Anna Staniszewski gives advice to aspiring authors Guest Post and Giveaway

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

I get this question a lot, and while I’d like to say I have a one-sentence answer that would sum it all up, the truth is that becoming an author takes a lot of steps. Here are the five main things that I believe writers need to do if they’d like to be published one day.

1. Read.
Imagine if you wanted to play for the NFL but you’d never seen a football game, or you wanted to be a movie star but you’d never watched a movie. It wouldn’t work very well, would it? The same is true for books. In order to know the field you’re getting into, you have to read widely and often.

2. Keep asking “What if?”
You never know where inspiration will come from. With my Dirt Diary series, for example, the idea for the first book came from a story I heard on the radio about a girl who had to clean houses with her mom. I wondered: “What if you had to scrub the toilets of the most popular kids in school?”  That single “what if?” inspired a whole trilogy.

3. Make writing a habit.
Just like school, work, and brushing your teeth are your responsibilities, writing should also be something you think of as a part of your day. If authors only wrote when they felt like it, chances are, they’d never actually finish anything. That’s why you have to set writing goals and be tough with yourself about achieving them.

4. Revise, revise, revise!
I used to think that once I’d written something, it was good enough. Why did I have to keep working on it? But eventually I realized that if you’re serious about being a writer, your work can’t be “good enough.” It has to be as close to perfect as you can make it. That’s because editors are looking for stories to fall in love with; you don’t want to give them any reason to say no.

5. Never give up.
Here’s a secret: The first book I wrote was never published. Neither was the second or third. It wasn’t until my fourth book that I got a publishing contract. That’s not to say that my unpublished books were terrible, but I was still learning how to be the best writer I could be, and I was still learning to revise and make writing a habit. Only when I started to really take writing seriously and make sure I was making my work as strong as possible, did I finally have the chance to see my work in print. I can’t tell you how glad I am that I didn’t give up!

Born in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Staniszewski grew up loving stories in both Polish and English. When she’s not writing, Anna spends her time teaching, reading, and eating far too much chocolate. She is the author of the My Very UnFairy Tale Life series, the Dirt Diary series, and the forthcoming Switched at First Kiss series, all published by Sourcebooks. Visit her at

The Gossip File by Anna Staniszewski
January 6th, 2015; ISBN: 9781492607854; $6.99; Trade Paper
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky– Juvenile Fiction, Social Issues
Ages 10-14, Grades 4-8

The Gossip File:
•Chandra lets little kids pee in the pool.
•Melody stole $ from the café register.
•Ava isn’t who she says she is…

Ava is cool. Ava is confident. Ava is really Rachel Lee who is lying her butt off.
Rachel is visiting her dad at a resort in sunny Florida and is ready for two weeks of relaxing poolside, trips to Disney World – and NOT scrubbing toilets. Until her dad’s new girlfriend, Ellie, begs Rachel to help out at her short-staffed café. That’s when Rachel kinda sorta adopts a new identity to impress the cool, older girls who work there. Ava is everything Rachel wishes she could be. But when the girls ask “Ava” to help add juicy resort gossip to their file, Rachel’s not sure what to do...especially when one of the entries is a secret about Ellie.

Anna Staniszewski lives outside of Boston with her husband and an adorably crazy dog. She was named the Boston Public Library's 2006-2007 Writer-in-Residence and a winner of the 2009 PEN New England Discovery Award. When she’s not writing, Anna spends her time teaching, reading, and not cleaning her house. Visit her at

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