation is somehow distilled – stripped back to the bare bones, it’s easier to understand. If you get the basic framework of your novel right, the rest will follow, and film is a good place to begin with this.
4. It’s very important to submit your work to THE RIGHT PUBLISHERS, because every publisher is looking for something slightly different. If you send to somewhere that doesn’t consider your genre or manuscript length, you will be setting yourself up for a rejection you don’t need to have. Do your homework, and take a careful look at the submission guidelines on publishers’ websites. It’s well worth making an aspirational list of publishers and lines you want to target, even before you begin writing your novel.
5. Get out there, and GO TO WRITERS’ CONFERENCES AND EVENTS. It’s great to meet other writers, especially in the chick lit/romance world, where established authors give aspiring writers a very warm welcome, and lots of support. Many events run by the UK Romantic Novelists Association are open to non published authors as well as members. Writers’ conferences will often give you an opportunity to meet agents and publishers face to face, on a one to one basis too. Pitching your ideas, and chatting to people from the industry might be scary, but it can definitely be a great way to leap frog the slush pile, and might lead to a fast-forward route to publication.
Jane Linfoot writes fun, flirty fiction, with feisty heroines and a bit of an edge. Her books include How to Win a Guy in 10 Dates and High Heels & Bicycle Wheels. The Vintage Cinema Club – out this month – is about three friends, in love with all things vintage, who run their dream business from the faded grandeur of a rescued cinema.