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Please help, have written a novel but no idea what to do with it

(18 Posts)
iwriteapileofpoo Fri 23-Feb-18 11:44:28

I decided that I would write a best selling novel to lift my family out of pecuniary pain, and I have now done it and I have no idea what to do next. Would a kind person please explain the process? Who do I send it to and how?

It is sort of light, slightly funny at times psychological thriller, about someone who is not what they seem, lots of different themes in it, bit of true love towards the end, generally utter shite.

Does anyone recommend one of the writer's courses where you sign up, and be appointed a suitable tutor, who will help you get small articles published and read your novel etc?

Thank you very much indeed and I apologise in advance if these are annoying questions, so many people here seem to know exactly what they are doing.

Thank you very much indeed if you can help.

OutrageousFlavourLikeFreesias Fri 23-Feb-18 15:58:51

Okay, first off you need to be confident that your novel's as good as you can possibly make it - so make sure you've edited it thoroughly.

Second, you need to decide if you want to self- publish or if you want to shoot for a traditional publishing deal.

If you're looking for a trad deal, you need to start looking for an agent who's willing to represent you and sell your book to a publisher. You can also look at submitting to publishers directly, although most of them will only look at submissions from agents.

They all have slightly different requirements (some want the first three chapters, some want the first thirty pages plus a synopsis, some want a query letter only), so be ready to spend a lot of time pitching and brace yourself for a lot of turn-downs. You might get lucky and get a quick "yes", but it's rare, so try not to take it personally.

Finally, make a start on your next book right now. Interested agents and publishers will all ask if you're working on something new, and the correct answer is always "yes".

Oh, one more thing - definitely don't talk down your work by describing it as "utter shite". Publishing is a business, and a submission is an unsolicited job application. Talk about yourself and your work professionally at all times. Best of luck!

iwriteapileofpoo Fri 23-Feb-18 16:26:43

Thank you very much. You are right, I was very flippant with the "shite".

In terms of publishing, if I want to write to sell, to make money, I need to go with traditional publishing, is that right? Self publishing is great, but I am unlikely to sell many books? (And yes, I am managing my expectations, I know I would be lucky to get published!)

And do you have any pointers about selecting an agent? I have read I need to do research, but I am guessing that is limited to what they post online? How easy is it to get through on the phone to pitch? And how do you whittle down all the agents so that I am approaching someone who is more likely to take me on than others and who I think I might be able to work with?

So many questions, I am really grateful for any help. Thank you very much for the tip about saying "yes, I AM writing my next one"!!

OutyMcOutface Fri 23-Feb-18 16:27:39

Rewrote it a couple of times. Then find an agent.

MyBrilliantDisguise Fri 23-Feb-18 16:37:20

You have to polish it up until you literally can't see one word that's out of place - don't go thinking "I'll make it a bit more (whatever) later...)

Then when you think it's brilliant, write a synopsis where you say exactly what happens (don't try to keep hooks or twists away from the agent) - the synopsis should be a page or two long- you can see examples online.

Then look for your agents. Only approach those who are interested in that specific genre. Write to each individually - by name - and say why you've chosen to send it to them. Try to find interviews with them online and look at who else they represent. Make that email personal - you are choosing them. Say something about yourself if you like - if you've done writing courses then mention them.

You can include the synopsis in the email if you like (saves them clicking on the document) but attach the first three chapters as a document - header with your name and the name of the book, footer with a page number.

Either as the first page of the three chapters or in the email include your address and phone number.

Send it to half a dozen and then wait... This is the hardest time, particularly as some never ever respond. While you're waiting, start writing something else!

Once an agent has taken it on, she (usually a woman) will help you polish it up further and then when it's sold the editor will help you polish it up again! Don't be too proud - don't refuse to make changes unless you really feel it's very important to keep something as it is - you could end up losing a deal and the fact is, they are so much more experienced than you!

iwriteapileofpoo Fri 23-Feb-18 21:32:59

Thank you for that brilliant advice. No, I certainly wouldn't be too proud to accept input from editors! And thank goodness for the age of email - I have seen advice obviously written many years ago about sending out manuscripts by post - my printer wouldn't cope!

Thanks again (and good luck to everyone else writing!)

