My current project is a 130,000-word fantasy novel that has basically been complete, in some form, for a few years. I’m currently plowing through the third fairly major rewrite. The first constituted rewriting about 25% of the material and adding another 20% or so to the original draft. The second time, I rewrote a good 50 – 75%, mostly in the form of spot edits. This time, it’s mostly moving things around. After some deep soul searching I have elected to remove the prologue, relating the relevant information through scattered flashbacks instead so that the novel will begin with action and the inciting incident right up front.
For those of you who aren’t writers, this is how books are written: they’re rewritten. Some famous writer once said that “writing is rewriting.” I forget if it was William Faulkner or Kinky Friedman.
My first attempt to try and sell it was in 2004. The book was about five years old at that point, and I had finally polished it to the point where I really considered it finished. I submitted to about eight publishers, and within three months I received seven rejections. I gave up on the eight. Then, almost a full year from my original submission, I heard from the eight. It was a bite.
I had planned to spend a couple hours this evening working on the final draft of my novel. Shortly after I began, up popped my friendly Microsoft Autoupdater, informing me of an available update. Which I installed. At which point Microsoft informed me that it had determined my Office CD Key was invalid, and I could no longer use its software.
My Office for Mac CD (which I paid for and installed legally, I make a point to mention) is at home somewhere. I and my laptop, meanwhile, are visiting my parents. Perfect timing.
It’s funny, isn’t it? The only software I’ve had any problems with on my Mac (in the nine years since I switched) was made by Microsoft. Continue Reading
From Jane Smith at How Publishing Really Works, a pretty nifty blog for us writer types:
Publishing is a business, and publishers have responsibilities to their shareholders to run their businesses as profitably as possible. That means they have to publish books with a good potential for turning a profit: which means the books which aren’t going to need too much work to turn them into decent sellers. And this means that not all writers are going to be good enough to make the grade.
I suppose it shouldn’t be strange to think that so many writers perceive an obligation on the part of the publisher to serve the writer, but it is. In my time spent trying (thus far unsuccessfully) to get a novel published, it’s never occurred to me that the publisher has any obligation to me – they are in business to make money, just as I am.
It seems to me some pretty basic business principles. I just wonder how many writers really don’t understand this.
It’s a great idea; novelists aren’t necessarily marketers, and query letters can be damned frustrating to write. I myself have a background in marketing and advertising, and I still find it next to impossible to summarize my book in a way that makes it sound good. So Firebrand is offering, for a limited time, to read submissions with no query. I’ll know by the end of February whether they’re interested.
At this point Volve is basically finished. I’m still combing through it for minor wording changes and some final cleanup, but it’s officially a novel, which means it’s time to get serious about selling it. Over the years I’ve put out some preliminary feelers to see if there was any interest, and even had a nibble from one publisher that eventually fell through, but I’ve never made a really hard push at getting the work sold. 2009 is the year.
Up until now my directory of choice has been Writers Market, but I’ve found the agent list lacking. Yesterday I discovered two great new resources, Publisher’s Marketplace and AgentQuery. My personal list of agents interested in fantasy novels and willing to work with first-time novelists has grown from about ten up to dozens, maybe hundreds. I also came across Pub Rants, a fantastically helpful blog maintained by Kristin Nelson at Nelson Literary Agency. Her entries on great queries and great synopses are the most wonderful help for writers I’ve found on the web.