The website of the historical fiction writer.

Festival of Writing Part Deux: Don’t Give Up the Day Job

The first workshop I attended was given by Agent Piers Blofeld, who gave some very useful advice on how to have a writing career.

The first thing to do is to know your situation. New authors need to decide on what genre they want to write in so they can be sold by agents and publishers. Name authors can sometimes write in other genres but even some of them write under a different name. Many new authors already have jobs and careers outside of writing and publishers usually want a book a year with a paperback edition in between. Therefore, it is a good idea to start the next book as soon as the first one is finished as time will be precious should you get a book deal.

The next good bit of advice was to have good relations with the publisher that signs you up. They are more likely to stick with an author whose books do not sell quickly if they like them. Problems can sometimes happen between writer and publisher as the writer creates the book but the publisher invests a lot of money into getting it onto the shelves. The writer is the junior partner in the deal and the agent is there to help them with any problems that might arise with blurbs, proofs and cover designs.

Another very good reason not to give up the day job is that advances may not sustain your lifestyle for very long and having a backlist helps. It is, therefore, a good idea to have a series on the go. Authors are also expected to do a lot more work in promoting themselves and their books, often for free. This can involve guest blog posts, long short stories for digital publication and appearing at various events.

So that was a very enlightening insight into how busy newly published writers can be. Drop by tomorrow to find out what we talked about in the Historical Fiction Panel.

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