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Tips From Bestselling Author Jonas Saul: Part 1

One of my friends and mentors within the writing community is Jonas Saul. I want to share his unique and inspiring story with all writers. His book THE HUNT was just released.

You see, it wasn’t easy for Jonas to break into the literary world. I know many of you can relate to that and that is why his story is so inspiring.

His dream to be traditionally published met with a brick wall at every juncture. He tried for years to get an agent to represent him—he’d sent out countless query letters and attended conferences to pitch to agents, but the elusive contract never materialized. 

He struggled for years as he waded through the constant rejection and finally decided in 2011 to self publish. Once the decision was made, he never looked back. 

Jonas developed a memorable character, built a series around her, and the Sarah Roberts series was born. https://ghliterary.com/clients/jonas-saul/ As the series progressed the readership increased to such a point where he, at times, outranked Stephen King and Dean Koontz on the Amazon charts. The rest is history as they say.

He’s now written over thirty books, countless short stories (many of which won awards), and he’s sold almost three million books. 

In 2016, he got a call from Hollywood…someone had seen his books.

Wow. What can I say? I watched my friend and fellow writer take that monumental step as he flew to Los Angeles, California to embrace his future. He signed on with Gandolfo Helin and Fountain Literary https://ghliterary.com and Dramatic Agency. His newly acquired agent was none other than Italia Gandolfo. The Immortal Gene published with Vesuvian Media Group http://vesuvianbooks.com/jonas-saul/. His books are now being traditionally published and film deals have been discussed. 

I am so proud to call him my friend and colleague. 

This is a picture of the two of us taken in 2019.
He’s now living in retreat in Greece.

I asked Jonas to share his advice to writers who are just starting? Can you provide three tips to keep the writer focused on moving forward and not tumbling down that proverbial rabbit hole of self-doubt?

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was at a writer’s conference. An acquisitions editor, Lisa Mangum told new writers to stop writing. “Don’t write anymore,” she said. “Just don’t. It’s over. Go back to your lives without writing. There’s no need to keep writing. Stop.”Then she waited. The room was silent. Moments later, she said, “For those of you who could never stop, those few who need to write, then continue. Only write if you have to. If it’s in your soul, you feel like a lover, someone visiting a dear friend when at the keyboard, someone who even romanticizes it. Only write if it’s your life blood. Then open a vein and bleed on the page, as Clive Barker once said.”I believe she was right. This business only thrives with the top five percent of all authors. To ever imagine being there, this has to be in your blood, in your bones, in your soul.

Jonas Saul Writing Tips: 

  • Don’t believe in writer’s block. It’s a myth. If you’re ever blocked, it’s not writer’s block, it’s you trying to write something outside your voice. Finding your voice means you’ll never be blocked again. You can’t be blocked when writing in your voice. Do lawyers get lawyer block? Do taxi drivers get drivers block? So, writers shouldn’t get writer’s block. I’ve never had it, nor do I have any idea why I would conjure up a notion that I can’t write something. There’s the keyboard, the screen, and me. Of course I can write. I just do it. “I don’t believe in writer’s block. For me there’s no such thing as writer’s block.” -Judy Blume
  • Best way to promote yourself in this industry is to write another book. That’s it. Write a book, then write another … then another. The most successful authors in the world have written dozens of novels. James Patterson, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, J.K. Rowling and on and on. They’ve all written great books, no question, but most importantly, they’ve all amassed a huge catalogue of titles and continue to do so. And don’t just write a lot of books, write a lot of good books. When you look at mega-authors, one thing they all have in common is they are ridiculously prolific. They didn’t write one book and pray it would be legendary. In order to produce 2-3 books per year or more, you have to read a lot, write a lot, and learn the craft. No half-finished idea ever became a runaway bestseller. Finish the damn novel and write another. One of John Steinbeck’s rules is, “Write freely and as rapidly as possible—throw the whole thing on paper.” Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewriting while in the process of writing the first draft is usually found to be an excuse for not moving forward. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.”The single best way to be successful is to be prolific.” -Kristen Lamb.
  • Passion and emotion. Many say you need to have tension on every page. Conflict is the source of reader interest. Well, this is true. But let’s go deeper. Much deeper. What causes that tension? Emotional stakes does. This means the author is raising the stakes and the characters are emotionally attached to what they might lose. Write with passion. Make sure emotion is on every page. Have passion, have emotion, genuinely care about the craft and you’ll go far. Add emotion to every character. What are they feeling? Why? Why are the stakes important to each character? Make them experience emotion, make them angry, make them fight, make them love. Overall, make them relatable and your readers will love them. Readers HAVE to relate to your characters, or they won’t care about them. Readers might not always remember a book’s scene or a specific character, but they will always remember how they felt about a particular book. Look at the Facebook posts with the most amount of comments: they’re death notices. Someone announcing they’ve lost their mother has hundreds of comments from well wishers. Scan the rest of their profile and they may average ten to twenty comments. All this is due to the extreme emotional factor. 
  • “The truth is that airports have seen more sincere kisses than wedding halls, and the walls of hospitals have heard more prayers than the walls of a church.” -Anonymous. All due to emotion.
  • As an author, you have to know that emotion makes the world go around, and emotion moves readers and moves books.

Thank You Jonas. Make sure you subscribe and don’t miss PART two of Introducing Bestselling Author Jonas Saul.

11 thoughts on “Tips From Bestselling Author Jonas Saul: Part 1”

  1. Wow. Thanks for sharing your friend, Jonas, with us. I’m going to be chewing on his advice for some time. Imagine what his books must be like if his writing tips inspire.
    Love you,

  2. I’ve been lucky enough to hear Jonas talk about writing several times. Gems of advice! Right now, I’m editing “Strange Beginning for Love”, a romantic comedy – and Jonas’s voice is in my head all the time. He’s saying, “Cut ruthlessly. Get rid of that. Tell a spell-binding story.” Thank you, Jonas. You’re a bigger help to writers than you realize.

  3. How strange. I’ve been experiencing writer’s block since about mid-March when the pandemic first became real to me. But after reading this, I went back and took a look. It turns out I have written at least 10 new pieces during that time, from nursery rhyme to memoir. Sure, some of it is crap, but not all of it. The whole time thinking I was blocked and beating myself up for being unproductive.
    All a matter of perspective, I guess.

    1. So glad that Jonas’ article was able to help. That darn block is sometimes more within ourselves and we don’t even realize it.Keep going. You never know what will come out.

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