How to Write a Successful Novel: The Craft, Techniques, and Strategies You Need to Know

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  • You are curious about what it takes to break in to publishing
  • You are an aspiring author,hoping to write for the commercial fiction market (teen or adult)
  • You have a finished manuscript and want to know what the submission process looks like


If you're stuck, we're here to help! Let this presentation be your basic training for writing a novel, or the kick in the pants you need to break through your blocks and overcome your fears. We share the secrets to coming up with marketable ideas, and ways to keep your creative engine running. The skills and techniques we discuss are the same ones we recommend to our own clients when they're developing new ideas. This session will give you the tools to create at your highest level, and the vocabulary to talk about your creations in ways that will make industry professionals take notice.


  • How to craft a first chapter that will keep readers turning pages
  • What you can do today to create your strongest story ideas yet
  • How to use writing exercises to break through creative stalls
  • How to know when to walk away from a project that isn't working
  • Effective ways to improve your writing
  • The one thing you can do to improve your marketing sense today
  • What makes a query stand out from the submissions pile
  • The importance of and uses for your log line and elevator pitch
  • Why the lonely endeavor of writing a novel should NOT be done alone
  • The do's and don'ts of using social media


Holly Root is a literary agent at Waxman Literary Agency who represents adult fiction and nonfiction and novels for children and teens; she is not seeking picture book clients or screenwriting clients. She recently opened a West Coast office in Los Angeles for the New York City-based Waxman Agency. Prior to joining the Waxman Literary Agency in 2007, Holly worked at the William Morris Agency and Trident Media Group. Visit her online at and

Barbara Poelle is an agent at Irene Goodman representing fiction for teens and adults. Her roster trends toward thriller and suspenseful women's fiction as well as mystery, young adult and horror. Barbara also writes a monthly Q&A column for Writer's Digest magazine and has previously signed two clients from attendees of her Writer's Digest webinars. Visit to learn more.

NOTE: Writer's Digest does not offer refunds for OnDemand Webinars. All sales are final. OnDemand Webinars do NOT include a critique.

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