Hello all, my name is Paul Johnson. I grew up writing short stories as a hobby. I always wanted to become a professional novelist. Last year I completed the longest fiction story I have ever written at 41,219 words in the unedited version of the manuscript. I can't afford a real editor so I hired my sister who is an English teacher to edit it for me. She's in the process of editing the last three chapters as i type this out. When she's finished with the last three chapters, I'll have a more accurate word count but I'm confident that it won't drop below 41K. Since it's below 50k is the fiction story that I created even considered a novel? For the moment that's what I'm calling it since I don't know what else to call it. I didn't focus on word count, just telling the story. My novel is very weird and sort of a misfit when it comes to classifying it. I personally call it a Gothic/Christian/Horror/Fiction Novel, lol. A professional editor(who i had read the manuscript and give me a quote on how much it would cost to edit it) told me over the phone that he had a hard time putting the book into just one category. He said it might be considered Christian/Horror/Faction/Allegory since the book is designed to have the reader learn Biblical principles as the main character of the story learns them. I doubt any sane publisher would touch it with a ten foot pole at the moment and here's why: I'm not ashamed of my story, it's just that the content of the story could just as easily anger the Christian/Conservative crowd as the Liberal/non-religious crowd). I'm not out to tick people off, I just write what's on my heart and what comes out isn't always nice, lol. Anyway, I had the idea of improvising through publishing my book through an independent publisher FIRST called "Xulon Press" for 2,000 bucks. I got a deal with them where they'll publish it with a professional cover(that i designed myself and they perfected it via photo shop). They'll also give me a copyright to the book, give it an ISBN number and they will also arrange it so that anybody can purchase my book via amazon.com, barnesnnoble.com, ebay and a few other websites. You can read all you want about the 2,000 deal they give to writers on their website at xulonpress.com. The reason I'm planning on going this route(even though it's gonna cost me a lot) is so that I can get my proverbial "foot in the door" in the writing industry. My theory is that I might have better luck with my 41K'ish novel getting published via main stream if I presented an "already finish product" that is "already being sold". One of the biggest reasons my book is so "short" compared to 60K+ novels I've seen is because the novel is designed to be a "prequel" to an entire novel series that I'm working on. I'm already in the process of writing the sequel to this novel and I'm pretty confident that it's probably going to be around 80K because I'm going to have a little more than twice as much “happening” in the story than the first book. I can't tell the future or anything, I just know this because I basically create a "solid-story outline" before proceeding to completely write a story. It's just a technique I developed on my own that has cured "writers block" for me. Anyway, I'm throwing this up here as sort of a self introduction to this forum and also because I'm not comfortable spending the 2 thousand bucks on Xulon Press until I've researched any other options I can find. Any advice would be appreciated.