Ok, so it's finished. I think. Only took me 12 years! What now?

(28 Posts)
FuckYouChrisAndThatHorse Thu 07-Jan-16 13:45:30

I'm an inveterate coward.

I've finished, edited, re-edited, added, taken away, and I think it's finally done.

It's nothing profound. 75000 words of silly, swashbuckling, fairytale nonsense for young adults/precocious children.

So what do I do now?

Like I say, I'm a coward.

My favourite review I've had so far from the few people who have read it, was from my ds (11). I put it on his kindle and didn't tell him I'd written it. He wanted to know if there were more books by "this author" because he loved it.

So that helped my confidence a bit.

I've considered self-publishing but don't know where to start.

I want to try to send it to agents, but don't know who or how.

Everyone here seems so knowledgeable and I feel like a fraud grin

(Did the flattery work?!)

Please help an amateur flowers

Thingywotzit Thu 07-Jan-16 13:49:17

No idea, but congratulations! flowers

FuckYouChrisAndThatHorse Thu 07-Jan-16 13:54:06

Thanks, Thingy grin much appreciated.

CraftyMissus Thu 07-Jan-16 14:47:48

Sorry if this ends up a huge rambling post....

Traditional publishing... Can take time. Lots and lots of it. Malorie Blackman got 89 rejections before her first book was published. Now she's a staple on school bookcases.

You'll need to do a lot of research... Get a copy of writers and artists 2016 or similar. Inside are all the publishers, agents and other bodies. Use it to find who will read your book, then hit google to see if the information is correct and whether or not they're open to submissions atm. Approach a few at a time and work through the list systematically.

Email or snail mail off whatever they want to see. If rejections come back don't sulk, read them and see if they offer any helpful advice on why you didn't make it.

Keep going. In theory the costs this way are lower. You pay postage and internet supply. At the end if it, they use their money and they'll even pay you some.

If you choose to self publish... It's quicker yes, and it wont involve agents & publishers saying no... But unless you're a tech head you may still need to hire outside help. While you've edited your work, it may still need attention from a final editor before the end. Plus formatting for print or Ebook. Then print versions need storage and distribution. All formats need marketing... Before you know it you may have spent a lot of cash.

Check Writers magazines too, there are 2 circulating in the UK... Both of which offer advice and info on everything from how to write to getting in print.

FuckYouChrisAndThatHorse Thu 07-Jan-16 14:54:21

Not rambling at all, Crafty. Very helpful. Thank you.

With it being aimed at a young-ish audience, should I be getting the writers and artists book specifically for children's books? It's a borderline book age-wise.

I would like to give getting an agent a go. I'm thin-skinned, but going into it assuming I will be utterly rejected, so hopefully that will help.

I like the systematic approach. That way I could work through sending things off, without feeling too disheartened by rejections. I like a system.

FuckYouChrisAndThatHorse Thu 07-Jan-16 14:55:49

When it comes to editing, I worry I have got to the point where I am unable to see whatever mistakes are left (and I'm sure there must be some). Any advice on getting someone to edit, or read through it?

ishallconquerthat Thu 07-Jan-16 15:19:54

Just want to say well done! smile

wordassociationfootball Thu 07-Jan-16 15:22:35

I rate these people: www.writersworkshop.co.uk/ They really know their stuff, are brilliantly connected and want to help writers. They help a heap of people to get agents/published every year.

I used their Agent Hunter database. It costs £12/year.

You sound fun. Your review from your kid is a good 'un. Get stuck in now and get it out there. You might get nothing like 89 rejections. A critique from Writers Workhop, or their self-editing course could really super-charge you.

wordassociationfootball Thu 07-Jan-16 15:30:34

I sound like an advert....

