As you guessed from the title today's Wed. & Writing will be part two of my interview with Julie Kagawa in which she gives advice to writers. But before I start I just want to remind everyone that my short story Home is battling on YA Death Match and it would be awesome if you could go vote. (You don't have to vote for me, but I would love it).
Da da da! Now for the real stuff!
When did you know you wanted to be a writer? When did you start working towards it?
I believe it was in high school, when I learned becoming a veterinarian as planned involved way too much math and science, so I decided to write stories instead. I had this ridiculous notion that I would write and publish a book before I went to college, and pay my way with my book royalties. Hahahaha, ah, naiveté.
Was the Iron Fey your first manuscript?
I was my first published manuscript, but not the first book I’d written. I wrote a couple adult novels that never got published, and a whole slew of half-finished books that didn’t go anywhere. I used to write in 5-star notebooks that I carried with me everywhere, and if you stacked up all those old notebooks, up they would probably reach the ceiling.
Do you have any suggestions for unpublished writers trying to get published?
Keep writing. Novel writing isn’t a skill we automatically know (most of us anyway). You have to practice to get better at it. Learn everything you can about the craft and the publishing business. But most of all, keep writing. It might take years of struggle, and practice, and rejection, but as someone once told me: “if you want something bad enough, you’ll get it. If you didn’t get it, you didn’t want it bad enough.”
Are there any specific resources you found especially helpful as you made your way through the query process?
There are many, many great books out there on how to write query letters and approach agents/editors. What I found most helpful, though, was going to an annual writer’s workshop, where the instructors were all published and have gone through the process themselves. A good writer’s workshop is fabulous for learning the ropes about the publishing industry (and, it’s where I pitched my work to the person who would become my agent, as well.)