1. JeanneB
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    JeanneB New Member

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    When do you know you're ready to publish?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by JeanneB, Jun 5, 2010.

    Greetings,

    I'm new to this whole forum thing so forgive me in advance for any faux pas. ;)

    My question is this, when do you know if your book is ready for publishing?

    I'm a novice writer and have never been published. I have a completed manuscript, which I'm currently re-editing. I've researched the necessary steps to get it published, but when I sit down to write my query letter, I come up empty. I don't know how to even draft the first sentence. I'm afraid that all the reading I've done about writing the perfect query letter/proposal may have had some adverse affects. And here I thought writing the book was going to be the difficult part. ;)


    Thoughts, advice, suggestions?
     
  2. izanobu
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    izanobu Senior Member

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    Just get it done. I know it sounds simple, but really, just write the query and don't stress too much over it. It'll either work or it won't. Meanwhile, write the next book. I've found it helps me stop stressing about each individual work when I treat the process as just that, a process. Your first novel might not be good enough to publish, but you won't know unless you send it out and try. And your second. And your third, etc...

    A book isn't an event. It's just a book. Send it out, write another, repeat. Eventually if you are working on your skills and getting lots of writing practice in (which is what writing new words should be), you'll start selling. :)
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    You will be ready to submit the manuscript once it is revised and polished to the best of your ability. As for the query letter, there are a lot of guides and sample letters that can be found online. You can use one as sort of a template and work from there.
     
  4. JeanneB
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    JeanneB New Member

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    Thank you both for your feedback and suggestions.
    I'll just keep plugging away at it. :)
    I've read several guides and sample letters but the more I read of the process the more confused I get. One bit of information I read suggested to not even bother sending a query letter if you don't have the proposal written....so again, not sure what to do.

    Thanks again!
    cheers.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if it's a novel, then you won't be writing a proposal, only a query letter...

    i've mentored literally thousands of aspiring writers and helped many of them with their queries, so if you get stuck, feel free to drop me a line for some help...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  6. JeanneB
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    JeanneB New Member

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    It's a memoir that I've written. And I may very well take you up on your generous offer of help, Maia

    :)
    Thank you again!
     
  7. jeanne
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    jeanne Member

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    It's important to do your best. As a writer, what we wrote by our own hands never seemed to be good enough. Just calm down, clear your mind, sit down at your computer, write the query, and send it! Let things go their own way.

    By the way, you wanted your name Jeanne but you can't, don't you. Cause I already took the name. :p
     
  8. Shinn
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    Shinn Banned

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    I know I'm ready to publish when my story is coherent, flows well and looks good all around; and then I will sit down and type out my query letter.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This is a good question.

    My mother is an amateur painter. She's actually a very good painter, but she has never put her paintings up for sale. Part of it is that she really only paints for herself. When there are too many paintings lying around, she stores some in the attic, and gives some away.

    She is never completely satisfied with the final result. No matter how good the painting, she always feels it could be better, and she keeps wanting to fix it.

    So knowing when you're done really can be a problem. You do have to find that balance point where it is not only good enough, but the best it will be. More fiddling will make it worse.

    There's no real answer for that except experience. There used to be a painting program of television with painter Bob Ross. Each half hour show would complete a painting in real time. But most of the time, I felt it should have been a twenty minute show, because that was about the time when he started to add gaudy little details that ruined the beauty of what he had completed to that point.

    If you overwork a story, it's just like overworking a painting. You lose some of the sparkle, and you clutter it with bric-a-brac.
     
  10. JeanneB
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    JeanneB New Member

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    And really, what are the odds of another Jeanne? Even spelled the same way too.....Love it!! :D
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    since it's a memoir/non-fiction, you'll need a proposal... that takes a lot of work and has many component parts... so drop me a line any time, for guidelines, tips, and/or help with it... m
     
  12. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    One answer is that your book is ready to be published when an editor buys it. I'm not being sarcastic - if you've had a beta reader go over it (someone you know well, a friend or family member so you know where they're coming from when they make suggestions) and fixed the obvious mistakes, spelling errors, continuity problems, or whatnot, then why not send it in?

    It's true that your course of action depends on what you want out of your writing. If you just have the one book that you want published, it might be hard to get a publisher interested (since they like to think you'll be producing an even better second book, not necessarily a sequel, which fans will buy). And memoir can be a tough sell, depending on the subject matter. It may be that you'll submit it a dozen or two times before a publisher takes the project on.

    But there are websites that can help you write queries, and if you have self-contained excerpts that you've submitted to magazines (for example, if your memoir is about gardening among other things, and you got a half-chapter published in the local Gardening Gazette) then you can tell publishers about that, which shows that your memoir touches on topics of interest to potential readers.

    Best of luck.
     
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  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    h-f...
    for a non-fiction book one must have a full-scale proposal put together, not just a query...
     
  14. eliza490
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    eliza490 Member

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    I think you're ready to publish when you reach that point when you feel very confident in your work. I have recently reached that point with a nonfiction book project I have been working on. For a few months I thought of just tossing it because I wasn't happy with what I had written and didn't like the general direction it was going. Then I came up with a new outline that works perfectly for my project and now I'm more excited about it then I ever was before. I still have some work to do on it, but now I feel so confident in my work that I will be ready to start contacting publishers soon. My attitude went from being "I really want to publish a book" to "I really want to publish this book because I am proud of it and think it's worth something". See the difference?

    ~Eliza
     

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