I have an agent. Strike that…this requires something more dramatic. I am delighted to announce that Tim Moore of The Rights Factory is my agent. Tim read the manuscript of my novel, based on the Great Siege of Malta, in “one go” and offered to represent me. To say that I was happy would be a gross understatement. If my happiness were a clock, the hour hand would be on elated and the minute hand on ecstatic.

Abbé VertotHistoire des chevaliers hospitaliers de S. Jean de Jérusalem, appelez depuis les chevaliers de Rhodes et aujourd’hui les chevaliers de Malte

This is something I worked for, dreamt about and thought would never happen. But it did.

Finding the right agent who believes in you and your work is the most crucial step towards getting published. And I have found one in Tim Moore. Tim has vast experience in the publishing industry. He is enthusiastic about my work, and I look forward to starting this new chapter of my writing career with him.

To celebrate this occasion, I thought it would be fitting to provide ten tips. These are not my property. I came across these and other tips whilst researching how to write a book. There are, of course, many other valuable suggestions out there. I just picked ten that I found indispensable in my journey.

  • Write about things you are passionate about. If you don’t feel the passion, neither will the readers.
  • Research, research, research. I cannot over-emphasise the importance of research. Readers will look for authenticity, and that can only come from research.
  • Read books from the same genre.
  • Read books about the craft of writing. There are some excellent guides to help writers plan and execute their works. These guides will help take your manuscript to the next level.
  • Be prepared to be disappointed. Criticism, rejections from publishers and agents, bad reviews…these are to be expected. Even the most successful of writers had to go through this pain. Consider it as paying the piper his dues.
  • Invest in good writing software. I found Grammarly best suited for my needs.
  • Find friends or family members who can share the journey with you. Writing can be a lonely venture. Do not isolate yourself. Find people who can help you edit, will be receptive to talking about your ideas and will provide a shoulder when needed.
  • Revise your drafts. I used line and developmental editors to get the manuscript to a level I considered good enough for submission. Line editors look at grammar, syntax, and correct use of language. Developmental editors look at the bigger picture: the plot and character development.
  • On the internet, one can find articles on how to write a query letter to an agent. A query letter is your sales pitch to an agent, asking him to represent your work. The best tip I can give you is to research the agents. Every agent has their preferences. Look for the best fit for your manuscript.
  • You must write if you wish to become a writer. I am not one for setting daily quotas, but I know writers who do. I write almost every day. I feel guilty if I don’t. I have several works in progress, each taking me into a different dimension, era, and genre. I find that this fuels my urge to keep on writing.

“When I was a little boy, they called me a liar, but now that I am a grown-up, they call me a writer.” —Isaac Bashevis Singer.

Written by : Peter Portelli

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