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  1. Calrootpeg
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    Calrootpeg Member

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    The book is finished, now what?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Calrootpeg, Dec 15, 2009.

    My intent here in this thread is to invited those who are currently in the process of submitting a finished manuscript. By finished I mean it's been roughed out and the story line completed.

    NEXT...Editing, query, seeking an agent, SUBMISSION X 6, waiting, the results.

    So much is geared toward the writing that it becomes a limiter... something that holds back a project. Like a root while digging a hole. There are better tools to use than the shovel used to dig the dirt.

    I'll go first. I failed at three books because of fundamentals, i.e., spelling, verb tense, etc. Good response on content, nice letters back, but always the same... They're vs their, then vs than, had vs has. This now completed manuscript I finished went straight to an editor. A paid editor.

    Without changing but a few redundant words, and all of the technical aspects of grammar, it's a new book I even enjoyed reading. Plus, without stumbling over obvious errors I can add to the suspense, draw out a dialog, add a minor character... whatever... and still have a clean book.

    If you are like me and no matter how hard you try perfection is not in you, it is my opinion that a GREAT story will sell with moderate editing. Now I have to prove it.. or at least try. Otherwise, only editors should write books... and not all editors have published books.

    So, please stay true to the theme, The book is finished, now what?

    Let's hear where you are in the submission process. Bad day editing... sound off. Nasty rejection... they're the best. Let's hear it. Waiting for a respond... let it out. Sold one... indulge in vanity, self-promotion and happiness .... But let us read about it too.

    We all have had and are one click of the mouse away from... critique and criticism. Let this thread be for those of us who have said.... The book is finished, now what? Maybe we all can help each other.

    Merry Christmas and may 2010 be ours to triumph.
     
  2. DragonGrim
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    DragonGrim Contributing Member

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    Three days ago I sent out five query letters. Two 50 page, one three chapter, one two chapter, and one single chapter for the submission guidelines. I suppose they are nearing New York now. One is going to California.

    I spent many, many horrible hours fixing all the errors in spelling and grammar. So if they regect the book, it won’t be because of that.
     
  3. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Start the next one. ;)
     
  4. Calrootpeg
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    Calrootpeg Member

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    Wow!! You are writing more then one book? Or shotgunning out to more to one agent?

    I've tried to do my own editing, but it just won't take. But.... I'm getting close to the final print. Then the query letter. Another hair puller....yikes!

    Don't know what to put in my bio... maybe leave it out?

    And...lol... The next one will be predicated on this one if it works. The sequel.

    Hoping to find the right agent after the turn, but this time I'll be the picky one... don't let them kid you...more agents need us, then we need them... if the story is right.

    Hey thanks and keep them coming. Emotions of a writer...(good title if ever) are always interesting to read about. 11:15pm and changing big words to smaller ones... still in editing mode.... Cheers
     
  5. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just from my own experience in the past, I've found:

    - Several unbiased second opinions (readers of the manuscript, or extracts) are good (shows you if anything is unclear/boring). Maia was very helpful to me with this, even though I wanted to kick and scream at every revision. After a while I realised more what was needed.

    - Endless, careful proofreading until your eyes nearly drop out

    - Using a professional style of presentation and format

    - A perfect (or as perfect as you can make it) synopsis

    - Not putting in anything in the cover letter that doesn't relate to your work, and in particular the work you are submitting.

    Before I learnt this, the best I got were a few nice little personal and encouraging replies--rejecting--and lots of formatted rejections. Now, I've made it to a few magazine stories and a possible novel acceptance (but the waiting time takes forever so the first excitement has worn off).

    Don't hold your breath, but don't give up either. And don't wait before you start writing your sequel, it should stand alone as a book in itself anyway.
     
  6. Calrootpeg
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    Calrootpeg Member

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    Beautiful advice. I had some 9th graders read parts of my story. Liked the subject, but some words were too "big".

