Writing a Book? Top Tips from Publishers, Editors & Writers.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Children's and Young Adult Writer's Festival Review

Some time ago I attended the Children's and Young Adult Writer's Festival at the New South Wales Writers Center in Sydney. The day truly exceeded my expectations. Packed with vibrant, eclectic and informative panels made up from some of Australia's leading expert's in the industry including editor's from Random House, Harper Collins and Walker House, and some of Australia's finest Children & YA writer's including the lovely and effervescent best selling children's author Belinda Murrell who launched her latest book 'The Forgotten Pearl'.

The following are an overview of the main points from the day.


  • Fresh Ideas - A new take on an old story; a different angle in a love story; unexpected twist in a mystery and the list goes on. Fresh ideas are what captures the eye of a publisher and makes them feel it's worth their while.
  • Engaging - Probably a no brainer but if the pages don't engage the publisher from the get go it most likely will be rejected.
  • Great writing - What is great writing? It's compelling reading. You really only have to think about your favorite award winning book and have read some best sellers and you can understand what great writing means. What is it that drew you in; what captivated your imagination and compelled you to read on; why was it impossible to put it down? Keep your eye on what it is that catches the eye of the critics and top reviewers in the industry.
  • Memorable characters - Characters that the reader can identify with. Characters that the reader can fall in love with. Characters that won't be forgotten. write something distinctive about your characters so the reader knows who they are and remembers them.
  • Pulls an emotional response - Publishers love stories that can reach into the heart of the reader and pull an emotional response. It can be sad, romantic, painful, loving, inspiring, erotic, disgusting, exciting etc etc but these are the stories that publishers are looking for.
  • Good old fashioned story telling - There's a lot to be said about the magic of good storytelling.Think back to the best story you heard when you were a kid. What was it that held you captive? What was it that made Enid Blyton, Beatrix Potter, C S Lewis so endearing?
  • Unique voice - Give your manuscript a unique voice. Brainstorm first, write down 10 ideas and see where they go. Run it by someone like an author friend, a writer's group, an editor, have your manuscript assessed by a manuscript assessor or an agent and see what they think. This helps decide your voice.
  • Write about what's true for you - Writing a story about something that you love, have experienced, and or are passionate about is sure to stand out.
  • Good format spelling grammar etc - Again probably a no brainer but each publisher requires different standards for submissions, find out exactly what is required such as if it's 1.5 spacing, don't make it 2.5 Good spelling and grammar is a must do before submitting. If you don't know what correct grammar is then pay someone to have it checked for you. If you are not sure what the requirements are then send an email query before submitting, and remember to keep it professional, short and succinct.
  • Don't write to trends - One of the best pieces of advice on the day. By the time you finish writing the trend has moved on and changed. Do you ever wish that books would stop following a trend? How many Vampire stories can we possibly read?
  • Know that a good book has seen many, many edits. Don't try to revise everything at once. Do a format edit, then a sentence structure edit, then another edit for spelling and grammar and so on.
  • Sit on it for a while. One of the best pieces of advice is to put your manuscript away when you finish it and sit on it for a while. When you read through it again it's surprising how much you will want to change, slash or rewrite.
  • And lastly remember don't be too precious about your work. Take advice from experienced professionals in the business, they are there to help you, their experience is invaluable.

And last but not least Keep Writing !

More by this Author


Comments 26 comments

Ron Hawkster profile image

Ron Hawkster 4 years ago from United States of America

A most excellent article with very useful points. Bookmarked for future use. Thank you for sharing.


carter06 profile image

carter06 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW Author

Thanks very much Ron, the writer's festival was really fantastic and wanted to share it...thanks for dropping by...cheers


donnah75 profile image

donnah75 4 years ago from Upstate New York

This is awesome advice for writing on any level - books, articles, etc. Thanks for sharing your experience. Voted up and sharing.


carter06 profile image

carter06 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW Author

Thanks so much donna...lovely to meet you and welcome to hubpages...it was such a great writers festival and such good advice that I just had to share it...cheers


BeyondMax profile image

BeyondMax 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Great advice and clever informative plan to stick to! Nicely done =)


carter06 profile image

carter06 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW Author

Thanks so much BeyondMax...it was really great to hear from such experienced professionals...thought it was worth sharing...


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 4 years ago from Massachusetts

This is all valuable information and advice within this well written hub that can be useful to all writers, thanks for sharing it !

Vote up and more !!!


carter06 profile image

carter06 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW Author

Thanks for reading, commenting & voting kashmir56...I thought the info could be too useful not to share...cheers


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

This is great advice, I think as writers we all do get a bit posessive of our work, and we shouldn't, there is always someone out there to help edit or give good advice to help you get published, I did smile when you said sit on it for a while, the book I am writing at the moment was written by me 20 years ago! lol! only on an old electric typewriter! now I have to do it all again on the pc, and of course change it so it matches the times, great advice and bookmarked, voted up! cheers nell


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

what a great hub.. thank you for writing this.. I would love to go to attend a writers festival... sounds wonderful

sharing

Debbie


Life as a Blog profile image

Life as a Blog 4 years ago from Austin, Texas

Great advice and very well written! I've always heard that you should put your manuscript away for awhile after you've written it and then look at it again with fresh eyes. Thanks!


carter06 profile image

carter06 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW Author

Thanks Nell for your insightful comment & votes, we sure do need help... & so hope you get yr book finished...shame you have to rewrite it now after sitting on it for a while! Lol :) looking forward to a good read...cheers


carter06 profile image

carter06 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW Author

Thank you Debbie!! I am a member of the NSW centre & get to a few events/ courses through the year... If you can get to a festival they are so worthwhile & give you fresh vision for writing... Appreciate your comment...cheers


carter06 profile image

carter06 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW Author

Thanks for dropping by Life as a blog and glad that it's helpful for you...I learned so much on the day...cheers


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

It appears that you had a wonderful time. Thanks for passing on so much of the valuable information that you learned.


carter06 profile image

carter06 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW Author

Hi Mike, it's really nice of you to drop by. It was such a fantastic day and I learned so much about how to write better that I felt I had to share it... it's amazing that you can pick up so much in a day from others experiences and just talking to other writers is refreshing...cheers


ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

This is useful for writers. Your point about not writing books for trends makes sense yet I had not really thought about it before - thanks for teaching me something new here!


carter06 profile image

carter06 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW Author

Thanks Christy you are welcome and thanks for dropping by...and I thought the point about trends made a lot of sense too but realize that it's hard to resist a trend if it goes viral online & sells thousands of copies...cheers


ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

I shared it on Twitter too and got a lot of retweets - hope it helped with your page views for the day :)


carter06 profile image

carter06 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW Author

Oh thank you so much Christy, you are so sweet to do that! I haven't checked yet but will do...have a great day...cheers


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Dear carter,

It is wonderful when a session is so valuable that we burst to share it with others. These are all tremendous tips and thank you for taking the time to outline for us.

Voted UP and very Useful. Hugs, Maria


carter06 profile image

carter06 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW Author

Thanks so much for dropping in Mar & for votes & hugs... is it time for another coffee? 0h, ok & danish...blow the diet:)cheers


midget38 profile image

midget38 4 years ago from Singapore

Very useful tips for me! Am considering this quite seriously and find these vital....am pinning as well as sharing. Thanks for the write, Carter06.


carter06 profile image

carter06 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW Author

Thank you so much midget, glad you got some pointers & will look forward to your future book...cheers


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

What wonderful tips! Thank you Carter; these are going to help!


carter06 profile image

carter06 4 years ago from Cronulla NSW Author

Thanks for dropping by Billy...looking forward to buying your best seller:)

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working