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Tips for Novice Writers 3.

There are a few books I have found helpful in my writing journey, the first of which is “The Writers’ and Artist’s Yearbook,” which not only has writing advice but names and addresses of publishers and agents.

One writer who is most helpful to new authors is Jane Wenham Jones who has written two books that are both practical and easy to read. They are “Wanna be a Writer?” and  “Wanna be a Writer we’ve heard of?”

Once you have written your story or article you could find helpful hints in Mary Cavanagh’s book “Marketing and Publicising Books.”

I also liked Andrew Crofts’ “The Freelance Writer’s Handbook.”

Finally, two regular publications, “The Writers’ Forum” and ” Writing” magazine have articles, competitions and contacts which encourage the new writer and demonstrate what a varied and exciting life we lead.

Of course, there are many more and lots of advice on line but it is good to have something to use as a reference book.

Book Review: Marianne Dreams.

This children’s book written in 1958 must be one of the most frightening stories ever. Now a pensioner, I still remember the stones in “Marianne Dreams” and only “The Pit and the Pendulum” has terrified me as much. The book is a fantasy and morality tale by Catherine Storr about a sickly ten year old and must rank as a classic. I feel lucky to have a copy.

Tips for Novice Writers 2.

It is often said that writers must be introverts and that writing is a lonely occupation. Maybe for some it is, especially when members of their family sneer at their efforts – but there are plenty of extroverts who love to write. For them it is another means of communication.

If you find writing alone is less than satisfying I suggest you try to find a writing group, or start one. It can meet in a member’s house, you don’t need a hall, or in the local library. Each group is managed differently but most need a leader who has some idea of the format of each meeting.

Most informal groups meet to discuss the writing they are doing at the time and to read out loud. If this is overwhelming someone else can read your work or you can just participate by commenting on other contributions. Sometimes groups can organise events such as book launches or sales at fetes and fairs.

A more formal writing group usually has an experienced writer as a leader who will give advice and use the time for writing exercises with homework for those who wish to do it. Groups can be made up of writers of all genres or one. You might find a story-writing  group or one that writes poetry or produces plays.

Local colleges sometimes have groups led by a professional writer and lecturer but these can be expensive. A flourishing group can help with book design, self publishing, marketing and promotion but often the greatest pleasure a writer gets from a group is just mixing with fellow writers.

Larger groups run competitions, invite speakers and are probably members of the National Association of Writers Groups (UK) NAWG has an annual conference which is well worth attending.

Writers can be sociable!

Tips for Novice writers 1.

Writing a book.

Most people who want to write a book would like to write an autobiography. Not only is it a way to remember what happened, it is also a record to pass down to future generations.

Once you have written your book you must proof read it, using the computer spellcheck and letting someone else look over it for spelling, punctuation and spacing errors. It is also helpful to read it out loud. If you use an editor they will tell you if you have correct dates and reasonable continuity and, in the case of fiction, if you have made your characters believable and if there are any holes in the plot. If you are writing a novel it should be written in scenes, as if it was a film.

To find an agent you could use the Writers’and Artists’ Yearbook or meet them face to face at somewhere like the Winchester Festival. If you cannot get a publisher interested it is probably because they don’t think they could make a profit. If you know there is a niche market you could opt for self publishing.

For a few copies for family members a local printer may be your best bet but if you want copies in bookshops or the library you need to find a publishing partner or buy 10 ISBN numbers which cost over £100. Writers’ Forum or Writing Magazine have advertisements for publishing partners. Costs vary and the more copies you order the cheaper the books. Also, Feedaread or Createspace will take over the publication of your book on a Print on Demand basis.

If you wish to be your own publisher you can find experts to do what you are unable to do. Cover images can be found on line or you can provide your own.  A good book designer will format your book and send proofs for you to check.When it comes to selling  bookshops and wholesalers want a discount of 40-50% so you are unlikely to make a profit. Marketing is the most difficult part of being an author but the computer helps as does having a website and going on social media.

If you write fiction you are at the mercy of fashion and it is luck, fame or notoriety that will see your book a best seller.