A new book about how to write a novel will be published in September by the award-winning literary agency Hartline Literary Agency, and it’s a must read for anyone who’s interested in writing a novel.
The author, journalist and critic Emma Nairn, tells how to find your own literary agency in her new book, How to Find Your Literary Agency.
It’s an invaluable resource for writers.
The title is taken from the literary agent’s guide to writing a good novel.
“I think if you read the book, you can see that there are two very different worlds that exist in writing fiction,” she says.
“One is what I call the literary world, which is all the agents, writers, editors, agents, publishers, publishers all working together to write the book,” she adds.
“The other world is the creative world, the creative side, where there are people like myself and many other writers, artists and musicians who are all working independently to create something that we want to see in the world.”
This is a very special place in the history of writing fiction.
“So, to get a sense of what that world looks like, I’m writing a book about it.”
“But,” she continues, “I’m also writing it from a place of personal experience, a place that I have never been to.”
It’s really difficult to get outside your comfort zone,” she acknowledges.”
Because you’re not necessarily working with a professional agency.
I’m not necessarily writing for a publishing house.
I write for myself.
“Nairn explains that writing a fiction book is a challenging process.”
If I don’t like what I’m going to say, or if I don, for example, feel it’s not interesting enough, or it’s too predictable, I’ll often go back to the beginning and work backwards from that, looking for a new way of saying what I wanted to say,” she explains.”
That’s very different to how I write now.
I have a lot of ideas.
But I also have to work out how to do them.
“For example, if I’m having a difficult time with a character or a character idea, I might say, ‘I don’t think it’s quite right.
It feels a little too predictable,’ and then I can start writing a story where it’s something else.”
And so I’ll start with a new character, then a new idea, then I’ll work backwards to something that’s a little bit more different, and then the character I’m working on will be a new one.
“Then I will then start writing, and so on.
So it’s really challenging.”
What you need to know about writing:The best book ever:How to write your own novel is a great read if you’re looking for advice about how you can write a good book.
But if you have to be honest about it, you’ll discover it can be a lot more difficult to write something good.
“When I wrote a novel, it was my first time writing a literary novel, which was a huge shock to me,” she admits.
“But in my experience, writing is hard work.”
Sometimes when you’re writing a really good book, it can feel like it’s been doing this for years, and you just have to start making things happen.
“Once you’ve started, you realise you have a real passion for it, and that you’re going to be working on something that you love.”
In the beginning, you don’t really have any idea of what you’re working on.
And that’s what makes it a challenge.
“Nairs is also keen to stress that it’s important to have an editor, agent and publisher to work with.”
An agent is the best thing a writer has,” she laughs.”
They’re really the lifeline that keeps you going.
“And, for writers like Nairns, the process of finding a literary agency is also very important.”
Most writers I know have a literary agent,” she recalls.”
At the time, there wasn’t any way to find one.
So you went to an agent and they told you that there was a good agent who could help you out.
“And then, if you were a writer of the right calibre, you might be asked to submit your work to an agency.”
Now there’s more ways,” she smiles.”
You can go to an international agent and have the agent fly out to London and come to your house.
“Or you can go through agents in Europe who are based in your home country, and do it through a European agent.”
What I’m really proud of is that I’ve had a number of agents who are English.
“And for writers who are from England, Nairts advice to writers from overseas is to get an agent who speaks English and is familiar with your writing.”