C.J. Darlington, co-founder of TitleTrakk, is running a great series on her blog: She started a series of blog posts in which industry professionals (editors, agents, publicists, authors, etc.) share their responses to this question:
"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"
Here is what Jan Stob had to say: I would tell aspiring authors to read.
Read the classics. Read books on writing. Read books in your genre. I can't tell you how often I meet prospective authors who are writing fiction yet state that they don't like to read fiction. This is a huge red flag for me. I want to know that the reader has read their competition and has a grasp on the market. I want them to be reading classics and comparing different writing styles. Reading will not alter your ability to have a unique voice. It will enhance your unique voice and help you find ways to make it stronger.
--Jan Stob, Senior Acquisitions Editor, Tyndale House Publishers.
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