The Novel Writer’s Toolkit Review

The Novel Writer’s Toolkit Review

Sub headed as ‘Your ultimate guide to writing and publishing a successful novel, this book does what it says on the tin … err, cover.


Do you have a novel in you? True or not, this book is worth picking up if you believe you could have a novel inside you bursting to break out. The book is divided into three parts.

One concentrates on the practicalities of being a writer, suggestions for plotting, characterisation and dialogue and editing to make your novel as good as it can be.

When writing your rough draft you need a beginning, a middle and an end with chapter breakdowns, sentence structure and dialogue formats – you get all of this in short, snappy sound bites to make every word count.

If you want a more comprehensive view of how to set up your ‘First 50 Pages’ to engage agents, editors and readers, check my next review on Jeff Gerke’s outstanding book. Editing and keeping track of inconsistencies, spell checks, styles and ‘murdering’ your babies … err, words or chapters finishes round one.

Two dives into advice about how to prepare an outline and compose a covering letter that jumps out and grabs a busy agent, as well as what an editor is looking for when they get to your submission in the ‘slush’ pile.

Check out ‘The Agent’s View’ if you really, really want to work with an agent. It covers how to find and approach an agent (only after you finish three) with a ten-stage guide to an agent’s role.

If you don’t know the difference between fiction and non-fiction the ‘Acquiring Fiction’ fires bullets at you to summarise exactly what an editor is looking for in your work and three important reasons why your novel could be rejected. The moral here is to study the reasons and then be sure your precious story doesn’t hit the road, Jack.

Three is an in-depth directory detailing agents and publishers who could potentially be interested in hearing about your book. Each entry will help you decide who is right for your story and found this toolkit extremely comprehensive and one I now keep dipping into ...

My review book quickly filled up with bright orange sticky post-it notes of all the agents I want to hunt down. I took the book along to the London Book Fair and sat having coffee comparing notes to their guide.

Even if you didn’t have an appointment with an agent at the LBF this guide will be enough to send you into a query letter fest with insider info, angles on what each contact publishes, recent titles (in case you’re hooked by big book titles), tips and the all-important submission guidelines.

Before you finish you get a few pages of literary consultants and editorial services in case you need a ghost writer, editor, manuscript assessment, constructive criticism or just plain ol’ creative advice.

Moving a few pages on and you come across a bunch of useful organisations such as society’s that may focus on your genre and then you’ll stumble upon a hoard of online resources with web links and details. The Bursaries, Fellowships and Grants may be useful to you if you’re in need of some funding to keep your writing going and the Writing and Publishing Courses guide has pages of full and part time writing courses.

Competitions and prizes … as every writer knows competitions could be the make or break of you. Some prestigious competitions have catapulted anonymous writers into the global spotlight when they have won a competition, got published and with all the hoo-ha surrounding the competition they’ve become an ‘overnight’ writing sensation. So certainly a section worth bookmarking.

The book ends with Festivals and Conferences to celebrate writing and literary events encompassing writing in all forms.

As an inspiring writer you know – and hold onto the image - that there is nothing more exciting than having a published book with your name on the cover sticking to your paws. All you have to do now is finish it with this comprehensive toolkit!

iHubbub Quote

“Any serious writer’s completely crucial guide to agents and publishers.”



Price: 7
Value: 8
User Friendly: 7