How to Get Your Book Finished: Advice from Bonnier Zaffre Executive Director Kate Parkin

How to Get Your Book Finished: Advice from Bonnier Zaffre Executive Director Kate Parkin

1. Write every day.

It doesn’t really matter how much you write, but many successful writers will tell you this is their golden rule. It keeps you progressing, and you never know when inspiration will strike once you put some words down on paper. The Richard & Judy competition is perfect for helping you to pace yourself like this as we’re asking you to supply only a part of your book – a 10,000 word extract – by the end of May.

2. Have a plan.

Sketch out your plot in advance and map out what is happening to the main characters at each stage of the book. This is your plot synopsis – it will ensure sure your story makes sense and comes to a satisfactory ending. However, some of our entries have been sent in without a synopsis (and/or without an author biography). We’re managing to get in touch with many authors to remind them to send these details in, but the number of entries is building daily and soon we may not have time to contact everybody. We want to make the competition process as open and straightforward as possible, so please do check your entries carefully!

3. Know your likely audience and keep them in mind as you write.

Pick a genre that you know and are familiar with how it works. In the Search for A Bestseller competition we’re open to most types of commercial adult fiction so you can choose to write, for example, crime, romance, thrillers or women’s fiction. However, we’ve excluded science fiction and fantasy. Not that we have anything against these wonderful genres, but this is very much a general novel competition and they are not to everyone’s taste. And we’re also not looking for autobiographies, memoirs or other works of non-fiction. However brilliant they might be, we just can’t accept them, I’m afraid. More information on the submission process can be found in the Terms and Conditions on the competition webpage and reading this will make sending your entries as simple as possible – and save your precious time from being wasted on writing the wrong thing.

4. Most importantly of all, just have a go.

Every author has times when they doubt they can produce a book people will read or that they will ever finish, but the successful ones switch on the computer and push on regardless. So keep believing – being published, finding a readership, introducing your book to the widest audience possible is what every writer dreams of. We’ve all read novels and thought: ‘I could do better than that!’ So if you’ve ever had a story inside that you are burning to share, ever daydreamed about walking into WHSmith and being confronted by a rack of books with your name on the front cover – the Richard & Judy Search for a Bestseller is your chance to make it all come true.


You can find out more about the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller 2016 competition here.