Selling, Publishing, and Other Everyday Questions

I finally wrote up some answers to questions that people keep asking me by email—questions like, can you blurb my novel, and how can I find an agent? It’s up on a new page on my web site. If these are questions that trouble you, or even just interest you, take a look at Getting Published, at

0 Responses

  1. Josh
    | Reply

    Two questions for you, regarding questions, actually. 1. What is the most frequent question you get asked about writing? The craft side that is, not just, ‘can you help me get published?’.

    2. What is one question you are surprised to have never been asked, and so can preemptively answer at this point?

  2. Jeffrey A. Carver
    | Reply

    Funny you should ask, Josh. I hardly ever get questions about the craft of writing. (Except in a teaching or workshop setting.) People who email me almost always want to know about getting published.

    However, I suppose the most common writing question is something like, “What can I do when I start a story and then get stuck and don’t know where to go?”

    Question I’ve never been asked? I guess that would be: “What can I do to improve as a writer, and make sure I keep improving?”

    Of course, there’s no easy answer to that, either–but it would involve continual practice, making sure you master the basics, experimenting and taking chances, getting good feedback, and setting high ambitions as you gain experience. Also, never forget the reader.

  3. Josh
    | Reply

    So, what can I do to improve as a…oh, wait. Answered, in sum. It helps if I stop typing before my eye finishes reading. My eyes and fingers will be holding a summit later on today to figure out the specific timetables they’ll have to follow from now on. I don’t expect results for a few months.

    Never forgetting the reader. There seems to be a lot condensed into the cellophane wrapping of that candy dollop of advice. I know there is the importance of writing to please your audience. The readers are those who end up financially supporting the writer, and therefore, if we forget or disappoint them, they’ll stop buying and send the writer scurrying back to a day job. But I’m thinking you meant more than just dancing to appease the crowds. Are you also talking about keeping your “relationship” connections with your audience, such as through the blog, correspondance and the like? Making sure you don’t insult the reader’s intelligence? All of the above and potential below?

  4. Jeffrey A. Carver
    | Reply

    Re not forgetting the reader, I was referring to the writing process itself–and the need to work hard at it. Specifically, remembering that your job is to draw the reader in and entertain and maybe even enlighten him or her. If you forget that, and are convinced that your writing is wonderful, it’s really easy to become self-indulgent and sloppy. And the end result of that is usually boring or aimless writing.

    Always try to tell the story the way you would want to read it as a new reader trying your stuff for the first time.

Post your comment before you lose your train of thought. (Mine already left the station.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.