New to writing or publishing?
The honest truth is there’s not much you can do before you’ve written anything. Once you’ve written something, even if it’s just one short story, a couple of poems, or the first chapter of a novel, you then have material you can work with and develop.
There’s lots of information about workshops in our fortnightly newsletter you can sign up to receive by email. You can also enquire in your local area (your local library is a good place to start) about joining a writing group to offer you feedback on your work and support from other writers.
There are two blogs aimed at writers of all levels, but with particular interest for new writers.
One is written by editor and writer Jane Smith, giving her years of experience of publishing and writing. Have a look at her advice at www.howpublishingreallyworks.com.
The other is by children's and young adults' writer Nicola Morgan, who uses her experience to offer guidance to other writers. Her blog is www.helpineedapublisher.blogspot.com.
In particular, these pages should be helpful to new writers:
What literary agents do
Submitting a manuscript
Dealing with writers' block
In August 2010, Jane Smith gave a talk at Edinburgh International Book Festival about the writing business, which is available at http://howpublishingreallyworks.com/?p=3148. It's well worth a read for anyone interested in the industry.