When to call it quits?

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

  1. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Reading back through the workshop post, i think you've got a good story here, but if the work in post #13 is still typical then the writing needs work before it is likely to be ready for publication.

    I'd suspect that is why its getting rejected by agents because its not yet in a saleable state (this also applies to self publishing, it would need to go see an editor before it was ready to self publish)

    So should you give up?

    I'd say stop sending it to agents for now, put it aside and work on something else for six months... after six months have past come back to it, self edit it again then get beta reader feed back, edit it yet again based on that feedback and then restart sending it to agents and those legitimate houses which accept unagented submissions
     
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  2. IasminDragon

    IasminDragon Member

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    Yeah, what the moose says haha. It's remarkable how your perception of a work can change after you shelve it for 6 months.
     
  3. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I hate to be a downer, but even trad published authors have to do their own marketing. This isn't to discourage you, but to spur you on to develop an ability you never knew you had, whichever way your book gets out there.
     
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  4. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Don't forget, "Follow them into the restroom at conferences and confront them at the next urinal."

    Uh, no. When it comes to stalking agents, I hope this is satire.
     
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  5. Naomasa298

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

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    I believe leaving a severed horse's head on their bed and boiling their pet rabbit are two traditional ways of getting their attention.
     
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  6. Adam Bolander

    Adam Bolander Senior Member

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  7. Adam Bolander

    Adam Bolander Senior Member

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    I'm also working on rewriting the first chapter. Here's the original opening line and the new one I've written up. Which do you guys like better?

    My blood burned with excitement, as if my veins were full of Red Bull, the night I appeared above the house at 1157 Westwillow Drive. My name is Henry Rider, and I’m the Hunter. The protector of humanity. The slayer of…
    Wait.
    Above the house?
    I fell, hitting the roof with a painful thud. Luckily, I’d only warped myself a few feet above the house. Not so luckily, the roof was sloped. Down I went, rolling like a bowling ball, until I flew over the edge with a scream, bounced off the trash can below, and crash landed face first on the concrete driveway.
    Ow.


    Or...


    The wind carried the scent of danger the night I appeared above 1157 Westwillow Drive, clutching the Escher Cube in both hands. My heart raced with the power of five Blue Donkey energy drinks. I was ready to…
    Wait.
    Above the house?
    I yelped, plummeting the five feet to do a magnificent bellyflop on the roof. Okay, not the most professional of entrances, but I could still…aaaand I was sliding down the roof. Over the side I went, screaming, before bouncing off the plastic trash can below to crash land on the driveway.
    Ow…
     
  8. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    A gentle mod reminder: We're veering into territory that is not covered by the topic 'when to call it quits'. This thread is not for workshoping individual parts of your story, but for discussing the different options the thread starter has, now that he finds himself in doubt.

    I'd also suggest hiring an editor. A developmental edit will tell you which parts of your story don't work and why. You could also try your luck with query shark and evaluate your query letter in the light of her advise. Best of luck :)
     
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  9. jimmybobb

    jimmybobb New Member

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    You say nobody reads your free stuff.
    So why should someone pay to read your writing?

    You tried self publishing but that did not work well.
    Sorry but you have to market and promote your book. Convince us that we want to read your book not something else.
    Just writing is okay for Patterson and Rowling but the rest of us have to do it all.

    Good news is that you got a reply with good feedback.
    Try fixing the problems they noted and then resubmit the mss.
     
  10. Adam Bolander

    Adam Bolander Senior Member

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    You're acting like the fact that I'm unknown is the same as saying that my work isn't worth reading. As if quality writing just magically conjures readers. Frankly, that's a little insulting.
     
  11. Lifeline

    Lifeline North of South. Staff Contributor

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    Cool it guys, both of you. In today's market, there's no surety that even good writing gets picked up by a publisher. Equally, self-publishing has a bad rep for a reason. I imagine the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
     
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  12. Foxxx

    Foxxx The Debonair Contributor

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    This is just some cognitive reframing, but-

    I like to make a distinction between whether or not I am exiting the game with the possibility of coming back to it, or if I am *quitting* the game, uninstalling it, and returning that shit to the store.

