Friday, March 4, 2011

The No. #1 Mistake New Authors Make

This mistake shocks me. When I tell you what it is, it will at the very least surprise you. It's the number one mistake new authors make. A poorly written and executed chapter one, that they also profusely apologize for when they submit their queries. Here is the best analogy: Submitting a weak chapter one is like going to a job interview wearing a dirty suit and apologizing that today is, "laundry day." What happens is writers get confounded by chapter one. They struggle with the opening of their book. And instead of figuring it out, they give up. Then they submit this less-than-perfect work with an apology and tell me it gets good on page 100. Here is the truth. I don't have time to read to page 100. I barely have time to read to page 10. And most of the time, I can tell by page one that this book is good or bad (surprising as that is). So when you submit a weak chapter one with a profuse apology, do you know what happens? Two things: a trip to my "special file" and a rejection letter to you. The best advice I could ever give a new author, make your chapter one as strong as your final chapter -- and then submit it.

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