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  1. #1

    What are the chances of ever actually getting a book published? I feel like all of my

    I started writing a Western novel, and I'd love to be a published author one day, but I feel like there's no actual chance of that happening because my writing is awful. Every time I go back through and read the previous chapters, there's so much stuff I have to change because it's just not good enough, and while it adds words to my work, I have to keep pushing forward too.

    Is there even a market for Western novels still? It feels like the days of pulp fiction are long gone...

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  2. #2
    Mentor Dluuni's Avatar
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    If you are going through a publisher, one of the things they do is to get an editor to help you polish the book up.

    If you aren't using an editor, there's a process for how to self-edit that I have been studying, because I know that in my genre, I can't count on being picked up be a major publisher without building a name for myself -- too controversial.

    You will need to put the manuscript in cold storage for a month or two, so the text becomes unfamiliar to you: Change the font so it will look different than when you wrote it, print it out with a two inch margin so you can make notes on it, then put it somewhere and do not look at any of the text in it for weeks and weeks. Work on something different instead.

    Then reread and start making lots of notes of glitches and hiccups and places where it deviates from form, lost threads, missing foreshadows, issues with voice, and the like. After that draft of intensive editing, you should be ready to get your beta readers to find the important stuff like whether they were confused by anything, and more importantly the exact places in the manuscript where they put the book down for any reason whatsoever. Then fix those bits and submit. A publisher will still run it through an editor, but that should pick up most of the issues.

  3. #3
    Member Bardling's Avatar
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    The only Westerns I read tend to be Louis Lamour, but I have heard that Weird West, Westerns with a supernatural or horror element has become popular in some places. Also, Southern Gothic, which is somewhat silmilar to Weird West stories, has gotten some attention.

    I think that Westerns have run into the problem of too many people being uncomfortable with the history of American western expansion, and the issues with what happened to the original natives (indians) and also the various racial problems that happened (the chinese immigration). Putting the story in an alternate history format makes enjoyment easier without having to directly confront the weight of real life history, I think.

    Cherie Priest writes Southern Gothic, and has a steampunk series set in the West. Elizabeth Bear also work that could be considered Weird West, and a steampunk western series. You might want to check them out.

    Also I think that Pulp fiction has morphed into Independent Publishing fiction, rather than disappearing.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Horsey View Post
    I started writing a Western novel, and I'd love to be a published author one day, but I feel like there's no actual chance of that happening because my writing is awful. Every time I go back through and read the previous chapters, there's so much stuff I have to change because it's just not good enough, and while it adds words to my work, I have to keep pushing forward too.

    Is there even a market for Western novels still? It feels like the days of pulp fiction are long gone...
    Getting published isn't about chance.

    If you have a story worth reading and execution that delivers, your 'chances' of getting published are pretty close to 100%. Conversely, if you have a derivative story incompetently written, your 'chance's are essentially 0%.

    The gray area lies in those people, probably the majority of 'writers' with some measure of natural talent for storytelling or character/world building or general 'wordsmithing', but maybe some lousy grammar skills or a tendency to wander into plot holes or general lack of self-discipline or willingness to compromise on vision.

    For those people, success or failure is more a question of practice, creative engagement, more practice, focusing on strengths, yet more practice, mitigating or eliminating weaknesses, reading a diverse and enriching array of books, even more practice, and a touch of fortune. And most fail on that. Most don't want to do the work.

    I suspect if your writing is awful you will never be published, sorry. The best editors can't polish a turd. However before despairing I'd maybe consider what it is that makes you believe you are awful? What exactly is it that you feel is so irredeemably 'awful' about your work? Is it the story or the style? You need to hone in on the substance of the problem, not mope, if you want to have a hope in making it better.

    As far as a market for westerns...there's a market for westerns. I read westerns sometimes. Sales data says its a genre that has been on the decline since the fifties...but so friggin' what?

    A hundred-some years ago the idea of novels about elves and dragons being read by a large number of grown adults would have been scoffed at but these days 'fantasy' is more popular than ever. Tolkien et al didn't worry about whether what they were writing was in vogue.

    Westerns will probably come back. In a sense they have never gone away, but there is always a market for good books of all stripes. Just don't make your western like every other western. Make it your own. New angles, etc.
    Last edited by luckyscars; April 18th, 2019 at 05:58 AM.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

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