Monday, April 07, 2008

Allen Arnold (Advice for Novelists, Part 38)

It's been a great experience hearing from all these talented folks. Whether they be authors, editors, agents or publicists, they've picked up tips we can all benefit from hearing. It's a pleasure today to welcome Allen Arnold and hear his response to the question I've posed to everyone:

"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"

The Top Ten Reasons – NOT – to Write a Novel:

  • If you first and foremost want to preach a sermon
  • If you first and foremost want to teach a lesson
  • If your biggest and only fan is your mom or spouse (critiques from honest writing groups are like gold!)
  • If you’re following the latest trend or the style of a writer (I’m the next ______) rather than charting your own path. The next John Grisham phenomena will not be a John Grisham clone.
  • If you’re not open to re-working the story countless times until others confirm that it shines
  • If you’re not willing for a seasoned book agent to challenge and sharpen your proposal / novel
  • If you’re not willing to invest as much time – sometimes more - than a publishing partner in promoting the novel tirelessly
  • If you see it as a way to get rich
  • If you aren’t willing to take equal ownership of the novel’s success or failure
  • If you aren’t able to remain humble with success and hopeful with failure

The Top Reason TO Write a Novel

  • Because you feel God’s pleasure when you write Fiction (my nod to Chariots of Fire)…and hunger to become a master at the craft for the sake of the story more than the deal. When the story must be birthed, everything beyond that is gravy and, ultimately, in God’s hands.

--Allen Arnold, Senior Vice President & Publisher, Fiction, Thomas Nelson Publishers. Visit Thomas Nelson's website here.

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