    I guess what I'm saying is to ask yourself if you're "giving up", or if you're just exiting/taking-a-break, even an indefinite break, so to speak.

    I still have ideas on my mental backburner labeled "I Hate Everything I Write", but I haven't given up on those ideas yet. Nor have I quite given up on writing, although I haven't loaded-up the game on my computer in a while.

    So in more straightforward terms: I think moose has good advice here. Let the game sit while you go play a new one. That's different than giving-up; it's more like acceptance and moving forward.
     
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  13. Naomasa298

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

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    Well, honestly, if your first novel gets picked up by a publisher, I suspect you're doing better than 99.99% of the authors out there.

    Regard this one as practise, move on, and create something better.
     
  14. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Self publishing divides into two camps - those that do it properly (editors, decent covers, well thought out blurbs, promotion and advertising) and those that don't (uneditted first draft up on kdp with a self made cover taking no account of the market expecting organic sales)

    the second (sadly larger) group is the reason for the bad reputation, and also the reason why a lot of the first group use the term indie ...(We don't use it here because its confusing since indies are also trad publishers other than the big 5)

    Jimmybobb is right that if you self publish you have to also promote and advertise (actually if you trad publish you often need to market yourself as well depending on the quality of your deal).

    Because good writing doesn't magically conjure readers you have to actively promote it unless you are a top name author like Patterson, where just your name on the cover is sufficient to get lots of sales and your publisher will fall over themselves to promote you.

    Back on point - If you (adam) are not going to put it to one side I suggest stopping submissions until you've complete a full rewrite, extensive beta reader feedback, another rewrite and a proofread.

    I'm ambivalent about paying for editing - i do, but i self publish... i wouldn't generally recommend if seeking a trad deal because editing is part of what the publisher pays for in return for most of your royalties... however if you're still getting nowhere after rewrite beta etc you might want to consider paying for a structual edit as a learning experience
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2020
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  15. Cephus

    Cephus Contributor Contributor

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    Who is your intended audience and where can they be found? That's the question every author needs to ask. You can't find readers if you don't know who you're writing for.
     
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  16. Adam Bolander

    Adam Bolander Senior Member

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    That's the problem. I have Aspergers, so its extremely hard for me to engage with other people. I can write (really well if my beta readers are to be believed) but no matter how hard i try I can't figure out the secret to getting them to actually want to read my books. Not even if they're free, like they are on my website
    .
    In a way, I'm jealous of other kinds of artists. Looking at a picture you've drawn only takes a few seconds, and listening to a song only takes a couple minutes. But reading a book, even a short one, is a big time commitment. Most people I've met aren't willing to sacrifice that time for an author they haven't heard of, even if the book is something they'd be probably buy if they found it on the shelf of a Barnes and Noble.

    That's why I want to find a traditional publisher. Even if I have to do some or most of the work myself, at least I'll still have the backing of a decent company to help me out. And the legitimacy that having a real publisher would bring me would help get people's attention since they'll know its not just another cheap self pubbed book.
     
  17. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    two major issues

    a) you need to engage with people to get to the point of having a traditional publisher and then with people at said publisher... first with an agent and then assuming you get a legitimate deal you'll be expected to work with their team to develop the book to publishable standard.

    b) The legitimacy angle is only valid if you are with a big 5 imprint... which are the hardest deals of all to get and the deals for which there is most competition... if you wind up with a minor house no one has ever heard of it will have no more legitimacy than self publishing with an imprint name
     
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  18. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    also getting people to read a book on a website with clicky button to read each chapter is a hard sell... i suspect you'd have better success getting people to read your free work if it was formatted as an ebook and available for them to download onto their kindles or phones via a service like book funnel... you could then also promote it via services like freebooksy, kobo promo free deals and soon
     
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  19. Adam Bolander

    Adam Bolander Senior Member

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    But at the same time it would still help get around a lot of the prejudices of self pubbing. Back in my self publishing days, I routinely tried to find book bloggers who would be willing to read and review it on their blogs. Several of them had a strict "no self published authors" rule. Even if they haven't heard of the house who published me, at least I can say that I'm traditionally published.
     
