Archive for January 2nd, 2010

Jan 02 2010

Eight Facts About Writing That Surprise Prospective Novelists

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

1. Even if you get published, you will get paid much, much less than you can imagine. A 75,000 word manuscript takes 2000+ hours and typically sells for around $5000. That’s not even close to minimum wage, particularly when you consider the work you put in after getting published. If you plan on eating food more expensive than Kibbles and Bits, get a day job.


2. Most novelists don’t get their first novels published. According to a Tobias Buckell survey, only 35% of published authors broke out with their first novel.  This shouldn’t be too surprising–look at what you were writing 2-3 years ago. You’ve gotten a lot better, right? You’ll probably feel the same way about what you’re writing now in 2-3 years. It may take a novel manuscript or two to develop professional-grade writing skills.  (Keep practicing and you’ll get there!)


3. Novel publishing is freakishly competitive, particularly compared to English courses. In an English class, most of the papers will get A’s and the teacher will usually explain to everybody else what they need to fix so that they will get A’s. In contrast, publishers reject over 99% of submissions and the vast majority of submissions are rejected without any specific feedback.  Thanks for submitting–we enjoyed your manuscript, but not enough to tell you what to fix.  (By the way, if the publisher does tell you what to fix, you’re almost certainly on the right track.  Publishers would probably only spend extra time to write an individualized rejection if you had potential).

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