What’s the best advice you can give to an aspiring author? Read! When my brother and I were growing up, our parents made the deliberate decision to raise us in a household without a TV. Of course we thought it was the worst form of child abuse at the time, missing out on The Cosby Show and Silver Spoons. But we read all the time. And I know that’s why we’re both writers now. Read. It’s bar none the best possible advice I could give. Read anything and everything you can get your hands on. The more good writing you absorb, the better your own writing will become. Keep a journal. It doesn’t matter what you write; just getting in the habit of writing will build your confidence about the process and help to generate ideas.
Can you read my story, and give some suggestions on getting published? Unfortunately, due to the number of requests I receive, I could not possibly read everyone’s manuscript or story. I do, however, have two great books to recommend:
Do I need an agent to get published? Not necessarily. I didn’t have an agent when I first got published, and I still don’t. But I happen to be married to a lawyer who negotiates contracts for a living, and I happen to have gotten extremely lucky. I sent my first manuscript to a literary contest and won. I’m a huge fan of contests because they guarantee that your manuscript will be read, whereas if you send your manuscript to a publisher, your work may end up in a slush pile. If you’re looking for an agent, The Writer’s Market is a great place to start.