1. The Piper

    The Piper Contributor Contributor

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    Where to go from here?

    Discussion in 'Publisher Discussion' started by The Piper, Dec 28, 2016.

    Hello everyone!

    I completed my first book over six months ago, and since then have been trying desperately to get it published.

    It's primarily a crime novel, but one with a supernatural twist, so fits into the thriller/horror genre pretty well I think (or hope at least).

    So far I've sent it to about a dozen publishers - as I'm sure most of you know, it is so hard to find one that actually takes submissions and doesn't cost money and doesn't specialise in a genre that is nothing to do with you and isn't going out of business... the list goes on and it seems that there's always a catch.

    The last reply I got was a so-called "contributory contract" where I was asked to pay £2300 to help with publishing. I quickly rejected - as I'm only 16, I wouldn't be able to find this and I'm pretty sure I shouldn't have to.

    However this leaves me wth no other options as all the other publishers I've sent to either have rejected me or never replied. It's getting harder and harder to find any and I'm close to giving up.

    I'd love to know what you all think - do any of you know any good, reputable UK publishers I could try? I'm unable to pay for an agent or for self-publishing, so a traditional route would be best for me. As well as this, any other advice would be really appreciated.

    I know this is a long post, so thanks for sticking with it, and I hope to hear from some of you soon!

    J
     
  2. mrieder79

    mrieder79 Probably not a ground squirrel Contributor

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    I recommend trying to find an agent if you want to go the route of traditional publishing. Learn to write a query letter, polish it up and submit to agents. Submit to at least a hundred and see what happens. If it doesn't go anywere, start on your next book. Repeat until you are published.
     
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  3. The Piper

    The Piper Contributor Contributor

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    Thank you for the advice - my second book (a standalone, not a sequel) is a couple of chapters from completion and I believe it's a fair bit better than the first, would you suggest submitting this one as a debut and then resubmitting the first? It maybe that publishers are more willing to go for it as a second novel than a first, of my first was good.
     
  4. mrieder79

    mrieder79 Probably not a ground squirrel Contributor

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    I really think you should try to get an agent first. They are the gatekeepers these days. Most publishers won't unagented proposals. It's harder to get published than it is to get an agent. If your work is good enough to secure representation, then maybe it is good enough to publish. If you can't get an agent, then you are spinning your wheels trying to go directly to publishers.

    Plus there is the matter of the book business, which we writers generally know nothing about. Agents do. That's why we hire them to negotiate for us.

    The fact that you have two books completed at age sixteen is amazing. I can't tell you how impressed I am. I think your top priority is to continue to develop your writing ability.

    --Polish your current books. Enter them into contests. Attempt to secure representation
    --Write short stories as well. Enter them into contests. Try to get published in magazines or anthologies (you don't need an agent for that)
    --Read books on writing. TECHNIQUES OF THE SELLING WRITER by Dwight Swain is a must. WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL by Donald Maas is also very good.
    --Take classes on writing. Go to seminars. Sneak off the your local community college for advanced courses
    --write, write, write

    You have so much time ahead of you to grow and master the craft. Keep writing, keep improving, keep submitting. That's how everyone does it.

    Best of luck.
     
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  5. NiallRoach

    NiallRoach Contributor Contributor

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    You don't need to pay for an agent, because their pay comes from your earnings as an author. If you don't earn anything from book sales, neither do they.

    To get started in publishing, you need zero money, unless you want to self publish, and I personally wouldn't recommend that in a month of Sundays. Unless, that is, you've a proven record getting through the gatekeepers traditionally.

    UK publishing is a damn sight smaller than US, but make sure you submit to every agent that might want your stuff. It might be worth starting with your second, though, because it's going to be much better than your first, and a publisher isn't going to accept something they've already said no to once just because an agent is asking this time around.

    If you burn through UK agents, loom into US ones. Distance is no object these days, and with a larger market comes a larger chance of success.
     
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  6. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    As others have said - Agent! Get an agent. And no, you don't pay the agent - they get paid through commission. The agent will know which editors to shop your book round to - which still doesn't guarantee success but you're much closer to it than you would be without an agent.

    Look into indie publishers perhaps - the smaller ones may be more open to debut authors. If you find a reputable one, indie publishers can be pretty good I hear. I think you'd need to be more involved in the promotion of your book with smaller publishers, but I get the impression author involvement is pretty much accepted as standard these days from any publisher?

    If you're sure you've submitted to the right people with your first one and yet have got no responses, then you may want to revisit your manuscript after a little break. There may be issues in it you're not seeing, and it being your first novel, there probably are issues you're not seeing lol. Shop your second one round, and keep writing. Consider if the first one needs any revision - I've found usually the writing quality is easier to ensure than structure and pacing, so I'd be tempted to focus more on story quality. (Given you're looking for agents, I must assume your writing is of publishable standard - assuming it is, and yet your book is rejected, then it's either: 1. submitting to the wrong people or 2: there are issues with the story - that's my guess anyway)

    Good luck and keep at it! Your second and future books will likely be of higher quality than your first, so if the first gets no response, then try your luck with your newer ones :)
     
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  7. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    I went the agent route starting in July, and sent out about 50-60 queries on my 240K word WIP. I got about a 70% return of polite "no thank you, it's just not a fit for us at this time," which indicates my query package was good enough to merit a look, despite the fact that is twice as long as would usually be accepted from a first time author. However, in December I began looking at Amazon. On Dec 11, I opened my CreateSpace account, expecting this to be expensive and tedious, with lots of hidden costs. I had my "canary in the coal mine," a short story of 30 pages, too long for a magazine, and I thought too short for a standalone. On December 14, I had it completely typeset, cover completed. I launched it on December 19 in CreateSpace paperback, then in KindleDirect format. Total cost was negligible, and it is selling for $5.99 for a typeset 47 page book, $2.99 for Kindle, available internationally, with one download from the UK. My big WIP is typeset at a modest 560 pages in 6x9 format (about one inch thick) with graphics, and I am contracting for a professional cover @$250, purchased a Library of Congress number ($25) and a generic ISBN number ($50) rather than the free Amazon ISBN, which may limit sales in non-Amazon venues.

