Thursday, April 16, 2015

Advice to Aspiring Authors: From Five Malice Award Nominees

I’m delighted to host my fellow Agatha nominees for Best First Novel today on Killer Hobbies.  Click on the link in their name to go to their author web page and on the book title to purchase their work.  Be sure to read these phenomenal books and support this new crop of amazing talent.  And wish us all luck on May 2 when the winner will be announced!

Until then, here is our advice to aspiring writers:

Join a writing organization such as Sisters in Crime or Pennwriters and participate. They're a great source of support and education. It takes a village to write a book and survive in this business. Learn the craft of writing and write the best story you can. Finish the book! So many aspiring authors get tired with the story they're writing, get another idea, and start a new book. It's easy to end up with a half dozen books of only three or four chapters! And finally, never give up. The only surefire way of never getting published is to quit trying. 

Before you send your manuscript out make sure it is ready -- really, really ready. I burned a few bridges with the books "in the drawer" by sending them out too early. Knowing when your book is ready is difficult. Have you studied the craft and especially books similar to the one you are writing? Has someone other than your family and friends read it and given you feedback? Constructive criticism is a good thing. Are you out there meeting other writers? You never know when a chance meeting will change the course of your life -- it happened to me at the Malice Domestic banquet in 2005. Most of all don't give up. It took me fifteen years to get published. And have fun! 

Hi Tracy, thanks for inviting us here to visit the Killer Hobbies blog.

I follow a credo based on a quote I heard or read somewhere. Until recently I wasn’t sure who said it, but I now know it was William Faulkner. I live by his prudent words. “I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o'clock every morning.”

Whether you write daily, or three hours a day twice a week, or two hours every Saturday, I think that consistency, however you can work it into your life schedule, is crucial to successful writing.

And once the story is written and you think it is done, if perchance, as a writer you have fallen in love with any of your written passages, you might want to consider a cooling off period until you are less enamored. Then take another pass at your work as a reader.

I wish great luck and success to every writer who sits at a computer or puts pen to paper. Don’t give up. Persistence is the key.

If you believe in your work, don’t give up! Stay positive and open minded. For example, I enjoyed querying agents and the connections that resulted from it. But in the end, an attorney helped me sign with a small publisher. The road to publication can be long. Yet the result (and sometimes the process) makes it all worthwhile!


Don’t give up! Writing is a TOUGH business. No one gets published without facing rejection. When I was trying to land an agent, I allowed myself twenty-four hours to feel bad about every rejection. Then I forced myself to do something proactive. Send out another letter, connect with another author, write another page.

You can’t please everyone, and yet when you write, you so desperately want to. (At least I do.) Just keep writing what you love and know that your work isn’t defined by what any one person thinks of it. If you write what you love, then you’ll have a great time even if your work never comes close to hitting the New York Times bestseller’s list.

Thanks, everyone!  I hope we see many of you in two weeks at Malice!

Tracy Weber



Edith Maxwell said...

Great words, ladies! See you in a couple of weeks.

Sherry Harris said...

Thanks so much for having us today! Great advice!

Tracy Weber said...

So glad to have you all here today, ladies! I'm SOOOOOOO looking forward to Malice!

Terrie Farley Moran said...

We are all happy to be here. Thanks for hosting us.

Susan O'Brien said...

Thanks, Tracy and Edith! Looking forward to seeing both of you soon!

Tracy Weber said...

We're going to have SO MUCH FUN!

Linda O. Johnston said...

How delightful to have the other nominees as guests here and congrats again to you, Tracy! I'll look forward to seeing you at Malice.

Tracy Weber said...

Thank you, Linda! I can't wait to see you!