Monday, August 15, 2011

Six things I wish I'd known sooner about being a writer

  1. Getting rejected doesn’t mean your book is bad. It could be a case of wrong place, wrong time. I once submitted a history book about Liverpool shipping to a publisher that specialized in the history of Liverpool  - the football team, that is.  It was not a match made in heaven. Careful, up-to-date research before you submit is essential.

  1. When it comes to improving your book - there are things that make a book ‘better’ and there are things that make a book sell, and it is not always easy to tell which is which. Go look at the books in your genre that really, really sell, and base your decisions about ‘honing your craft’ on them.

  1. Getting an agent for your book doesn’t guarantee you’ll get published. I’ve seen several writers sign up with great agents, and a year or two later they still haven’t got a deal. With so much change going on in the industry, this is hardly surprising. Agents are not fortune-tellers (though they do try). They take on books they HOPE will sell. If you think an agent is the answer to your every prayer, you may be in for a surprise.

  1. A publisher can get out of a contract to publish your book remarkably easily, and if your publisher ceases to exist, you haven’t got a legal leg to stand on. Don’t waste time trying to fight battles you can’t win. Put your energy into writing – you’ll do brilliant bad guys and hypocrites for a while!

  1. The blurb on the back of the book is NOT supposed to tell people what it is about. If it does that, they don’t need to buy the book. It is supposed to grab the person’s interest so they take it to the counter and pay for it – or read the whole thing right there in the shop. You could apply these observations to the dreaded synopsis … if you dare.

  1. The old rules do not apply. Everything you thought you knew about ‘real books versus e-books’ and ‘traditional publishing versus self-publishing’ – it is all up for grabs. Agents are dabbling in publishing. Indie authors are getting book contracts. Big name authors are going indie, and senior citizens are getting e-readers for Christmas. For some, it’s a cultural renaissance. For others, it’s a catastrophe. The next five years will be a wild ride for people who read, write and sell books, and I’m so glad I’m going to be part of it. How about you?
 Leave me a comment – I’d love to hear YOUR take on all this!


  1. You make some great points...some that I've never heard before. Congratulations on your successful publishing and thanks for the six things you wish you knew earlier!

  2. I agree with Annie...great points! I especially like your spirit in the last one...why not be wide-eyed and hopeful about this wild ride we're on?! After all, these are exciting times! Thanks, Cody!

  3. Great post, cody. I particularly like number 4! (giggle). I agree with you, the future is opening up for writers, and changing so quickly you have to keep on the ball and alert.

  4. Excellent post! You made a lot of interesting points. I especially like #1! Good to keep in mind as I wait to hear back from publishers. I never knew that there would be so much WAITING and that I would need more patience than I ever expected!

  5. I wish someone had told me that if you want to be a writer then the first thing you need to do is get your butt in a chair and write. All the plotting and research and craft books in the world won't help you unless you can actually manage to get your story down on paper.

  6. Great comment! That is so true, Jane. Great to see you here on my blog. Still planning to sort out my link list so I can add you to it - and all my other contacts in the blogosphere. Must get onto that!