Once you’re in the flow of writing, enjoy it. Don’t let anything distract you. Concentrate your literary firepower on the most important person in your audience – you. Always put your own writing pleasure before profit. If you can sit back after finishing a piece and say “I really enjoyed doing that!” then you’ll never need to sell a word (unless the bailiffs are hammering at your door. That–or death–is the only excuse for abandoning a writing session).
Let your key skill of imagination run riot. Draw up detailed biographies for your characters. Create Pinterest boards using pictures that suggest the people and places involved in your work in progress. Interview your hero and/or heroine in your head. Live with your characters until you’re as close to them as you are to your own family.
If you’re hoping to get your work published, find out exactly what your potential readers want, and give it to them. Nothing less (or more) will do. Writing for profit doesn’t work in the same way as producing meals for children. You can’t give them what you want to create and say; ‘you’ll have this, and like it.’ or, ‘how can you say you don’t like it, if you’ve never tried?’
Your reader has the ultimate right of veto. If you want to sell your writing, fit your work to your audience. The beauty of fiction is that once you know what your audience wants, you can tailor your writing around them. Your characters can be as outspoken as they like, within your readers’ boundaries. Mice or men, political affiliations or none, the only two unbreakable rules about the people in your books is that they have to be interesting, and they must always act in character.
Always work toward giving your readers the perfect read. Make them care about your characters, and what happens to them. Grab them with the first sentence on Page One, and don’t let go. Your audience is hungry for action, whether it’s romance or drama. They want to escape from their everyday lives into a different reality. Create heroes and heroines for them, with whom they can relate. Give those characters aspirations, a job to do and a journey to complete during the course of your book, whether it’s a physical one or an emotional transformation. Let your characters grow and change through the course of your book. Above all, make them complex and multi-dimensional.