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View Full Version : Just finished an 80,000+ word novel, now what?



Johnny
December 11th, 2014, 10:22 PM
Hey everyone!

After over three years of on and off work I've finally completed the first book in a series of probably several (Young adult fiction genre). It's the first book I've ever written and I'm still in the process of editing it and making it as close to perfect as can be but after that comes the tricky part. Do most authors have their work professionally edited before sending it off? How hard is it to find an agent and where do you even look for them? I feel like a quick google search would probably return a lot of unwanted, untrustworthy links. I would just send my work straight off to a publishing company but I've heard the good ones reject anything that's not recommended by an agent, or just flat out don't accept submissions. I don't really want to self publish either but I am prepared to be rejected plenty of times to finally get my work out there one day.

If you published a book how did you go about it? Any suggestions? I'm new to this so excuse the ignorance.

Thanks!

dale
December 11th, 2014, 10:40 PM
you can do a search on agents thru sites like this one. find out which ones are more likely to handle the particular genre you write.
other information. there;s another one like this, but i can't remember the name of it....

http://www.agentquery.com/

Schrody
December 11th, 2014, 11:08 PM
Congrats! It's a huge step ;)

Apex
December 12th, 2014, 05:27 AM
CC

Bishop
December 12th, 2014, 07:07 AM
Hey everyone!

After over three years of on and off work I've finally completed the first book in a series of probably several (Young adult fiction genre). It's the first book I've ever written...

My advice would be to write several more books before submitting any of them. Practice makes perfect, and it's incredibly rare for any author to have their first work published. Then again, I'm not at all in the publishing game, nor seeking to go into it... so take that for what you will. I will say that the 4th book I wrote was a thousand times better than the first, in a thousand different ways.

dale
December 12th, 2014, 09:04 AM
My advice would be to write several more books before submitting any of them. Practice makes perfect, and it's incredibly rare for any author to have their first work published. Then again, I'm not at all in the publishing game, nor seeking to go into it... so take that for what you will. I will say that the 4th book I wrote was a thousand times better than the first, in a thousand different ways.

my 1st novel was published. my 1st novella was published. my 1st short story was published. in opposite order, of course.
but....he may not be king of the literary gods like me. so maybe your advice is sound.

dale
December 12th, 2014, 09:16 AM
oh. that was a joke, by the way. a person really should write a bit like bishop said so he\she can get the groove down. i was just clownin.

Caragula
December 12th, 2014, 05:02 PM
Hi,

First off, I also got my first novel published, well, being published at the mo, so don't hold back, get it out there. You can always self publish if it doesn't work out.

What I also did was pay an editor to do the first two chapters (if you can find one willing). The foibles and mistakes I made in those first two I knew from reading her commentary were repeated throughout. Also, as it's the first two you're usually sending off, at least you'll know they're really tight grammatically, so then it's all about whether it's enjoyable/gripping to read.

Apex's advice is otherwise sound, though that sounds like a way more meaty advance than I've heard of for a first time unknown writer, but I don't follow the US market.

JDCrow
December 12th, 2014, 09:30 PM
Great advice and inspires me to crack on with my WIP so I can take the next step!

Johnny
December 14th, 2014, 04:35 AM
If I wrote another book it would likely be better of course but just because it's my first book doesn't mean I won't edit the hell out of it which is basically rewriting it again. I also read a lot which helps me know better how a book should be.

Anyways, thanks for your help everyone!



I am pretty good on query letters, and I’m sure there are others who are also. Post your query on the forum. Let member who know show you what is right, and wrong.
This query may take you a long time to write. I believe a good query is harder to write than a good story. It is what you must do, so take your time. Many good books never get read because of a bad query letter. A good query will show an agent how good, or bad you write.
Since you are going for a Standard publisher, find agents that work with the Big Five New York Publishers…You are going for a good advance of $600,000 +. Take your time, do not jump the gun on any of the moves.

You can have a spot at the table of writers.


I'll definitely post my query on here for feedback, I would post my book too but 81k words is a lot and most people probably won't read the whole thing haha. Speaking of advances do any authors anywhere get a six figure advance (Let alone 600k) on their first book? Something like that seems like it would be out of my dreams. I would be pretty thrilled with a five figure advance and a good marketing plan.

I also designed a cover for the book depicting the main characters, do publishing companies take those into consideration as well?

Apex
December 14th, 2014, 04:56 AM
CC

Caragula
December 14th, 2014, 09:45 AM
Publishers won't be interested in the cover you produce unless I suppose you can convince them it's better than anything their people can do. They have probably market analysed to death what things are required on the cover to click with buyers of the genre you're in.

Agree with Apex also that you can go for a one book deal and give them an option on the second dependent on them matching the best offer available on the open market.

John Galt
December 14th, 2014, 10:21 AM
If I wrote another book it would likely be better of course but just because it's my first book doesn't mean I won't edit the hell out of it which is basically rewriting it again. I also read a lot which helps me know better how a book should be.

