Friday, August 1, 2014

Dear Author Dearest


Dear Author Dearest,

I just finished my first draft. Should I query agents or just go ahead and self-publish?


Excited Writer

Dear Excited Writer,

First: Congrats on finishing a novel! That’s a huge accomplishment.
Second: You should do neither.

Let me know if you have any more questions.

Author with Sage Advice


Dear Author Dearest,

A follow up question … what would you recommend I do now if I’m not to query agents or self-publish?


Still an Excited Writer (despite your previous advice)

Dear Still an Excited Writer,

Before making the decision to query agents or self-publish, I highly recommend you do the following:
1.      Read books on the craft of writing (see recommended list below).
2.      Revise your manuscript based on the knowledge you gained from the reading assignment.
3.      Join up with critique partners and let them rip apart your manuscript.
4.      Revise your manuscript again based on the feedback you received from critique partners.
5.      Have a couple of beta-readers go through your manuscript with fresh eyes.
6.      While they’ve got your manuscript, read another book on the craft of writing.
7.      Revise again.
8.      Repeat the above steps as many times as necessary, until you’re certain your manuscript is as polished as humanly possible. Then you’re ready to consider your various publishing options.

Happy revising,
Author with Sage Advice

Margo Kelly’s Recommended Books on the Craft of Writing:
The Elements of Style by Strunk & White
Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne & King
The Story Book by David Baboulene
Writing YA Fiction for Dummies by  Deborah Halverson
The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass

Margo Kelly’s debut novel, Who R U Really?, comes out 9/18/14. You can pre-order your copy today:

Kirkus Reviews said, “Kelly's first novel is a suspenseful page-turner...”

You can find Margo online:
Twitter: @MargoWKelly


  1. Great advice - though hard for a new writer to swallow.

  2. It's a long hard road...but worth the effort! :)