Max Brooks has had a pretty amazing career, including the acclaimed novel World War Z. But he has one regret — that he didn't start publishing way, way earlier. In a new interview, he advises writers not to let fear of judgment hold them back.
SFC: Is there anything about your writing career that you would do differently, if you had the chance?
MB: Yes. I would have had the courage to publish earlier. The big problem with writing a novel is there's nobody to blame or hide behind. It's purely you and the audience and I think that's very scary. When I was writing for 'Saturday Night Live', if a sketch didn't work, we writers could blame the cast or the audience. As a novelist, you have none of those defences. I wish I had had the courage earlier in my career, because I've been writing since I was twelve, but I didn't want my stuff to get out. So that's a regret.
SFC: What advice would you give to unpublished, aspiring genre writers?
MB: I would say that the advantage of the age we're living in now is there's no more shame in self-publishing. Everybody does it. 'Fifty Shades' started as self-published fan fiction, then the publishers picked it up. So there's no excuse not to do it. But now there's also the big fear. Los Angeles is rife with writers who complain about how the industry doesn't understand their genius but, on one level, they're thinking 'Thank God, because nobody's going to be judging me.' So be brave. Put your stuff out there, and just prepare for the judgement.
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