Anyways, thanks for your help everyone!


I'll definitely post my query on here for feedback, I would post my book too but 81k words is a lot and most people probably won't read the whole thing haha. Speaking of advances do any authors anywhere get a six figure advance (Let alone 600k) on their first book? Something like that seems like it would be out of my dreams. I would be pretty thrilled with a five figure advance and a good marketing plan.

I also designed a cover for the book depicting the main characters, do publishing companies take those into consideration as well?

Post on the Beta Readers Workshop (under members only workshops) if you want to request someone to read the entire (or partial, depends on the person) book.

From what I've heard, publishers (some of them) will hear what you have to say regarding the cover, but most will design have someone else design the cover without taking your opinion as law. Raise the issue, if you're fretting over it, with a publisher should you receive an offer.

Jared77
December 20th, 2014, 02:53 PM
Hey everyone!

After over three years of on and off work I've finally completed the first book in a series of probably several (Young adult fiction genre). It's the first book I've ever written and I'm still in the process of editing it and making it as close to perfect as can be but after that comes the tricky part. Do most authors have their work professionally edited before sending it off? How hard is it to find an agent and where do you even look for them? I feel like a quick google search would probably return a lot of unwanted, untrustworthy links. I would just send my work straight off to a publishing company but I've heard the good ones reject anything that's not recommended by an agent, or just flat out don't accept submissions. I don't really want to self publish either but I am prepared to be rejected plenty of times to finally get my work out there one day.

If you published a book how did you go about it? Any suggestions? I'm new to this so excuse the ignorance.

Thanks!

Johnny, I'm in the exact same situation. Just finished 80,000 word first novel (actually 84,000 but who's counting!). I'm putting it off to the side for now, like everyone says to do. I'm getting a few a people to read it--already got some really good feedback from one friend.

A tip I heard about getting agents (keep in mind I have no idea if this works but seems logical), is find out the agents of the books you like in the same genre. Look at the acknowledgements at the front of the book. Doing this I found one agent who seems perfect for my book, and I'm chomping at the bit to submit a query to her, but I have to hold back until the book is in better shape.

In the meantime I'm working on a couple short stories and doing some reading.

EDIT: I forgot add, keep working on your cover just because if your book never gets picked up by a publisher you can have it ready for Epublishing. You would need to have your own cover designed for that.

Johnny
June 17th, 2015, 05:04 AM
Okay, so, over half a year later I've done a bunch of editing and I've tightened up the intro and read through it another two times (I'll probably do it one more time before submitting because why not, right?).

I do have two questions, however...

1. Since this is my first book I feel like I should get an editor, although they are quite expensive. Also how do I know if they are any good or not? Do most people get editors for their first books?

2. I should probably go through an agent instead of just try to send manuscripts out to publishing companies I'm assuming since I've heard the latter is next to impossible unless you know someone. The site AgentQuery.com looks good, although I'm not too sure about queries, do all agents accept the same type/format or do they want their own custom ones? Any good query example sites anyone know of?

Thanks!

scrub puller
June 17th, 2015, 06:20 AM
Yair . . . Johnny.

First off congratulations on getting your book "finished" that in itself is a major achievement.

However, unless you are an exceptionally gifted individual I believe you will find it is very far from "finished" to the point where it would be accepted by an agent or a conventional publishing house.

As others have mentioned a few hundred dollars spent on getting the first (say) third edited will give you some idea as to how the story sits.

It bothers me that you say you have read it twice in the last six months and you may yet read it again . . . mate are you serious?

I read my stories dozens maybe hundreds of times altering, smoothing, paring down, getting rid of most the words that end in "ly" and the "which's" and the "that's" and the "was's" and the "were's" and checking for beat and rhythm so it just flows from the tongue when you read it out aloud.

Then you have to check the story and time lines and so it goes. These are the things an editor points out and which unfortunately is not done by some of the folks who self publish online.

Keep at it and I reckon the first thing you should do is start reading your story aloud.

When you can read a section with out a hitch or stumble it may be ready for editing and (in my experience) when that mark up comes back from the editor, that's when the hard work starts.

It does get easier as you get better and your writing improves. In the meantime, for conventional publishing, as I and others have mentioned, some money spent on appraisal/editing will be money well spent.

Cheers.

LeeC
June 17th, 2015, 03:39 PM
Nice that you've got the confidence to consider it, with maybe a little third party editing, ready for submittal.

I haven't a clue about your writing as I didn't notice any extract critiques on the creative writing boards, but the more accomplished writers I know usually take the time at the point you think you're at to try to get beta readers involved.

Just a thought ;-)

Johnny
June 18th, 2015, 03:13 AM
Yair . . . Johnny.

First off congratulations on getting your book "finished" that in itself is a major achievement.

However, unless you are an exceptionally gifted individual I believe you will find it is very far from "finished" to the point where it would be accepted by an agent or a conventional publishing house.

