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How to Write & Sell Your First Novel

Solid writing instruction, expert marketing advice, and actual case histories


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How to Write & Sell Your First Novel
by Oscar Collier with Frances Spatz Leighton
Writer's Digest Books, 2005
ISBN 1-58297-770-5
$18.99 paperback, 272 pages

About the Book
For more than twenty years, How to Write & Sell Your First Novel has been giving readers the writing and marketing instruction they need to get that first novel published. Authors Oscar Collier and Frances Spatz Leighton walk you through every step of the process from choosing the type of novel you want to write to publicity and self-promotion basics, and all the steps in between, such as:

  • Establishing daily writing routines
  • Developing compelling characters, dialogue, and plots
  • Revising and editing your manuscript for submission
  • Making decisions about using agents and handling contracts

In addition to this great instructional advice, this book also includes interview with novelists about their publishing experience, as well as the working methods, attitudes, and strategies of superstar novelists—like Stephen King, John Grisham, Mary Higgins Clark, and others. Use their tips to help you build your own success!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Ignoring Your Characters’ Desires

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Ignoring Your Characters’ Desires

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is ignoring your characters’ desires.

Listening to Ghosts: 7 Metaphysical Experiments for Writing Support

Listening to Ghosts: 7 Metaphysical Experiments for Writing Support

Author Coco Picard shares 7 different out-of-body writing experiments to help you through the writing process.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Dance Time

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Dance Time

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have your characters dance.

Convention-al Wisdom: Why I Love Attending Cons as a Writer

Convention-al Wisdom: Why I Love Attending Cons as a Writer

Russell James shares how convention act as more than networking events for writers, but as an opportunity to be face-to-face with your readers, to make new friends, and more.

Alicia Thompson: On Writing Romance in Isolating Times

Alicia Thompson: On Writing Romance in Isolating Times

Writer Alicia Thompson discusses what she learned about herself in writing her new romance novel, Love in the Time of Serial Killers.

Examples of Hooks for Books

60 Examples of Hooks for Books

This post collects 60 examples of hooks for books. Also called elevator pitches, these book hooks show real-life examples in a variety of writing genres for fiction and nonfiction books.

How To Turn Artifacts and Research Into a Family Memoir

How To Turn Artifacts and Research Into a Family Memoir

A century’s old family heirloom acted as a clue to the past for author Cornelia Maude Spelman. Here, she shares how to turn artifacts and research into a family memoir.

Miriam Parker: On Writing the Book You Want To Read

Miriam Parker: On Writing the Book You Want To Read

Author and publisher Miriam Parker discusses her surprise at writing her new novel, Room and Board.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 622

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a story poem.