Below are my personal top 5 tips for writing your first novel.
1. Read, read, read...You cannot write a novel if you have not studied the craft. You have to read to understand what constitutes good writing form, rhythm, style, unacceptable and acceptable types of written expression. This also helps you to develop your own style and 'voice'.
2. Make sure you truly love your story concept, or your project will go the way of so many that end in abandonment.
3. Don't listen to DOUBT! Make sure you finish it or you'll never finish any of them. YOU CAN DO IT!!!
4. After you finish your manuscript let it rest for about a month, dust it off and have a read. It's at this point you'll think WTF! Did I write that!! It's okay change it, make improvements and move on. You will learn to forgive yourself. Once past that stage let others (Beta readers) read it and get back to you with feed back that you'll hopefully take on board. Even if you are adamant cats come in pink, if your Betas disagree, you should at least review it. Try not to be too defensive. Make sure you get your book copy-edited (Jane Hammett). There is no way around this if you want to avoid a (sometimes angry) backlash!
5. Book cover...Man-O-Man... I tried to fight this one and had convinced my self that my sub-novice Photoshop skills would suffice. After two revisions, I realised I was only prolonging the inevitable. You're a writer not an illustrator. The book cover is the first thing people see and if it looks amateur-ish they won't even bother to read the synopsis. Yeah I know its expensive blah, blah, blah just get it made it'll be worth it, especially if you know the story inside is worth reading. I used a website called 99designs.com check it out.