52 books in 52 weeks: Writing & Selling your Mystery Novel

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 41.

I bought the paperback of Writing & Selling your Mystery Novel by Hallie Ephron very soon after it came out. I loved it so much that, when I saw an electronic version was now available, I bought that one too.

The electronic version has been updated and now includes more recent working examples as well as tips and advice on self publishing.

It’s a planner’s book, packed full of worksheets you can either photocopy or, in the electronic version, download by following the links. Saying that, pansters and plantsters/tweenies will also find it very useful reading with exercises to cherry-pick.

The book is set out into four parts: Planning; Writing; Revising; and Publishing.  Plus there’s an appendix section with resources.

It starts with the usual definitions of genre and looks at the differences between series novels and standalones. There is also a suggested reading list, with newer titles added to the updated electronic version.

And that’s all of the leisurely stuff. From the moment Part I starts, you’re reading the guidance and then working flat-out on your own idea, filling in worksheets all over the place, building on your own novel, and putting it all together at the end.

The revision section includes fixing things that aren’t working, polishing the story until it shines, how to take criticism, and knowing it’s perfectly fine to ignore something someone says if it doesn’t work for you or the story.

As a planner, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this book. I really do love it. The paperback will remain forever on my bookshelf, and the ebook will remain on my Kindle.

Writing & Selling your Mystery Novel by Hallie Ephron is available on Kindle for £7.59 (from $9.69) and in paperback for £11.78 ($12.86).