Tobias S. Buckell is a New York Times Bestselling author and World Fantasy Award winner born in the Caribbean. He grew up in Grenada and spent time in the British and US Virgin Islands, which influence much of his work. His novels and almost one hundred stories have been translated into twenty different languages.

He currently lives in Bluffton, Ohio with his wife and two daughters, where he teaches Creative Writing at Bluffton University. He's online at and is also an instructor at the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing program.

It's Just a Draft by Tobias S. Buckell

New York Times Bestselling author and World Fantasy Award winner Tobias Buckell started blogging about his path to becoming a writer in 1998. His website and frequent talks to writing workshops and universities contained snippets about his daily life, thoughts, and lots of tips about writing as he learned them. He set out to collect all these articles, posts, and speeches into a bundle he could give to people writing to him for advice. When he mentioned he was doing that, people suggested he turn it into a book, and here it is.

Inside you'll find out the average advance a science fiction author gets, how many books it takes to break in based on survey of 150 other writers, and find out how Tobias broke into a career in writing. He talks about career, burnout, short stories, novels, craft tricks, and more.


It's All Just a Draft is a guide to the business of writing with a unique focus–helping authors decide what works best for you. Buckell is an NYT Bestselling Author and World Fantasy Award-winner who is both traditionally and independently published. Buckell is a successful blogger and frequent speaker at writing workshops and universities. This book is a collection of Buckell's essays and speeches, including snippets and insights from his personal life, and plenty of writing tips. – Melissa Snark



  • "Over the years I've reviewed dozens of books about writing on my blog, and I'd put this in the top 5 for beginners and experienced writers alike."

    – John Rogers (Director/Screenwriter/Producer)
  • "I simply loved this book. It was so friendly, so motivating. It was just what I needed."

    – Eric Christensen (Amazon review)
  • "A very good how to on writing that approaches not just the craft but the life of the writer as well, the ups and downs, and with focus on specific techniques to level up. This is not a "philosophy of writing" book, this gives examples on what worked for the author over his career, and that they might work for you too."

    – Todd Pollman




It's easy to feel like an imposter so many times as an artist. Putting together a book about how to create art is one of those times. Who am I to tell you how to write a story or book of your own?

Well, I have published over twelve novels, four novellas, and over eighty short stories, and I edited two anthologies. During that process, I've picked up a few ideas about writing. I often share these when I am asked to come teach a class or workshop about writing. Hopefully that's enough experience to pique your interest.

But are they the right ideas for you?

When I think about the tips, tricks, and hints that I used to receive, I know that passing on rote knowledge to someone who may be in a different situation (or who's a different kind of writer) without a full explanation of why I've adopted this tool, may well be damaging. Some of my favorite books about writing blend the story of the writer's developing career with how they came to figure out how to be a writer. It helps you frame the advice to see if it works for you… or not. So, a lot of this book is also a heaping of writerly autobiography.

I myself love reading about other writers' experiences and process. I approach it like visiting someone else's toolshed. Some tools I am familiar with, some I might use differently, some tools might be new to me, and some might be tools I choose not to use. I encourage anyone reading this to take the same attitude.

This book is not a list of things you have to do.

Rather, it's a set of things I did as I broke in to becoming a writer, and practices that might help someone else. If the advice doesn't work for you, that isn't your fault! And if it does, then it's a tool to add to your own toolbox.

I'll tell you a little secret: I have come to believe over the last two decades of creating stuff that writing tips and how-tos are all hacks we use just to get ourselves to the end of the project somehow. It is daunting to write a story, or an entire novel. We create something from a blank page! It helps to have tools.

It's once we have a whole project that the real fun begins.

So, hunt through these pages for tools. Take what is useful, discard what is not, and always remember: it's all just a draft!