  20. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Did your self publishing days include work that had been editted by proffesional editors, behind covers that had been designed by professional designers... presented as mobis or epubs ?

    Ive looked at your website and frankly i'd be amazed if any book blogger was willing to review something which was only available to read on a website

    the point being that it is not the imprint which lends legitimacy - it is having a professional product
     
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  21. Naomasa298

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

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    Speaking from the point of view of marketing...

    Engaging with people is hard work. It's even harder on the internet, where people feel able to say things they'd never say face to face IRL.

    But if you want to succeed, you learn to do it. You may not like doing it, and there are some days you wish they'd just all bugger off and leave you alone. But you swallow it, along with your pride, and you post something nice even if it goes against everything your inner voice is telling you.

    In my particular market, I've built up a pretty loyal following through advertising and engaging with people, both online and face-to-face. I'm not a people person, and most of the time, I'd rather be doing anything than posting on Facebook, but I suppress my natural instinct to be snarky and lash out when someone says something not nice, and respond calmly and politely. And even when people are being dicks, I try to be helpful.

    And it works. My customers have told me they buy from me because they didn't like the people who run my competitors, even though I'm the LAST person in the world who I'd describe as "nice" or "pleasant".

    You just learn to do it, if you really want to succeed. It's actually not as difficult to build a following as you think, especially if you have something to offer that they might want.

    As moose points out, you'd have to do this whether you self publish or not.
     
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  22. jimmybobb

    jimmybobb New Member

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    But if it is not a big 5 trad pub you are still back to where you started when it comes to getting reviewers interested.
    Yes, you can say you are trad pubbed if that is your only goal.
    But most of the rest of us want to make money and have a wide audience that read our work.

    As to self publishing and prejudice that varies over time. It was THE way in Ben Franklins time and since Gutenberg.
    Then pub houses marketing made it look bad. Vanity publishers made it look worse.
    Next was the wave of true self pubbing some 30-40 years ago and it gained in prestige.
    Finally digital and the internet made it possible for every fool who thinks they wrote a book to 'publish' it in ebook format.
    Amazon made that into a big time happening although 1/3 of the ebooks have never sold one copy on amazon reinforcing the self pub disdain.

    Set up your own publishing house. Then you can publish your own book and be trad pubbed.
    But do it right so you look like a real company and buy your ISBNs so your book looks and feels like a real book.
    There are printers that specialize in manufacturing books but you might need to make too many to keep the cost down.
    If you only want a few then you really need to POD them but still there the vendors cover a range from good to scammy so be careful.
     
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  23. Adam Bolander

    Adam Bolander Senior Member

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    Yes, they were all available in print and as ebooks on Amazon for Kindle and Smashwords for everything else.

    The website didn't come along until I'd given up the normal self publishing route and had decided to go 100% free webnovel. I havent asked any book bloggers for reviews since then.
     
  24. jimmybobb

    jimmybobb New Member

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    Almost everyone needs an independent editor and that means paying in most cases.

    *If* you can do the development editing then maybe you can self edit and use beta readers for most of the work.
    But it is essential to have an independent editor do the final editing.
    Whether you also need someone to do a final check on SPAG and also fact checking is also TBD.
     
  25. jimmybobb

    jimmybobb New Member

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    Not really.

    The world is saying to all unpublished or brand new authors that you need to prove you are worth reading.

    Like my bookie says: the battle is not always to the strong nor the race to the swift, but that is the way to bet.
    People look at self published works especially ebooks on amazon as being terrible until proven otherwise.

    I can buy remainders of trad pubbed books at the dollar store for a buck. Most of them are *bleep*.
    There is a rare one that is good. So what are my odds of buying a small pubbed new author and it being good?
    Better than my odds of picking an ebook that is good, but not good enough for me to bet my money and time.
     

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