1. Rastathialla
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    Rastathialla Member

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    How does one know?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Rastathialla, Apr 15, 2008.

    I just had really quick question: how does one know when their work publish worthy? or should you just bug lots of publishers with your work until one accepts it.
     
  2. InPieces
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    InPieces Senior Member

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    Honestly, I think it is almost impossible for one to know for sure if their work is publish worthy. I think it all has to do with confidence. If you have confidence in a certain piece, and you feel it is your best work (to date), then my best advice would be to send it off to get published / agented. Of course, not everyone's opinion is the same, and unfortuneately, the rejection rate tends to be a tad high, but we can all hope for the best.
     
  3. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    In the end, a writer only knows if it's 'publishworthy' if the writer sends it out to markets (or agents). And even if it is rejected by a publisher, it may not be because it is not a quality work. It could be the schedule is full, it's not what they're looking for (some fantasy markets for example, only seek high fantasy or quest novels), it just didn't strike the editor (agent) as something they could market with their current line of novels/stories, etc.

    The only way to know is to send out the novels (stories) to markets. Many writers prefer to start with the bigger markets/agents first. Sure, it's a long shot. Others find a niche market or two that seems perfect and sub to that. Many stories require multiple submission efforts to find a home. Others right off the bat, get accepted. Some never do.

    The thing to do is to submit your work, and while it's out making the rounds...write something else...keep improving. Send that out, and write some more.

    Sometimes with a rejection, an editor will make a comment or two, that may help a writer improve the work for the next market. On rare occasions, they make suggestions and ask for a rewrite.

    Terry
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    to add to terry's on-target answers, the only other way to 'know' is to have someone who is knowledgeable in what is and isn't publish-worthy go over your work and let you know if it is, or not; if not, why; and what you need to do to get it there... doing that before you start submitting to agents and publishers will save you a lot of paper, ink, and postage money, if your work isn't up to minimum standards yet...

    that's one of the things i do full time for aspiring writers all over the world [for free]... you'll find lots of for-a-fee professional editing/critiquing services online, but you have to be careful, because there are also a lot of scams and folks who are not as good at it as they claim to be, so you can lose money that way, too...

    you may be able to find some others who do it for free, as i do, on sites like this one, but just as with the paid ones, you need to check us out, ask for feedback from those we've worked with and see samples of the quality of our work, before turning over your writing...

    posting excerpts on writing sites can get you lots of feedback, but it won't all be by those who really know what's publishable and will often be confusingly contradictory, so isn't as good a method as having a single experienced person's opinion... that said, it's a good place to start, as you'll at least get the reaction of readers to what you write...

    best of luck to you... love and hugs, maia
     
  5. Bob The Writing Guy
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    Bob The Writing Guy New Member

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    I expect that my opinions on this matter differ from many but I’ll offer them in the hopes that they offer some aid or insight. The simple truth of the matter is that you as the writer have the obligation to be your own harshest critic. You are the one investing the time and energy into the creative process. You are the one, maybe the only one until you find someone willing to invest in your talent, that really cares if you succeed or not.

    Somewhere inside you, you know if your work is really ready to inflict on the general population. Its not always a pleasant thing asking one’s self but it’s the only way to get a starkly honest answer. A frightening enough prospect, certainly, but if you are serious about making a career out of this then you have to have skin tough enough to take a thrashing. If some brutally honest self-evaluating is going to wound you then the casual lack of interest from publishers will really punish.

    For my part I subscribe to the notion that if you have to ask if you are good enough, you probably aren’t. Doesn’t mean you can’t get there with work and time but if you don’t believe in your own work completely then I find it hard to see how you can convince others to believe in it. It takes a healthy dose of confidence (arrogance if you will) to expect the public to want to read what you’ve put to print enough to spend their hard earned cash. That confidence/arrogance serves a duel purpose in shielding you from the rejection and failure that so often confronts a writer at the beginning of their journey.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    valid points, bob...

    but i know from my years of working with thousands of aspiring writers, that many of them actually do think their work is ready to be published when it's really light years away from that level, yet... sad to say many would-be writers today don't have the ability to discern good writing from the opposite, because they haven't been reading enough of the good stuff to be able to compare their work to it...

    i can't tell you how many i've worked with have been truly shocked to see from my editing of their work, how far from marketable it actually is... while it's true that most do admit they're not too surprised, most did not have the ability to 'self-evaluate'... and many don't even know that to be a good one, a writer has to also be a fairly good editor of his/her own work...
     
  7. Bob The Writing Guy
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    Bob The Writing Guy New Member

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    It takes discipline and a hard heart to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and be honest about what it is you see. Aside from obvious pain that any true evaluation will elicit there is the undeniable fact that you are obliged to improve on all the flaws that you unearth. Sadly its so much easier to feast on the dream and keep yourself going by telling yourself that you could do it “if you really applied yourself.”

    For all of that, I consider it a vital part of being a writer. I am convinced that people know how good they are, or not. They are simply unable or unwilling to come to grips with that reality. A man or woman afraid to face their own truths is not going to be able to offer me anything. Quite the contrary. At best they will be lucky enough to join the legions of utterly forgettable authors that fill the gaping void that is contemporary literature.

    I have limited contact with aspiring writers but I would say that its probably more important to have something worthwhile to say than it is to be able to say it well.
     
  8. EyezForYou
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    EyezForYou Active Member

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    When you are writing at the level of mainstream authors, such as King, Koontz, and Keene.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sadly not true in this human world since, if you can't say it well enough for people to want to 'hear'/read it, then simply having it is pretty worthless, isn't it?...
     
  10. Bob The Writing Guy
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    Bob The Writing Guy New Member

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    I suppose it really depends on what your objective is. If the only point is to find someone to publish what you put to paper than I suppose that it really doesn’t matter what you put down as long as it sounds and looks the part.

    The problem arises when you ask yourself if that is really all you want. Is it enough to add your name to the very long list of people who have produced crap and tricked the masses into buying it? Or do you have enough pride to expect more of yourself? Would you be content to produce a pretty picture that was utterly without heart or soul and is destined to be forgotten and never considered again the second the final page is turned?

    It isn’t enough to be published. We have all seen examples of absurdly terrible, even infantile writing getting mass produced and sometimes even making best-seller lists. For my part I see no reason at all to even make the attempt if you aren’t going to strive to ascend higher than the lowest common denominator.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    amen to all that, bob!
     

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