1. Dylan J
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    Dylan J New Member

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    Unpublished Author, Time-line questions

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Dylan J, Jan 8, 2012.

    I am new to the writing field, and I am unpublished. I recently finished the first draft of my manuscript (zombies), found an agent that represents this type of genre (hard to do), and crafted my query letter.

    I am not certain as to what to do next, but here is a tentative order of things. Is this ok?

    1. Have a small group of friends/family read the manuscript, and offer advice
    2. First round of revisions
    3. Have a reviewing company, or somebody experienced in the business read it and offer good advice
    4. Second round of revisions
    5. Take a step back, read the whole thing, think hard about it
    6. Final round of revisions
    7. Have manuscript edited
    8. Send query letter to agent
    9. Agent accepts
    10. Agent gets me published


    Is this a good order? After researching agents and even drafting my query letter, a painstaking process, I realized that most agents do NOT want queries until the manuscript is entirely finished, which includes revisions and edits.


    Also, I realize steps 9-10 are unlikely, I am simply writing them down because that WOULD be the order of things, right?
     
  2. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you only just finished it, give it a rest. Leave it for anywhere from a week to a month to a year. Just wait long enough that you can look at it with truly fresh eyes. I suggest about a month. That way, when you're reading it, you'll get through different parts and think, "Wow, did I really write that?" It means you're not as emotionally vested in the writing itself. That's where you give it your first round of revisions, and you need to give it the utmost effort.

    Following that, you find someone who knows the English language well, who you respect the opinion of, and who isn't afraid to tell you if you've done something stupid. If you've got someone in that position who can review it for you, great. Don't just give it to family and friends to read. You let family and friends read finished products, not half-assed first drafts.
    Do what your beta reader suggests. If you want to send it to a professional after that, it's your choice.

    Really, once you've got major plot holes out of the way and you know the plot is okay, you just need to make sure your prose is strong. Really, you don't want too many people reading it before it's finished. If you're trying to get it published, you want as few people reading it as possible.

    Anyway, once you think it's ready, that's when you start submitting.
     
  3. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I believe that it's quite possible that the agent would also suggest a new set of revisions. Also, the agent doesn't have the power to just get your book published - if he accepts it, _he_ then goes into a round of submitting it to publishers.

    I'm a bit puzzled about:

    3. Have a reviewing company...
    7. Have manuscript edited

    I don't think that it's customary to pay anyone to either review or edit your manuscript, so if that's what you mean, I'd suggest questioning these steps and doing more research on them. (And seeing what the experienced folks here have to say about them.)
     
  4. Dylan J
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    Dylan J New Member

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    Wow, a month? The thinking is that I won't be able to accurately decide what would make my book better or worse, if I do it too soon after finishing the first draft?


    Ok I guess I should have been more clear, yes I meant the agent will work on publishing the book, and his goal and purpose is to in fact publish it.

    Also, about the agent suggesting a new set of revisions, everywhere I look says that before sending in your manuscript you make sure its completely "polished" and done... I thought this was because if the agent saw any "revisions" he wanted done, he just wouldn't bother replying to the query.


    It's not? I was under the impression, per my reply to your other quote, that before sending it in to an agent it needs to be quite finished. This would include editing... Or am I wrong about that?

    And I used to work for a reviewing company, it seems like a good idea to me t get it reviewed by somebody who does it professionally, with any tips and critiques they might have. Is this not true?
     
  5. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    You want to be able to look at it objectively. If you start editing straight away, it's still too much yours. It's still "your baby". You need to let it sit. You need to forget what you did in certain parts. You need to forget the details. Then, when you look at it, you won't have any trouble telling yourself you're an idiot because of example a or that you shouldn't do so much of example b.

    It's just easier to edit something that you're not as heavily emotionally vested in.
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yep, I think that it does need to be as polished as you're capable of making it, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the agent won't want changes, and my impression is that then the publisher might also want changes. I don't think that those changes will be in the realm of "improve your grammar" but more in the realm of, "If you're casting this as a romance rather than a pure mystery, I think that the relationship between Sarah and James needs more development." Or, y'know, something like that - I don't have any experience, I just know that when I read about the publishing process, it appears to be a given that revisions will be called for even after a work is accepted.

    Edited to add: And I believe that if and when you are accepted by a publisher, your editor will be commenting on the thing line by line. Again, that doesn't mean that you can get away with sloppy writing, it just means that when it's as good as you're capable of making it, an editor can guide you in making it even better.

    It should absolutely be finished and polished, but my impression is that the author needs to be capable of editing it to the point of being ready for submission. I don't suppose that it's necessarily _bad_ to pay for editing or review, but I suspect that it would be so very expensive that you as the author might end up actually losing money on the whole experience - an author doesn't make a ton of money on a book, especially a first book. I'm sure that folks who know better than me will chime in.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if you want to be a successful writer, you're going to have to be able to edit and polish your own work... the money spent on professional services isn't likely to ever be recouped, so it'll almost certainly be money down the drain...
    your 'plan' is way too specific and won't fit most writers' process... don't know where you may have found such a formulaic set of steps, but i'd scrap it, if i were you... here's why:

     
  8. Dylan J
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    Dylan J New Member

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    Thanks! That was exactly what I was looking for.

    To clarify though, I'm not a complete beginner. I know the odds against me, I know that likely nothing will ever happen with this book. I'm simply wondering what's the best way to go about trying.

    I've done lots, and lots of research on query letters. A friend of a friend used to be an editor, and he has helped me forge my query letter to an amazing standard.

    I know the agent doesn't actually publish me. It's a little like a math problem, I just did that step in my head, because I didn't need to put down "agent>publisher>publish" I already know the beginning and the end result.

    Additionally, if the book doesn't get published (which it probably won't) I'll at least be way, way more experienced for my next book which may have a chance.
     
  9. miss sunhine
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    miss sunhine Member

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    Don't think you're seeing things realistically.
    It takes years to Edit a novel, you need to give it a lot of rest and view it with fresh eyes. Family/friends say they'll read it but sometimes let you down, they can be bias and in general have no experience to offer.
    Professional Editors cost money, lots of money, there is a reason people teach themselves to edit their own work.
    And being taken on by a Agent is incredibly hard and unlikely especially for your first book, there are unspoken secrets in this industry that age your level of experience you don't know.
    And if you do get taken on that doesn't mean you will be Published only that the Agent will do all they can to get the book published and you stand a better chance.
    I'd so much more research if i were you, and teaching yourself to Edit takes years of practise and learning, don't cut corners by getting over people to do it for you.
    Maybe you could post the first section of your work on here and get feed back.
    Ask people if they think it's good enough to send to an Agency.

    Good Luck!
    x
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that's the ticket!

    sorry, but that's sheer nonsense... it certainly shouldn't take years, and doesn't take that long for any good writer... if it's taking you years to edit a single book, then the odds are your writing skills simply aren't up to marketable levels and no amount of editing will help...
     

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