    Same submission results here on my last submission. Nice letters, but REJECTED. I did though have a library system accept my Big Book for their reference section. Question: Should I include that in a short bio? Does it count for anything?

    And the editing process... again, spot-on. Every time I go through the final draft I see something which I want to change, but on this project I'm just not going to. Trying a professional editor for the fundamentals. Just received the manuscript back (2 weeks ago) and what a difference 2 bucks a page makes. I know it's taboo in the trade, still, one must own-up to ones shortfalls... I can not polish, but, I enjoy the writing. It is an experiment and that's why I wanted to start this thread. A taboo project, start to finish... lol.

    If it works I'll change the minds of many naysayers, if it fails I'll just be another idiot. Like an elephant, my skin is pretty thick... just start another book.

    The sequel if ever needed would stand alone, but the first part sets the stage... If act one fails, scrap act two.

    Thank you for your story... it's good to know I not the only one stressing over this submission process... Don't you hate the waiting game?

    What about the bio?
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    hey there, mad!
    i'm happy to know my nagging paid off for you... keep up the good work and best of luck with the novel...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  8. Calrootpeg
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    Calrootpeg Member

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    LOL but ??? Oh I heard. Quite a shame yet oh so entertaining. At least for the clickers.

    Thank you for the impute.

    Here's a finishing question: What size font to use for submission? I'm using 12.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    First off, look at potential publishers. Many post manuscript guidelines. In general, the most commonly preferred format is a 12 point serif font (Courier New is widely recommended), Letter sized paper (8.5" x 11"), 1" margins on all sides. Courier is often considered much more readable than Times New Roman. The text should be left-aligned (ragged right), and numbering begins after the title page.

    Short pieces generally do not require a cover page. Instead, the title and auther (pen name) appear at the top of page 1. As always, check your publisher's submission guidelines to see whether a title page is requested.

    Paragraph format should be double spaced, with no leading or trailing vertical spacing, and with a 0.5" first line indent.

    Each page except the title page should have a header that contains the author's last name (pen name), condensed title (some publishers suggest all caps), and page number. When submitting a hardcopy manuscript, it should be printed single-sided unless the publisher specifies otherwise.

    Before submitting, check that publishers's guidelines and make appropriate adjustments. The above settings will meet many publishers' guidelines and will require minimal changes for most others.
     
  10. Calrootpeg
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    Calrootpeg Member

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    Please believe that I really am not trying to toot my horn... self-promote... vanity post (whatever that is), it's just that I did not go this route on my first submitted book. I called directly to some pretty noteworthy agents and publishing houses, then sent my book, with no query letter at all, to the person directly... fed-ex. I had cover artwork, front and back, and title, on thick white glossy paper, spiral-bound. Maybe if actually written with 12 point, it would be 400 plus pages, but it is part story, largely essays I wrote for a company using it as a "hook" during the early years of fax-machines (e-mail and this type of site was just...well, just crawling 1994,5,6,7,8). The last hundred pages is a dictionary style reference. I made 60 books and sent them as Christmas gifts to my customer base, which at the time included The White House. After a positive congressional comment I received back (even longer story), the library asked to see it and was accepted for the reference section. I also wrote for two papers. One I wrote sports and a column, the other just a column. Plus many trade articles in various magazines and trade journals. Oh yea, and hundreds of Letter to the Editors, never one not printed. (lots of political JUNK)

    Cogito..... there is more but involves medical, political, radio and TV... I swear it's true and I know... who cares, but...

    You sound sincere. Is there anything in that babble I just wrote I could or should use in a Bio? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    To follow up on your format directions: This new book is only 140 pages. My name and title should be on every page?

    I will try that font. Good information...THANK YOU.

    FYI, the book was intended for YA but I think it's ERA - Easy Read Adult, moderate read high school, must be read to children.. but Must Be (they'll like it) :) 33,000... some say novel, I think short-story? Another question.

