1. tomwritstuff
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    tomwritstuff Member

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    Where to go? Helpful hints, tips and advise?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by tomwritstuff, Mar 15, 2011.

    I started writing a story 10 years ago (2001) and I hope to get it published. I still have a lot to do (I think?) I keep getting to a level of completion, then I give it to my brother to proofread. He tells me its good but needs less characters and explanation. What it does need is more interaction with main characters and the he said this, she said that. This is so annoying as I feel it distracts the message/ tale I'm trying to get across. Plus I don't want it to turn into a poor man's Anne Rice Interview with the Vampire!
    Yes, its a Vampire story (Not another one your probably saying to yourself?) that I started before the Twilight saga or Trueblood ever made its way to the screens.
    Its so far at 50+ thousand words and increasing. I haven't written a synopsis for sending to an Agent yet. Good or bad idea? I find that harder than the story itself.
    The thing that I'm worried about is that if I go to an Agent/ publisher, I could be waiting years to see my finished work in print.
    If I self-publish I would see it far quicker. I have looked into both, weighing up their Pros and Cons. They seem evenly matched in my opinion.
    I've been working on it for too long to get rejected. I also have a dream of it becoming either a Manga Anime or a film/ series of films.
    I can write, I've got more than 1 story idea in my Stories folder! I absolutely hate reading though, I get bored after 10 pages. Luckily the first dozen pages of mine keep me entertained to read on. I've broken the manuscript up into chapter files to try and work on it that way. but I feel I might lose the flow as they might turn into their own stories. Wasting the time I've already put into it!
    So any advise on publishing/ self-publishing or just advise from any success stories would be helpful?
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hey cool I am in Morayshire as well.

    If you order a copy of the Writers and Artists Yearbook 2011 it will give you tips, lists of agents and publishers etc. We actually have a very small publishers in Elgin. It can take years of rejections to be accepted - Harry Potter at 14 months was fairly quick. Might be worth popping into the Brightspark bookstore (commerce street) and quizzing them.

    I have a copy of the Yearbook someplace you could borrow mine but my bookroom is currently doubling as a loft lol (had a leak).
     
  3. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    kinda tl;dr but i skimmed.
    Your work is going to get rejected the first time you send it. Unless your really really lucky. You might as well take the chance and try publish it at least! Most publishers say novels should be 80,000+ but this varies.
    Self publishing is just...tedious work. You have to market your book and it's up to you make it sell. You also have to print the books, which is big £££ so...to me self publishing is no. Also, it looks better if you published it traditionally as it shows your work was good enough to go through the publisher and get accepted. Well, that's just my take. It isn't about how fast you get to see in hard copy. Take your time.
    Hope this helped!
    EDIT: Dislike for reading = Low chance of being a good writer.
    Sorry.
    You have to get over that if you wanna be good writer.
     
  4. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    I really don't see how you can write effectively if you hate reading.

    Sending anything to an agent for unfinished fiction is a terrible idea. Just don't do it. Finish the story first. And by finish, I mean complete the rough draft, then give it at least 3 revisions. Get somebody besides your brother to read it.

    I can't get past the hating to read thing. It's like wanting to be a director but hating to watch movies. If you don't read, you won't improve enough to be a successful writer.
     
  5. tomwritstuff
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    tomwritstuff Member

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    Thank you all for your input. I have been looking at the Yearbook in Waterstones, I'll finally buy it later. I think my brother mentioned it once?
    Its not that I hate reading as such! I haven't found anything that interests me. I am the type of person that if there is a film out, I tend to sit and watch that for 2-3 hours than spend 10 or more to read the book version. I write as if I am watching a film. Probably because I feel that films miss out a lot (lord of the rings, the Da Vinci code, Harry Potter, etc) and I wouldn't want my work turned the same way. With important area's missed.
    My reading at school was never great and it is a fear of mine. I just need to find a Genre that I would enjoy. I struggle with a Haynes manual sometimes. I have tried reading and I have finished a couple before, I just get easily distracted. Hence why 10 years later I'm still writing this one story.
    Yet, I can make stories up! My brother said I should turn my story into a screenplay.
    I've had 2 other friends looking through it during the early stages (30 thousand words or less) and they both enjoyed it and gave me pointers.

    Thanks again all.
     
  6. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Elgin library has a writers group that meets there no idea if it is any good - I am thinking of starting one in the Forres area.
     
