1. Adam Bolander

    Adam Bolander Senior Member

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    When to call it quits?

    Discussion in 'Traditional Publishing' started by Adam Bolander, Nov 24, 2020.

    I've been trying to find an agent and/or publisher for Henry Rider: Clown Hunter for almost two years now, and I'm starting to think it just doesn't have enough market appeal to get professionally published. When would you guys say it's time to stop sending query letters and move on?
     
  2. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    When you have exhausted the agents/editors that you believe are solid--that you believe are worth seeking their representation and/or being published with.

    If you don't self publish it, just shelf it. It will always be there should you find representation/publication of another project. If you are successful with that, interest for Henry Rider may be there, then.

    Or, maybe a year from now, you can revisit the letter and/or manuscript and find room for improvement.

    In truth, I am not sure there is a 'right' or 'wrong' answer. Just whatever you believe is best, in the end.
     
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  3. Adam Bolander

    Adam Bolander Senior Member

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    I can still "publish" it on my website where I post all my books for free, but I'm trying to get away from that and find a real publisher. Nobody reads my free stuff.
     
  4. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking an agent/publisher. It is a difficult venture with no guarantee of success.
    My suggestion for self-publishing was more along the lines of hiring an editor, getting cover art/design, and releasing it on platforms such as Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, etc. (and in that I was not clear). Certainly something you'd want to research before considering moving forward on that front. Just because a work is published, does not mean it will find readers.

    I was just making observations and suggestions as, again, I am not sure there is a right or wrong answer as you move forward.
     
  5. KevinMcCormack

    KevinMcCormack Senior Member

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    I'm assuming there's been no constructive feedback from the rejected agents/publishers?

    Have you engaged any beta readers, and is the current manuscript based on their feedback?

    The reason I'm asking is that there's a middle step where you can explore revisions based on feedback and start a new round of submissions.
     
  6. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Sounds like you may have to resort to epubbing, and you can charge
    for that, so your work isn't free to read.
    Though that may be your last resort option. :superthink:
     
  7. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    it may also be worth hiring an editor , bearing in mind that you need to anyway if you were going to self pub

    its only been eight months since you were workshopping henry rider here, so its likely that the manuscript needs some work before its going to be acceptable to publishers
     
  8. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I call it quits on something when I no longer think it's my best. As we grow as writers, we get better. And sometimes writing a specific novel is a step we needed to take to improve. I've done a few of what I refer to as "practice novels." Don't get me wrong, I didn't think I was writing practice novels at the time, but now I'm better than those stories.

    The first novel I wrote I tried to find an agent. That didn't work, but the whole process brought me closer to publishing than I realized. And, you know, having my first novel published would now feel like an impressment. I'm not saying that's the case with you, but it was for me.

    There are other times when a writer really should not give up on a story. You'll find tons of stories out there about how much rejection famous writers have gone through. And rejection is something I know for sure. I have received hundreds of rejections and had to write more stories than I thought I even could to get published, but persistence is your friend.

    So, I wouldn't call it quits if you're just starting to feel discouraged. Think about where you are as a writer. If someone said, "Show me the best you can do," would this story be it? The key is to keep writing and/or keep revising. I truly believe that good stories get noticed and get published. There's a lot of competition out there, but that really doesn't matter as much as people think. And it doesn't matter at all if you've got a killer story with engaging prose. Every now and then we have to evaluate our writing and our skills. If you can do better now, do it. That doesn't mean you have to give up on this story. That's your call. But do think about where you are as a writer and how much this story reflects that.

    Also, until you've been rejected at least a hundred times, it's probably too soon to give up assuming you are putting your best work out there.
     
  9. Adam Bolander

    Adam Bolander Senior Member

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    I've tried self-publishing before. It didn't work. I have aspergers so I don't know how to interact with people in order to market them. Not even on the internet. Not even when they're FREE on the internet. It leads to a bunch of books nobody ever reads and one very depressed Adam.
     
  10. Malum

    Malum Offline

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    Never quit.
     
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  11. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    @Adam Bolander -Have you received any feedback from the publisher/agents you've been approaching as to why the book has been rejected? As you know, I've read it ...and I think it's entertaining to read, unpredictible (in a good way) and unique as well. Plus ...and this is a big plus for me ...it's also quite humorous—even though the underlying story is serious. The opener, with the raccoon was a hoot. I can't imagine why it would be getting turned down. But maybe there's something I'm not seeing. Have you had any specific feedback from the people you've been submitting this to? Saying why it was rejected?
     
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  12. Adam Bolander

    Adam Bolander Senior Member

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    The first reply said they didn't identify with Henry enough and I needed to make the emotions more real. The others just gave me a copy/paste rejection letter.
     
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  13. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    Goodness. What an odd thing to say. Mind you, did I read the same version they got? If you've been submitting this for two years, I would have come in at the middle of the process.

    I thought your viewpoint was very clear, and she was quite an emotional person. She engaged my interest right away. She acted tough, but she was always going 'shit shit shit' to herself. And wanting to please her mentor, even though he gave her very little encouragement. And she was honest about her feelings as well ...her ambivalence toward the boy she saved at the start (I've forgotten his name) was very well handled.

    Do you think that agent was looking for a specific sort of character? If it was a YA agent, were they looking for a more conventional female protagonist? Do you reckon?
     
