Adivce needed on next step to take towards publishing novel - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 07-25-2008, 03:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am in the thick of writing my first novel. I don't have a finished manuscript yet, but most places I check and books I read says that you just need to send out 'quiries' first and get an agent, and whatnot, one-liners...I'm confused at to what I should do next.

Do I write up a summary of the book, one page, and send that?

Are there any good books/websites out there that help outline the way to go about getting interest in your novel?

I belong to a writer's club but we don't meet for a few weeks and I wanted to get someone else's idea of what to do next.

Also, how do you go about getting people to help you critique your work?

Ok, thanks for any advice in advance
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#2 of 5 Old 07-26-2008, 10:44 AM
 
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I'm not experienced in this field yet, but from all the reading I have been doing, the first thing you need to do is finish the book. If you send out queries now, what happens if someone responds saying "ok, send it to me" and you're not done with it?

You can start making a list of the publishers that accept unsolicited manuscripts and start with them. Some require a query letter with a brief synopsis and the first 3 chapters, as well as a character outline. If you check publishers websites they will tell you their criteria. Some require exclusive submission, others don't mind simultaneous submissions. It really is different for all the publishers. As for ones that don't accept unsolicited ms's, you would need an agent to submit them. But the process if pretty much the same, send the query to the agents that fit your genre and hope one takes it on.

HTH!

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#3 of 5 Old 07-26-2008, 01:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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that's basically what I had though initially until I started reading some 'how to books'...but it does seem odd to start sending out queries without having a MS done. Like saying you can build someone's house without ever having done one from start to finish yet.

I'm working on bettering my synopsis now. I am so excited to write, it's like if I miss a day/chance to write I get all discombobulated
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#4 of 5 Old 07-27-2008, 01:00 PM
 
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First, as PP said, finish the book. Then get feedback, rewrite, and clean up. Most novels need lots of editing and rewriting before they're ready for publication, it's amazing how much longer the process can be than it looks at the outset. I have completed and sent out three novels so far, and have collected quite a stack of form rejections from agents. It can be quite a long process.

Getting good feedback isn't the easiest thing in the world, either, nor is knowing what to do with that feedback. I've gotten several friends to read my work over the years, and most of them don't have anything useful to say. Think about your friends, and which of them read a lot of books in your genre. They'll be a good place to start. Personally, it takes me a long time to process feedback, and it's usually a year or so before I have enough distance from a manuscript to make truly major changes. If you're less defensive as a writer, it won't take as much time, but you'll have to be careful not to get swept off-track by suggestions that may not lead where the novel ought to go.

I've read several books about the submission process, but the ones I refer to most often are Your Novel Proposal: From Creation to Contract and Writers Market (or now, more often, writersmarket.com). The Jeff Herman guides are also popular.

I always thought that it would be different for me, that I would be able to write and revise my first novel in the space of a year, and get an agent, too, but it's been closer to eight years, now. Some people do sit down and write a publishable manuscript in the space of a month or two, but they are vanishingly rare.
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#5 of 5 Old 08-05-2008, 10:53 AM
 
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My rule of thumb for myself is, that during the third edit of the novel, I send out my queries. Of course, I always make sure the first 3 chapters are ready to go for partial requests.

However, I write and tweak both the synopsis and query while writing the novel. They are short compared to the novel, but must be perfect.

HTH
V

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