Thanks. While I'm not sure I'm "exceptionally gifted" (maybe I am maybe I'm not it's hard for me to tell) the book is definitely entertaining enough that a few close family members/friends liked it (not just saying they liked it but actually liked it of course). I've been at it on and off for about three and a half years now, I think I've come up with a pretty good manuscript in said time.




As others have mentioned a few hundred dollars spent on getting the first (say) third edited will give you some idea as to how the story sits.

It bothers me that you say you have read it twice in the last six months and you may yet read it again . . . mate are you serious?

I read my stories dozens maybe hundreds of times altering, smoothing, paring down, getting rid of most the words that end in "ly" and the "which's" and the "that's" and the "was's" and the "were's" and checking for beat and rhythm so it just flows from the tongue when you read it out aloud.



It sounds like a good idea but what's the best way to find a trustworthy editor?

When I say read I mean I've gone through the whole thing and edited twice in the past six months, and many more times before that. Going through and editing an 83k word book takes time and I'm busy.

Yes I've been trying to get rid of some words like that but I think in certain contexts they can also be okay. Hundreds of times sounds like overkill though, especially for a long book which, like I said takes time to edit. It's never going to be perfect, at some point when you think you've done your best you should submit.




Then you have to check the story and time lines and so it goes. These are the things an editor points out and which unfortunately is not done by some of the folks who self publish online.

Keep at it and I reckon the first thing you should do is start reading your story aloud.

When you can read a section with out a hitch or stumble it may be ready for editing and (in my experience) when that mark up comes back from the editor, that's when the hard work starts.

It does get easier as you get better and your writing improves. In the meantime, for conventional publishing, as I and others have mentioned, some money spent on appraisal/editing will be money well spent.

Cheers.

All true, thanks for the input!

Johnny
June 18th, 2015, 03:16 AM
Nice that you've got the confidence to consider it, with maybe a little third party editing, ready for submittal.

I haven't a clue about your writing as I didn't notice any extract critiques on the creative writing boards, but the more accomplished writers I know usually take the time at the point you think you're at to try to get beta readers involved.

Just a thought ;-)

I've let a few family members/close friends read parts of it and they enjoy it as a story although of course are not professional editors who know a lot about writing. I really would like to let someone who has experience writing and knowledge of the publishing business read it but I feel very vulnerably putting my work out there online, mainly because I feel like someone could steal ideas etc. I know it sounds silly, perhaps it's an irrational fear.

LeeC
June 18th, 2015, 03:48 AM
Good Luck :-)

David Gordon Burke
June 18th, 2015, 05:10 PM
My only advice is this - just when you think it is ready, it isn´t.
The day that you finally go through it and say to yourself, ¨This is the absolute final draft, I´m done¨ will be the day that your second-last draft is finished. Then put it on a shelf and come back to it in 3 weeks or so.
Unless of course you have beaucoup dinero for a rockin´ editor.

David Gordon Burke

Johnny
June 21st, 2015, 04:57 AM
My only advice is this - just when you think it is ready, it isn´t.
The day that you finally go through it and say to yourself, ¨This is the absolute final draft, I´m done¨ will be the day that your second-last draft is finished. Then put it on a shelf and come back to it in 3 weeks or so.
Unless of course you have beaucoup dinero for a rockin´ editor.

David Gordon Burke

How will I ever know though? It's been in the works three and a half years now, although I agree I might give it a rest for a while and look it over again in another month or so.

I wouldn't mind paying a few hundred bucks to have a really good editor look over at least the first part of my book. Where is the best place to find a trustworthy one?

BryanJ62
July 19th, 2015, 04:47 PM
Hopefully while you are taking in all the advice everyone has given you, you are working on your second novel. Never stop. The more your write the better you get. You may have to write four of these before you get published but imagine how much better the 4th one will be.

John T. K.
July 19th, 2015, 05:35 PM
Great thread. I am no where near that many pages for any one work. The responses here are very informative, even though varied. That's a good thing.

Johnny
September 6th, 2015, 06:57 PM
Hopefully while you are taking in all the advice everyone has given you, you are working on your second novel. Never stop. The more your write the better you get. You may have to write four of these before you get published but imagine how much better the 4th one will be.

I wrote the first few pages of the second book a while back but figured it would be in my best interest to keep editing the first one. I mean, it basically is a new book compared to what it was when I first wrote it.

MzSnowleopard
September 6th, 2015, 08:53 PM
A few things- first, congrats on the completing the 80k words. Second, from what I've learned in the industry most agents and publishers prefer solicited manuscripts. Unsolicited ones usually go right to the circular file- a place no writer wants their work to be in.

Going with an agent is probably the better bet. They are well connected with publishing houses and some with skilled editors. So, it's a safer bet, at least.

With regard to the advance- in his book "On Writing" S. King talks about his life when he was trying to get Carrie published. He was working at a community college, lived in a trailer with his wife and kids. And the kids were sick. They also had no phone.

So, when a publisher wanted to take on this story- he contacted King through the school. The message read "Is $ 1,500 enough?" And so it began.