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  14. Adam Bolander

    Adam Bolander Senior Member

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    It was about a year ago that I got that. Hold on, I'll try to find the email so I can give you her exact wording.

    EDIT: here it is.

    "The biggest area of revisions needed is in the abundance of telling. The sensory details should have me right there in the scene with Henry and Ethan through their journey. Ramp it up and make it visceral. Something that puts me right in the middle of each scene with the characters. I should feel the fear of both Ethan and Henry. The tension needs to be tense throughout the piece, not falter in the middle."
     
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  15. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    Golly. Is this the version I read, by the way?

    I'd be willing to take another look at the story, with that criticism in mind. I enjoyed it the first time, and wouldn't mind reading it again. If you want to do that, send me the final version you're actually sending out. We can set it up via PM ...just send me a PM, and we can decide if this is a good idea or not.

    The thing is, with a first-person POV, as your story is written, the POV character WILL be doing a lot of telling. She'll say things to the reader like "I was really pissed off," etc. That's not 'telling' in the usual sense of the word, because those are her words ...the way she's telling US the story. Hmmm....the reader will infer things about her character by the way she tells the story. She's telling us the way she sees things. It's up to us, the reader, to decide whether she was right or wrong to feel that way.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2020
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  16. Adam Bolander

    Adam Bolander Senior Member

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    I think so, or at least very close to it.
     
  17. Zeppo595

    Zeppo595 Contributor Contributor

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    NEVER EVER EVER GIVE UP

    If you get rejected by the agent? Go over to their house and hand the manuscript in person! If they still don't reply, figure out where they go for walks every day and follow them. Just do whatever it takes. Friends and family might try to dissuade you. Ignore them! Don't let them keep you off the path of achieving your dreams. In fact, you should probably disown them completely if they refuse to give you positive feedback on your manuscript. Nobody needs that negativity in their life.

    The trick is to believe in your genius and stop at nothing, even a restraining order, to get an agent's attention.
     
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  18. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 12/210 MP: 0/130 Supporter Contributor

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    You were looking for help on the forum in response to that letter. Did you implement any of the advice and suggestions you got?
     
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  19. Madman

    Madman Life is Sacred

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    I was just about to write "be careful not to get a restraining order" when I saw that you had already gone past that. Haha!

    On topic:
    Don't give up. I would even say, don't change the story. Just because one agent did not find it suitable does not mean everyone will share in that opinion. Or maybe compromise with that specific agent, change the story to their expectations and send it back? And keep sending the original to others.
     
  20. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 HP: 12/210 MP: 0/130 Supporter Contributor

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    Never give up, never surrender?
     
  21. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    I recall there was something strange about the advice he got. Was it self-contradictory? No, I think it was determined to be a quick copy-paste job thrown together or something.

    I also recall reading a segment of the story you posted in the workshop Adam, and my reaction was that Henry never showed the slightest bit of vulnerability or fear. I think this was before you had posted the advice from the agent. It just seemed to me that she always ran straight toward the danger, maybe making a smartass quip, but never any actual trepidation. To me it felt like she was superhuman, to the point of lacking relatability.

    After a while it occurred to me that's how Buffy the Vampire Slayer was too, until I realized her vulnerability shows in the high-school soap-opera half of her life. That was a brilliant move on the part of Joss Whedon, giving her this superhero invulnerable life that she can't ever share with anybody, but making her very vulnerable in her 'real' life.

    Possibly Henry does show vulnerability in a part of the story I didn't see? If not I suspect that's what the agent was referring to. But I don't know for sure of course.
     
  22. Adam Bolander

    Adam Bolander Senior Member

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    I edited it as best I could to fit the critiques I got and the agent's letter. But part of me thinks the book turned out worse because of it...the first couple chapters, at least.

    I mean, fighting monsters is her job. She was trained to do it, and it's the only thing in her life she's proud of, so yeah she can be reckless in her desperation to prove she's worthy of it.

    Most of Henry's vulnerabilities are internal struggles. Her self-esteem, lack of confidence, struggling to overcome a disability she's had since birth and the racist (or maybe classist?) discrimination from the people in charge of her. Always scared that she'll screw up and have her job taken away, which would make her a worthless nobody (as she sees it, anyway). So physically, no, she doesn't have a lot of weaknesses. She still gets her butt kicked more than once in the course of the book, so she's not invincible, but the main struggles she's trying to overcome are of the mental and emotional nature.
     
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  23. montecarlo

    montecarlo Active Member

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    @Adam Bolander

    I’m not sure how much fire you have for that particular project, but if you send me the first chapter I would be happy to look over it.

    I have a particular fondness for strong, female characters so I may be able to provide some insight where Henry may fall a little flat.

    In the meantime, I recommend you go to the library and read the first chapters of Whispers (Koontz), Strangers (Koontz), and Carrie (King).

    In particular I want you to pay attention to Hilary, Ginger, Ms. Desjardins, and Sue. 3/4 are strong female characters, and while there are a lot of similarities (read: tropes), there are some differences as well. See if you can spot the formula for each character and why all four are likable.

    - MC
     
  24. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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  25. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    I went back (thanks to Moose's link) and re-read it, and I take back what I said. She shows anxiety and panic and not everything she tries works. She really doesn't seem superhuman in the way I was thinking.
     
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