    Answer is it was ridiculously easy. The good thing is, you are in control of your content. The bad thing is, you are responsible for your content. If you upload an unfinished product with SpAGs, poor characterization, and plot-holes, that's what will go up, as they are only concerned that you stuff stays inside the allocated margins. You also have to do much of your own marketing, though I am learning the ropes for that. Can it affect your future as a writer? I have heard that it can, but at my age (68) I no longer feel that I have an unlimited future in front of me, as you no doubt feel at 16. So I am more interested in getting my work out, these and many others, for others to read, than waiting for someone to have the time (which is the limiting factor) to publish my work for me. I also don't need the income.

    I recommend "Publish your book on Amazon for FREE" by Carolyn L. Dean, which started me down this path... and good luck! And solicit countering viewpoints to mine.
     
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  8. The Piper

    The Piper Contributor Contributor

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    Hi, just want to say a big thank you to everyone so far. I've taken on board some of your advice, which I'm finding really helpful - already today I've started to look into agents in both the UK and US market and I'm still finding it hugely difficult but already a few have stood out and I think I'm making progress.

    It seems that many of you have faith in me and it's very encouraging to read some of the advice you've given. As experienced writers yourselves it means a lot. I'd love to hear more from you so please, keep advising :) with your help I hope to finally get this published, and I'm so close to finishing the second novel now that it's looking good.

    Perhaps I might post a little of my first story on here for some of you (if willing, of course) to read and possibly give me a little feedback? I agree that the story itself might be the problem as of course it is my first, so your opinions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks again - let me know if you think this would be a good idea.

    J
     
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  9. mrieder79

    mrieder79 Probably not a ground squirrel Contributor

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    Don't self publish until you are good enough to get published traditionally. Once your name is out there, it's out there. Done. Cannot take it back.
     
  10. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    At once, right?
     
  11. mrieder79

    mrieder79 Probably not a ground squirrel Contributor

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    I got to 40 but when nobody asked for pages, I went back to the drawing board. I've heard you should expect a 10% request rate for pages if your query is good.
     
  12. NiallRoach

    NiallRoach Contributor Contributor

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    This is a good point. Publishers are gambling on you, especially as a debut. If your track record consists of failures, even one or two novels put up on amazon, it'll count against you.
    Of course, good writing trumps all, and all that, but every little helps. And if those unfortunate bombshells were published under a penname, they'd never know unless you told them, but it's worth keeping in mind.

    And I, at least, would be happy to read through some chapters and offer some critique. I'm no expert, but any new eyes should help.
     
  13. The Piper

    The Piper Contributor Contributor

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    Thanks again to everyone for all the advice so far - I have submitted now to a few agents and plan to submit to more, and I'm going over my work again to make sure it's as good as it can be. Wouldn't even have considered an agent without all your help so a big thank you.

    That would be very kind and I'm sure very helpful, I'd love to post my first chapter maybe? However I've not been a member long enough I don't think for the critique section so how do I go about posting this? Could I do it on this thread?

    Thank you,

    J
     
  14. NiallRoach

    NiallRoach Contributor Contributor

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    You can send it to me in a private message. Click around the buttons under my name and you should find it. I only use this site on my phone so I can't be too much more specific as to where the button lives.
    The rules for posting snippets in threads are a bit hazy, to my knowledge, but it's probably best to keep it to a few sentences outside the workshop.
     
  15. mrieder79

    mrieder79 Probably not a ground squirrel Contributor

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    Same here. Send me you first chapter and I'll give you some feedback.
     
  16. The Piper

    The Piper Contributor Contributor

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    Thank you both for offering :) happy new year to everyone!

    J
     
  17. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    I'll take a look too.

    I'm glad you're not restricting yourself to UK agents - it's a much smaller pool than the US, and most agents don't care which countries their authors live in.

    I'd recommend getting your query critiqued before you start submitting, too. Writing a good query is harder than writing a novel for me!
     
  18. The Piper

    The Piper Contributor Contributor

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    Hi everyone,
    I finished my second novel today (finally) and decided to focus on sending this one out while I start to go through the first one again and edit. I think this one is a little better and hope to have more luck this time round.
    Does anyone know of any publishers/agents (US or UK) who specialise particularly in the Western genre? It's a very dark story but set in the old American West so perhaps any historical/period publishers?
    I've started looking already but still waiting for replies from the first few agents I've contacted so any help would be really appreciated.
    I'd love to hear from you, thank you,

    J
     
  19. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    There are nineteen agents listed at Query Tracker who work with Westerns - did you already check there? (There are 267 interested in historical fiction, so if there's any way to downplay the "Western" aspect, that might be useful).
     
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  20. The Piper

    The Piper Contributor Contributor

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    Thanks BayView, sounds good. I hadn't come across them yet but I'll definitely have a look :)
     
  21. topimerlin

    topimerlin New Member

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    You're only 16. You're in no rush, perhaps you've heard this before. It's hard to be young and thirsty, but you should know, that indeed you're in no rush. You've already written books, that's super impressive. When I was 16, all I did was play Runescape. If I were you, I would just keep on going, write more books, write more books self-publish and gather a good readership. When you're young you should also try to live. 16 is the best time of your life.

    If you just keep on going, and don't care so much for publishing or fame, you'll be in a good place once you get to college!

    Best of luck!
     
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