Pretend you’re a miner and “dig” for gold.  from anone else’s work.

It takes many hours of digging to produce even an ounce of gold; how many tons of rock to sift to find a diamond.  Read deeply and wisely; be willing to spend hours sweating over your words until they are not only grammatically correct but fresh and new and different from anyone else’s.

Keep improving:  No matter how good you get, you have still fallen short of the masters who went before. Improve by reading aloud to yourself. Join a workshop. Take a degree in creative writing, or at least attend a few classes.  Put in the effort.

Give them more than they ask for: With articles, do more research than you think necessary. Take more pictures. Do more interviews. The result will be that your work will shine. Then you’ll be invited back by the editor. Give the reader more than he expects too.

Make it personal: Publishing is built on personal relationships. Not just editors, but anyone in the office who’d be overjoyed to have you know their names, shake their hands and give them autographed copies of your books – editorial assistants, art directors, copy editors … as they go up the ladder, they’ll remember you.

Be ready to make changes: You may begin with small publishers, who want you to remain in their stable.  It’s perfectly acceptable to ask for a different editor if you’re not getting what you want. Or another layout person.  An old saying goes:  Be nice to the people you meet on the way up, because you’ll meet the same people on the way down.  When it’s time to say goodbye to an agent or publisher, treat them as you’d want to be treated – a face-to-face meeting;  a kind explanation of why you’re leaving; a sincere thank you – you owe it to other human beings.

Help other writers: We are artists, dedicated to bringing something new into the world, something that will enrich the lives of all who read what we have created.  The only way to repay writers who have inspired you is to pass it on to new writers.  My time is running out – I am 87. But when I go, I hope the world will be reading your writing instead of mine.

I am always happy to hear your comments, and to help you with any writing problems.

My latest novel “Searching for Sarah” is available direct from me – you can contact me at    Happy writing!



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