Advice For New Writers
Advice For New Writers
Derek Johns (Managing Director - AP Watt Literary Agency) gives expert video advice on: How can a writer increase their chances of getting noticed?; What kind of person makes a good writer?; Do writers need particular qualities to succeed? and more...
What kind of person makes a good writer?
In my experience, it's very hard to say what kind of person makes a good writer. Writers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. When it comes to fiction, then I suppose that one is looking for somebody who has had a degree of experience of life that is going to inform their work and make it real.
Do writers need particular qualities to succeed?
The first quality writers need to have is talent of course. But, in addition, they need to have determination. They need not to be discouraged. They need to go on because the obstacles in their way are many and great.
What does it take to become a successful writer?
To become a successful writer, one, of course, has to have talent. One has to have dedication. But there's always that element of luck, as in any creative and competitive world.
Is there such a thing as 'overnight success'?
Well, there are people who are called overnight successes. Lord Byron said after the publication of "Childe Harold" that he woke up one morning to find himself famous, and a lot of people dream about waking up one morning to find themselves famous. Generally, though, what's happened before the success is years and years of hard work.
Should a writer be influenced by the publishing market?
If you are looking to write popular fiction, then you need to look at the publishing market. If you are writing what we call literary fiction then I think you should ignore the market and listen only to your heart and your mind.
Does persistence ever pay off?
Persistence is a very important quality and in a right of it. It has to be allied to tacked and to support them and not to hassle agents. It's ok to remind agents of the world that you have their manuscript, but one must be careful not to alienate them.
When should a wannabe writer give up?
Knowing when to give up is really hard. There are lots of stories of successful books that were turned down by a number of agents, and the first "Harry Potter" book is a good example of this. It's very hard to say when to give up. It may be now, or it may be in 10 years' time. There is no single answer.
Can I make a living from being an author?
It is very hard to make a living from being an author. Most published authors have to stick to the day job. I would never advise any writer to set out to make a living from writing. You should assume that you are going to have to do other things. Any money you earn from writing is a bonus.
What's the average advance?
Its impossible to say what the average advance is. An advance for a book may be 5,000 pounds, it may be 5 million pounds and in between there's an infinite variety. So, its one of those, its like asking how long is a piece of string? There is no average advance.