1. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    My little problem

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by The-Joker, Aug 16, 2009.

    <Exasperated sigh>

    I've been working on my query letter. And the time has come divulge the word count. I don't know why but I just can't make the cut that seems to be a necessity for a first time novelist to be published. I'm contemplating trying something, but I don't know if it's so audacious it's guaranteed to fail.

    I can make my 210 000k book considerably shorter.

    It's got two stories running parallel, and I can simply remove one. The one that I could exclude is much shorter than the other and is not going to cut the word count in half or anything, but it will make a big difference. However the essence of the book will be lost, and my original vision would be all but decimated.

    But it would have a more acceptable word count. So heres my plan. I tell the agent the book is 210 000 words, but if they so wish it can be cut down to something much shorter in a matter of hours. If they read the manuscript they'll see how. It'll never work right?

    Or should I just do it first? Cut out the heart and then query. I'm so confused. I mean I knew my word count was an impossible figure, but as I do more reading into the matter, its starting to seem like it's impossible with a full stop.
     
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  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If that length is outside of your publisher's range for new submissions, and it probably is, you should edit it to a more reasonable size BEFORE you send the query.

    After you edit it, you really need to carefully proofread it. Never send a query if the manuscript isn't ready to submit.
     
  3. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    A few points to consider, The-Joker,

    Most agents require a query letter first. With the 210,000 words, it's very very very unlikely that they'll go ahead and say, send it. They'll be wondering why you didn't cut the mansucript down in the first place.

    Why? They have 20 other queries that landed on their desk the same day...and 20 yesterday and there will be 20 tomorrow, and 20 more the day after. So your plan of getting an agent to acquiesce and say, okay send me the 210,000 word behemoth--and then you'll wow them with your story isn't likely to happen--or decide after reading the full novel that this is great, but I agree it can be cut down if it can't be sold as a full 210,000 word novel.

    It's rare enough that an agent requests a partial, let alone a full manuscript. Most agents already have a full roster (or near full) of estblished writers they're representing, with a very few first-timers scattered in. And the agents are quite busy, thus reading queries and manuscripts from hopeful authors isn't usually very high on their list of priorities

    If the story is that important to you as a 210,000 word novel, then put it in a drawer somewhere and write another novel, one more 'reasonable' in length to acquire an agent/publisher. Sell that novel and do well with it (or maybe a couple novels), and then once you have an established track record and fan base, the publisher will be more likely to buy the 210,000 word novel--your agent will be more likely to be able to convince them it's a good risk to take.

    Consider it from the agent's POV and you'll see why the plan isn't gonna word. Okay there is such a thing as one in a million, but...

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

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    all i can do is ditto cog and terry in toto!

    they're right, so follow their advice, if you want to have any chance of getting your work published...
     
  5. Snap
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    Most agents/publishers want less than 120,000 words for a first author. If you're above that (especially 210k), it's going to be very difficult to find representation. The reason for this is not only that they are more expensive to print (with all the additional pages), but also that they don't sell as well. I would see if there's any way to cut it down. In all honesty, that's probably a large portion of your problem.

    Sorry, I don't mean to be a buzz-kill, I've just spend a LOT of time researching this kind of thing. :p If you still have trouble, take a look at your query, make sure it has a hook, a body, etc, etc. Everything it would need to grab the agent.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    most publishers have a 80-100k limit for first novels by new, unknown writers... go much below or above that and you will be minimizing your work's chances to be published...
     
  7. Snap
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    Another idea--is it a possibility of splitting your novel up into two? A novel and a sequel? Just a thought...
     
  8. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yip that's what I've done. For the second time. My original first book of a trilogy is now four books.
     

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