Happy 2020! The New Writers Scheme is now full and about to open for manuscript submissions so this month’s Hints & Tips is a special one for NWS writers and those who might be thinking of joining in the future. Here’s NWS organiser Janet Gover with her top 10 tips for getting the most out of the scheme. Happy writing, Jenni x
The NWS helped me get published, and our goal is to help all our members become published authors. Here are some ‘before’ and ‘after’ tips.
When you submit your work:
- Treat the scheme as a dress rehearsal for the day you submit your book to your dream agent, or that publisher you want to work with. We won’t reject you because of your mistakes. We’ll help you fix them.
- Follow the submission guidelines exactly, and make sure you have checked for spelling, typing and other basic errors. That’s what will be expected of you when you submit for real, so you should get into the habit of doing it now.
- Fill in all the fields on the entry form. The questions we are asking help me find the best reader for your work, and help that reader understand which market you are targeting.
- If you can, submit early. If you’re going to conference for an editor or agent meeting, our feedback can help you prepare if you get it to us early in the year.
- Don’t miss the opportunity. If you don’t have time to finish the book, submit a partial. Guidance when you are only part way through the book might save you from taking the wrong path.
When you get your report:
- Have a good cry. Throw something. Drink wine… do whatever it takes to get past that initial emotional reaction. Wait a day or two then get into an analytical frame of mind and re-read the report, as unemotionally as possible.
- Highlight the positives. Use a marker pen or change the text colour… something to remind yourself that there are positives.
- When you read the negatives, and they will be there, remind yourself that even multi-published authors get negative comments from their editor, and have to do revisions before a book is ready to go out into the world.
- Weigh each comment carefully – one at a time. You may agree with some and disagree with others. That’s fine. As we all know, reading is a very subjective thing. What one reader hates another will love. If you think your reader is wrong about something, put a line through it and move on.
- Your readers are experienced authors and will give good advice. They might make suggestions for changes or solutions to problems. But YOU must be happy with whatever changes you make, and if you have a better solution or idea to fix a problem they have spotted, then go for that one. It is YOUR book, after all.
The New Writers’ Scheme is wonderful and unique. So many of our published members are ‘graduates’ of the scheme. I joined knowing nothing. I cried buckets when I received my first report, and now have just published my 13th (a lucky number for me) book. Becoming a writer is a journey. We all travel at a different pace and take a different route, but for everyone a successful result comes as a result of hard work and determination.
Janet Gover is the author of thirteen novels. In 2017, she won the RNA’s RoNA Award for Epic Romantic Novel of the Year. Her latest novel is The Lawson Sisters, published by MIRA books. She is a graduate of the NWS and became organiser of the scheme in August 2019.
You can read more about her at www.janetgover.com or follow her on twitter @janet_gover
You can contact her regarding NWS matters on firstname.lastname@example.org