    To conclude (shut-up): I'm trying to follow NORMAL channels this time. Write- finish writing- submit to an editor- final read and print- send to agent- wait. It's my own little experiment I hope works through to a conclusion... rejected x 6, or sold. In the process emotions run high, even fighting with my wife (AND OTHERS) over the word " ostentatious " to a door-slamming, huffing away climax. More then a year, and 280 dollars plus INK, I can use some tips and hear from other writers who are most likely doing the same thing right now! Like waiting for a broken leg to heal...just grouchy! Sometimes one needS a vent and this forum seems like a good place to regenerate! Tis the season :)

    Thank you again...
     
  11. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks for everything, Maia. I'll keep you informed!
     
  12. NyeLew
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    NyeLew Member

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    33k is more of a novella than a short story, but even so it's kind of short for a novella, really.
     
  13. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not really...I think most novellas are 30-35k tops. That's what makes them a novella. Most that i've read have been about that long.
     
  14. Calrootpeg
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    Calrootpeg Member

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    A novel, a short story, a book, a manuscript... seems there is a divide in opinion, but heck, a novel sounds better. "An aspiring novelist" vs "A guy who wrote an unpublished book".

    Also, a madman is mad about nothing, a mad man about something... tough skin, just ask.

    Back to the theme: I put in the header. Much nicer looking. Ripped up another 40 pages but it was worth the lost paper and ink.

    Still looking for any advice on the BIO? Is it even necessary in a query letter?

    (page 1, this thread has the bio info I don't know if to, or, if not to include)

    Thanks again... great web-site... good info :)
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no... none of that is advisable... all they want to know is if you have any relevant paid credits...
     
  16. Calrootpeg
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    Calrootpeg Member

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    What about the newspaper columns and articles?

    Hi K. The editor just fixed the fundamentals. It would be nice if I went to a 4.50 a page book editor who could re-do the whole project, but, like I said post one: This is an experiment to get me past the..."nice content, clean it up" part of rejection and/or shelving the project entirely.

    I have to shout-out to all of you who are like me; after the story is completed, reading a two dollar a page editing job of your work is beyond excitement, it teeters on bliss. :)

    TABOO! But it not only helps see the holes in plot and continuity, but helps with writing the next book. To see your words properly styled, well, it seems to stick better the next writing session. ( two cow, two cow's, two cows... lol thank you on that one).

    I am thinking of giving a 200,000 word-count to another editor later this year (that's 400 at 4.50 ouch). You are right, 2 bucks does not buy much... 4.50 might. Getting too old to re-type, and too poor for the 10 buck editors, like the beds of bears, 4.50 is "just right."

    Back to theme: Header in; name, page number, title (?), minor polish to page 57, confused about query letter, still seeking advice on bio....probably leave out, plugging away for submission in January.

    WHAT ABOUT YOU FOLKS... WHERE YOU AT...dangling for fun. :)
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    irrelevant, unless you were paid the going journalism rate... and if so, just mention the publications, don't waste space giving titles/dates...

    header should only contain your last name, key word/s of title and page # [starting on pg 2]... and goes at right margin, like this:

    as for bio, i'd strongly suggest leaving it out, in your case... the work will have to sell itself...
     
  18. Calrootpeg
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    Calrootpeg Member

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    Ok then. Here's another: Since I have a rejection letter from Putnam on the library book, with an affirming short hand written note from editorial (your book is delightful! ) and included was a list of agents, should I find an agent doing business with Putnam, or any good agent, using that as an eye catcher? It was from 1997, but I still have the letter.

    Back to theme: Lucky with header, printed revised and final EDIT of 63 of the 140 pages. Going with NO BIO, cut out "ostentatious", decided to keep in "sniggeredly"... If he/she gets that far I have a book sold... There is no murder, rape, infidelity, black magic or sadistic torment, although death occurs, so YA seems my only choice. So far the term...Very cute... is a recurrent review (of the rough). I'm fine with cute, guess the question is: Is there a market for 33,000 words ending with cute, not a hangman's noose in various metaphors?

