"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"
They've had some terrific answers. To read them all, just click on the "Advice for Novelists" tag at the end of this post. Or click here.
Here's Karen's response:
Send no proposal out before its time.
Make your manuscript as strong as it can be before you send it out. With competition as fierce as it is nowadays, we're looking for manuscripts that have a spark. Something that jumps out and grabs us, be it the uniqueness of the plot, an especially engaging character, or writing that is so strong it grabs from the first paragraph. I've seen multitudes of manuscripts that are "almost" there, and have rejected nearly all of them. "Almost" isn't good enough any more. Don't let your desire to be published override your determination to refine your craftsmanship to the nth degree. Remember, God's task for us is to write, not to be published. Focus on fulfilling that task to the very best of your abilities--and leave what happens from there to His good will and timing.
--Karen Ball, best-selling novelist and senior acquisitions editor for B&H Publishing Group. (Visit her online at her website here.)