BEA 2014: How to Get Your First Novel Published, According to Debut Authors


Thousands of lit-lovers descended upon New York City's Javits Center on Saturday for BookCon, and among them were quite a few aspiring novelists. Hundreds lined up hours ahead of the My First Novel panel to pick up tips on finishing a manuscript, finding an agent, and promoting a book. In a discussion moderated by Rachel Fershleiser, Tumblr's Literary and nonprofit outreach manager, debut novelists Celeste Ng, Courtney Collins, and Yelena Akhtiorskaya talked about their experiences selling their books, and most importantly, what it takes to survive the often soul-crushing process of writing them. These up-and-coming authors provided pearls of wisdom on the process, along with their real-world experiences.

If you're trying to get your first work out into the world, heed the advice of these three writers. Here are six of the most valuable tips from their talk:

1. How to figure out whether your idea for a story is worth pursuing

2. How to get 'er finished

3. How to beat self-doubt (which you will face)

4. How to stick with it when you want to give up

5. How to stay true to your story

6. How to know when your work is done