Books of the Week: Psychotherapy, Writing, And Voodoo

This year’s reading list is mostly things I need to read for the various strands of my life, and this week’s pile was no exception. That’s not to say it’s no fun: these books are things I’d have chosen to read anyway, and sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of direction. This week’s list consisted of one book for uni, and three books that counted as research for the novel I’m writing.  Read more

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route, because otherwise your book’s going to linger in your archives for so long that it’ll end up being out of date.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.  Read more

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.  Read more

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.

Read more

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

Read more