I'm just a writer grin I went to their weekend Festival of Writing in York in September and found it really inspiring. For context, I signed with an agent in September and am re-writing my novel now. I've been a scriptwriter in tv and radio so I sort of know structure/story and IMO that is what can be particularly hard to crack. It's a gamble to send to agents before you've had some professional feedback, to give yourself the best chance. Debi Alper is excellent and encouraging if you want to google her services.

Agent Hunter picks up loads of info about individual agents so you can find the ones you really feel something for and keep them all together.

wordassociationfootball Thu 07-Jan-16 15:31:17

I sound like an advert....

I'm just a writer grin I went to their weekend Festival of Writing in York in September and found it really inspiring. For context, I signed with an agent in September and am re-writing my novel now. I've been a scriptwriter in tv and radio so I sort of know structure/story and IMO that is what can be particularly hard to crack. It's a gamble to send to agents before you've had some professional feedback, to give yourself the best chance. Debi Alper is excellent and encouraging if you want to google her services.

Agent Hunter picks up loads of info about individual agents so you can find the ones you really feel something for and keep them all together.

CraftyMissus Thu 07-Jan-16 15:43:01

For doing any further editing the best advice I can give you is probably going to sound crazy...

If you only edit on screen its too easy to skip over mistakes. So get yourself the following items... A pack of coloured pens/pencils, a voice recorder, and a printed copy of your project.

Read it off proper pages in small chunks into the recorder. Then start making notes once you've finished a section. If you spot a problem use a coloured pen to mark it. Give each colour a job to do (for example I use green for spelling/typing errors, orange for style notes, blue for information needs moving, and red for delete)

Then listen back to the recording. Add any extra notes if you hear anything that confuses your ears. Did you use the same word so often it sounded like you had an echo? Did you get lost reading a sentence that needs simplifying as a result? Can you always tell who's speaking without having to guess?

Use your rainbowed notes to start making corrections.

CraftyMissus Thu 07-Jan-16 15:48:49

Oops pressed send by accident...

If you really cant find anything else check recommendations and reviews for editorial services - they're usually listed in books like W&A. If you can't afford them then look for any local groups that can offer support. The one that was nearest to me had a great mix of experience with several successful writers among the group... It's amazing who'll show up for a pint in the pub if it means they can get feedback too ;)

FuckYouChrisAndThatHorse Thu 07-Jan-16 16:01:26

This is all such great advice, I'm so glad I posted smile

Ishall, I really appreciate that.

Wordassociation, grin I'll have a look. Always useful to have another pair of eyes. Many thanks.

Crafty, that has just reminded me that there're a group that do meet sporadically in a pub. Maybe it'd be worth going along. I just worry because everyone else there is published or an academic. Whereas I'm just... Me.

Love the idea of reading it out and sitting with coloured pens.

The last time I read it was on screen. I've always tried to print it out first, but haven't lately.

Ds was very useful feedback. I actually sat down and rewrote the ending after he said, "what happened to X?" And I realised it was too much to leave that loose end untied. So I wrote 10000 words in one day and added in a sword fight for good measure grin

CraftyMissus Thu 07-Jan-16 16:16:12

Try going along to the pub. Take something small to share your opening pages for example... And use the skills that crop up. Academics and authorial successes all started somewhere. Its amazing too what other info they can throw up as they discuss... I was writing a piece about a woman with a brain tumour... Inspired by a friend. Read the piece out and had made one little error... I didn't know you didn't call surgeons Dr (don't watch any medical dramas to have picked it up) when I was done reading a quiet voice from the opposite end of the table said... "I like it... But it's Sir for a surgeon, even at a hospital as enlightened as Christies!"

FuckYouChrisAndThatHorse Thu 07-Jan-16 16:58:45

smile I don't think they happen very regularly.

I may get in touch with a couple of old literary friends and see if they'd be up for a proof read.

They can only say no!

Congratulations on finishing!

What you do next depends on what you want. Do you want to see your book in printed / digital form quickly? If so, self-pub is a great route (although if you want to make money, be aware that there is at least as much work involved in promoting it as there is in writing it!).

