I’ve said before here on my Blog, that I really want to be an author one day (hopefully in the near future!) I’ve won writing competitions, written novels, had short stories published in anthologies. I’ve written articles for Journals and Magazines and I’ve written a play for a small acting group – but my big goal is to become a best-selling published author, which I suppose is every writer’s dream. I’ve written about three novels so far, and I am coming the end of my fourth, and I got talking to someone the other day, who wanted to be an author once, and she offered a lot of advice. She also brought my attention to this book – The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook. It is a collection of tips, advice and articles by authors for (as the title suggests) writers and artists who are just starting out.
It is a massive 800 page-bonanza devoted to helping writers and artists to achieve their dreams. There are a lot of things in it which I agree with and even more things that I have learnt. There are one or two things I was quite surprised at.
I didn’t set about reading this book from cover to cover. When it arrived (my Mum ordered it for me from Amazon as a treat!) I decided I would pick out all of the pieces that interested me and read it that way. I read the bit about Journalism because that is the career I want to follow. I went on to submit articles to the adverts listed after this. I read the guides to publishing a book. All great! It gave me so much faith and reassurance. What I’m doing now will all be worth it in the end. It’s OK to fail at first.
And then I came across the article called How to write an Award Winning First novel by Nathan Filer (writer of The Shock of the Fall) which knocked my confidence a bit. He tells us about his writing habits and his first experiences when writing his books. But it was this that surprised me a little and knocked my confidence a bit:
“A rejection letter is a hiccup. Three rejection letters are three hiccups. What about 30? I’d say that if you get 30 rejection letters, your novel might not be any good.”
That’s really encouraging for writers starting out, isn’t it?!! Of course, it could just mean that none of these publishers suited the novel in concern. For instance, Agatha Christie suffered five years of rejection before one of her books were published. And best-selling writer of the Princess Diaries – Mary Cabot went through three years of rejection before her work was published! If they’d have given up after just 30 rejections what would we have been missing out on??
If I was offering advice, I would try a more optimistic approach with more encouragement, surely!
Anyway, apart from this, this is an absolutely excellent book and I would highly, highly recommend it to both writers and artists. It gives you so much encouragement, knowledge and options.