Getting Published Step 1: Writing your Novel


Writing a novel is a complicated and oftentimes difficult process. It’s a never-ending learning curve. The best two pieces of advice we offer writers is this: read and write.


Writing a novel is a very complicated process, and one of the best ways to hone your writing skills is to read everything you can in the genre you’re writing. Not to copy it, but to study the style, voice, structure and character arcs. Start by reviewing these attributes of the bestselling books in your genre. The bestselling books are doing just that – they’re selling. And although writing is an art, at the end of the day, publishing is a business – and the publishers are in it to turn a profit. Studying the make-up of the profitable books can help you discover new tips and tricks to write the next bestseller.


Write and write often! Writing is a craft that needs to be honed. Just like a musical instrument. You can’t expect to pick up a violin and play a concerto if you never practice. Even the most accomplished writers have bad days. The key is to keep going. Try to write every day.

Tips on writing:

  • If you don’t feel like writing, set a timer and just write for 5 minutes. Most times, once you get started you’ll get into a flow and write for much longer than the original five minutes allotted. But if you get through the five minutes and don’t find your rhythm, go ahead and stop. As Elizabeth Gilbert (author of EAT PRAY LOVE) most eloquently put in her 2009 TED speech – you showed up to do your part, but your genius didn’t – and that’s okay
  • If you like to build outlines of your novels before you actually start writing, check out SAVE THE CAT!® by Blake Snyder. Although it’s written for screenwriters, the step-by-step “beat sheet” can be applied to any story, including novels. Jessica has actually teamed up with Blake Snyder’s company to teach workshops on using SAVE THE CAT! for novel writing. You can find more information and class schedules on our Craft Your Story page.

Additional resources for writing:

Your dream of publishing your novel is within reach! Watch this quick video to see how The Complete Guide to Getting Published can help you finish your novel and revise it so it’s ready to send to agents!
Next Step: Revising >>