Sara Larson on Best Writing Advice

I'm thrilled to introduce you to my new agency sister, Sara Larson. 

A few weeks ago I was with our agent Josh Adams, who was raving about a new client. I learned that it was Sara and heard a little bit about her manuscript, and made a mental note to reach out and say hello. Only a day later, I saw a message pop up from Sara, introducing herself, and I thought: Okay, Fate. I hear you loud and clear. Sara and I are going to be friends.

I hope you'll all make her feel welcome!

Here is Sara's Most Important Writing Advice. I love this post because it comes at a perfect time for me. I'm finishing up the UNDER THE NEVER SKY trilogy and wondering... where do I go from here? Here's what Sara has to say about the importance of what's next.

I was so excited when Veronica asked me to be a guest blogger this week on YA Muses. She asked me to share the most important piece of writing advice I’ve ever received.

I’ve heard and been told some really, really great words of wisdom over the years in regards to writing. But I kept coming back to the same piece of advice—because it’s the advice that made everything possible that’s happening for me right now. Without this piece of advice, who knows where I’d be… But I definitely wouldn’t be have just accepted an offer of representation by the amazing Josh Adams for a new book that I’m so very excited to (hopefully) share with the world sooner than later.

That advice? Write another book. Not a sequel, not a revision. As soon as you’re done with your current WIP, have it polished, and are out querying (or on sub, or whatever the case may be): WRITE ANOTHER BOOK. Because you just never know what’s going to happen.

I made the mistake of NOT following this advice for the first two years I was querying. I had written a book (it was totally going to be the next Harry Potter/Twilight, because it had magic and a hot boy who wasn’t a vampire but was still all mysterious and stuff), and since I was so sure it was only a matter of time before that book got discovered and became a best-seller, I worked on the sequel while I waited. And then I started writing the third book. Oh, how naïve I was. I finally realized about a hundred pages in to that third book, that although I loved this series intensely, and I was getting lots of interest, ultimately, it wasn’t getting me an agent. I wanted an agent. So I needed to write another book. A new book.

That next book is what landed me my first agent. But she didn’t request it until four months after I quit querying it and had moved on to the next book. (Funny how things work out sometimes.)

Ever since then, I’ve always followed this advice. I always start on the next book. When I left my first agent last spring, I was sure the book I began querying would get me an agent. But I still followed that advice: I wrote another book. Actually, I wrote two other books. And it was that second book that actually did land me my new, amazing agent just last month. If I hadn’t followed that advice, and worked on something new, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

One agent almost offered on the book I queried in late spring/summer, but eventually decided to pass. When I queried her with the new book last month, she immediately requested it, read it, and loved it. It was interesting because she told me how happily surprised she was to hear from me again, she said, “I’m always telling authors to write another book, to not just wait and see what happens, but I never expect them to actually do it.”

So my best advice to you? WRITE ANOTHER BOOK. And then another. And then another, if you have to. Once you get an agent and a book deal—then you can work on that sequel. And the best part is that you’ll get lots of practice on how to make each book better than the last in the meantime, right? Right.

Happy writing!


Amen, Sara. This is advice that I give to unpublished writers who come to me asking for help - advice that took me years to figure out on my own (before the blogging world began). It would have saved me YEARS of rejections. And the advice applies even if you're not writing a trilogy or a series. I tell unpublished writers not to spend more than a year or two on their first book. Do your best work, then start a new book. Then another one. And another one. With every new project we naturally get better and better as we apply craft that has been practiced and honed.

Welcome to Adams Lit again and to the YA Muses today. It was fun to read your piece. Looking forward to hearing about a big book deal for you! :-)

Not only did writing another book get me out of that purgatory of first-book expectations, it allowed me to see the solutions for the first book so much more clearly. Surprise, surprise--the agents were pointing out the same issues to me, I just couldn't see how to fix them.

Great advice! I'm working on my next project for Nanowrimo and I'm having so much fun with it. It's invigorating to explore new characters and put to use everything I learned from my last novel.

I am working on my next book even though I never submitted my first book. I never bothered to edit it. But I have several under my belt and keep starting a new one every time I finish the old one. I just have to get over the fear of sharing my work with someone else.

Congrats on you're deal and can't wait to read your book!

I totally agree! However, I wish I'd had a little more of an idea where the series was going because when I received an offer of representation, she asked about the next books, but I had no idea. Luckily she was willing to work with me on it!

Really, though, it was the unrelated projects that saved me while querying.

That's exactly what I'm doing right now. :) Great post, Sara. Congratulations again!

I love this advice! And I'm taking it to heart. Sara has the BEST advice everyone. You should check out her blog. I have a lot of the posts bookmarked because she's a wealth of information! Congrats on the new agent - can't wait to see that book on the shelf!

Fantastic advice! This is what I'm doing right now and it's the only thing keeping me sane! It's hard to let go of your book while it's on query or sub and focus on another story. But that's the only way to move forward with the only thing that a writer is truly in control of. All we can do is write. We can't make anyone choose or publish our book, though we hope they will! :-)

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