Insider tricks that will help you find a publisher for your book – The Irish Times


Lockdown offered many frustrated writers a key to unbolt the constraints of daily routine and an opportunity to work on the novel or work of nonfiction that has been gathering dust in their minds or in a bottom drawer for years. If 2022 is the year to take your book to the next stage, we asked authors and publishing professionals for their advice on how to make that happen.


Literary fiction novelist and mentor

Donal Ryan. Photograph: Alan Place

Ryan, multiple award-winning author of The Spinning Heart and Strange Flowers and creative writing lecturer at the University of Limerick, understands the pain of rejection when it comes to publishing the written word. “A writing life is poxed and pockmarked by rejection. It never ends. Your work will be precious to you but you can’t expect everyone else to treat it as such. People will say ‘No. No. Get out. I’m calling security.’ ”

However, he believes that this is essentially the road of the real writer. “You are bound to be rejected, multiple [times] and out of hand, or sometimes considerately and constructively. And when finally you’re accepted, the rejection will start again, in different and even more debilitating ways. But always remember to return to the joy of composing a good sentence. Look after your sentences and everything else in your writing life will look after itself.”

The opening page of your manuscript is important, and Ryan believes that it’s one of the first opportunities to showcase the entire novel. “Try to make something happen in your opening that you think has never happened anywhere in fiction before. John Harding opened his novel What We Did on Our Holiday with the exclamation ‘Toilet!’ That was a bold move, and it worked beautifully.”


Crime fiction novelist and mentor

Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin, aka Sam Blake

The bestselling writer and author of novels such as Little Bones and The Dark Room (under the pseudonym Sam Blake), Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin is also the creator and curator of, an up-to-the second online toolkit for all aspiring and seasoned Irish writers.

When it comes to perfecting the written word, Fox O’Loughlin says, “the best advice I was ever given was by Sarah Webb: ‘Just keep writing – you improve with every word you write, so keep at it.’ ”

Once that is sorted, the next stage is to be prepared for the publishing world. “Agents request submissions that suit them, and they are all different, so follow their guidelines. Put as much work into your submission as you did into your novel.”

When …….


RSS Feeds

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts