Sunday, December 07, 2008

Mindy Starns Clark (Advice for Novelists, Part 83)

Today we hear from another multi-published author in our Advice for Novelists series. And she has some great words to share. In this series I've asked authors, agents, editors and publicists their response to the question:

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

Don't put the cart before the horse! I've met so many aspiring authors who start worrying about getting published long before they've written anything worth publishing. I say: Don't waste your time trying to find a publisher until you have written a great book.

I've heard many an aspiring author--especially those who jump the gun on submissions only to garner tons of rejections--wonder whether they are "good enough" to get published. Frankly, I don't think that's the most relevant question. The question shouldn't be "Am I good enough?" but "Am I ready yet?" If you love to write, you probably are good enough to get published--eventually. But until you study and learn and hone your craft and find out what makes a great story and compelling characters and write a truly wonderful novel that will pique the interest of every editor who gets a look at it, you're not ready. So slow down, focus on learning and perfecting your art, and don't even bother with trying to get published until you've reached the other side of that learning curve and have a wonderful novel, written by you, to show for it. First the horse, then the cart. First learn how to write, then use that knowledge to create a fabulous book, and then turn your attentions toward publication. If you've written a great book, finding a publisher will probably turn out to be the easiest part of the whole process.

--Mindy Starns Clark, author of The Smart Chick mystery series, Million Dollar mysteries, and the standalone novels Whispers of the Bayou & Shadows of Lancaster County. Visit her at her website.

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