1. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    I am not sure what to do with my mess of a novel. Open to suggestions

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Cave Troll, Apr 17, 2016.

    As some of you already know, I have completed my first novel. And as some of you know that it does not follow the 'standard' formula for how it is written. After looking around at agents, posting a query letter for critique, and now it all seems I wasted 9months of my life. Feels like I am trying to sell radio-active rubber pants, cause nothing about the darn thing is 'conventional'.

    After re-researching through a list of agents, the ones I have looked at more closely are not interested in what I have done. This is what brings me to think I am trying to sell radio-active rubber pants, when everybody else wants plain old jeans. There just doesn't seem to be a niche for my style of writing, though it is a different take on the style of writing.

    Thought about self/e publishing, but I still fall back into the whole radio-active rubber pants thing.
    Perhaps writing it the way it felt it should be written in the odd turn base multi perspectives, was a crap thing to do. Even if that is how the entire thing came out.

    Not sure what to do, considering I am now a shade from 27k into the sequel. As much as I would like to think it is possible to get it published one way or another, I just don't think it will be possible. At least not with out pelting people with a hardcover of it for free, and keeping it on the DL until it gains some steam. IDK what to do of if this has been a waste of time. Not so good at the whole marketing thing. So if anyone has some ideas about what I could potentially do that would be amazing, considering I really suck at this. :p
     
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Have you had any beta readers give you feedback? Have you actually submitted the MS to agents, and have they given you any feedback?

    I mean, there's a reason a lot of people write "starter books" or "the first million words" or whatever - it takes a while to figure out what people want to read. So maybe this one will end up being a starter book for you, or maybe you'll come back to it in a year or two and do a big rewrite. Neither of those options is a tragedy. There's nothing wrong with jeans, and there is something wrong with radioactive rubber pants. But if you work at it, maybe you can figure out a way to get rid of the radiation burns and the chaffing and come up with a pair of pants that have your personal style without being quite so far from what people want to wear.

    But if you believe in the book in its current form, make sure you've exhausted all possibilities before giving up on it.
     
  3. Nightstar99
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    Nightstar99 Contributing Member

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    Just write what's in your head and get good at it. Worry about publishing later. I wrote a first book, which can stay where it is for the moment because I don't think it's first book material, and am 2/3 of the way through a second one. Which I will probably try and get published. While I'm writing the third.

    If someone actually wants to sign me as a writer then I'll be ahead of myself.

    I love it. My family likes them, and I like them, which is my main audience. Even if i have to give them away for nothing on the Internet and only ten other people in the world like them, I'm ok with that.

    It's less of a waste of time than watching tv while arguing with people on Facebook.
     
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  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    To add to what has been said above, have you researched any small presses that might be appropriate for your novel? Sometimes they publish for more of a niche audience, and sometimes they're more open to something that is out of the mainstream.

    Small presses generally don't require agents, but really do your research. Not all small presses are created equal--some are far better than others to be published with, contract, quality of editing and covers, stability, etc.
     
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  5. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Thanks all.

    It has been beta read by a few people that never finished it, the most I have gotten feedback on is 30 pages short of finishing it (out of 200 page doc). I have made the changes that were recommended from the two or three people willing to put it to the test. They seem to enjoy the characters, considering they drive the story. I think that I have found mainly deadbeat beta readers, that fail to follow through with their end (cause I exchange works with them, and I have finished my reviews for them. Either that or I just got played in the process. Problem is I don't know anybody offline that I can dedicate this task too, which might be a lot better. Will have to look and see if this podunk town has a writers circle, or at best a book reading club.

    I have tried to go direct through a couple of publishers. One has not said a thing (which I will take that they trashed my submission), and the other rejected it and it was a smaller publishing company. And after re looking through agents, they don't seem to be looking for my type of book. And for added fun, trying to find a publisher that accepts 120K+ stories is really hard to do. And I have no idea where to look in regards to smaller presses.

    So based on what all have said, is basically shelve it and finish the second half and do the same. Until I have something more viable to work with, in terms of getting it to it's audience of like maybe 6-7 total. :p

    Thanks again to all, and back to wasting time on the sequel. Because this damn thing has to end before it gets too carried away, cause it was supposed to be a single book. But stuff happens. :D
     
  6. Guttersnipe
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    Guttersnipe Member

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    I don't know anything about your WIP. Are you saying it's multiple POVs? Switching between subplots from chapter to chapter? That's not unusual, and certainly not radioactive rubber. Gets done all the time.

    Regarding betas, have you done crits on something like scribophile or critique circle? You can submit a chapter at a time, to get an idea of whether your actual writing style is an issue. On scribophile, once you've established a presence, you can join groups where they arrange beta-swaps between 4 people at a time. And people will finish your WIP, because their rep depends on it.

    As to "wasting 9 months", do you enjoy writing? If so, you've spent 9 months learning your craft. Believe me, the first several apps that programmers write aren't worth sh*t. You work, you learn, you get better.
     