MyBrilliantDisguise Fri 23-Feb-18 23:04:04

Virtually no editor will accept paper copies now, though I think there are one or two who say they only accept them. I didn't submit to them.

Two things my agent asked me when she took me on (waving to her if she's here - she should be!):

1 Will you write in this genre for the foreseeable future?
2 Are you open to change?

If I'd said 'No' to either of those questions I think she would've put the phone down!

MyBrilliantDisguise Fri 23-Feb-18 23:14:00

Virtually no agent, I mean.

Noonelikesfruitcake Fri 23-Feb-18 23:16:02

Buy the writers and artists yearbook 2018.

MyBrilliantDisguise Fri 23-Feb-18 23:23:41

On Twitter you can ask questions via #askagent, too.

MyBrilliantDisguise Fri 23-Feb-18 23:24:33

This article is interesting. It's something Jessie Burton wrote (she wrote The Miniaturist) about how she got her agent, Juliet Mushens.

Btw you should be following all the agents on Twitter!

Johnnycomelately1 Fri 23-Feb-18 23:32:33

Self publishing is great, but I am unlikely to sell many books?

It depends what you're writing. I have a friend who writes young adult fiction (high fantasy and dystopian futuristic). She self-pubs and makes a good living, better than she thinks she would have made from trad pub. One benefit is that she's able to control the promotions herself and to do so quickly (i.e. if she decides to do a 99p promotion or "buy book 1, get book 2 free) she can do so in a matter of minutes. However, she is a highly prolific writer and very committed to making a living from it. She spends 5 hours a day writing and 3 managing sales/ social media/ fan pages etc.

friendlyflicka Mon 09-Apr-18 22:41:47

Has anyone got a link or tutorial or book that they rate at instilling the art of synopsis into the very shy modest and can't bear to think about - me. Would rather write books than do any kind of selling. Please help with any sources of information.

friendlyflicka Mon 09-Apr-18 22:43:28

Sorry, will get that moved.Meant to start own thread but obviously showing characteristic lack of self-publicity!

UsedToLoveMorrissey Mon 23-Apr-18 08:00:53

Hello, I'm new here and in exactly the same boat. Novel finished, edited to the Nth degree and happy with it. Now what?? The above has been great advice smile

With work, writing, life, etc, i feel i did the hard work by just writing the book. Ha. Now it feels like doing the research to get the book published (even just looked at) is a another full time job. I didn't look into that kind of thing while writing because life is busy enough as it is and I didn't need another distraction from writing. So, here starts the day when I actively starting working on the next step towards publication.

iwriteapileofpoo - i hope you are making lots of headway and are getting somewhere with the next stage

ReanimatedSGB Tue 24-Apr-18 12:21:52

Bear in mind that you are very unlikely to make any money at all for a year or two. If you go with traditional publishing, it will take quite a while for your book to be a) accepted and b) produced. Self-publishing is quicker, but you will need to spend some money unless you are an absolute ace at cover design, editing and formatting and can do it all yourself (in which case you can get yourself another income stream by providing those services to other indie authors, and your own book or books can be an advert for your skills).
Those self-pub authors who make an actual living were plugging away for quite some time before they so much as covered their costs. Yes, it's possible to get to the point where you are selling steadily, but the odds of pulling off another Dan Brown/JK Rowling etc are about the same as the odds of winning the lottery.

ARoomSomewhere Mon 30-Apr-18 11:06:09

what (roughly) would it cost to print, say, 100 copies of a book 500 pages long? how do i find out, pls?

ReanimatedSGB Mon 30-Apr-18 12:11:07

Here's a site to start you off. There are a few others (google carefully and look at the reviews, get a quote from every site that looks OK and compare them).

Are you sure you will be able to sell/distribute that many copies of the book, in a reasonable space of time? Is it something you are giving away with another product/service, for example? Is it something unique, or almost unique? (If it's fiction, trust me, it's not unique, no matter how good it might be.)

To put it simply, if this is a matter of you having written a book and wanting to publish it yourself, POD via Amazon is a better option than paying for a print run. Yes, the unit cost of buying printed books in bulk might be cheaper, but that's not a saving unless you sell the majority of them in a short space of time. It just means you have a garage full of unsold books.

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