    Between the header advice, and the bio... this web site, being my second ever used, has been invaluable. Love to post some of my other works in serious threads for no doubt a serious ... whopping. After submission, and during the wait. For now it's a tight schedule. Still need the query letter, and an agent.
    "Fed-Ex overnight? SURE!!!!! " lol

    Thanks you guys, gals, folks... (query advice needed soon) :)
     
  19. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you could, if that's the book you're currently shopping and the comment is fairly recent... but since the rejection/comment was from a dozen years ago, i'd strongly suggest not referring to it, since that would show you haven't been able to snag an agent in over a decade of trying...

    i've no clue what all the stuff after 'words' means, but in answer to that first part of the question, if it's a children's or YA market book, 33k could certainly fly... but there's no hope for it, if an adult market novel...

    if you want lots of tips from the pros on how to write a good query, you can email me and i'll be glad to forward them...

    m
     
  20. Calrootpeg
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    Calrootpeg Member

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    33,000 words meant 140 pages of a story a bit too long for children but out of trend with YA if violence against people, or zombies taking over a town is all that sells. Again, I wrote this story because in part, it's based on a real events. I took liberties of course, but it's a firm start to finish fictional story... let's face it,... it's an Yearling, Huck, Rapid pet yellow dog format, with a twist of fantasy at the end. Not meant to be, but....

    I only submitted the other book to that one publishing house because it had lots of information, and entertainment I thought women the floral trade might appreciate. That's how I thought it worked. Good book. Send to largest publisher. They edit. I get checks. While it would have been great if it sold my expectations were minimal. After that there was no publishing pursuits atoll until a local publisher of mystic writings asked to see my very first book... coma induced sci-fi message to the world from a NDE I had in 1983. I left him that book, my big book, and a book I start where I wrote one story per page once a week, continuing the story for three years.. then stopped. 165 pages of fun. His assessment was my SCI-FI was to controversial for his market. My big book was the wrong genre, but he like it if... big if... I could complete the submission process.

    Back to editing, first stage of submission after the book is finished: I pieced together that book with many other writings I'd written on a typewriter, printed on dot-matrix, laser printer, font 8, 12, 9, part single spaced, four different computers!!! no back-up, just paper... I could not re-do that book by myself. But for 4 dollars a page well done, or 2 bucks just done, I'm thinking of dusting off the original and trying again... this way. The book is finished, now what? Write, finish writing, give to an editor... the rest is gravy!

    Until this experiment is completed, hopefully by February, I'll stand my ground. But I promise if anyone really cares, that if I fail, I'll post some and all can laugh...heartily.

    Still though, you have convinced me that anything other then the merits of this book can not be used in the query letter. Unless voice to voice, they ask.

    Back to theme: I like the book so far. Keeps my attention and I wrote it. Can the world use a turn of the 19th century writer in the turn of the 20th century value system? When the world is bleakly tumbling downward, might "cute story" finally grab any attention? Maybe when good times roll, bad thing are read. Just might be true then, that when bad times roll, good thing might be read. Plus it's an easy B if used as a English Literature project. LOL...

    40 pages more until... FINAL EDIT...PRINT!!! Query next........

    HERE IS A TAD... CHAPTER EIGHT

    ...A cutting tension by both human and animal had the enclave tormented. When would the fires stop?
    Increasingly the mountain sank as smoke lingered low and the highest peaks seemed to float atop brown froth like the smoke stacks of a sinking ship before an ocean swallows it up...

    Yea I know... But in America we all can try... :) Let's hear your stories.... I know they're out thar!!!!!
     
  21. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Don't worry about page count. Publishers only want to know word count. Let them worry about the layout and typesetting. All you need to be concerned about is submitting in the proper manuscript format, with a word couint acceptable for their submission guidelines.
     
