What are you reading?
The reality is, if you are a writer, you should also be a reader. And this means that you should be reading what is being published now. Today. Or in the last few years.
Its good to read the classics. You’ll learn quite a bit by reading the books that have stood the test of time. How do the very best set up their plots? Introduce us to their characters? Use their settings to greatest advantage?
But you also need to read what’s being published now. The advice that I’ve heard is that you should read at least 50 recent books of the type you want to publish. 50 picture books or, yes, 50 young adult novels. Obviously, 50 novels will take a lot more effort.
If you do this, you will have a much better sense of what is out there and who publishes what kind of book. When you finish your next manuscript, you’ll know where to submit it. Whose books do you consistently love? You’ll also spot trends in what is being published — whether books are getting even shorter or what has already been done. A lot.
Not to mention, you’ll get hours of reading pleasure, diving into another world and story. And you can tell your spouse that you’re busy working.