If I started my writing journey today, I would...

I started writing my first novel with publishing in mind in 2015 and, at that time, I was completely unaware of the ins and outs of the industry, what challenges I would face (excluding writing and finishing a book!) and how my much and how quickly I had better thicken my skin!

Writing - like any of the arts - is as much of an emotional vocation as it is mental. Novelists pour their heart and soul into their stories, their characters, the dialogue... it is a journey for them as much as they intend it to be for their readers.

So, what have I learned? Or rather, what do I wish I'd known when I was starting out? Here are my Top Five: 

1)   1) The publishing industry is subjective – just because one (or maybe thirty) agents or editors reject your manuscript, it doesn’t mean your book won’t find a home. However, it’s important to take note of any feedback, especially if more than one editor or agent picks up on the same thing. Listen and learn.
     2)  Critique Partners – Find a two or three good, trustworthy critique partners (not friends and family). This may take a while and you might run into a few disappointing interactions before you find your perfect fit, but it will be worth it. Having someone you trust point out character and plot flaws, pacing issues and grammar without changing your voice could be the vital ingredient in your process that could lead to publication. 

      3) Promotion – aahh, promotion. It will take up equally as much of your precious work time as the actual writing itself. I came to realise the importance of promotion a little late, naively thinking my first three books would somehow magically sell themselves even if I didn’t tell anyone about them. Promotion is time-consuming, but vital. Not only will you sell more books, it will provide an opportunity for readers to get to know. If you throw yourself into promotion as an enjoyable part of the job instead of a chore, I guarantee you will get a lot out of it.

       4) Give Yourself Permission to write a crappy first draft - What else can I say? If you don't rid yourself of your internal editor and that horrible demon sitting on your shoulder telling you the book is no good, it’s highly likely you won’t finish the book. Get the words down and worry about the polishing in the following drafts. I promise your output will quadruple overnight. Mine did!
    5) Be true to yourself – it is a complete waste of your time and energy trying to follow market trends or emulate your favourite author/s. Write what you LOVE, write from the HEART and you will succeed. Tenacity, determination and passion are what make writers successful. There isn’t a formula or strategy. It's hard work, learning and commitment to the art that takes writers through what is a tough business. There aren’t any shortcuts!

       So there are my Top Tips - questions?? Comment below, I'd love to help :)

H    Rachel x

       Why not sign up for my First Chapter Critique service and work with me personally - trust me, passing on my knowledge is one of my favourite things to do!


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