?

Wait for an agent or self-publish?

Poll closed Jan 1, 2017.
  1. Wait it out (Agent)

    42.9%
  2. Self-publish

    57.1%
  3. Do another rewrite to shorten it for MG

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributor Contributor

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    Agent or Self-publish...

    Discussion in 'Traditional Publishing' started by Sack-a-Doo!, Dec 18, 2016.

    After writing the 10th draft of Aliens Don't Bend at the Knees, it's in pretty good shape. Typos: so rare as to be non-existent, prose: the best I can make them, story/plot/flow: also my best.

    Even though there are little nagging voices in my mind that keep saying it should undergo yet another complete rewrite, I've spent almost two years of concerted effort on this. But that's really beside the point...

    The Issues
    1. It reads like an MG story (I took out the 'f' words and it's pretty much bang on MG), BUT
    2. it's 100k words, twice the acceptable length for MG.
    So, I see myself with three choices:
    1. Keep sending out queries to agents in hopes that one of them will take a chance on a manuscript that's too juvenile for it's length and too long for it's (apparent) audience.
    2. Self-publish and see how it goes, or
    3. do yet another rewrite (and risk getting so sick of the story that I never want to write again [can you tell this is the last thing I wanna do?])
     
  2. MrIntensity

    MrIntensity Member

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    If you don't mind me asking, what exactly is a/an MG?
     
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  3. A.M.P.

    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Contributor

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    @MrIntensity
    MG is Middle Grade.

    @Sack-a-Doo!
    If it's the best you can do (Especially after 10 rewrites!) you shouldn't rewrite it again.
    Work on something else as you'll start seeing things that aren't there.

    I would keep looking for an agent (There is a million YA and MG agents that are actively seeking... it sucks for me as I don't write that xD) and even try submitting some to the publishers themselves.
    But that's my opinion because I personally need some sort of confirmation from a professional in the industry to tell me that my work isn't pure shite.
    I'd be too embarrassed to self-pub and I know nothing on how to advertise and push my work.
     
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  4. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    Aliens is in no way MG - what gave you that idea? It doesn't fit the criteria and it definitely doesn't read like an MG book. Have you been querying it as a MG?

    Once you've self-published, a whole lot of agents (all of them in my experience, but I know a certain member will be along to argue soon) will not consider the manuscript. So my advice would always be to exhaust your search for agents first, then for publishers who take unagented submissions, and then self-publish as a last resort.
     
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  5. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    They're not mutually exclusive. Do both at the same time (assuming you have more than one work tout market).
     
  6. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributor Contributor

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    Conversations with two other beta readers, one last year (an earlier draft) and one talking about the final draft.

    I spent more than a year between these two conversations working hard at making this 'feel' more like an adult story, but perhaps it's the story itself (aliens coming for ice cream and then stealing cherries) that elicited those opinions.
    Yes, yours may very well be the voice of reason in this situation. (I can 'hear' the exasperation in your words. :) )

    My impatience is getting the better of me. I'm also feeling disgruntled by the fact that someone still sees it as MG and now I'm wondering if that's why so many agents have turned it down... because it comes across as MG, but is the length of an adult-oriented novel. (sigh)
     
  7. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributor Contributor

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    Sorry, I'm not getting this. There are three options; which 'both' are you referring to?
     
  8. Raven484

    Raven484 Contributor Contributor

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    I am very curious, how much would you have to cut to make it MG?
    Personally, I would leave it alone and give it a few months before exploring self publishing. You have worked on it so long, give it a chance. Self publishing will still be there next year.
    Ten years from now, when I finally finish my wip, I will try the traditional path for at least a year. I use to be 100% self publish, but I figure if I can finish my work it is worth a shot.
    So many re-writes, you must be half insane by now! Enjoy your holidays my friend.
     
  9. Alex R. Encomienda

    Alex R. Encomienda Contributor Contributor

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    I agree with some others, after 10 rewrites you should be multitasking. Have you tried quearing another manuscript to agents?
     
  10. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributor Contributor

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    ATM, I only have the one.
     
  11. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    With all due respect, THEY'RE WRONG. :D

    I still read MG (childish escapism with my childhood favourites) and I read adult. Yours isn't MG in any sense of the word. I think you could get away with YA, and that might be a good punt since it seems every agent in the world represents YA.

    I hope I don't sound exasperated with you, because I'm not!

    If you're pitching it as MG then yes, the length will probably result in an auto-reject. If you're not mentioning whether it's MG, YA or adult, that might also cause a cranky auto-reject. If you pitch it as adult the length is fine. YA... probably won't be an auto-reject, but might give them pause.