  7. tomwritstuff
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    tomwritstuff Member

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    I actually live and work in Inverness now. I haven't been on here for ages untill now, so I haven't got round to amending my profile yet.
    As I've been off my work with a shoulder injury, I thought I would set about trying to finish my manuscript. My other half has left me for a few days peace by visiting her relatives. Miss her and my daughter already.
    I'd like to finish and get published to provide a better life for my family. I'd like to test the water with this story before getting to grip with the others outstanding.
    I'm still looking into if I self publish, then it wont get rejected. The only thing with that is having to sell it myself etc. If I then try to find an Agent/ publisher I have researched that they tend not to touch you?
    So I'm still weighing up the odds?

    The more I chat about my publishing queries, the less time I'm spending on the manuscript!

    (My printer has just packed in too.) :(
     
  8. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    Before you even think about publishing, you need to have a good book, complete, proof-read, edited and market ready.

    Publishers aren't interested in incomplete manuscripts, specially from first time writers.

    You also seem to think that it's worth taking the self publishing route because that way you won't get rejected. Course you won't. You've only got yourself to convince that you have a product worth marketing.

    You want to get published because you can provide a better life for your family, which is an admirable goal, but if you're really serious, you need to put in a lot more work.

    Also agree with Youniquee, most writers read because they are drawn to the written story. Watching a film doesn't help you with writing a book. It may give you ideas, but having the idea for a plot is only part of the job. You need to be able to develop it in a way that your readers will embrace.

    Reading is research and learning to a writer. We learn from those who are better than we could ever hope to be and then we try - probably many times - to produce a work that, firstly we can be proud of and secondly - maybe - we can get published.

    Too many people underestimate the work and commitment involved in producing a book, let alone a good book. I think you need to really concentrate on your writing before you even think about publishing.
     
  9. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Most writers aren't terribly well paid very few make the minimum wage - like Evelon says it needs to be completed and ready to send before you can even start looking. It is not an easy route and not everyone will be the next Harry Potter or Twilight.

    Fairly sure Inverness has a writers group.
     
  10. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Does your brother actually read a lot? The other two who looked at it, do they read a lot? I'm not trying to be difficult, but if they are not heavy readers their input may be doing you more harm than good.

    Also, self publishing is risky. It costs a significant amount of money and unless you have a huge blog following or a platform in place already that will allow you to market to at least 15,000 people you should strongly reconsider. Even then you'll be lucky to break 5,000 sold, and I do mean lucky. Also, if you self publish, only sell 1,000 copies (I'm being generous) and then try to find a publisher they're not going to consider your marketing abilities, only that you didn't sell well.

    Rejection is part of life; perseverance is how you make a life.

    Most good writers are readers. I got a kindle for Christmas and finished my 46th book on it last night. That's roughly 4 a week. You should consider that reading IS learning to write.
     
  11. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually North Scotland isn't a bad area to self publish - libraries can be supportive, local media like anything that has reference to the local area and we have a number of independent bookshops. HOWEVER It is a huge amount of work for not a huge amount of money back.

    There has been a tradition of self publishing here for many years. Going into it thinking it will be a gold-mine isn't a good idea either.
     
  12. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Much different than the US. That sounds lovely.

    I still think you need to read more, get an unbiased opinion on your book, and get used to the idea of rejection, though.
     
  13. Ness
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    Ness Banned

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    I agree with what everyone else has said. You really shouldn't be thinking of submitting to agents or publishers until after you've completed - and revised! - your manuscript. Most publishers don't accept unsolicited manuscripts, so if you're looking to get into traditional publishing, a literary agent is the way to go.

    But you WILL get rejected. No writer has a perfect record - every writer has been rejected before. You need to get comfortable with the idea that not everyone will like your work - this is a very subjective industry.

    Writing also won't help you pay the bills. Unless you become a HUGE success like J.K. Rowling, you really shouldn't consider quitting your day job to become a writer - especially if you're expected to help support a family. Most writers juggle writing and jobs.

    Getting published also doesn't happen overnight. It involves a LOT of waiting.

    And as for not being a reader - I can't imagine being a writer who doesn't read. You need to read in order to improve. If you write your manuscript like a movie, perhaps you should look into screenwriting instead.

    Hopefully I wasn't too much of a downer!
     
  14. tomwritstuff
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    tomwritstuff Member

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    My brother does read a fair bit and my other 2 proofreading helpers are both in the teaching profession.
    I do need to read more, so thanks for that advise. I am planning on completing my Manuscript before submitting it to an Agent first. I just need to get my head around writing the synopsis!
    I'm still going to keep an eye on the self-publishing area, if going down the better route doesn't pay off. I don't want my work to go to waste and if it does get rejected then I'll have self-publishing as a back-up. I would like to see it in print before my daughter starts school!
    I wouldn't know where to begin with a screenplay unless there is a Dummies Guide out there?
    I'd like to thank everyone for their advise/ opinions.
     
