1. JacyFaye
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    JacyFaye New Member

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    publishing question for new authors

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by JacyFaye, Oct 22, 2011.

    I've read in Writers Market and other places for new authors that they need to get their name out there in magazines and such, small publishings basically in order for a big agent to pick them up. But to be honest, that doesn't interest me in the slightest. I'm not all that great at short stories, but mostly because they just hold no interest for me. I don't read magazines so I don't know what they want. But I have no other professional or educational background to back myself as a writer. Is this absolutely required? I'm certain note absolutely, but... I guess I am trying to justify my own not wanting to. It takes time away from my focus on my actual books. Not to mention I (like everyone else) already have a full busy life. Adding a new focus of getting some blurbs that I don't care about in the slightest in some magazines I feel are going to be counter productive.
    Am I totally wrong in this, need to get over it and just focus on some magz for a while?
    If so where do I begin? Not to mention how? I looked into it for a while but magazine sites and such have next to no information on how to get an artical published. At least the sites I have been to.
    I know there are some wonderful sites for short story contests too of course. And they truly are a wonderful source, but again I feel it's counter productive when all I want to focus on is the novels.
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    You don't need to publish short stories before you can try to publish a novel. But it does help.

    When you submit a novel-length manuscript to a publisher, the question of whether or not they will accept it is fundamentally down to risk. They receive thousands of manuscripts a year, and to read (several times) and decide to take one on is a big investment of time, before they even put down any capital. The benefit of having a publishing history in magazines is that you've already demonstrated an ability to write for publication. Therefore the risk is diminished. Equally, your name will already have some recognition value with the book-buying public, which is again a diminishing factor with risk.

    All of this- along with sticking to the indicated manuscript format, having a good cover letter, writing a correct synopsis, writing a well-edited and well-written manuscript- is about nudging odds, which are weighted by sheer numbers against you, more into your favour.

    However...

    Novels and short stories aren't the same. They use the same grammatical and technical rules, but structurally they are very different beasts. A novel is not an elongated short story, and a short story is not a novel in miniature. I am a short story writer, rather than a novelist, and from the sound of it you are a novelist more than a short story writer. Which is fine.

    When it comes down to it, all people can give is their opinions. You need to make a judgement on what is the best thing for you to do, and run with it. If that's focusing entirely on novels, then so be it.
     
  3. picklzzz
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    picklzzz Senior Member

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    I've had the same question and concerns as the original poster. I really want to write novels. I've been doing short stories lately for entering into contests, but my passion is in writing novels. My question is, is there even a market for short stories or would I have more of a chance of being published and selling what I've written with novels? I'd really rather write a longer novella or novel rather than condense into something with a limited word count for a contest. I feel it stifles my story that I have tell and limits my creativity. Thanks for any advice.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you'll find lots of venues for short stories at www.duotrope.com

    novellas have next to no market in the us in print, though with e-books, any length can be either given away or sold for a pittance... novels for print publication would have a better chance to make you significant money, however...
     
  5. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    If I were a publisher, I'd be saying, "Okay, you've written short stories - what makes you think you can write a full-length novel?" As Banzai said, they're two different animals, taking different skills. I've read excellent short stories by some authors - but their longer works suck. I've also seen just the opposite - authors who can write great novels but couldn't write a short to save their life.

    While having a short story accepted by a magazine is obviously laudable, and may have some influence on a agent or publisher's decision to look at your novel, ultimately it will come down to whether or not you can write a marketable novel. And for that you don't need the short story publication. If it's not your thing, don't worry about it. Spend your time working on your novel.
     
  6. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    The question about having to win a few contests in order to get your novel published is one that I've given a lot of thought too. If you think of a query letter like a resume then little things probably matter. If the agent has two manuscripts and is trying to decided between them, an award might be what sways her in your direction.
     
  7. 596
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    596 New Member

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    good info here.. i've always wondered about this... currently writing my first novel and not interested in writing short stories or even reading them tbh
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    amy...

    that might be true, but only if the 'award' was from a top-level comp...
     

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