Saturday, October 8, 2011

DJ's Advice for Aspiring Authors

One thing I've noticed about the writing community is that we're all happy to share our advice and insight on the publishing world. I have learned so much thanks to other authors and I wouldn't trade any of their knowledge or advice for anything. (Well, I might trade it for a chance to meet Stephenie Meyer...) So, I would like to share my own words of wisdom with all of you and I hope you add your two cents in the comments. :-)

1. Write because you love it. Sure, I wanted to be published, but most of all I wanted to write about creatures of the night and awesome kissing scenes. Writing shouldn't be about money or movie deals or becoming the next JK Rowling. It should be about your passion for creating art out of words.

2. Be open to other publishing routes. I'm with Pendrell Publishing, a smaller house based in California and I love working with them. Hunted couldn't have found a better home. I know some people are determined to be published by one of the Big Five (is it five? I can't remember, haha), and while this is a great aspiration, there are other options. Don't be too hellbent on one destination, because you might miss out on something great.

3. Write, write, write, and write some more. Even if a story will never see the light of day because its awfulness will sparkle in the sun and blind people, just keep writing. This is how you learn and grow.

4. Read, read, read, and read some more. :-) Study how your favorite author develops their characters, how they make the setting believable, how they show and not tell.

5. Live life to its fullest. The world has so much to offer and you'll become a better writer and person by going out and doing fun, strange, and exciting things. The more experiences you gain, the more you'll be able to put into your characters. Plus, no one really wants to spend their whole life in front of a computer writing. :-)


  1. Wow, some great advice! Thanks for sharing =]

  2. That is so true - especially about the motivation behind writing and to keep on writing. I write because I love it and can't imagine not creating stories.

  3. Good advice, DJ! And I adore that picture. :) (Also, had no idea Pendrell was stationed in California!)

  4. Yes!!!
    And I have one to add: revise, revise, revise!

  5. This whole post = best advice I've read all week.

  6. So true. I have a question though, do you need an agent to get you into being published with the smaller houses too?

  7. Rachel,

    Not at all. There are plenty of smaller houses who look at un-agented material. Both my and DJ's publishing houses for HUNTED and HUSHED: Pendrell--though they're currently closed to submissions--and Entangled Publishing. There are a TON of others out there, too.

    But signing with ANY press, big or small, without an agent to negotiate your contract can be risky. So REALLY do your homework first to avoid getting the short end of the stick!

  8. Rachel: As Kelley said, there are several smaller houses who accept un-agented submissions. Be sure you know what you're getting into if you decide to submit without an agent. I will say that having one probably would have made things easier, but at the same time I felt confident in my knowledge to handle things. It's all about what you feel comfortable with doing. :-) Good luck!

    The East Coaster: Thank you so much! Your comment just made my night.

    Wendy: AH! That's important too! Thanks for mentioning it!

  9. Thanks DJ! Such simple advice, but so easy to forget!