FLM BLOG Monday 21 September

With my publisher's hat on, I entered a writers' group discussion today on the (very) small matter of using nine-point type in a print-on-demand novel. My advice: be professional, do your book and readers a favour, and never go below ten-point type, whatever the font. Don't try to save on costs when it will hurt your sales! Put readability and your readers first. Join me at fb Cheryl Hingley for FLM advice.

Welcome to Free Literary Mentor
In a fresh phase of my long career as both publisher and published novelist, I turned to writing full-time. And I found that I missed assessing brand-new fiction. So I’ve set up Free Literary Mentor as a completely free manuscript appraisal service to début novelists and their readers. During my professional life in books I’ve assessed, edited, published and reviewed prize-winning fiction and non-fiction, I’ve tutored in literature and novel writing, and was fiction publisher for an international company for twelve years—yet I’ve never lost the excitement of seeing new work. If you’re a novelist seeking constructive critiques, look below and see how Free Literary Mentor might work for you. Readers, check out the latest extract from a new novel—you may be peeking at a forthcoming bestseller. To share an opinion, click on the extract below, or go to the Free Literary Mentor archive, select another and add your comment. 

Latest Extract
Quantum Cannibals ~ Nathan Elberg ~ Canada

Modern Day 1
Saima had to run. As the wind drove each frozen drop into his skin, the sting reminded him that his feet were hurting less than before. This was bad. Frozen flesh, dead flesh, brings no pain. Earlier, when his hands and feet were throbbing, he could barely focus enough to look ahead through the darkness to know where he was running. With the pain easing, he could now concentrate on the way towards shelter. He tried not to think about his fingertips turning white with frost, eventually black with rot. He ran on, jumping over the deeper puddles, trying not to lose his footing on the ice that met his soles.

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The Mentor’s Critique
Quantum Cannibals ~ Nathan Elberg

Nathan, I chose to display the very first pages of Quantum Cannibals here because I think readers will agree that you really know how to start an action-packed yarn! To begin at the beginning myself, I must commend your choice of title –the most apposite that's come to FLM so far. 'Quantum' hints at the structure of your book (the narrative switches about in time and place) and 'Cannibals' introduces a guaranteed terror factor. It's very appropriate to your purpose that your first character is full of fear—and this opening passage is even more effective because we don't know what Saima is running from.

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Submit your work to the Mentor

To take up my Free Literary Mentor offer:
Check out the submission guidelines
Send me the first 30 pages of your unpublished, completed novel
Include the title, your author name and a brief synopsis
Accept the terms and conditions

To leave a comment:
Click on the extract above or
Go to the Free Literary Mentor archive &
select another extract that interests you
Then add your message below it

This week's tip:
If your work's rejected by an agent or
publisher and you can't think why, don't 
despair—seek a professional critique.