Although I'm still an infant in this game myself, I'm sometimes asked what advice I would offer aspiring authors.  My shortest answer is this:  Begin.  You can research, outline and workshop your ideas until your keyboard letters have worn away, but you'll need to do the actual trench-wading of getting the story out of you before you're really writing.

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This page is fairly Pacific-centric, since I'm pretty sure most people digging around my site for writing tips are doing so because they hail from the Southern hemisphere.  If you're from elsewhere, I'm sure you'll find even more options available to you!  Search engine it up!  (Beware of vanity publishing outfits.  A legit trade publishing house won't charge you anything to publish your work.)

Writing Tools and Helps

Angela runs weekly classes for aspiring writers in Kaiwaka, Kaipara. 

Hooked on Books is part of Read NZ Te Pou Muramura. Young readers can request books by NZ authors and be sent review copies and have their reviews of those books published.

Not for Robots
A series of essays by author Laini Taylor (written circa 2007) based on lessons she has learned while writing.  I love these, and really connect with Laini's approach to writing.  Her jungle analogy drove me through my first manuscript. 

"How to write a 1-page synopsis," Pub(lishing) Crawl
Almost every place you submit your work, you're going to need a synopsis to go along with it.  I find writing a synopsis is an excellent starting point for scaffolding my story up and away from my initial idea.  If someone says to me, "I have this idea for a story.  This happens, and then this happens, and then I'm stuck" -- I recommend synopsis writing, and this site in particular. 

The New Zealand Association of Manuscript Assessors
The NZAMA is a group of professional editors and writers who offer authors objective advice and guidance on how to bring their work closer to publishable standard.  Rachael Craw found the Else's were incredibly helpful in helping her turn her manuscript into Spark.

New Zealand Society of Authors
If you're not from NZ, I'm sure there's a similar society where you live.  As well as representing established writers, the NZSA  provides opportunities for aspiring writers, along with advice and support on contracts when one becomes the other.

How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, Orson Scott Card
There are loads of books out there dishing advice on writing.  I read one...and it was this one...because I dig Card.  I think reading stacks of these is just eating up time you could be writing, but if you want to get pumped up about things and get your wheels turning, my advice is to find one written by someone you like reading, rather than someone who is successful / acclaimed for writing the best "How to."

Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell
This book is a literary equivalent to Journey's song "Don't Stop Believin,'" for me.

Literary Agents
I secured an agent with an excellent reputation.  After one year, we parted ways.  In that time, from publishers I'd received a lot of bolstering feedback but no bites.  I did better unrepresented, earning the ear of an editor at Walker for around a year before her leaving the house for another. I'm back to representing myself, for now, because I'm hungry, impatient, and still writing!  I cannot afford to wait years for each book to get picked up when would prefer to have a book released every year!   If you take the agent route, be sure to check your agent is a) the real deal and b) a good match for you.  Agents should not charge you anything up front for representing you and your work.

For those interested in becoming script or screenwriters, this article includes a great breakdown on the importance of setting, writing for different kinds of stage productions, and information on how to write in a way that translates to the screen. 

Trade Publishers who take Unsolicited Manuscripts (from authors without agents)
Last updated July 2017; please let me know if you learn someone should drop off this list.

These publishers have open doors or one day a month that you can send in digital manuscripts for consideration.  It was after I used this back door that an editor asked for more of my work.  Always have beta readers crawl over your work before you submit to editors and always read the submission guidelines carefully.  Good luck!

Allen & Unwin Australia

Arthur Levine Publishers NYC

The Cuba Press

Harper Collins NZ

Huia Publishers 



Piccadilly Press

Scholastic South East Asia 


Self- / Indie Publishing Thoughts

"My Advice to Aspiring Authors," Hugh Howey
Hugh Howey's Wool is a sock-knocker-offer, as is what Hugh Howey has achieved through eBook and Kindle-direct publishing.  This route may not be for you, but I think Howey's success (and identification of the untold mid-lister story) demands we at least sit up and pay attention to the avenues on offer.

James Russell has put together a guide to self-publishing in New Zealand which is really helpful.  He's also very approachable in person and online, if you're keen to pick someone's brains. At the least, reach out to him and he'll email you a pdf with some juicy lessons learned.