1. ZombieHappyMeal
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    ZombieHappyMeal Member

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    Should I try to get my work published?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by ZombieHappyMeal, Sep 18, 2011.

    I am not asking if I am good enough to have my work published. Obviously, none of you would have any idea if that were the case or not. I read authors that I respect and I often think to myself, "I am nowhere near as good as this writer." I feel like I am improving more and more with every story I write and I feel like I have some pretty good stories. I don't, however, feel like I have written anything great.

    So, when do you start trying to get published? Is it better to submit your work and collect rejection slips until something is eventually picked up by a publisher or is it better to hone your craft and make an attempt only when being published in inevitable?

    I am not worried about being rejected. I am more worried that when I do get something published, that I wont have found my voice or that it will be a poor reflection of my current work because I am constantly improving. I would hate to have someone read an early story and be completely turned off of my future writing. After all, I am still developing as a writer. Are these fears at all rational?

    Your thoughts on this subject are greatly appreciated!

    ---ZombieHappyMeal
     
  2. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you feel you're work is of sufficient quality, then begin the submission process to publishers (or query agents).

    Sure, your writing will continue to improve over the years. There are many successful authors that say they've learned a lot and would like to go back and improve/fix their first novels. But those first novels opened the door for subsequent novels. In addtion, as an author, you can learn a lot through working with an editor to improve your work.

    Rest assured, legitimate presses won't publish works that are substandard (at least in their eyes and what they anticipate of their readers). Their financial survival, the income of the editors and such depend on putting out good works. A vanity/pay to publish press probably won't be as picky. They mainly earn their money via the author's fees.

    Just my two cents. Good luck whichever way you go...to try to publish your works now or wait a few years or so.

    Terry
     
  3. MarmaladeQueen
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    MarmaladeQueen Senior Member

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    Yes - if you're really happy with it; if you've honed it and honed it to be as good as you can possibly get it; if you're burning with enthusiasm with it and regard your characters as being as close to you as your own family; if you love the book so much you're longing to share it with other people.

    That's how I felt about the only thing I have submittted for publication (a novel, two years ago). I got lots of rejection slips, and one agent called in the novel and read it with care, judging by her feedback, before in the end rejecting it. That novel is still under my skin. At the moment I am letting it lie fallow, but I will go back to it and work on it until it's good enough for publication.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It will take your work to a new level. It's like pl,aying a sport. If you start playing in games with professional sportspeople, you'll get your ass kicked at first. But if you stick with you'll improve faster than if you only play against the backlot bums.

    Your first publication won't make you a star. Occasionally there' a fluke, like Jo Rowling, who hit the jackpot with talent, an outstanding story that falls into a hungry market, a ton of hard work, and a humongous shipload of luck. But counting on that is like counting on lightning to strike down the mugger demanding your money at knifepoint.

    So expect to be rejected mover and over, and expect your first published work to get a lukewarm response. But plan on sticking with it and getting better.
     
  5. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    It is possible to get a first work published, but your odds are very slim if you do not take the time to re-write the story first. I think that in order to get a first book published by a first time writer, the writer probably need to be open to what they write. The first step in doing this, in my opinion, is to re-write it first. The second step is to re-write it. The third step is to re-write it. And finally, re-write it.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    getting published is never "inevitable"... but it is best to wait to query/submit till your work is at least up to competing with the millions of others' who're doing it...
     
  7. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yip my advice would be to rewrite and edit your project until in your eyes it has been perfected and is now immune to improvement. Then submit. Aim high. This means at least semi-pro markets for short stories, and prominent well-established agents for a novel. That way your above concern shouldn't come into play. Your work will most likely never be published if its poor reflection of your talent.
     
  8. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Only you can answer that question. My thought is that if you want to become a published author you should always write all your work with the view of it one day being published. But you should leave off the actual publishing until you feel its ready - and there of course is the 64,000 dollar question, do you feel its ready? If you do, then yes go through the process because if you don't all you're really saying is that you'll never be ready to publish. If you don't think its ready for publishing then carry on writing, rewriting, editting etc etc, but always with the view in mind that it will one day be published.

    Hope that helps.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  9. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    If we're talking a novel here, then make sure it's polished and the very best you can make it before sending it out. You could be ready, but your work might not be.

    As for short stories, well, you're ready whenever you decide. The sooner you start getting rejections, the sooner you'll get in the swing of things. If you're lucky enough to get personal feedback, then it can be invaluable to you in terms of improvement. Your first published short story won't be your best and probably not your proudest, but it'll motivate you to write bigger and better things.
     
  10. tristan.n
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    tristan.n Active Member

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    If you write a book and it sells poorly, no one will remember you for that, so you don't have much to lose either way. And even if they do, there are ways around that like using pen names and such. Personally, I love reading a series of books where you can tell that the author is improving. :)
     
  11. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I just started writing my first book ever. It is the first book in a seven part series.

    With that said, I am only a couple months in with three chapters done (including heavy editing) and a little less than twelve thousand words. But I however do have all of the books outlined and a sort of "bible" written so I do not contradict myself.

    So my point is, I have already sent a query out to an Agent with my first chapter. It has only been a week, so I have yet to hear back. My opinion is that you should go for it! What is the worst that can happen? Besides, unless you get yourself out there you will never get published.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    new, unknown writers should never query agents until they have a completed, polished ms ready to submit... querying with a single chapter of an unfinished novel will be just a waste of your time and money...

    also, the first book a new writer queries about must be a stand-alone novel and no mention should be made of a series, as that's an instant 'amateur!' alert and will most likely get the query letter dumped...

    these are standard 'facts of life' in the writing/publishing world...
     
  13. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Well, I still have a day job. So I am not that worried about it. Worst case scenario I will write all seven as a hobby and see what happens when they are completed.
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Publishers shy away from "instant series: for a reason. Not only is the future productivity and quality of a new wrtiter very questionable, so is the market's response.

    More importantly, series or not, each volume must stand on its own. A new writer barely has the instincts to write one stand alone novel with the right pacing and a solid closure. Trying to balance that with the requirements of setting up for a series without breaking the flow of the first novel is a much tougher balancing act.

    So set aside your series until you have at least one stand alone novel accepted. You'll have plenty to learm, and a big enough challenge, accomplishing just that.
     
  15. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I understand that, but unfortunately, I have no desire to write anything but this series. I have gone to great lengths to outline and plan the series as a whole. Including the history and lore of its world. So I am already deeply invested in it.

    With that said, I have no problem with this just being a hobby. Also, even though I realize it is not the same, I have been an avid reader my entire life. I know how books should be.

    Plus, my father has five published works, with two more on the way. I have him for guidance as well as you lovely people.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    have his books been published by a traditional press, or are they self-published?... if he has an agent and publisher, then it may be possible for you to sell a series, if your writing is exceptional and the stories original and marketable enough...

    as in many things, in the literary world it's often more a case of who you know, than what you have to offer...
     
  17. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    They are not self published. He has three different publishers that work with him directly now. He let go of his agent because he didn't need her anymore.
     

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