Tags:
  1. The-Joker
    Offline

    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2008
    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Africa

    beyond borders

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by The-Joker, Jul 27, 2009.

    okay so it's done at last. I just finished my second round of editing and I think this is it. I have nothing left to add (which is quite a relief since the editing pushed it from 200k to 210k instead of cutting it down like I'd hoped).

    <Protracted sigh> I know that is a completely unpublishable number, but it's only ever worth trying if it's impossible. Hahahahaha.

    Anyway, now I face this quandary of finding an agent. How does that work?
    Do I have to find somebody in my area or does it work across borders with any literary agent in any country being available to receive my work.

    And if you're writing a series or something, is it better to wait until you've completed more than one book before submitting, to show the agents/ publishers that you're serious, or does it not really matter?
     
  2. FrankB
    Offline

    FrankB Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    2
    You're right about your word count. That alone will earn you a "no thanks" from many agents.

    A good starting point for researching agents is in the acknowledgments pages of books published in your genre. Most authors thank their agents by name. Research the agents' websites and follow their guidelines. Agentquery.com also merits some study. You'll get useful info there about how to approach agents as well info on particular ones.

    In this electronic age, it doesn't matter a whole heck of a lot where you live or where your agent is (although most North American ones are still based in New York or LA).

    IMO, if the book you're subbing is intended to be the first in a series, you should inform the agent of that. If it isn't, there's no need to mention future plans for some series. Your mission is to get a request for the ms you're flogging now.

    Good luck.
     
  3. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    that word count will probably get your query dumped unread and not even get a 'no thanks' from most agents, since most publishers' preferred range for a first adult market novel by a new and unknown writer is 80-100k...

    the best and biggest agencies will be found in the major publishing centers [ny, la, london], since the most vital part of their work toward getting something published is maintaining close contact with the publishers' acquisition editors... for that reason alone, your book's chances will be best with agents there, versus ones out in the boonies...

    however, as a new writer nobody, you may have a better chance of being taken on by a new and/or small agency, so it's a good idea to try both...

    country-wise, it's best to seek an agent in the country where your readership resides, since that's where the agents will have the closest contacts with publishers who'd be most interested in taking it on... if your book's in english, that means either the us, or the uk/commonwealth, depending on which 'brand' of english it's written in...

    and, as noted above about a series, while it's ok to mention, make sure the book you're submitting can stand on its own, if none of the sequels ever make it into print... if you have other books in the works, just a vague mention [without titles/subjects/details] will show the agent you're not a one-trick-pony...

    but it seems to me that your first and most important task is to get that first book down to a publishable size!... the most common causes of such bloat are too many words and too many sub-plots...

    so, if you're as overly verbose as most new writers seem to be, heed that best of all writer's axioms, 'less is more' and its old army version, 'K.I.S.S.!'... and if your plot is too complex for readers to follow easily, lop off some of those outer branches and let the simplicity of the tree's basic structure carry the story load...

    good luck with all of that!

    love and hugs, maia
     
  4. The-Joker
    Offline

    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2008
    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Africa
    Thanks to both of you for the advice.

    Mia, when you say the book should stand on its own, what exactly do you mean? Should it have a definite conclusion where the core plot elements are resolved? In that case,I'm guessing that to end on a "to be continued" is a really bad idea for a first book.
     
  5. Rei
    Offline

    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    7,869
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Kingston
    Yes, the to be continued thing should never be done unless the next part is guaranteed to be released. Even then, it's still a bad idea. A good TV show is written so that a person can come in at any point in the series and still know what's going on. That's one of the reasons certain TV shows continue to become more and more popular and others lose their audience very easily, e.g. LOST. I enjoy it, but stopped watching it for a long time because I was so confused. While a book series isn't exactly the same, you can apply a similar logic (and I can't think of any book examples anyway).
     
  6. seta
    Offline

    seta Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Messages:
    299
    Likes Received:
    2
    Fortunately, my first novel is on target for the 80k mark. I had originally predicted 160k, but being an amateur I had to "learn as I went" about some things.