    Honestly, the reason every manuscript gets turned out by loads of agents is because agents turn down most manuscripts, even ones in the top 1% of what they receive. If they didn't, they'd be taking on a new author three times a week. Hang in there. :)
     
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  12. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributor Contributor

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    Thanks, @Tenderiser.

    Did you see the private conversation I started with you?
     
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  13. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributor Contributor

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    Somewhere around 50k words... Yeah. I know.

    :cry::supertongue::supermad::supercheeky::supershock::supercheeky::cheerleader::supermad::supertongue::cry:
    Just a quick illustration of my mindset ATM.
     
  14. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributor Contributor

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    Naw, just your usual kind of exasperation. :D
     
  15. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    Agent or Self-Publish, it sounds like you need to move forward with this project and start another. You can keep rewriting and revising for another year before you move forward, but if it's the best story you can write...

    If you haven't found an agent while working on another project (or self-published), after another year you'll have two novels to send out for representation, or another one to publish. You'll double your chances of success submitting two manuscripts. And one of the better advertisements for a published novel is another novel being released.

    That's my two cents added.

    Whichever direction you take, I hope it works out.
     
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  16. antlad

    antlad Banned

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    I have to ask; what does 'pretty good shape' mean to you? To me it means- meh, I guess it's getting there.

    As far as length, I think a chance might be taken due to longer novels appealing to youngsters over the past few years (bad, fluff novels, IMO, but longer).
     
  17. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Something I've occasionally wondered: Is there such thing as "publishable, but not as a first book"?

    That is, a book that's good or great, completely publishable, people would enjoy it, but for some reason it's not suitable as the first book from a new author that nobody's ever heard of? Maybe because marketing hooks for a new author are different, or something?

    Because when I hear of "I haven't sold it; should I self-publish it?" I usually think, no, put it away, try to sell it later as your second-published book, and start working on another candidate for your first-published book. Though, really, only put it away if continuing to query is distracting you from that second book.

    (And, no, I haven't been published, so this advice is all coming from a place of near-complete ignorance. :))
     
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  18. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    You know, that's a really good point. Based on my experience I think it's very possible. My second book is IMO not nearly a strong a work as my first one, but I think it got accepted largely based on my previous good standing and sales success with my publisher. It's just my gut feeling, but I don't think they would have accepted Fatal Kiss if it were my first submission.
     
  19. antlad

    antlad Banned

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    In traditional publishing, in the past, yes, very much. You had to prove you could sell books before you could put out a 'wild card', that might (probably) won't sell. Publishers were very pessimistic in the past, for good reason. Nowadays, I would imagine there is a better chance for an 'out there' book to be a first published, many more avenues open for sales that there used to be.
    Many older famous authors have written extensively about how publishers saw them as a cash cow and would not publish anything different. In the past, well known authors would switch to a different publisher, and you knew something not normal from them was probably coming next.
     
  20. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributor Contributor

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    Some very fine points you've made, @ChickenFreak. I've wondered that myself.

    As for the complete ignorance... me, too. :)
     
  21. psychotick

    psychotick Contributor Contributor

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    Hi,

    My question would be how much submitting have you done for this book? Because my thought is always that if you want to go the trade route, set yourself some limits in terms of time spent submitting and / or agents submitted to. Those limits might be six months or a year, and say thirty submissions. Then if you haven't heard back it's time to look at the indie option. Otherwise there's a very good chance that you'll be submitting for a decade.

    So if you haven't set a limit, do so.

    The other thing to always remember is that no matter which route you take, there's only a small chance of success and no prize for second place. So if you try trade, make absolutely certain that your book is as good as it can be - sans editing - make sure you've picked the most suitable agents to represent your work, your cover letter is perfect etc.

    Now, if you've done that and got nowhere as most people do you have to change your game. That starts with an edit - by an editor you would trust. And yes this is expensive. You also need to look at cover design and blurb writing. Beta test both. You will also need some marketing thoughts - ie have worked out the basics of what platforms you want your book to be out on - kindle / KU / smashwords / CreateSpace etc, what genres etc you want to publish under and your whole issue with MG is something you need to consider, and whether you want to adverttise somewhere.

    The bottom line is whichever route you take it's a lot of hard work.

    Having said that the important thing every author needs to do in my opinion is publish. Writing is about telling a story, and if you don't publish you don't have anyone to tell it to. You've only achieved half your goal.

    Cheers, Greg.
     

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