Really? Don't we all have stories to tell? Even if it is only what happened at work today. It wasn't the time or the place to offer advice, nor was I asked for it, but here is some of what I might have said had I got it together.
I must say that unlike other authors I have met over these past several years, I had no thought of becoming an author. Yes I liked the challenge of crafting a clearly argued memo, or creating a well thought out report on some item of business but an author? No. I was an avid reader.
Until one fine day; I wrote a novel. What a surprise.
All right so it was a very bad novel, but I finished it.
Tip # 1
Finish the book.
You will hear authors say that a finished book can always be fixed. I would suggest that while it is likely true for some, not my first one. It was an exercise of undeveloped muscles. A training run. Never to see the light of day. You know all those things they say never to do in a book. I did them all. I had no clue, apart from writing THE END.
And then I took classes
Tip # 2
Learn your craft. Books on the subject. Classes. And above all reading books by authors you admire.
It took five more novels under my belt before I won my first contract. It was like winning the lottery.
Also quite painful. All those: thanks but no thanks. Interestingly enough all but one of those next books are now in print.
Tip # 3
Don't give up. Don't second guess yourself. Or put yourself out of the running. Finish, polish and submit.
We all know the classic examples, Stephen King, J K Rowling etc. etc and Ann Lethbridge. Oh well, I couldn't resist (not that I am putting myself in their category, of course).
And a publisher is not your only option. These days, self-publishing or inde-publishing provides a whole other avenue of getting you're work out there. More on that another time.