11 things not to do when starting a writing career

  1. For fiction, a good idea is gold.  So make sure you start querying any and every literary agent you can get your cursor over, even the ones that only work with non-fiction books…heck, go for it and query other types of agents too…you never know.  Whatever you do, don’t actually have anything written yet; you’ll just have to rewrite it all later anyway.
  2. Proper punctuation and spelling are for English teachers.  Those squiggly lines under your words on the computer?  They’re for decoration.
  3. Can’t type?  No prob.  Pencil written manuscripts are perfectly fine to send in.  That coffee stain?  Don’t worry about it.  You are an artiste; you have grander things to think about than neatness.
  4. Do not follow the query writing / submission guidelines.  Your way is MUCH better.
  5. Rejection letters are a personal assault on your sensibilities.  Any agent who turns you down is a drooling dope and everyone deserves to know it.  Call, email, blog, and twitter about the injustice that has been done to you and the unsavory traits of the person who offended you.
  6. As soon as you send a query, and especially if you’ve been asked to send a manuscript, call the agent DAILY to check up on the status.  When they start to get a little firm with you that just means you’ve got their attention!  When they threaten to call the police, only then is it time to stop calling.
  7. If you have the good fortune to attend a writer’s conference, zoom in on your dream agent and never leave her side.  Share personal stories, the more intimate the better.  Make her think you’ve been best friends for ages.
  8. Make sure you start a blog that thrashes the publishing industry completely.  Tweet your links to the nation and sit back while you single-handedly revolutionize every negative thing about it.  It may hurt now, but they will thank you later.  There might even be a statue in your future.
  9. On your shiny blog, don’t forget to list out the crappy authors who somehow, by some crazy twist of fate, became published before you.  Make sure to tell the reasons why their writing sucks too.  Everyone can use some constructive criticism.

10.  When you finally have an agent (this should take 1-2 months-tops) DO NOT BUDGE on anything.  Take all you can get, but give as little back as you can.  Rewrites, schmewrites.  Oh, and don’t forget, these are big city folk, they only respond to rudeness.

11.  Do not ever try to help any other writer on their road to publication.  They are the competition, never forget that.  If you have the opportunity to sabotage them -do it.

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