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By Annette Kinnear 

Ever since I started publishing in 2009, I have people send me their attempts at writing, asking for my opinion on and tips for their mostly incomplete manuscripts. Over the years I have repeatedly made two observations:

1. Some of the work is so good, it takes my breath away. These writers seem to have one common characteristic: they are riddled with self-doubt and the need to publish something absolutely perfect. Subsequently not one of them has ever published anything for fear of ‘not being good enough’ even though their story is far better than many of the books I have read, including some which ended up on international best seller lists. My tip – publishing takes courage, yes it does make you vulnerable but no, you will not die if people don’t like your book. And what if people love it? Yes, that happens!

If this is you, ask yourself:

• If not now, when? When will it be perfect enough?
• What do I want more? To be safe and continue to be unknown? Or to take a risk and dare go out there?
• Or as R. Schuller once said: What would I do if I knew I could not fail?

2. The opposite also applies. Some people, brimming with confidence, send me manuscripts riddled with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, which could easily be corrected by even the most basic Word function. They usually don’t send their unpublished book to me only but spray and pray it across social networks, hoping, no doubt, to be ‘discovered’ by a publisher who cannot wait to groom their new protégé into a bestselling author. Any well-meant comments (to help avoid being torn apart by anonymous online reviewers) bounce back with agitated explanations or are met by stoic silence. The person moves swiftly on to finding other potential ‘advisors’, but woe to those who give it! Are these people looking for validation and encouragement rather than feedback on content, even though the latter is what they officially request?

If this is you, ask yourself:

• Do I want this reader to give me feedback on how to make my work better?
• Do I want him or her to tell me if my narrative is good in principle?
• Do I want him or her to give me some pointers on how to get it into a publishable state?
• Have I made it clear to this reviewer what I expect from him or her?

Often they move on to the next project, and the next. Their sense of urgency is remarkable. However, a manuscript – no matter to how many people it’s been sent – is not a book. In my experience a manuscript is about one third of the effort it takes to bring a book to market, and it’s the fun part.
Perhaps you belong to neither category, but know there’s a book in you somewhere, and it’s dying to get out. Here are a few suggestions on how you can turn your dream into reality:

• Read a book on writing or do a creative writing course in your area or online.
• Work with a writing coach who will guide you through the process emotionally and practically.
• Find a formula for your genre (Aristotle’s Hero Journey is a trusted model for writing narratives).
• Some people find it helpful to create an outline, a structure, for their story and fill in the content later.
• Others just write, starting on page 1. That’s also okay.
• Some of us write down dialogues, beats and scenes as they come to us. Later we paste them into the relevant chapters.
• If you don’t know your whole plot yet or the end to your story, write anyway. The end will find you, it always does. Plots, dialogues and endings have a way of taking on a life of their own as you progress further into your novel. Try to make it a happy one though. Tragic endings come easily to novice writers but it takes an accomplished author to pull off a sad ending without leaving the reader deflated and disappointed. In contemporary fiction for a big target group, happy endings are almost mandatory.

This leads me to wishing you a happy beginning to a happy end for your career as a writer! Lots of success! If you would like one-on-one attention to get your project off the ground and over the finish line, feel free to contact me for a quote on coaching you. inspiration(at)




  Professional Publications
- Headhunting, Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf, 2013 (best career advisor, July 2013,
- Your Career, Your Life, Penguin Publishing, 2009

Published Fiction
Rappenschwarz, Shanta, Romantic Thriller, 2015 (ongoing bestseller kindle,
On the Bit Catherine, Thriller, 2014 (bestseller Oct/Nov14,
Rappenschwarz 2, Thriller, 2013 (ongoing bestseller, kindle,
Rappenschwarz, Thriller, 2012 (ongoing bestseller, kindle, Top100
Thrillers overall,, Jan 13)
Coaching for fiction and non-fiction writing
One on one support for the heart:
- Self-exploration and awareness of drivers, based on personality profiling
- Regular inspirational motivation based on your personal values & goals
For the hand:
- Sustainable, realistic time & priority management by establishing individual pacing structures to ensure completion of your manuscript to deadline
- Support of personal writing style in line with current best practice
For the head:
- Establishment of genre, theme and premise
- Plot and consistent character development, based on personality profiling
- Target group selection & reader base pre-development via social media
Publication process from start to finish incl proposals, marketing, logistics
Coaching accreditations:
Adfen E-Scale Assessments & Enneagram Coaching Accreditation 2009
Ginger Lapid-Bogda, USA, Advanced Enneagram Coaching 2011
Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town - Centre for Coaching Excellence 2010, 2011, 2012 – ACC Qualification (Associate)

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