1. Write about what you love. Writing a novel is a bit like a marathon, you’ll never keep going if you don’t love the story. If you are passionate about what you write this will make the writing process so much easier, and it will come through to readers (and hopefully publishers/agents if you are looking to be published) and spark their imagination and interest too.
2. Finish the book! Don’t pressure yourself that it has to be perfect. Just keep going forward and get the story out. Make time to write regularly, and you will get there. Editing is for later.
3. The art of submitting – If publication is your aim, polish up your first 3 chapters, spend time on your synopsis and cover letter, and only then start sending it out. Try and be as professional as possible. Do your research on who you are submitting to, are they looking for writers in your genre, are they open to submissions – and send exactly what they ask for. (Use The Artists and Writers Yearbook and Google) Do try and personalise your cover letter to show you have spent time finding out about them/their company.
4. Persevere – the submission process can be long and hard, and rejection is never easy. Try not to take it too personally – easier said than done, I know - but keep going and try and learn from any critical feedback you might get.
5. Link up with other writers. Look for local groups, or link with groups in your genre. Writing can feel quite isolating at times. The support and friendship within organisations such as the Romantic Novelists’ Association is invaluable. (It was only by taking a deep breath and pitching at the RNA Conference that I got my book deal offers.) Take a look at my blog for further tips and feedback on writing and submitting, in particular the blogs called The Submission Rollercoaster and Riding the Rejections.
Her new book The Cosy Teashop in the Castle, is out now!