Improve your chances of being published and never pay an editor again

With the way publishing is going, with fewer and fewer books being accepted, having your manuscript polished so it needs little work is going to give you your best chance of success. No matter how good your story is, if the publisher sees that they have to pay an editor thousands of dollars to make it ready for publishing they will reject it.

If writers write without the necessary skills and prior knowledge of what publishers are looking for, they end up with the kind of manuscripts I read weekly; ones that are nowhere near publishing ready. If the writers of these manuscripts don’t take advice on how to improve them and self-publish, they end up as the type of eBooks that are flooding the market and giving self-published books a bad name. The authors of these books are also giving themselves a bad name and spoiling their chances of ever being published by a publishing house.

After the first draft, a writer needs to know how to edit their writing and polish it to the standard necessary before it is submitted. They can’t do it themselves if they don’t know what is necessary. One alternative is to hire an editor to polish it for them and pay thousands of dollars. Wouldn’t it be better to invest in a little education and never have to pay an editor again?

Would you go to a doctor who just decided to be a doctor without learning how to do that first? Becoming a successful writer is the same. What we learnt at school is not enough to make you successful writer. My advice is to take as many writing courses as you can to improve your writing.

Below are some of the things I find missing in the manuscripts I read.

Strong well developed characters, each different from the other.

Many writers make the mistake of having characters who are too similar to each other and not well enough developed. Humans are not the same; we are multidimensional beings. While some people may have one or two similarities, we also have several different beliefs and habits. To keep our readers hooked on the story we need them to relate to our main character or characters and care enough about them to want to read on and find out what happens to them.

A sense of place is another thing that is frequently missing. When we read a novel with a graphic description of the setting, we are transported to that place. If the description is too brief, then we have no idea what physical situation our characters are in and we lose interest.

Passive writing is another problem. Passive sentences flatten a scene – especially an action scene. Some are okay, but the industry norm is no more than 6% of passive sentences in a manuscript.

Emotion is often missing. Many stories I read tell us just the facts. If we don’t understand how our characters feel about a situation they are in then we won’t relate to them.

Do yourself a favour and invest in workshops that will save you thousands and cost you much less.

Make this your year

DSCF3005I hope you’ve had a great start to the new year; a nice break, a bit of free time to rest, catch up with family, read those ‘must read’ books you’ve been piling up all year; or time to write. We so often get caught up with pleasing others that we forget to do the things that feed our soul. I know that writing feeds mine. I have decided that this is the year I take time for me; to do some more writing, as well as help others achieve their dream of doing the same.

Often we put off what is important to us. But a happy life is about balance. Time to nurture others and time to nurture yourself. Don’t get caught up thinking that you’ll get there “one day”. Because life is short. And if you don’t make time now, then “one day” may never come. If you have ambitions to be a skilled writer, take the first step to learning all you can and start your journey. Make this your year to invest in your future and achieve your dreams.

My partner Ron Day and I are excited to announce that a purpose built writing and illustration workshop venue will soon be constructed on our property near Kilcoy. Here you will be able to retreat to the beautiful countryside to attend workshops conducted by me, Ron, and many visiting authors and illustrators. We will start with one and two day workshops, with the option of over-night accommodation arranged for the two day workshops, and plan to hold a mini festival involving many different tutors before the end of the year. The photo above is a part of the view from the workshop venue. I sit and look at that every morning when I am having breakfast.

If your dream is to be a published author, make this your year. Our workshops will start at the end of February. A full schedule of workshops by Ron and me is on The Gondor Writers’ Centre website. Workshops by guest authors will be posted as soon as they are confirmed. If our building is not completed in time, we will hold the first one in Kilcoy. To learn more about our workshops go to our website,

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