If you're looking for traditional publishing, start looking for an agent. W&A guide is a great place to start. Books for children and Young Adults have incredibly specific age breaks and agents will specify what age (of reader) they're looking for.

All agents have slightly different sub requirements. It's vital to follow their instructions to the letter (font size and everything) otherwise they'll weed you out straight away. Be prepared for rejection. It doesn't mean your book's bad! They get dozens of MSs a day and they can only handle a very few new clients.

Some publishers take unagented submissions - if you like the look of their lists, query them too. Competitions are also your friend - as a first time writer there are lots of opportunities that won't be there once you've had your first book published.

One of the first questions you can expect agents and publishers to ask is "are you working on anything else?" The correct answer here is always "yes". If you've got long term potential you're far more interesting as a future prospect.

The most important thing is to just get submitting. None of us know what we're doing to start with but there are so many resources to help us find out. Your MS becomes a million times more likely to get published the second it leaves your desk!

Congratulations again and best of luck! There's no feeling on earth like having your work published. Worth all the hell and pain of producing it. smile

FuckYouChrisAndThatHorse Fri 08-Jan-16 07:55:10

Thank you Outrageous! You're certainly right that the odds of publishing leap up (from zero) the second I take the first step grin

The two people I've asked to have a read have agreed, so hopefully their feedback will help.

timelytess Fri 08-Jan-16 08:04:35

Well done on finishing!

FuckYouChrisAndThatHorse Fri 08-Jan-16 09:56:41

Thanks, Tess smile something tells me finishing was the easy bit grin

timelytess Fri 08-Jan-16 10:06:41

You're speaking to the woman with forty-five years of 'starts' and no 'finishes'... grin

FuckYouChrisAndThatHorse Fri 08-Jan-16 12:31:59

Tess grin

I have a long list of unfinished too!

ImperialBlether Mon 11-Jan-16 20:23:16

Hate to say this, but you THINK you're finished....!

I've just got an agent and she's given me editorial notes which I'm following now. It's involving cutting, moving, rewriting, adding, deleting, everything.

I would advise you to only choose agents who specifically want to read young adult books. Don't waste your time sending it to anyone who doesn't have that as their major interest. When you write to them, tell them exactly why you chose them - quote from their website. Go to novelicious.com and look at interviews with agents. Look at their Twitter pages and really try to get to know what makes them tick.

By the way, Rebecca Carter at Janklow & Nesbit was very approachable at the MN Publishing Day. She's interested in YA.

FuckYouChrisAndThatHorse Mon 11-Jan-16 21:15:11

Thanks Imperial smile that's really useful.

I'm fully aware that the hard work starts here grin although I'm in no way prepared, and actually quite terrified of this bit.

CocktailQueen Mon 11-Jan-16 21:18:30

Well done! Great achievement. If you want a copy-editor, go to the Society of Editors and Proofreaders website - www.sfep.org.uk - they have a directory of editorial services that you can put keywords in and search through. Lots of members specialise in fiction/YA/kids. Good luck!

MissBattleaxe Mon 11-Jan-16 21:27:54

Some excellent advice here.

I agree with reading it aloud, This alerted me to the fact that I was repeating words that I hadn't released I was doing. It also helped me with pacing- any saggy bits got trimmed.

Yes to getting the Writers and Artists Yearbook- the agent's section will list whether they look at children's or not and there's invaluable advice in separate chapters.

An agent will take you on if they like your voice and think you will sell. They will often suggest major and minor changes, so don't think it has to be publisher ready- just send the very best version you can possibly do. My agent has an eye for stuff I never would have thought of.

When approaching an agent, they will usually ask for the first three chapters, a synopsis and a brief (i.e, not rambling) introductory letter.

Remember that finishing your book puts you well ahead of thousands of aspiring writers who HAVEN'T finished their book, so you should feel very proud of yourself.

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