The Vitruvian Novelist – there’s hope yet!

I’ve come across an interesting article online which I want to highlight especially for those writers out there who, like me, are striving to get published. It offers insight and, if you fit the bill, maybe a little bit of comfort too!

The item in question, Data and dimensions: the anatomy of a novelist, was posted on the Curtis Brown Creative website last month. Curtis Brown is an esteemed literary agency in London and Curtis Brown Creative is the part of the agency that provides writing courses and advice for upcoming writers. Eli Keren, the writer of the article, composed it based upon a survey carried out by author Jim C. Hines. The survey interviewed a group of 246 professional authors and from its findings Keren found it possible to deduce certain probabilities about what a debut novelist might look like.

I encourage you to follow the link and read the post because it’s quite fascinating. Its limitations are acknowledged – the sample is somewhat skewed towards fantasy/science-fiction authors and some of the answers given appear to be vague or contradicting – but it is still a worthwhile study.

I’m sure any unpublished writer couldn’t help but refer to themselves when reading it and of course I did the same. And things look somewhat positive!

  • I’m still younger than the average age at first publication (calculated to be 36 years).
  • I have the requisite years of writing under my belt (the average is 10, I have that and more).
  • I don’t have a university qualification in writing (and this seems to be the norm).
  • I’ve attended publishing workshops (check) but haven’t become involved in a writing group yet (this is where I veer away from the typical).
  • I’m attempting to follow the path that most do in the quest for publication in that I don’t have connections in the industry so any future success will be as a result of a cold query (the survey showed that the most common route was when the author’s manuscript was sold to a publisher by an agent they had no previous contact with).

Sure, how can I fail!

Tongue in cheek aside, I do think this is good reading material for anyone interested in the business of getting published. You should go read the original findings on Hines’s website too. There is no magic concoction that is certain to produce results for every writer but there are definitely trends that make some aspects of the process more likely than others.

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