  15. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Please don't give up if it gets rejected ONCE! >.< only if it's like 50 times...even then, you should have gotten the point that you need to improve your manuscript further.
     
  16. tomwritstuff
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    tomwritstuff Member

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    Cheers.
    I go by the saying relating to my Ancestor 'if at first you don't succeed, try try again' . That spider never gave up! Why should I?
    Maybe thats why it has taken me 10 years to write it so far. I always find new influences and ways to improve it. I've lost count on what draft it is! I do a bit and put it to one side before going back to it a couple of months later. Now its time to put as much effort in it as possible!
    Its been handwritten, put onto a pc then printed off, handwritten again and now umpteen draft versions on my Laptop.
    I don't want all the time and effort that I've spent on it to go to waste. I am always finding new ways to improve it so hopefully once I'm happy with it, it shouldn't get rejected.
    Thats me thinking positive, I couldn't put myself through the heartache if it gets rejected 50 times.
     
  17. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    I know, but you might have to get over that. Swallow it up. And try again! Never give up. Personally, i think you should stop revising and send it off..Too much revisions always ends up going wrong, imo.
     
  18. tomwritstuff
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    tomwritstuff Member

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    I just have a little bit of addition to make to it, then I'll be happier.
    I then have the task of writing the synopsis. I'm struggling with that, a lot of things I've read off the Net and the Dummies Guides said that the synopsis should have been written first. After getting the feedback for the second time from my brother I got a bit upset as he said my story was like one big synopsis rather than a story. He never said that the first time and I had only made a few improvements since that one. He has made some valid points that I'm working on though.
    Would I benefit more if I sent it off and paid for someone to proofread it? Getting that professional perspective on it!
     
  19. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    I think you should give it to people from your target audience, besides they'll be the one reading it ;)
     
  20. tomwritstuff
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    tomwritstuff Member

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    Thanks for your help. I'll get to that once I'm happy with it.
    I've been looking at other posts on this site and the info given out to others is helping me with my worries also.
     
  21. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you are planning to submit in the UK do not use the net to write your synopsis from. Get a copy of the yearbook first - read it and it's guidelines and also check with each individual agent and publisher website. Almost every agent or publisher I have approached so far has asked for something similar to the yearbook - which is very different to what publishers and agents in the US ask for.

    However you are not a proper writer until you have had your first standard rejection. I've done quite well in having had two non standard ones in the space of a few months of submissions.
     
  22. tomwritstuff
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    tomwritstuff Member

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    I finally picked up a copy of the yearbook earlier. I've just had a skim through it tonight and it seems full of helpful bits. Each Agent/ Publisher wants different things. Synopsis + the first 3 chapters or many other combinations.
    Should I just send to as many Agents as possible or just stick to Scottish ones for ease of access?
    What does the Vampire genre come under? Thriller, Fiction or other? As they all seem to cover certain areas only, rather than catering for them all. I could say the content of my story would fulfill a varied area? Its not a romance, I know its no Mills and Boon!
     
  23. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    Manuscripts get rejected for many reasons. There's no point in sending an historical saga to a publisher specialing in vampire novels. You have to research the market, and then target the publishers.

    If a publisher's list is full, no matter how good the work, he won't have the resources to deal with it.

    If your are happy with the finished work, then you should be proud of it whether it gets accepted or not. But don't expect a publisher, who has years of experience in seeking out marketable books, to have the same opinion of your work that you do.

    As someone mentioned earlier, you may be better looking for an agent.
     
  24. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Fantasy and/or paranormal which restricts who will look at it unless it's YA far more will accept YA fantasy than they will adult fantasy - a lot of agents don't do face to face anyway. It is worth checking out websites individually as well. For example one of Scotland's biggest agencies doesn't like it when you carpet bomb agencies - they like to know why you chose them. Right now they are not taking on though - one of their agents was at the beginning of the month. You have to check the agencies websites to find out who is taking when. JK Rowlling's agency was taking on for about two or three months last summer/autumn but when I last checked are not at present.
     
  25. tomwritstuff
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    tomwritstuff Member

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    Thank you very much for your help and advise. It has given me lots to take in and consider.
    Very much appreciated.
     

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