How many drafts is enough?

How many drafts are enough for your novel?

How many drafts is enough to prepare a manuscript for professional editing? A first or second draft isn’t worthy of the investment, after all. A manuscript isn’t ready for editing until you’ve set it aside for weeks or months (to regain some distance and objectivity), sought out feedback from objective parties, and revised it thoroughly Read more about How many drafts are enough for your novel?[…]

Setting goals

The author’s guide to setting the right goals for your novel

At what point is your novel a success? Is it a sales total or sell-through percentage? Is it a number of starred reviews? A four-figure advance? A five-figure advance? How much confidence must you have in your writing before you quit your day job? Have you even thought about setting goals for your book? If Read more about The author’s guide to setting the right goals for your novel[…]

writing software

Writing Software: Why you need Microsoft Word

When your book is ready for editing, it’s time to pack it neatly into an industry-standard file format. Whether you write in dedicated writing software like Scrivener or key your story into Google Docs after writing it longhand, a finished novel isn’t a private creative endeavor or hobby anymore. Now it’s a product for an Read more about Writing Software: Why you need Microsoft Word[…]

critique group

Why you need a critique partner or writing group and how to find one

How can it be that the very thing you crave most as a novelist—that other people read your book—feels impossible to allow once you’ve finished the darn thing? There’s always a reason to dissemble: Just one more draft … Just your spouse and no one else … Just the first scenes, just your favorite chapters Read more about Why you need a critique partner or writing group and how to find one[…]

Decide Now, Decide Later: Decisions to make before an edit

The internet is afloat in advice about the different types of editing your book could use: developmental editing to optimize the story, line editing to polish the writing, copy editing to steer the usage and style, proofreading to catch remaining errors … I’ve got one of those articles on the types of editing on my Read more about Decide Now, Decide Later: Decisions to make before an edit[…]

Editing

Should you use volunteers to proofread your book?

New authors often wonder why they can’t skip paying for a professional editor and crowdsource their editing instead among volunteer readers. Or what about using that neighbor who’s a retired English teacher? She says she’d only charge $200 to edit your entire book. Couldn’t you save big money with crowdsourced editing? You could—but you wouldn’t be Read more about Should you use volunteers to proofread your book?[…]

Writing your first novel

What every writer should know before writing a first novel

Your first time attempting anything you value is fraught with risk. Most authors I know tackle their first novels with little more than hopes and dreams under the hood. Under these conditions, writing eighty thousand words can seem like an impossible exercise, and publishing those words remains an inscrutable business best left to the rich, Read more about What every writer should know before writing a first novel[…]

Best books on writing fiction

Best Books on Writing Fiction: Recommended books for novelists

The craft books I most enjoy reading are tough tomes with new techniques of breaking down and analyzing recalcitrant manuscripts. But the best books on writing fiction, the ones I keep within reach on the shelf just past my teacup (Earl Grey, hot), are simple, straight-talking introductions to story structure and writing. Like all books, Read more about Best Books on Writing Fiction: Recommended books for novelists[…]

Formatting your manuscript

Formatting your manuscript for editors and agents

Formatting your manuscript to industry standards is a must-do if you’re submitting your novel to an agent. If you’re a self-publisher, you’ll score major points with your editor and formatter by sending a clean file. When you want your work taken seriously, it should look as though it deserves that respect. You want the publishing Read more about Formatting your manuscript for editors and agents[…]