But more on my thoughts later. I've read the first two books and really enjoyed them, and I'm reading Mr. Darcy's Great Escape right now. I will be posting all three reviews shortly. (I'd hoped to do it sooner, but I'm a bit under the weather, so look for the reviews to be posted by tomorrow if all goes as planned).
I want to thank Marsha for taking time out of her busy schedule to talk about her path to publication and provide some advice to aspiring novelists. Please give a warm welcome to Marsha Altman.
From Writer to Another: Advice!
Write. Write a lot. Write as much as you can about anything you want to write about. Don’t worry that you’re copying your favorite author – we all do it subconsciously anyway. Don’t be ashamed to write fan-fiction and post it on the internet for comments. Don’t be ashamed to make mistakes, then read some book on writing five years down the line about how you shouldn’t have done them.
If you are under 20, don’t submit your work to publishers unless you want to get a first-hand experience at crushing rejection, though I admit it’s not bad to have that under your belt. I submitted my first book when I was fourteen, and was rejected across the board, something I’m now grateful for. I strongly believe something that’s contended by many people, which is that your early writing is going to be embarrassing when you’re older, so don’t expect the world of it or expect it to be published. I’m grateful nothing I wrote in junior high or high school was published. That stuff was terrible. I was rejected again in college, again after college, and got my first book contract while I was in graduate school, not a moment too soon in terms of the quality of what I’d written.
There’s a saying in publishing that the third time is a charm, that the third thing you submit is the book that will be published. This happened to me, which means I had to go through two rounds of agonizing rejections of what I considered to be a publishable novel before I got to the book contract, and I’m not even counting the try at age 14. Obviously, to get to book 3, you have to produce 3 books. In actuality, I produced much more than that. Not everything was publishable or worth submitting.
So write. Write as much as humanly possible, about topics you care about even if nobody else cares about them. If nobody else cares, you don’t have to show the work to anyone. Sometimes you’re writing for yourself. I like to write books I would want to read – books that disappoint me by not being out there already so I have to write them myself.
And whatever you do, get an agent, even if you already have a book contract at hand and the publisher says you don’t need one. You need one.
Thanks, Marsha! I wish you much success and look forward to reading more of your work in the future.
MR. DARCY’S GREAT ESCAPE—IN STORES FEBRUARY 2010
Hilarious and action-packed, this installment brings the Darcy and Bingley families to the year 1812 and the intrigues of the Napoleonic Wars. Darcy and Dr. Maddox go in search of Darcy's missing half-brother and land in a medieval prison cell.
Much to his dismay, Charles Bingley is left to hold the fort at Pemberley while his sister Caroline, Elizabeth, and Col. Fitzwilliam traverse Europe on a daring rescue. Meanwhile, Lady Catherine de Bourgh kicks up a truly shocking scandal.
One never knows what might happen next between the estates of Rosings and Pemberley.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marsha Altman is a historian specializing in Rabbinic literature in late antiquity, and an author. She is also an expert on Jane Austen sequels, having read nearly every single one that's been written, whether published or unpublished. She has worked in the publishing industry with a literary agency and is writing a series continuing the story of the Darcys and the Bingleys. She lives in New York.
Are you interested in reading The Darcys & the Bingleys, The Plight of the Darcy Brothers, and Mr. Darcy's Great Escape? Well, you're in luck. Sourcebooks is offering a set of Marsha Altman's books to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment on this post with your e-mail address.
This giveaway is open to U.S./Canada readers only and will run through Sunday, Feb. 14 at 11:59 pm EST.