How to Write and Sell Your Novel

Have you always wanted to write and sell a novel but weren’t sure where to start? The writing part is hard enough but how do you get your masterpiece published and sold?

A series of three articles will give you a basic blueprint for options you can pursue, like:

o Agents – How to find a reputable one and learn who to stay away from

o Publishers – The best route for you may not be a big publishing house in New York … a smaller house may be just the right fit for you

o Marketing – Here are some steps you can take to set up appearances and what you need to interest local TV and radio stations

In this article, we’ll look at writing in general and whether you need an agent to sell your book. There’s lots to cover so let’s go!


The Great American Novel.

It’s a catchphrase writers have heard — and been saddled with — for a long time.

Writing a novel is organic; it comes from deep inside. While there are some tried-and-true formulas, the best teacher comes in two forms: writing and reading.

Why? Because to be a good writer you must be a good reader.

If you’re interested in a particular area — or genre – of fiction like mysteries, romance or science fiction, read as many books by different authors in those genres as you can. You’ll quickly sort out the good from the not-so-good and learn to develop an eye for what works in a novel.

Reading novels teaches you structure, pacing and tone. It helps you learn how to develop characters and experiment with point of view and tension.

In fact imagery, tension and release are the three big factors in successful novels. Imagery is word painting. Richness of detail is what helps you connect with your audience and find a common ground the two of you can share. Tension keeps you turning the pages. And release ties it altogether.

If you’re into writing and want to learn the basics, there are several avenues to pursue. You can pick up some terrific how-to books like On Writing by Stephen King or Bird by Bird by Anne LaMott.

Magazines like “The Writer” and “Writers Digest” are chock-full of articles to help hone your style and voice. And there are a slew of online courses to choose from. Try searching the `Net using keywords like “online writing classes” or just “writing classes” and you’ll get loads of choices. Investigate writing clubs in your area or find out how to join a critique group. And many writing ezines publish free newsletters each month with loads of information about writing how-to’s and the business of being a successful novelist.


To Agent or Not to Agent, That’s the Question

There are as many opinions on this topic as there are bagel varieties in Manhattan. Before the competition to sell a novel became fierce, agents weren’t as necessary as they are today. And agent’s commission these days runs anywhere from 15% – 20%

The Big Seven

If your heart’s desire is to be published with one of the “big seven” houses in New York — names like Random House, Little, Brown, or Doubleday — you’ll probably need an agent to get your little toe in the front door. Many large houses refuse to look at unsolicited (read that unasked for and, many times, unwanted) manuscripts.

For the big houses, a good agent is like having a backstage pass to the hottest show in town. And it’s because of the relationship the agent has developed with the editors.

Now, there are big publishers that will accept unsolicited manuscripts but the chances of getting a book contract this way are less than winning 파워볼추천사이트.

Smaller Houses

Small to medium-sized publishing houses are easier to get into for an unknown writer and it’s also a place where you can develop a personal relationship with the publisher.

And that’s what you really want: a relationship.

It’s true that advances are small to not-at-all in these houses but you’ll have a greater chance of being published. And an agent isn’t as critical — in fact it’s sometimes less desirable — for small and medium-size houses.

Where to Find an Agent

If you decide that having an agent is the direction you’d like to go in, there are a few caveats to remember.

Anyone can call themselves a literary agent. There is no professional licensing that separates the good from the bad. There are, however, a few things you can do to protect yourself and your future reputation when selecting an agent:

o Talk to other writers — Word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to find an agent. Ask lots of questions about whether the writer is happy with his or her agent, if the agent is courteous and professional, and if the agent does what they say they’ll do and on time.

o Look for the AAR (Association of Authors Representatives) designation — This isn’t an ironclad guarantee that an agent is squeaky clean or will treat you the way you deserve to be treated. It does, however, add a layer of credibility to an agent’s reputation because, by being members, agents must conduct themselves in a way that doesn’t breach AAR’s ethical code of conduct. AAR’s website can be found at [] and contains a searchable database of agents.

o Never pay a “reading fee” to an agent — Reasonable fees for miscellaneous expenses like postage and copies are an expected part of working with an agent but paying someone hundreds — or even thousands — of dollars to read your manuscript is unconscionable. That’s the kind of agent to avoid.

o Read other author’s acknowledgments — Frequently, writers will thank their agents in the acknowledgement section of their books. If you’re interested in or have written a novel in the same genre, make a note of the agent’s name, gather the contact information, and submit a query letter.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *