Stephen Jones | Great Advice to New Writers

Stephen Jones is an editor of anthologies, mostly horror. You’ve probably read at least one of his books.


What I really want to show you, however, is the following; his reply to the question “What overall advice can you give to new writers?”

“Just keep plugging away. For most people there is no easy road to success. Writers need to learn their craft—and the way they do that is writing, writing and writing some more. Some stories will of course get rejected along the way, and that’s another learning experience. But if you’re any good at all, then with a little luck and a lot of perseverance you’ll gradually start selling more and more, and all the time you’ll be refining your craft. Turning yourself into a better writer.

And can I just add that you don’t get that by self-publishing. You will never learn anything or grow as a writer if you are editing and publishing yourself. You need those other voices, those other opinions—whether you always agree with them or not—to teach you how to be better at your chosen profession. Which means you also need to be able to handle criticism and rejection from time to time!

Belief in yourself is not enough. You actually have to have something interesting to say and the skills to convey it if you want to be a successful writer. Regrettably, far too many people in the horror genre don’t have either.”

Good advice, right?

2 thoughts on “Stephen Jones | Great Advice to New Writers”

  1. It is indeed thought provoking and interesting advice. But why is dealing with rejection and criticism automatically linked to sending your work to official publishing houses? Doesn’t one meet a critical eye and challenging opinions when self-publishing?


    1. When you send your work, short stories in particular, to magazines you will get a lot of critical eyes looking at your work. It forces you to improve.

      On the other hand, self publishing has no rejection method apart from poor sales, and no one is saying “No, it’s not working. Fix this and this.”


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