  7. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    @Guttersnipe No it is labeled head hopping between 3 POVs. I have done some crit share on here, but nowhere else. I will have to check out this scribophile you speak of.

    But no it is not chapter based, just a head hoppin, linear with subplots and an overall integrated plot. They all mesh together and they all know each other, so there is not a weird issue there. Hence radio-active rubber pants. :p

    Yes I do enjoy writing, but am full of doubt though I have learned a lot along the way. Actually working on a few side projects in addition to pounding away on the sequel. Collectively between the main novel and it's sequel there is 150k. So I would say I do enjoy it, just that I happen to be my own worst critic. :p
     
  8. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'm a little bit in the dark here. What is it that you think makes your book unconventional and difficult to publish? Is it your style? Subject matter? Genre (or lack of?)

    By head hopping, what do you mean? If you mean you have several POV characters and they change with every chapter or scene, that's not unusual. What might be hard to pull off is a story where you're in one character's head for a few sentences, then in another's for the next few sentences, etc. I'm not saying it can't be done, but it won't be easy. Your readers may get dizzy trying to figure out who is doing what if you flip around too much.

    I would hope, as you say, that you HAVE written a linear story with subplots that contribute to an overall integrated plot. That is more or less how stories usually work, and can't be the problem.

    So what do you think is the problem? Radioactive rubber pants makes an interesting visual, but it's not very informative. :)
     
  9. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    They are labeled, and there are no chapters. I think it is the style that will be off putting to most. There are instances where two characters are having a conversation, hopping back and forth. But they each get a paragraph or two between switches. That and the three of them are labeled to cut out confusion between who's POV is taking stage at the time. I have posted some chunks from both the completed and in progress works in the work shop. IDK, what to say other than that. That should (i hope) give you an idea of what I mean by being so darn different. There never were chapters, just the story. :)

    Here is a sample of what I have written:

    http://www.writingforums.org/threads/renegade-resolution-excerpt-4-496-words.144195/
     
  10. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Head Hopping" is reasonably common, at least in some romance novels, for example. Granted, it's not as common in other genres, but that doesn't mean it's an impossible barrier to overcome. If it is made clear to the reader each time a shift, whose (head the reader is 'in') then it can be an effective way to relay the story to the reader.

    There are some readers, and even publishers, that don't care for first person POV, for example, and that can be a barrier to being published with them, or getting readers to read a story/novel in that POV. Choices authors make in how they write/convey the story to the readers has an impact on potential readership, and thus, publisher, as publishers tend to cater to their readership's interests and desires.

    True, if an author strays far from what is common in a genre, or in how the story is crafted in general, it can make things more difficult to find an agent/publisher/even readership if the novel is self-published.

    If it is a major concern, and you really want the story (novel and sequel) published, might it be possible to tell the story in a more 'conventional' fashion?

    But remember, a novel with unconventional writing/structure can find success. See Crank by Ellen Hopkins, for example. Also remember, there is very stiff competition for representation by agents, and finding a publisher. An author is competing against every aspiring author out there, in addition to established authors interested in getting more of their works published. Finding an agent/publisher right off the bat, first novel out of the box, with no rejections, is quite rare. Receiving multiple rejections...many multiple rejections is more common. Some novels never find a publisher, or don't get published until the author gets established and a publisher is more willing to take a risk, since the author has built an audience or following, so to speak.
     
  11. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    That was an interesting insight, I had no idea a book composed of free verse poetry was a thing. Well at least not outside of yuppie coffee house patrons. :D

    So basically what I am hearing is that my chances go to next to nil, based upon my head hopping style. So is there even a point to trying to get it published since, something new is considered sketchy or bad?

    Also has anyone checked out the example I posted as a reference point? I am guessing not, considering that would explain why no one understands the way it is written. Just a thought.

    IDK, what to say. Just feeling less enthused about working on something that might as well have never been. People suck :( If only I could be more 'mainstream', then this discussion would have never occurred. Nor would the story have been written. Oh well, I will fight for what little I have worth fighting for, even if it is basically a FUBAR wrapped in a neat little bow. :p
     
  12. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Okay. I briefly checked out the sample.

    I have seen authors use separate chapters, with headings of characters (or a picture--see Kevin Hearne in his novel Staked) when POV shifts. He used first person for each POV character (3 of them) and one is written in past tense and two in present tense. So yours is not totally out of the mainstream.

    Your use of dialogue tags and associated punctuation needs some work. From my glancing, there appears to be a lot of talking infused with introspection...but I only read through part of it quickly, to get the gist of your concerns. It's an early draft so some of the typos and such shouldn't be a problem to clean up later.

    I would not say it is totally your style or format. It is just that there is stiff competition you're up against. The style can be a hindrance, but if it's what you think is the best way to convey the story, and you believe in the story, all you can do is get it in the best condition you can, target publishers (and or agents) beyond the first few, and submit it. While you're waiting, finish up the sequel. And when that is done, write another novel. Keep doing that until you find success, or give up.

