Writers Round Table

What is the best writing advice you ever received?
Jannine Gallant This wasn’t advice, but something I learned that I hope will benefit others. Quite a few years ago, I went shopping online for an agent, sending out dozens of query letters. After being ignored or rejected too many times to count, I was thrilled to receive acceptance from a company who only wanted to be reimbursed for the cost of copying and mailing my manuscript to publishers. The amount they were asking for was reasonable, so I sent them off a check and waited for the contract offers to start pouring in! After a year and a half (with intermittent contact saying these things take time) I discovered the whole company was a huge scam. Sure I lost money, but I also lost valuable time. Before you sign with anyone (agent or publisher), make sure you check them out thoroughly. An hour or two of your time could save you a lot of heartache. Predators and Editors is a great site to start your search.
Find Jannine Gallant here: http://www.janninegallant.com/
C.R. Moss Plant butt in chair and write every day. Turn off that internal editor and just write.Granted, sometimes I think this bit of advice is easier said than done—life gets in the way, the editing muse won’t shut up—but still, the advice is sound if one wants to be a successful writer.
Find C.R. Moss here: www.crmoss.net
Mariposa Cruz A friend who wanted to get me involved in a home-based business venture lent me one of his empowerment tapes in hopes of recruiting me. The speaker emphasized the key to success was treating the venture like a job not a hobby. Show up every day, not dabble when you feel like it. It dawned on me Hey that could apply to writing! I decided to forego my friend’s marvelous opportunity. Instead I organized my submission files and added writing-related projects to my calendar. By taking a business-like approach, I accomplished more with my writing and still had fun.


  1. With the Internet, more opportunities exist now for writers, however there are also traps for the unwary. It is important to research potential opportunities as carefully as your WIP. Jannine, thanks for sharing your experience with us.

    Chris, I agree the internal editor gets in the way sometimes. Mine tends to harp on me about housework as well :).

    Great advice ladies, I look forward to our next discussion on March 31st!

  2. I'm the worst about editing instead of writing. The only positive is that there's less work after you finally write The End. The big negative is it takes forever to get there!

    Thanks for having me, Mariposa. If you treat your writing like a job, I fully believe you take yourself more seriously as a writer. As a consequence, you become a better writer!

  3. I'm taking on board what you're saying about trying to minimise lost time, Jannine! So far in three years of semi-to-serious writing I've wasted a lot of time waiting for publishers and agents to respond etc.
    Keep on going it the mantra!!

  4. Jannine--Hard lesson to learn! Preditors and Editors is one of my favorite sites.

    I have to admit I'm one of those crazy people who goes back and edits. I've tried the BICHOC and I can't do it. Fleshing out my characters is how my stories evolve. I tend to think this is one of those to each his own.

    I do agree, though, in treating your writing like a job. You can't expect anybody else to take you seriously if you don't take yourself seriously.

  5. Nancy,
    Even with the speed of the Internet, there's still a lot of hurry up and wait in the writing-biz. Which is one good thing about having a couple of projects going.

    What's interesting is how quickly people take you seriously once you believe in yourself. Walking the talk can make all the difference!

  6. Great tips everyone. Yes, Preditors and Editors was one website I frequently checked before sending out queries.

    I also struggle with editing. I don't think there's ever a time I could say "done" unless someone else tells me to step away.

  7. My hard lesson was learned back before everything was done on line. Now it is so much easier to check out the credentials of potential agents and publishers. I'm still learning, though, having discovered recently that all publishers are not created equal. My newest piece of advice would be to talk to other authors they've signed to see what they have to say before signing that contract.

  8. Hi Jannine,
    Great blog. I feel for you because a similar thing happened to me, well my Agent died before she could send my work off, but it took numerous emails to get my manuscript back from her estate.



  9. Good grief, Margaret, that does sound like a potential nightmare. And what a disappointment, just when you had an agent to represent you!


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