40 Tips from Best Selling Authors

Revisited – I wrote this sometime ago and decided to revisit it as I think these tips from best selling authors are worth reading once more.


As a writer, I love to hear what other writers have to say about writing, especially, best-selling authors.  I sat down, coffee at hand, and listened to many interviews of best-selling authors.  Many hours later, a list of their recommendations was born.  The following list is full of tips, recommendations, and inspiration, from best-selling authors to aspiring writers, although these authors have been published the traditional way, and we all know that the eBook is shaking the publishing world; however, these tips are worth considering.


1.  Write, Write, Write.


2.  Accept rejection.


3.  Send hundreds of queries.


4.  Don’t take no for an answer; keep at it.  Eventually you will get a yes.


5.  It took Janet Evanovich 10 years of trying to get published.


6.  Write every day, even if you stare blank at the computer.


7.  The characters will take life of their own; they will lead you but you still have control.


8.  It is a huge honor to get your book made into a movie; but it is a totally different animal.


9.  Pick a genre and stick with it; at least in the beginning.


10.  Most seemed to have writing on the backburner, and somehow, fell into it as if by chance or destiny.  Some did not even know if they were any good.  Examples are:  Stephenie Meyer, Janet Evanovich, Lalita Tademy and Sara Grwen.


11.  Their backgrounds are so diverse but there is a constant:  they persevered, and they write, write, and write.


12.  Some observe and listen for ideas, others have dreams, others write about what they know.  Sara Grwen saw a picture of a vintage circus and that instance; she knew she would write a story about that, even when she had started a complete different story.


13.  Some used ideas and modified them into complete different stories (careful with copyrights-this author made sure a lawyer handled all details).


14.  They all come across as very content with their lives.  And some of them had hardship or events that lead them into writing.


15.  Christopher Paolini wrote about what he always wanted to read about, but there just was not enough of it (Besinger).


16.  Some seem easy going, go with the flow, while others more uptight, others seem to have fun in the process like Gregory Maguire.


17.  Michel Chabon – “You have to live with the book on your head all the time, even when living your normal daily routine.”  Sometimes he goes away to write for a couple days, or two weeks.


18.  Elizabeth Gilbert – “There is only one way to tell a story and that is to tell it.”


19.   Jody Picoult says – “Ideas come from all over the place – for me usually about an issue that I do not have the answer to.  Characters pop up like mushrooms and take over the book.  I research the subject sometimes months before I start writing.”


20.  Brunania Barry self published 2000 copies, and then hired a PR company.  Took a leap of faith, quit her job, and wrote.  Always knew she wanted to be a novelist.  This book started as a dream.


21.  Mitch Albom weaves own anecdotes into his stories.  He uses a song in every book, kind of his trademark.


22.  Lisa Scittoline – “Try to write something that is inside you, you open your heart and readers open theirs.”


23.  Harlan Coben – “I like to write with heart; otherwise it is not going to work for me.”


24.  Kate Jacobs – “The secret is being persistent and silencing this inner critic.”


25.  John Grisham – Writes mostly legal thrillers, but writes whatever he wants.  He has fun with the genre, he says he does not know where he is going as far as to stick with a genre – “You can’t get to serious, the pages have to turn”.  His style is very disciplined and structured – He writes from 6-12 m mostly 5-6-7-8+ pages a day.  Before writing he has to get his thoughts together.  He makes an extensive outline to follow 40 chapters.  He needs his outline.  Some of his books made into movie, The Appeal/The firm.


26.  Sherrilyn Kenyon – Acheron – “Over, under, around or through, there’s always a way to get where you want to go, you just have to find it.”


27.  Wally Lamb – “Write the book for yourself and let the audience that have to find it find it”.

28.  Anne Lamott – “Writing, just do it.”


29.  Gregory Maguire – “The consolation of the imaginary is not imaginary consolation.”  “Your inventive culture/world should be convincing.  Work this world in your mind, even if you do not write the details in the story.”


30.  Jamie Lee Curtis – “I don’t do it (writing) for achievement, it is pure expression for me.”


31.  Debbie Maccomber – She is an inspiration, she was dyslexic and learned to read in 5th grade.  She loves being a writer.


32.  Claire cook – “Just try it; small steps every day take you there.”  It took her 25 years because she was afraid of the big step.


33.  Donald Trump – Think Big and Kick Ass – “Keep your left up”.  “Never ever quit.”


34.  Nora Roberts: “Well, first: there ain’t no muse. If you sit around and wait to channel the muse, you can sit around and wait a long time.”  She says writing is not effortless.  “So I work really hard to make it as fluid as possible, as readable and entertaining as possible.”

35.  Kate DiCamillo does not do research.  Her book just shows up.


36.  Maggie Stiefvater – “To aspiring authors:  read, read, and read.”  She didn’t take any creative writing classes.


37.  The idea of a character of your book writing a book – James Patterson.


38.  Writing under different pen names – Jayne Ann Kretz is (Jane Castle and Amanda Quick); Lori Foster is L.L. Foster.


39.  Age dilemma when writing – addressing age appropriate dilemmas is important when writing your story.


40.  Eloisa James writes 20 pages a day.  She says that writing is hard work, it is tough.


Well my friends, here you have it:  Many hours of listening compiled into 40 tips for you to enjoy, and apply to your craft.  I love tip number 26.