While noodling around livejournal blogs, I happened upon:
who had written a journal entry about how much she enjoyed my first novel, The Hunger. We have been chatting back and forth and here is a question she asked, and my response:
“I was wondering about a career as a novelist. What would you say about it, highlights, disadvantages, etc. Is there any advice you would give to a possible future novelist?”
The best advice I could give is to do what you’re already doing, which is reading voraciously. One should read at least 1000 novels before trying to write one. And it’s a great idea to analyze them too. What works, what doesn’t work? What techniques does the author use to hold a reader’s interest? The other thing to do is to write regularly, so having a blog like this is a superb idea.
In terms of writing as a career, it is a very difficult profession to succeed in. They say it takes 10 years as an author to be an “overnight” success. My first book came out in 1996, so I’m waiting!
When you first start, you have to have a really thick skin. I got 100 rejections on my first novel manuscript. I did end up selling a movie option to a small Hollywood production company on it though (it never got made into a movie) and that option was a stepping stone for me. I got my first agent because of the option and shortly after that I got more acceptances. So developing a thick skin and a dogged persistence are two more suggestions I’d give.
Highlights? For me, having a person who dislikes reading tell me that one of my books made a reader out of them. Another highlight is when someone tells me that they learned something about a bit of history while reading my books for pleasure.