    There is self-publishing, and while something can be published and made available via that method...that is also no guarantee of success...just as there isn't even if you get a reputable agent to represent your novel (the agent may not be able to sell it). And even if you get a publisher, that does not mean it will be a success and garners a solid readership.

    There simply are no guarantees with writing and publishing. But to have a chance of success you have to persevere.
     
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  13. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I read the first part of that sample and I think you're right about the style being off-putting - I think @Shadowfax 's critique there was really dead-on. The verb tense and the quotation mark issues need to be fixed, obviously, before you send it anywhere, but I think there's also an issue with the dialogue - it's really tempting to have your characters make speeches, but at times like this, with the character having a painful throat and some sort of lung injury, it really doesn't work. At least in terms of what I would want to read.

    I don't really see this as a case of you writing something new and unique, unless I'm missing something... what is it you think is new about your writing style? (Head hopping isn't at all new, and, honestly, it didn't jump out at me as a big problem). I would say from what I read that this just felt like a piece of relatively unpolished writing, in need of revision.
     
  14. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Good to know considering that is from the sequel. Also good to know I am not the first to try the head hopping style. I know my sequel needs work, it is still in progress and has not been refined yet. I guess I should go on a very long and arduous journey for an agent that has an open mind to this concept, though I feel that will probably be a pain in the ass. Still going to give it a shot anyway. Thanks again everybody. :D
     
  15. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with @BayView. The head-hopping is no big deal. Writers have been doing that for at least 100 years. Scott Smith (among other writers) has novels with no chapters, and one of them was made into a movie.

    I think, based on the excerpt, it needs polishing/editing. After that, if you believe it the book, go for it. I don't think the self-publishing option is bad if you have a quality work.
     
  16. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Thanks, I know cause it is still in progress, hasn't been edited yet. Thanks again. :)
     
  17. NiallRoach
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    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    Are you submitting it and getting rejections, or are you seeing 'no head hopping' in guidelines and striking that agent out? I ask because that is only in the guidelines because it's normally done badly. If you're happy that it's ready for publication, then submit. You never know, one of those agents might think you've done head hopping right and say yes.
     
  18. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    @NiallRoach No, I had submitted to 2 different publishers that accept works over 100k. One rejected it, and I am sure the other just flushed it when the flushed the slush pile. I haven't had any success in finding an agent worth submitting to, because they all want 'Commercial Fiction' (what ever the hell that means). Or going through their catalogs of books they have helped get published, none of them seem anything like mine. So it feels like I don't really have a shot at getting formally published. That and I am not that great at 'sales pitching'. I am starting to think about publishing in sections (since there are not chapters), to try and get some steam behind it though. Part of me thinks I would have a better chance if I had been able to write it back int the '80s-'90s, but I am just not old enough for that to be possible. :p
     
  19. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm still not quite sure what it is that makes your work not "commercial fiction".

    Head hopping is usually considered a problem, but only if it's done poorly. There are lots of commercially successful books with head hopping.

    What else is it that you're worried about?
     
  20. mrieder79
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    mrieder79 Not a ground squirrel

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    It is not uncommon to make hundreds of submissions before being picked up (or not picked up). If you really want to be published conventionally I would just dig in, start sending out a few queries a day, and work on your sequel. That's what I'm doing. I've had several rejections already and lots of long echoing silences.

    How many queries have you submitted?
     
  21. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    I need to find out what in the hell "Commercial fiction" is. Not one I am currently adept on, considering I have never seen it as a genre. No queries as of yet, still looking for a potential party that may take notice. That and I am not that good at writing one. I posted one here, and that's how I know I need to work on my query writing skills. I will wait until I get something passable on the letter writing before I jump into that fiasco again. :p Better to do things in order and all, research first then send the letter.
     
  22. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    Commercial Fiction

    This type of story appeals to a wide audience, has a distinct plot, and its characters actively pursue a goal or overcome a challenge. These stories are primarily read for entertainment. There are many categories of commercial fiction, classified by genre and sub-genres. Each genre has basic elements that readers expect to see in the stories. Some commercial fiction may appeal to more than one type of audience, and can be considered mainstream.-Carol Benedict


    http://annieneugebauer.com/2012/07/16/what-is-commercial-fiction/
     
  23. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    @doggiedude Thank you. I thought all fiction was for entertainment.:p The main plot does have mutual goals, leading to one big goal incorporated there in. So basically I technically do fall into this odd category, which will make this hunt a bit easier now. Again, Thank you Sir. :)
     
  24. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    I've heard the term before but this was the first time I bothered to investigate it. If you read the article attached that link it explains commercial fiction more as entertainment based and literary fiction more artistic expression based. There's obviously some overlap but those are the main points.
     
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  25. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I wouldn't waste loads of time researching agents. Unless they say "NO GENERAL FICTION" or whatever you decide to call yours, just send a query. Worst you'll get is a rejection and you'll get those no matter how amazing your story is.

    With publishers, I'm not so sure a scattergun approach is as wise but only because I don't have experience with them yet. Again I think the worst that happens is a rejection. You won't go on a blacklist for submitting something they aren't interested in.
     

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