Writing

Choosing Your Section Headings

I’ve had a couple of interesting Twitter conversations recently about how to write a book. I’m enjoying sharing my thoughts on the book writing process (plus it gives me an excuse to procrastinate writing my next one) so please ask any questions you’d like to know about and I’ll respond in a post.  Continue reading “Choosing Your Section Headings”

Writing

Drafting A Query Letter To A Publisher

The “Hello please buy my book” letter is one of the most nervewracking things you’re going to have to write. But you do have to do it, unless you want to go the self-publishing route, because otherwise your book’s going to linger in your archives for so long that it’ll end up being out of date.

One of the most annoying things when you’re trying to get your book published is how vague a lot of the advice is. “Find a publisher, send a query letter, get a book deal.” Um, yeah. I know. But, like, how?

Now I’m not saying I’ve got this all figured out, but I have one published book under my belt so far, and the query letter I sent to a publisher didn’t get a negative response (though they did ask for a little more detail, but that’s in the outline rather than the email itself… more on outlines in a future post).

So here’s the text of the email I sent them, with details redacted but otherwise intact.  Continue reading “Drafting A Query Letter To A Publisher”

Personal

Staying Accountable Via The Blog

I’ve been thinking about the purpose of this blog for a while. Partly it’s just a dumping ground for my general musings, partly it’s a place I can go when I’m trying to remember the name of that good book I read six months ago. Partly it’s a way to look back on the year at the end of it, work out what went well and what didn’t, and plan the following twelve months.

But one thing a lot of people use blogs for is something I haven’t done so far: a way of staying accountable.  Continue reading “Staying Accountable Via The Blog”

Books

2017 Reflections: Books – Non-Fiction

Following on from yesterday’s best fiction post, here are the best non-fiction books I read this year. (Note that not all of these were published this year, that’s just when I read them.)

The following are abridged reviews; where there’s a longer version on the blog, I’ve linked to it.

Continue reading “2017 Reflections: Books – Non-Fiction”

Personal, Weekly Round-Ups

This Week I Have Mostly Been Asleep

A few weeks ago I pushed myself too hard and had to spend a lot of time in bed. I’d neeaaarrllyyyy recovered from that by last weekend, when I had to do something that involved a huge amount of energy. Unfortunately it was genuinely necessary and there was no way I could get out of it. I knew it would put me at a deficit, but there was nothing I could do about it, so I did it anyway, and then I crashed again.

On Tuesday afternoon, with a little encouragement (read: direct order) from a medical professional, I got into bed. I thought “I’ll just lie here for a bit…” and then I fell asleep.

Which pretty much sums up the rest of the week as well. I slept a lot, I barely worked, I read quite a few books, and I watched some stuff on Netflix.

Continue reading “This Week I Have Mostly Been Asleep”

Books, Writing

How Long Should My Novel Be?

I have written so many books over the years, and yet until now I’ve had basically no idea what I’ve been doing, which is probably why until this year none of them have been published. I read as much as I could find about how to write a book and tried to apply the advice, but so much of it was simply too vague.

“Work on it!” they said.
“Plan it!” they said.
“Stick to a writing schedule!” they said.

Yeah, OK. But how do I plan it? How many words long does a book have to be? How many chapters should my novel have? How many words per page? How many pages per chapter? How many chapters per book? How do I know which bit goes where? How will I know when it’s finished? FUUUCCCKKK HELP MEEEEE

Continue reading “How Long Should My Novel Be?”