Tips & Advice for New Novel Writers

I reached out to some very talented authors over the last few weeks and have been honoured to have had such an incredible response. I have interviewed four wonderful authors to find out about their experiences with writing and publishing and to ask for some tips and advice that they would like to give to new writers. Here is what they had to say:

Jennifer Niven

Now, those of you who know me will know just how much I love this woman. My all time favourite book came from her and I will be forever thankful for that… so to have the pleasure of getting to know her recently, has been more than incredible.
Jennifers Books include:
All the Bright Places (my favourite!)
Holding Up the Universe
Take Me with You When You Go (with David Levithan)
And many more!

Jennifer was very kind to share some writing advice with me for this blog piece:

  • READ: Reading can really open up your mind, it shows you what else is out there and can give you some ideas. That being said, you also need to be careful what you read, especially when in the throes of writing as you do not want to unintentionally become a mimic. I love YA literature, though I almost never read it as I am too busy writing it!
  • One step at a time: New writers often find themselves asking what the secret is to writing a good book, as the idea of writing such a long piece of work can feel very daunting. I tell them not to focus on the entire book all at once, as it will only overwhelm them. Think about something as simple and routine as taking a walk… you do not take all your steps at once, or you would fall down. It is the same when writing a book. Focus on one line, one paragraph, one chapter at a time; you do not need to write your entire story in a day.
  • A daily quota: Some authors like to set themselves a certain amount of words or pages that they want to complete in a day, I however do not count words or pages. Instead, I give myself a daily quota, no matter how big or small for example: I will at the very least finish a rough draft of two chapters and begin editing the chapter that preceded them – Any more writing completed is a bonus!
  • Let yourself feel: When writing it is important to let yourself cry/laugh/feel along with your writing, because if you don’t, how can you expect your readers to? Give yourself permission to let it all out.
  • Write the kind of book that you would like to read: Every book that me and my Mom have written was a story that we wanted to read. Write what inspires you, whatever that may be. Write what you love.

Please go and check out ALL of Jennifers books, you will not be disappointed! You can also find her on Instagram here: @jenniferniven, where she shares some personal posts, lots of book posts and more helpful writing tips for new authors!

AV Davenport

This lady has become a good friend of mine in the book / readers community over the last year and a half. I was honoured to have received an ARC for her very first book last year: Beyond the Horizon. And, well, the rest was history.
Since then I have read the ARC for her sequel: Behind the Black Flag and two short stories/novellas: A Lady in Leather and Tides of Desire. I never thought I would enjoy (let alone love) a pirate series… but here I am, completely obsessed with Amelia Lalonde.

When I asked Anne to take part in this piece, she was so excited that she sent over her draft within 10-minutes! Here is what she had to say:

As a writer, which it took me a long time to feel comfortable with calling myself, I have completely embraced chaotic creativity. 
I was once listening to a podcast episode with the writer Elizabeth Gilbert, where she said something along the lines of , and I am wildly paraphrasing, that creativity, ideas, new characters and worlds is not something she sits down and creates, they come to her as if on the wind and I could not relate to anything more.
My first book, Beyond the Horizon started as a wild dream aboard a ship fighting someone that mildly resembled Stalin, but from there the character of Amelia Lalonde was born. She was just simply not there one moment and then there the next. Through writing I explored who she is and got to know her, but at no point have ever sat down and decided “alright, she will do this and then that, and then the plot will unfold like x, y, z.” Amelia is completely her own and it is like she and the other characters just pulled up in a car said ‘get in loser’ and I just had to go along for the ride. She does not even end up with the love interest I intended for her! 
So based off this I sometimes find it hard to advise other writers as our processes are so different, but what I can say is this: when you feel creative, go with it, when you have an idea, write it down, when the long fingered grasps of a muse grabs you, let them carry you away and enjoy the journey. Find somewhere you can write undisturbed, decide if you need music or silence and then sit down and just let it flow. Remember that you can edit along the way or after, but my advice is to let it flow when you are in a creative space. Polishing a manuscript comes later. 
For taking your manuscript out into the world I have one piece of advice: make a plan, do the plan! This is my motto in life. Decide when to edit, for how long or how many pages, set yourself a list of tasks for what needs to be done to achieve your goal, be it self publishing or querying and tick them off one by one. 
Your book will not write itself and it will not publish and market itself. 
And remember to enjoy the journey!

