Entries by KJ Charles

Why Bad Books Get Published (or, Nobody knows anything)

So you decide to buy a book from a major publisher, one you’ve seen everywhere. There’s adverts, 3-for-2 promotions, a publicity blitz, it’s the Next Big Thing everyone’s talking about. And you pick it up. And it’s crap. Badly written, clunky rubbish, for which you just paid the best part of fifteen quid. Why would […]

50 Ways to Leave your Library: Guilt-Free Book Dumping

A staggering number of people say they can’t dump books. ‘Once I’ve started, I have to finish, even if I hate it.’ Whether it’s out of bloody-mindedness, self-doubt (‘everyone else thinks it’s good…), a vague sense of obligation to the writer, or even misplaced politeness of the kind that makes British people say ‘Sorry!’ when […]

Book Shaming: ‘You Don’t Read *That*, Do You?’

A: Hey, what are you reading? B:  It’s called The Screaming Girls and it’s a thriller about a serial killer who horribly tortures pregnant women to death and then nails their uteruses to the wall. He’s called The Virginia Woolf Killer because he’s creating a womb of his own. I’m really enjoying it. What about […]

Writing the Synopsis: giving the editor what she wants

I hate writing synopses. I feel embarrassed looking at my plot and characters reduced to a few paragraphs. The whole thing looks stupid and childish. Why would anyone read this dumb crap anyway? Moreover, I have never met an author who likes writing synopses. Virtually every one I get is prefaced with ‘I’m rubbish at […]

Cruel to be Kind: Don’t let your characters off too easily

‘If there isn’t any fighting, it’s not a proper story.’ – My four-year-old son. During my romance-editing days, I read an MS that’s stuck with me for years, although not in a good way. The conflict-packed synopsis was much as follows. (I have removed/changed all identifying details, obviously, while reproducing the essence of the problem.) […]

Getting to the Editor: follow the guidelines

‘Hi, I have a manuscript I’d like to send you but I see you don’t accept unsolicited submissions. Please call me back to ask me to send it to you.’ – Actual message on my actual voicemail. It is really hard to get your MS read by a publisher. That’s just how it is. Everyone […]