Lockdown has offered many frustrated writers a key to unlocking the stresses of daily grind and an opportunity to work on the novel or non-fiction work that has been dusting in their minds or in a bottom drawer for years. . If 2022 is the year to take your book to the next level, we’ve asked authors and publishing professionals for their advice on how to get there.
Literary fiction novelist and mentor
Ryan, multiple award-winning author of The Spinning Heart and Strange Flowers and professor of creative writing at the University of Limerick, understands the pain of rejection when it comes to publishing the written word. âA writer’s life is poisoned and pockmarked by rejection. It never ends. Your work will be valuable to you, but you cannot expect everyone to treat it as it is. People will say ‘No. No. Go out. I’m calling security. “
However, he believes that this is essentially the way of the true writer. “You are doomed to be rejected, many [times] and uncontrollable, or sometimes in a thoughtful and constructive way. And when you are finally accepted, the rejection will start again, in different and even more debilitating ways. But always remember to come back to the joy of composing a good sentence. Take care of your sentences and everything else in your writing life will do on its own.
The opening page of your manuscript is important, and Ryan thinks this is one of the first opportunities to present the entire novel. âTry to get something to happen in your opening that you don’t think has happened before in fiction. John Harding opened his novel What We Did on Our Holiday with the exclamation âToilet! It was a bold move, and it worked wonderfully.
VANESSA FOX O’LOUGHLIN
Novelist and detective story mentor
Best-selling writer and author of novels such as Little Bones and The Dark Room (under the pseudonym Sam Blake), Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin is also the creator and curator of writing.ie, a second online toolkit for everyone. . aspiring and seasoned Irish writers.
When it comes to perfecting the writing, Fox O’Loughlin says, âThe best advice I’ve ever received has been from Sarah Webb: ‘Keep writing – you get better with every word you write, so continue â. “
Once that’s sorted out, the next step is to prepare for the world of publishing. âAgents ask for quotes that are right for them, and they’re all different, so follow their directions. Put as much work into your submission as into your novel.
Regarding self-publishing, Fox O’Loughlin says there are “opportunities for authors to connect with readers, digitally or in print, that simply did not exist 20 years ago.” .
Rachel Pierce is the invisible hand who works on many of Ireland’s great books before they leave the publishing house, wielding her keen eye for rhythm, character, rhythm and detail in every aspect of a book – from overall structure to online publishing. She works with writers such as Paul Howard (aka Ross O’Carroll-Kelly) and SinÃ©ad Moriarty, and is also a full-fledged best-selling author.
At the start of a novel, she thinks there is absolutely no such thing as the perfect first draft. âThere’s no pressure to create a nice first draft – it’s about intuition, fun, tight writing: you and the page. You make your way to the story; be surprised by the characters and the plot; find out what the story is and who the characters are. For now, just write – let go.
The UK-based literary agent for authors such as John Boyne, Sam Blake, Mary Costello and Andrew Miller sums up his advice in four tips:
1 Take your time. The world isn’t waiting for your novel, so make sure you’re happy to be judged by anything you send. Every draft will be better.
2 Do your research. Check out potential agents on their websites and make sure you match their list.
3 Be patient. Don’t wait for an overnight response from agents, so be sure to send your work out to three or four at a time to split your bets.
4 Keep the smile. You are the best person in the world to write your book.
Conor Nagle runs HarperCollins Ireland and, as such, is the custodian of the last step of the publishing process. He says Ireland is unique because you don’t have to have a literary agent to get your book printed.
âIf you take us, at HarperCollins Ireland we have an open submission policy, which is very important to us. We want our procurement process to be as open and democratic as possible. Our strike rate is quite low, but it’s still a wonderful source of ideas “like the unexpected success of the Blindboy short stories and the Aisling series – two” counterintuitive “examples.
He too thinks that rejection is part of the editorial journey: âIt’s just that a book doesn’t suit them. A rejection letter is only coded for that.