How to get published: Dos and Don’ts – Amanda Reynolds

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By Jade Craddock

With her debut novel, Close to Me, already having been optioned for television by a prominent Hollywood actress, Amanda Reynolds clearly knows the dos and don’ts of writing, which she is sharing with We Heart Writing today.♥

Do write something you feel passionate about.
Don’t write to chase a trend or please a particular person, other than yourself.

Do write about something you are emotionally invested in.
Don’t feel you must write what you know, emotions are universal and will transfer to wherever and whenever your book is set.

Do your research, and remember Google is not enough on its own; talk to people, face-to-face if possible, get the feelings as well as the facts.
Don’t put ALL your research in your book, or even half of it, or a quarter! Most of it is for you, to inform what you write.

Do accept that a first draft is just that.
Don’t send off anything that isn’t your best work – EVER!

Do send out with hope, if not expectation.
Don’t expect to become an overnight success – those are the exceptions, not the rule.

Do surprise your readers with unique and interesting language.
Don’t over complicate – simple is best.

Do find new ways to say things.
Don’t use clichés, unless in naturalistic dialogue, and then sparingly.

Do balance your sentences, both in length and in terms of dialogue and narrative.
Don’t spend pages and pages describing a scene.
Do get on with it.

Don’t reveal everything all at once.
Do ask yourself if the reader needs to know, and if they do, do they need to know right now?

Don’t expect an immediate response from agents or publishers, they are very busy people who often read submissions on evenings or weekends.
Do make sure your covering letter is polite, typo-free, and addressed to the agent you would really like to represent you.

Don’t send out a catch-all, ‘To Whom it may concern’ or address everything ‘Dear Sir’!!!
Do be patient.

Don’t chase for at least six to eight weeks, and then only send a very polite and gentle reminder.
Do something else whilst you wait: write a short story, enter a competition, start a new book.

Don’t change the current manuscript and resend before you’ve heard back.
Do listen to any feedback from agents and publishers and then polish your manuscript again.

Don’t give up, it’s a very subjective judgement based on more than simply the quality of your work.
Do keep writing, not many first attempts are picked up.
Don’t lose heart, you will get there.

Do be generous to other authors – read, review, make connections, learn your craft.
Don’t forget why you started writing a book in the first place, because you love writing.


Amanda Reynolds teaches creative writing in Cheltenham, where she lives with her family. Her past jobs have included selling clothes online and writing murder mystery games. Close to Me is her debut novel and is out now.

www.amandareynoldsauthor.com

 

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