    As someone said - "Perfection isn't when you can't add any more, it's when you can't take anymore away"
     
  7. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    that if you never write another book, this one will satisfy the readers [and the publisher]...

    absolutely!

    a suicidal idea...
     
  8. seta
    Offline

    seta Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Messages:
    299
    Likes Received:
    2
    My first novel is intended to be the first of a series. In itself, it will be a complete story. If I do right the sequel(s) they will each take place several years apart with the same characters.

    It will be several anecdotes about these characters and their travels through the war that they are fighting.
     
  9. The-Joker
    Offline

    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2008
    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Africa
    Funny you should mention that. That's sort of how I envision my book series to be- a TV series. Or rather it plays out in my mind like a TV series, except its not like CSI or Grey's Anatomy or all these other ones with self contained episodes. But it's not as deliberately confusing as Lost either. It would be more like the recently demised Prison Break.

    You remember how that show never had any semblance of conclusion for five season's straight, but was still totally addictive. It thrived on its suspense and compounding problems for the characters without giving them any resolution.

    I haven't seen any books that equate to this. By that I mean where the audience would want to read the book in the series mostly because of the way it ended in the last one, a drive fueled by suspense, like the ending that every Prison Break episode had since its conception.

    If there are books like that out there I would love to read them, but since I haven't come across any and in the light of what all of you have said, that type of approach to writing doesn't float with the publishers. It's a pity though, for me anyway, because when something's interesting the last thing I find myself wanting is an end.
     
  10. Rei
    Offline

    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    7,869
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Kingston
    I've never seen Prison Break, do I honestly couldn't comment. I think a good example of what I am talking about is Smallville. Say what you will about it. The way it's written, no matter where you start watching it, you can figure out what's going on without knowing what happened before. I know this because I started watching during season four, on a channel that had just started playing season one. I had not finished watching season two, and then saw an episode of season four, and I could follow it perfectly, though the season does have an overall story that each episode contributes to.
     
  11. The-Joker
    Offline

    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2008
    Messages:
    742
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Africa
    Back in the day when I use to watch smallville, the episodes used to be all self contained, so you didn't really need to know what happened in the last episode to grasp the current one. It's always Clark vs some kryptonite mutated bad guy who usually has somehow put either Lana or Chloe in harms way. That's why it was so easy to catch on.

    But then that was a long time ago and I stopped watching after season 3 I think, just like how I stopped watching all similar series where you're already certain the murder will be solved, or the disease will be cured, or the client will be exonerated.

    I think we give too much credit to resolution, and sometimes you only realize you never wanted it, when you've finally got it.
     
  12. Rei
    Offline

    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    7,869
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Kingston
    Actually, in all the seasons they had storylines that were continuous, even in one and two. That just shows how well they wrote the episodes in that sense. It all integrated into self-contained stories seemlessly. In season one, it was the Lana-Clark-Whitney love triangle. Season two was discovering the mysteries of who Clark's birth parents were, and Lex's relationship with the doctor. Season three was about dealing with Jor-el.
     
  13. TWErvin2
    Offline

    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,528
    Likes Received:
    561
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    The Joker,

    You've really set up two major hurdles for yourself.

    A first novel that weighs in at 210,000 words and then after all that, it is a 'to be continued.'

    There is nothing wrong with attempting to find an agent or a publisher for what you've already completed. It may take more time and effort tearing apart the plot to remove some of the unnecessary subplots to bring it more into line with an 'acceptable' word count. The odds are already very long for a first-time novelist finding representation/a publisher, and you certainly realize with your current project the odds are even far less in your favor even if it is a well-written novel.

    What I would recommend if you go the seeking agent/publisher route with the 210,000 word manuscript is to begin a new novel unrelated to the first, learning from the experience and bringing the second novel with closer to 100,000 words.

    Good luck.

    R-Tech
     

Share This Page