Writing a Novel is Easy!
Getting It Published is Hard.
I Teach How To Do Both.
I’m Randy Ingermanson, and I’ve written six award-winning novels. A lot of people think writing a novel is easy. Which is true if you don’t care about getting published. Or if you want to pay a vanity publisher somewhere to print some copies to put in your garage. Or even if you work with a legitimate self-publisher who leaves most all of the marketing to you.
But if you want to sell your novel to a royalty-paying publisher who will actually get your books in stores and do a big chunk of the marketing, then it’s not so easy.
I started writing my first novel back in 1988. I figured in a few months, I’d have three great chapters and I could sell them for a nice advance and quit my day job. Honestly, I wasn’t looking for huge bucks. Medium-size bucks would be fine. All I wanted was a nice number of zeroes on the advance check. I had a specific number of dollars in mind that I wanted to see on that check.
Well . . . a funny thing happened when I showed the first chapter of my novel to my wife. She wasn’t nearly as thrilled with the quality of my writing as I was. I thought maybe she just didn’t understand Great Art, so I went for a second opinion. I joined a critique group. Real writers. Sensitive souls. Artistes. Surely, these folks would see my hidden genius.
Oddly enough, they didn’t think my writing was all that wonderful, either.
About then, I realized that writing fiction is a lot harder than it looks. And I decided that I was going to do what it took to learn this craft of fiction. I was going to learn it really well. I was going to get published. I was going to show them all.
It wasn’t about the money. Yeah, sure, money’s nice. But I wanted to see my name in print. Wanted to hold my book in my hands. Wanted that inner sense of achievement that comes from having written something excellent.
I started buying books on writing. Started going to writing conferences. Started carving out more and more time from my personal life to learn how to write.
To tell you the naked truth, I was scared spitless. Scared that I really wasn’t any good. Scared that I was fooling myself. Scared that I was wasting my time and my money trying to do something that I had no talent for.
Years passed, and I got so I hated having to answer my friends’ questions: “When are you going to get published?” “Are you sure you’ve got what it takes?” “Shouldn’t you be spending your time on something more productive?”
9 years blipped by. I must have spent five hundred bucks on how-to-write-fiction books. Thousands more on computers and writing conferences. And I put in hundreds of hours of writing every year. For years and years and years.
In the 10th year, I finally sold a short story for $150. That was my whole writing income for those ten years. I don’t have to tell you how discouraged I felt. But I couldn’t quit. See, when writing is in your blood, it’s in your blood. When writing is in your blood, you’re going to keep writing, no matter what.
Like I said, it’s not about the money, it’s about the inner satisfaction of telling a story the way you want it told. It’s about writing a Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Even if yours is the only heart that ever gets broken. Even if you’re the only one who feels staggered by your genius. You write because you love it. I love writing.
In the 11th year, I sold my first book. Actually, I sold two–a nonfiction book and a novel. The advances for the two books weren’t huge, but together they exceeded 5 digits, and that’s a whale of a lot better than what I was used to earning. That year, I paid taxes on my writing income. I was so excited to be paying taxes instead of taking yet another deduction for expenses.
I’ve now been writing for over twenty years. I’ve written six novels and have won about a dozen awards for my writing — several of them quite prestigious. I have fans. Editors and agents respect me. Writers come to me for advice on writing. Conference directors ask me to teach. More than 30,000 writers subscribe to my Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, the largest of its kind in the world. Google knows who I am.
Somebody asked me recently how much time and money I spent learning how to write before I got published. I ran some numbers and made an estimate. The answer almost knocked me over.
I invested at least $7,000 in learning how to write before I ever earned a dime.
I worked at least 5,000 hours learning the craft of writing fiction before I ever sold a word.
And you know what? It was worth it. I love being a writer. I love walking into a store and seeing my name on the shelves. I love autographing my books. I love hearing from angry fans who are furious at themselves for staying up till 6 AM reading my book because they couldn’t put the darn thing down. I love it all. Being a writer is the only thing I ever want to be.
But there’s something else I love doing. I love teaching.
Maybe it’s my big ego, I don’t know. Maybe I like being the Great Fiction Guru. Maybe I’m terribly insecure and emotionally disturbed. Plenty of writers are. Whatever. I like taking those 5,000 hours I spent learning how to write and distilling them down to the essence of writing fiction. I like teaching it all to new writers.
The sad thing is that I learned most of what I know the long way around. It shouldn’t take 11 years to sell your first novel. It shouldn’t suck $7,000 out of your checkbook. It shouldn’t yank 5,000 hours out of your personal life. It just shouldn’t.
Several years ago, I put together a course called Fiction 101 and taught it at a number of writing conferences across the country. What I’ve found is that I can teach the fundamentals of writing fiction in 6 or 7 hours. That’s all! That won’t turn a beginner into a best-selling novelist. Don’t believe anyone who tells you there’s one magic secret that morphs you into a great writer overnight.
