1. Albirich
    Offline

    Albirich Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Norway

    A first time writer and publishing

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Albirich, Oct 31, 2013.

    I probably won't be done with the first book in a year--or three. But I have to move to England or the US or something....and planning is required. I'm hellbent on becoming an author, but the book I'm working and have worked on for 10 months is going to become more than a trilogy (my head is like 3-4 books out in the series)

    What would a publisher say when a 20-21 year old kid comes in with such a huge piece with no previous publishing experiences? I've tried to write other things, but I really burn for and believe that my work is at least worth a publisher's attention, and so does multiple friends in real and on the internet. (For what that's worth)
     
  2. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    Your age won't matter if that's what you're wondering. Your work will speak for itself.

    You should also know that publishers don't often take on a book series by an unknown author. It's too risky for them. So it might be best if your first book stood on its own.
     
  3. Albirich
    Offline

    Albirich Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Norway
    Ahh, that's a shame, cause there is no way I can squeeze my story in to a book of its own. I see no way of me doing something else till I'm done with this either. Perhaps I'm one of those that they pick rarely then, at least I can dream right.
     
  4. TLK
    Offline

    TLK Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2013
    Messages:
    272
    Likes Received:
    35
    I'm not sure if you're getting the definition of "standing on its own".

    All it means is that story has to end and finish like it was a normal book. It has to have a problem, and a solution. If, in the sequels, you add in more problems, that's fine.

    Making the ending of my first novel "stand-alone" is a problem I'm having myself.
     
  5. Dazen
    Offline

    Dazen Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2013
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    19
    How do you think I feel, considering I'm just coming up 14? :)
     
  6. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    age doesn't matter, dazen... only the quality of the writing does... and, as you've been told before, no one will know how old a writer is, if s/he doesn't tell them... and there's no good reason to do so before a contract is offered... and only then, if the writer is too young to sign one...
     
  7. AlcoholicWolf
    Offline

    AlcoholicWolf Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Messages:
    268
    Likes Received:
    141
    Location:
    Moldova
    I have heard that age can often work in favour of the young; if, for example, one's writing is outstanding, and the writer is very youthful, it can make a piece of work even more remarkable that the writer is so relatively (in a stereotypical kind of way) inexperienced! Simply look at Mary Shelley... she published her book Frankenstein (if I remember correctly) at the age of 21.

    You can make a novel stand-alone and yet introduce a sequel at a later date, making it flow seamlessly. An example would be Stephen King's The Shining; This story finishes quite conclusively, with the monster dead and the family escaping. But I have recently begun reading Doctor Sleep, and as a sequel, it has work wonderfully so far.
     
  8. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,681
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    If you're serious enough about being published to consider moving to another country, then I suggest you put the dream aside. Publishers typically not only don't like multi-volume works from first time authors, they also aren't keen on overly long works. Depending on the genre, your first novel should aim at somewhere between 80,000 and 120,000 words (smaller if for YA), and preferably not longer than 100,000. So, my advice is to focus on the first segment of your planned story and write it with a definitive ending, then hone it until it's lean and ready to go.

    Good luck.
     
  9. Albirich
    Offline

    Albirich Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2013
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Norway
    I'm never going to put my dream aside, even though it means poor living conditions or worse. I'm very stubborn to this thought: I will not give up.

    My book wont be 100,000 words, it will be so much more than that. I don't want to write "short stories", I want to write big, impactful stories that one could in a way imagine himself / herself in to, the one I'm writing right now is something as such.
    I might finish the first novel for my series then go on to something else mainly to get some ground. But that won't be without trying to get a publisher for the novel, first.
     
  10. TWErvin2
    Offline

    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,528
    Likes Received:
    561
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    What folks are saying is that you need a complete story arc. That doesn't mean the stand alone book can't be the first in the series. Quite to the contrary. A stand alone book simply means a reader can read it and come away feeling satisfied having read that book. It doesn't preclude some storylines begun in the first novel being there to prepare the reader for the next or following novels.

    One of the first questions my publisher had while we were negotiating the contract for the first novel was what I had planned next. (Most publishers are not interested in authors that only have one novel in them). I told my publisher that I had a second novel in the series started, with at least two more planned after that. My first novel sold well enough that they were willing to take on the next novel in the series, and I'm currently working on the third, and my publisher is waiting.

    There's no reason you can't do the same, with a small press or a large press, or anywhere in between. As long as your works sell and the publisher can make a profit, they'll be willing to publish your series to the final book.
     
  11. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,681
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    100,000 words is not a "short story" by any estimation. Writers do not get paid by the pound.

    You've said your goal is to be published. That means, in some cases, tailoring your expectations to what will work and what won't. The advice I offered is based on my understanding of what will maximize your chances of getting published, and has been echoed by the more experienced voices in this forum and elsewhere. You have the information, to use or not.

    Good luck.
     
  12. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
    Offline

    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2013
    Messages:
    2,319
    Likes Received:
    743
    Location:
    Music Room #3
    Have a kind and pleasant personality. That will be more likely to get you published than the actual book. Lots of people have walked into companies with everything, experience, degrees, etc but they didn't get the job because they were tools.
     
  13. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    Except that trying to sell a book is much different than an interview. The thing that is most likely to get you published is the book itself.
     
  14. JayG
    Offline

    JayG Banned Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    358
    Location:
    Philadelphia PA
    Your desire and commitment are admirable, but your question seems to imply that you've not done a great deal of research into the nuts and bolts of the writing business. And it is a business. Publishers in business to make money, not as a public service to literature. So I have to ask, other then the normal general writing skills we get on our primary education, and perhaps an undergrad CW course, what active steps have you taken to prepare yourself to please that editor you're going to try to sell to?

    My view is that if your intent is to become a serious writer you need to make a serious effort to acquire the skills and knowledge that editors expect the people querying them to have. Writing will polish your skills, of course, but it does it a lot better, and faster, if you have skills to polish. And given that you want to cut down on the poor starving artist part of the profession...

    As for that series, if you impress the hell out of the editor who looks at your work, and s/he feels it will get rave reviews, you're in. Unfortunately, that seems to take something that not too many people have. In general, for a first sale, editors favor work that won't be expensive to produce, in case it fails. That seems to fall into the 85 to 100 k range these days. They also have a simple criteria, one that has nothing to do with age or experience:

    If your first ten pages were mixed with ten pages from ten authors already selling, that editor won't be able to tell, by reading, which is the single unpublished writer's work. Moreover, your story must be judged the best of the bunch, because as a new writer who has no following, in order to succeed you need exceptional reviews.

    So that's your target. And anything you can do to shorten the time to achieving that is what you need.

    My personal recommendation is that in addition to your writing you devour the library's shelves on writing fiction for the printed word. I'd place a special emphasis on the books carrying either Jack Bickham's or Dwight Swain's name on the spine, but there are many others that can dramatically improve the average writer's readability.
     
    lex likes this.

Share This Page