Outlander author Diana Gabaldon's nine-book series has sold more than 50 million copies world-wide.

As a major conference celebrating her best-selling books gets underway at the University of Glasgow, she shares her top three tips for writing a first novel.

1. "Read everything you can get your hands on. Read good stuff and read bad stuff because this is how you are going to learn to tell the difference.

"Why do you like one book over another? Is it because you like the characters more? Well, why do you like the characters more, is it because of the way they talk? .

"Good dialogue has short sentences, it should sound like people sound.

The Herald:

"Read what you are interested in and don't try to write about something because you think it will sell. That's the absolute kiss of death and things like that won't sell because they aren't authentic.

"You don't need to write what you know. You can find out pretty much anything.

2. Write

"Putting words down onto paper is the only thing that will teach you how to write. Bear in mind we have computers so it's much easier than it used to be. People thought a lot more about what they were writing when they weren't typing.

"You don't need to feel like you have made an irrevocable choice when you write a sentence. You can take words out and put them back, they can be changed.

The Herald:

"I'm a very slow writer. I sit there and look at it and remove a word and then think that's not right then I remove another word and that's not right either and then take both words out. This is why it takes me a long time to write a book.

3. "The last rule is the most important: don't stop. People stop all the time, they get frustrated, they get upset, they have a bad week and think they aren't getting anywhere but this is not true. Every word you write will make you a better writer.

"Never throw anything away either but that's a footnote rather than a rule.

"I don't delete anything, I go back sometimes to an idea or a turn of phrase that I know I wrote. 

Outlander season 7 is currently streaming on Lionsgate+ with episodes released every Friday.