Get Writing 2010

I recently attended the “Get Writing 2010” conference at the University of Hertfordshire, hosted by Veralum Writers Circle. It was a fantastic day and I will be blogging further about the event and writing conferences in general, but for now I thought I’d share the advice I picked up that meant the most to me.

  • You CAN submit to more than one agent at once – they understand why.  But be honest in your dealings.
  • A lot of agents/publishers don’t read the synopsis until they have sampled your writing.  Good news for all syposis-phobes.
  • The synopsis doesn’t have to be 1 page, but it shouldn’t be much longer.
  • A book proposal shouldn’t be too grandiose – don’t make huge claims. Be businesslike and brief.
  • Agents/publishers DO read everything they are sent, although they may not make it past the covering letter.
  • Agents/publishers ARE still looking for good writing.
  • The industry is on the verge of change with regard to electronic formats, and nobody is quite sure what the future holds.
  • “Published writers are only unpublished writers who didn’t give up.” (I have heard this before but I love it.)
  • Tailor your submission to the agent/publisher and if possible use a name, not “Dear Whoever”.
  • You CAN refer to positive feedback you have had in the past (for example, as part of a rejection letter) if you frame it in terms of showing how you have worked on improving as a result of that feedback.
  • Be more than a one book wonder.
  • Show you are willing to participate in readings, visits, website presence etc – it didn’t used to be important but it is vital now.  You don’t necessarily need a website before you are published, but you almost certainly will after and it will probably be your responsibility.
  • Don’t give up the day job.  Look on writing as a supplementary income.
  • Enjoy the writing process – otherwise why bother?
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