AV Davenport has also recently published a Christmas book with two other very talented authors (May Lily Fire & P. Lloyd), If you love all things hot, spicy and Christmassy then I highly recommend checking that out too! It is called Smut Actually and it can be purchased over on Amazon (and it is even on Kindle Unlimited!) And of course, remember to give her a follow on Instagram – You do not want to miss out on any upcoming books! @author.a.v.davenport

Joshua Cheng

A new, young and talented author who kindly offered to contribute to this piece. Since our little interview, I have ordered both of his Kindle books and I am very excited to dive right in as they both sound so captivating.
World of Yesterday

A little bit about myself: I enjoy watching movies and see myself as a bookworm, I am currently trying to write a sequel to my debut novel and I am combining my work into one big collection of dark sci-fi, dark dystopian, anthology.

I’m an indie author, published through kindle direct publishing. With going through these processes, it depend what kind of books you are aiming to publish. For kindle ebook, you’ll need to download kindle create, which converts your book into an ebook and you can create a table of content over there. For paperback and hardcover, you can design a cover and choose what kind of paper you’d want to print it in. From there you can order an authors copy.

Tips about writing for new writers that I have are: you don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to have a degree in writing in order to write a book. 1) All you need is a pen, laptop, notebook and that’s it. 2) Your first draft may not be perfect, but that’s okay, it’s your creativity. It gets better over time. 3) surround yourself with books – I’m currently reading The Ballad of Songbird and Snakes, Dune, 100 Years of Solitude.

Go and give Joshua a follow on his Instagram, you do not want to miss his upcoming book updates! @0461masterjedicauthor

Kristi McManus

Kristi is a small town YA author, who kindly offered her writing tips and advice for this piece. Kirsti currently has one published book, which came out earlier this year: Our Vengeful Souls, a creative fantasy pulling together myths and legends in a very unique and spell-bounding way.
On top of this, Kristi also has an exciting new book coming to us in June of 2024! This book is called: How to Get Over Your (Best Friend’s) Ex, and it sounds right up my street, so much so that I already have it on pre-order!

I asked Kristi to share some do’s and don’ts when it comes to writing, as well as some tips and advice… here is what she had to share:

I know some writers like listening to music while writing, but I need silence. It lets me focus entirely on what I’m writing. I typically write a chapter per writing session.
To prepare, I reread the previous chapter to put myself back in the world and mindset of the characters. I go into it with an idea of the goals, motivations and conflicts for the chapter and the beats I want to hit. If you feel like you’re forcing your writing, like you’re having to pull the words out, walk away for a while. Because readers can feel the difference in your words between when it flows and when it is forced.
Take time to build the scenes in your mind before sitting at the keyboard and it will flow easier.
Do – plot, even if it’s just the main points.
Do – stick to the rules of the world you create. Don’t break them for shock value or a HEA. Even fictional worlds have rules Don’t – think first drafts have to be perfect. They don’t. They just have to be written.
Don’t – rush. Everyone writes at different speeds. You don’t need to copy someone else

I queried for about 8 years, 10+ different projects. I got an agent and a book deal and then I left both because they weren’t the right fit. It’s true that no agent is better than the wrong agent, so don’t stay out of fear of never finding another…you’re doing both of you a disservice. I decided to try small pub, and I’m definitely glad I did. Especially when hearing some stories of friends with Big 5* pubs who have had terrible experiences. You choose the path that is right for you, recognizing the pros and cons of each choice. When entering into publication be prepared to read your book so much that you never want to read it again. Editing is a long and repetitive process and you learn what agents mean when they say that they need to ‘love’ a book to champion it. Because you’ll be reading it a lot.
I have found that word of mouth is the best marketing. Build up readership and author supports before release because those are the people who will move your sales needle most!

I am very excited to dive into Kristi’s current book, especially as fantasy is such a new genre to me.
I am even more excited for her upcoming book next June as that sounds like something I am bound to love! Please give Kristi a follow over on Instagram and check out her books, I am sure you will enjoy: @kristimcmanus

I also just want to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to each of these incredible authors for taking their time to talk to me and to share their experiences and their advice with others. I wish them all the best in their future writing endeavours and I look forward to reading all of their new, upcoming material (so be on the look out for my reviews!)

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