Keep Reading

Yes, that was me, heavily pregnant and still with book in hand. Now it should go without saying that if you want to be a writer, you should also be a reader. But you shouldn't 'just' be a reader. You should be an avid reader.

Books

Obvious eh? To know your genre, what's current, what's successful, you must read books in your chosen genre. A visit to the library will tell you what is popular and what the library service deem to be a book in your genre that has 'arrived'. A look around the larger bookshops such as Waterstones and Borders will let you see what is new and in the charts, who the most popular authors are and how prolific they are.

Newspapers

Both paper and online news will reveal current affairs, what issues are 'hot' and if you delve into the arts sections, you can keep track of the book charts. I find the Times book chart to be especially useful.

Magazines

What magazines do you read each month? If you're anything like me, you have your favourites that you regularly buy. Magazines can provide inspiration and inform on current trends and hot topics.

Publisher Websites

This is a wonderful way to keep up with what's happening in the publishing world. I tend to keep my eye on Orbit Books, Transworld and MacMillan.

Sources of Learning

Brushing up on your writing skills should be a regular part of your writing routine. You don't have to go the whole hog and enrol on a course (although there are some excellent ones out there and not all of them costly). There are plenty of books on writing. I particularly like the books by Christina Katz. Writing Magazine is a regular monthly purchase of mine and each issue has an immense amount of valuable learning material.

So even if you can only fit in twenty minutes before you go to sleep, do keep reading. It enables, inspires and informs your own writing, keeping it accessible and appealing to your audience.

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