  22. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    33k can certainly be acceptable for a YA novel, as can some zombie/violence content, since there's plenty of that out on the shelves already...

    the problem i see, now that you've posted an excerpt, is the writing quality, which is not yet up to marketable minimums...

    for instance, the first sentence makes no sense at all, semantically and syntactically... and in the rest, scrambled syntax and wordiness spoil what could have been a good bit of imagery...
     
  23. Calrootpeg
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    Calrootpeg Member

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    Your critique is well above my level. Both lines, out of thousands, I like. Exceptionally. The writing process does not entail worry over whether the written is liked, disliked, read, or goes into a box. It's an extension of one's soul. However, there is a trade called writing. There are very good tradesmen in this business who produce writing in accordance with acceptable limits. I've read ... lots... been published.. lots ... but, my ego, pride, the garbage of life, takes second, first being the adventure. And, you and I know, many an adventurer has died on the peaks they tried to climb.

    The book is finished, now what? This implies that the adventure has begun, either you live or die, or, stay back because your wife or children or mother is crying in such worry of your potential death.

    There is garbage in print, there is garbage on the screens, there is garbage in politics, there is garbage on all these web sites, dominating, yet very few souls. We've had this discussion before.

    Back to the theme: 20 more pages to edit, print and send. I called a few agents, randomly, picking the minds of whomever answered. All said send a query. I'll keep calling until one say's, "send the book." (I don't have a query letter yet, so, put those poor Joe's at the bottom of the list.) There are hundreds of hungry agents, publishers, and markets out there... no need to pan the wrong side of the river if you understand how gold flows downstream. I've been panning gold a long time, an though I haven't found the huge nugget, I keep a vile of flake and dust just to say I've done it... This applies in writing too.

    " All the little congruences and arabesques you prepared with such delicate anticipatory pleasure are gobbled up as if by pigs at a pastry cart." John Updike on criticism.

    Peace on Earth... shoot, push the button already. But, Merry Christ mas! (the first will never be) :)
     
  24. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i can guarantee you that no legit agent who's been in business long enough to be any good at it will ever tell you that, from a phone call... you DO need to send out queries, whether you want to, or not... and whether you believe in miracles, or not... that's what is done, because it makes good sense... and it's how the industry works...
     
  25. Calrootpeg
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    Calrootpeg Member

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    No, no, Mamamaia, I understand that... however, from my list, from 1997, those agents or better, agencies, whose telephone numbers are still working, well they do listen especially on a Saturday. It was just urge to dig-out that list. I haven't used it for nearly 4 years. Without giving any information about myself or too much info about the story, 100% said, "Send a query letter." Now, most likely they were receptionists, or juniors, but they answered.

    I have many more listed agents I never called because they listed themselves under YA, Children, Sci-fi, WOMENS, when I was pushing an informational type of book in 1997, and my autobiography, which I buried soon after it's completion, but still managed to talk directly to some agents. Cold calling and extracting information is my... way. They are just people, not gods. Plus when they say where did you get this number from I say Putnam,... the calls goes to the next gate-keeper.

    However, to stay true to this threads theme: I am following your advice, and others step by step. The critique of the actual writing isn't necessary. It will be interesting if afterward I post in the critiquing shed for the butchering process to begin. I'm not opposed to learning to write better, but only if I ask how to... right now its submission time. It's not a time to worry about what was, or what's to be, only that this project receives it's final critique x 6, from those that write the checks. Maybe I've been in this game too long. Sales and marketing. Today my product is a book. When selling, be polite going up the ladder, but don't spin your wheels with those THAT CAN'T MAKE THE FINAL CALL.

    Still stuck in the last two chapters. My instinct is to change it a bit, but how many time does the phase, "I was going to play the number, or, I shouldn't have changed my answer, or If I just didn't get in that car... meaning, I'm going as it came out of me the first time through. To change the story means the book is not finished which would make me a hypocrite. I may be arrogant with my stupidity, but bashful with my hypocrisy. One's a sneeze, the other... urination. :) :0 :)
     
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