This week, author Berwick Coates scored a $130,000 deal and a two-book contract at age 80.
This after he was urged by his son to write a contemporary novel full of sex and violence, since his earlier efforts at writing historical fiction hadn’t panned out.
Ultimately, as Coates story illustrates, you have to write what you’re passionate about and what fits your interests and calling.
The lesson: To be successful as a writer, be more of yourself. Amplify what you’re doing and what makes you unique.
To read the story about Coates’s success, plus other valuable writing lessons, visit The Wicked Writing Blog at Writers’ Village.
In a Scripts & Scribes interview with literary magazine Tin House editor Rob Spillman, he said one thing that influences him to publish a submission is an author who writes with authority.
Writing with authority means ensuring that the tone, details and language of your story are confidently written so that readers are willing to live in the world you’ve created.
Writing with authority covers so many aspects of writing that — done well — you’re more likely to attract the attention of editors and agents. Here are some tips:
Be believable. Believable isn’t the same as boring or predictable. But characters and plot need to be realistic in the realm of the story you’re writing about. You’ll knock your reader right out of the story world you’ve created if you present a story line that doesn’t ring true.
“Nix stereotypes and the dreaded deus ex machina, in which a critical problem is suddenly solved with a contrived addition of a new event, superpower, object, or character.” Read more
Publishing can seem like an arduous process. It’s easy to think it will never happen. Your evil twin may try to discourage you with all sorts of reasons to give up, including that maybe you’re too old.
Think again. The longer we live, the more experiences and insight we gain and can use in our writing.
Here are several authors who were in their 40s and beyond when they published for the first time.
Paul Harding, author of Tinkers, won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize with his debut novel, published when he was 42. Read more
I’ve always had an appreciation for what English teachers do because of how mine influenced my love of reading and writing.
Here are a few reasons why writers, and especially those who wish to find a following for their books, should appreciate and respect English teachers. Read more
Have you ever noticed that one of the first things revolutionaries do when they start a coup is take over the TV station? That’s because controlling communication is key to attracting attention, managing the message, and sparking change.
If you’re trying to get published, maybe you don’t want to go that far, but it doesn’t hurt to think like a revolutionary. If you want to get noticed you have to get your work out there.
Besides sending out queries, try these tactics as part of a plan to communicate and share your writing with the world.
1. Submit excerpts of your project for publication in magazines or literary journals. It could lead to a book deal from an agent who sees it and wants more. Read more
Rejection hurts. No matter who it’s coming from, or what part of your life it’s directed at, it hurts. As writers, we have to risk rejection if we want to see our work in print.
What’s the best way to handle rejection? Can we turn it into something positive?
When I began submitting my poetry to literary magazines, my mentor told me I’d need to develop a thick skin and to look at those rejection slips as stepping stones: with each rejection I received, I was one step closer to getting published. Though I accumulated a bonfire-size pile of rejections, I kept writing and kept submitting. When I received my first acceptance letter, I jumped up and down in a little victory dance. All that work paid off. My second acceptance letter came the following week. Read more