Finding the path to publication…writing ‘that’ book

Finding the path to writing a ‘publishable’ piece of fiction is a balancing act: it takes good prose, a well-crafted plot, good pace, an engaging narrative voice, interesting characters, good dialogue, a unique or well-written premise…

Writers often find the opening words, paragraphs and chapters the hardest to write, and I am afraid to say that the same applies to a blog post for me. There is so much hanging on your opening lines that you want to get it right, but does stressing about perfection really help us find those precious few words that will captivate our reader?

The answer is no.

In fact, I am almost certain that those perfect words are nearly impossible to come by on a first sitting (aka a first draft). And this is why it is so important to learn to both edit your own work as well as invite others to edit and be critical of your prose also.

And it isn’t just about prose either, is it? This blog could be the most beautifully worded ‘article’ in history but if it fails to ‘say’ anything, or take you – my reader – on a journey, then what purpose does good prose serve?

Sometimes this is the difference between writing a piece of literary genius versus something that is commercially viable – something people actually want to read.

Often, after years of writing, writers find it hard to determine whether they have achieved all of the above…or none at all! And, here comes my plug: this is where The MAA comes in! (NOTE: ‘The MAA’ = slang for ‘The Manuscript Appraisal Agency’…because quite frankly it is a bit of a mouthful!)

In every writing journey there comes a time to relinquish your baby, let them out into the world to be viewed and shaped by others. No writer writes in isolation and at the end of the day, the best writers know this. Writing is an art form. It is the ability to constantly adapt, grow, learn and evolve. And sometimes to do this, we need to expose ourselves (or our writing) to external influences.

And for every writer this will come at entirely different points in your manuscript’s journey. Some come to us after having written one draft only, others spend years of drafting and redrafting before deciding the time is right. And there is no ‘blanket’ right time. Writing is a deeply personal journey, and yet it is something that we need to share.

There are more writers now than ever before. More people want to get published, and the unfortunate truth is that there are fewer publishing places available and the ‘powers that be’ are less open-minded than they once were. There is also an expectation that writers should submit near-perfect, well-presented manuscripts.

And this is why we exist. We are a group of industry professionals who have the expertise and experience to help guide authors in their writing, but also offer an insight for writers who know very little about the workings and pressures experienced by professionals in publishing houses. I feel that to understand this is to have a better opportunity of being seen by those you want to read your work.

In writing this blog, I am hoping to offer you interesting publishing insights, update you on industry events, write about competitions, give you tools to get your words on the page, offer you funny book/writing stories… basically anything related to publishing, writing or books will hopefully find its way onto this blog and in doing so might inspire you in your writing (and hopefully not distract you from writing in the first place!).

As Les Brown was once known to say: ‘You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great’. And with that, I leave you with my first tip for getting words on the page…write a sentence, any sentence and take the first step into the journey that is writing!

About Kit Carstairs

Kit Carstairs has background in book and magazine publishing, academic research, marketing and broadcasting. She has almost a decade of experience working with a wide variety of content including: fiction (adult and children’s), general non-fiction (craft, gardening, home improvement, general DIY, food titles, natural history, general reference, photography) as well as working with corporate (marketing and sales material, business reviews and papers) and academic content (research publications and thesis). Having worked both as a freelance editor and as an in-house editor and project manager in publishing, Kit has a comprehensive understanding of the importance of content development and the need for authors to be proactive in developing manuscripts that represent their full potential. As well as providing manuscript assessments Kit is also able to offer her editing and proofing services (POA) as well as fast and accurate transcribing services (POA). Contact Kit to discuss these services in more detail. Kit lives and works in the inspirational surroundings of the Blue Mountains, in Australia's New South Wales.



Finding the path to publication…writing ‘that’ book — 2 Comments

  1. I have just finished writing my memories. They comprise about 360 A4 pages. Originally I only intended that my family see them. However a few friends have had a look at them and suggested that I get them appraised with a view to expanding into a book. Can you give me some direction in this regard and the likelihood of the costs of having a professional appraisal done.

    • Hi Sam, we have all our fees outlined here, this will give you exact fees based on your word count. In regards to having an appraisal done, it is a great idea if you are keen to either seek traditional publishing or if you intend on self-publishing your memoir. An appraisal will give you feedback on the style of writing, it’s structure, whether more/less information is required, presentation etc. If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to email me at Cheers! Kit

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