But there ARE magic secrets. Not just one easy secret. Dozens of subtle secrets. Each one of them makes you a slightly better writer. All of them taken together plus a lot of hard work will make you into a great writer. Or if not great, then the best writer your talent will let you be. Talent counts. Hard work counts more. Training counts most of all.
I’ve learned these magic secrets the hard way. Some of them I’ve taught myself. Some I snagged by reading other writers. Some I culled from books on the art of writing fiction.
I wish I’d gotten all my secrets out of books. I’d have learned them a hundred times quicker. I know, because I can teach those magic secrets a thousand times quicker than I learned them. I’ve taught hundreds of students now, and I can’t tell you how exciting it is for me when they get it.
Writing fiction is kind of like those illusions that professional magicians perform. What they do looks like magic. But it’s not. It’s all pretty simple. Once they explain how it’s done, you whack yourself on the head and wonder why you never saw it before.
But if nobody explains how it’s done, you could spend hundreds of hours trying to figure it out. Maybe thousands of hours.
The point is that the magic of fiction can be taught. I do it all the time. I teach at writing conferences several times per year.
I’d love it if you could come hear me teach fiction this year. It might cost you as much as $1,000 to attend a big conference, but you’d hear all the core principles of fiction writing. And it’s not about the money, right? It’s about the joy of writing fiction. It’s about doing what you were made to do.
The bad news is that I only teach at a few conferences per year. So you might have to wait months for the opportune moment. And it costs you time to go to a conference. Time away from your job, your home, your family.
The good news is that you don’t need to travel to hear me speak. You don’t need to wait months for the next conference. You can get me right here, right now — inside your computer. You can ransack my brain at any time of the day or night. You can play me again as many times as you want. You can put me in your iPod and listen to me teach fiction while you exercise at the gym. Here’s what I’ve done . . .
I’ve taken all my notes and put them in a set of computer files you can read in any web browser. I’ve linked them up to audio files. To get technical, they’re MP3 files. You can download the whole package onto your hard drive right now. You can use any web browser to read the notes and listen to me speak, both at the same time. Audio and visual. It’s a double-barreled approach to learning. And as I said, you can load these MP3 files right into your iPod and take me anywhere.
I now have two of these courses available. My Fiction 101 course is for what I call “Freshmen” writers. Fiction 201 is for “Sophomores”. If you’re not sure what you are, click here. Someday, I’ll also produce Fiction 301 and Fiction 401, but those are still on my To Do List.
Here’s what you’ll get in Fiction 101:
- 217 pages of lecture notes in PDF format, readable on ANY computer
- The SAME notes in a format you can read on your web browser — while you’re LISTENING to me give the corresponding lecture
- Six and a half hours of audio, in compressed MP3 format — listenable on ANY computer or on your iPod
Here’s the Table of Contents for Fiction 101:
- Your Roadmap
- Designing Your Novel
- Your Work Habits
- Writing Conferences
All that in one download that you can buy right now and have on your hard drive in a few minutes.
How can I send you hours and hours of audio without you needing to spend forever downloading it? Easy. I’ve compressed the sound files very tightly using MP3 compression. The sound quality is way better than what you’re used to on a telephone. Way better. And the great news is that these MP3 files are all ready to load on your iPod or any other MP3 player. Or you can load them straight into your iTunes program or any other MP3 program on your computer. (If you don’t have MP3 software, you can get it FREE at this site.)
Fiction 101 is a software product. It runs in your web browser, which means it runs just fine on Macs, Windows, Linux, or any other computer that runs a web browser. If you can view this web page, then you can run Fiction 101.
A lot of writers have paid hundreds of dollars to come hear me give this exact same presentation at a writing conference. Of course, for that money, they also get to talk to editors and agents, but the truth is that a lot of them aren’t ready for an editor or an agent yet. Often, what they really need is to learn the craft, and that’s what I teach them.
At my consulting rate, it’s pretty pricey to buy hours and hours of my time. And travel expenses can make that a whole lot pricier. That’s why I’ve packaged myself up electronically — to make it cost-effective for writers to buy hours and hours of my time at a fraction of my usual rate. So I’ll make you an offer that’s Xtremely fair. Click on either of the links below to add Fiction 101 to your shopping cart.
Please note: the Fiction 101 Download is about 54 MB. If you have a cable modem or fast DSL, it’ll take only a few minutes to download it. If you have slower DSL, it might take up to 20 minutes. If you have a 56kb modem, it’s going to take more than 2 hours!
To get Fiction 101 for $80, click the “Add To Cart” button:
If you feel queasy about doing an online purchase, that’s OK! Just click on “Add To Cart” button above and work through the shopping cart up to the payment page. Then print the order form and cancel the online order (so you don’t have to enter any credit card info.) You can mail me the order form with your check at this address:
2210 W. Main St., Suite 107
Battle Ground, WA 98604