Writers Central

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Re: Writers Central

Postby Tornado » Sat Sep 17, 2011 6:55 am

Hey there! I was just looking for a bit of advice, or maybe just a vent, as I think I already know the answer.

How far do I champion my book? I'm still talking to my publisher about it, and she's said some very encouraging things, but she said something on Friday that worried me. She said I needed to get it down to 80,000 words before it was marketable, because (and this may be just in Australia) that was the standard length for a first time author's book in the YA market.

Now, my book does have plenty of flab. I have already reduced it from 125,000 to 109,000 words. But I'm starting to worry about what else she might insist I lose. She may be flexible (she has published another at 111,000 words, but she says that was an exception), and I understand she herself is a harsh editor. I'm just worried she will decide to cut things I believe should stay.

And I do know the answer. I won't publish it under those conditions. Maybe I'm worrying unnecessarily; sometimes she does say things like this but then backs down later. Maybe she'll settle for 100,000. I could probably do that without too much compromise. I hope so. It's not a done deal anyway. But the idea of cutting it to that extent kills me, although I think I could do it. I'm feeling exhausted by the whole procedure.

Sorry for venting. I just felt I needed to say it to people who understand.

After all, we're not laying pipe. We're writing art.
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Re: Writers Central

Postby Amanda Beth » Sat Sep 17, 2011 11:11 am

Maybe you need to go send queries out to agents and see if you can get a different publisher interested while having your agent on your side. Everything I've read said that most people in the industry would say the same thing and that the longest YA books they would accept are fantasy/sci-fi which maximum considered would be 100,000 words if it was an exceptional piece.
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Re: Writers Central

Postby Tornado » Sat Sep 17, 2011 5:14 pm

I've already tried the agent route. No one is interested. I guess I don't have an exceptional piece!
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Re: Writers Central

Postby Openhome » Sun Sep 18, 2011 7:38 pm

Tornado, do you have a critique group that looks at your work? If not, please try to find one, either online or in person. I can help you look for someone. right now, it's too hard for you to think clearly about your book. I believe you when you say it's excellent, but all this stuff sounds like it's causing you second thoughts. I've been amazed at how much even an online group has helped me. Truly amazed. So, before you get too down, have a few people who aren't friends or relatives look at it. And don't give up!
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Re: Writers Central

Postby Tornado » Sun Sep 18, 2011 8:40 pm

I have had some people who weren't friends look at it (they are now my good friends, and my book's greatest advocates!), however, they certainly aren't writers. If you can put me in touch with someone that would be good, although I want to do a lot of cutting myself before I let anyone else see it. It does need some friendly chopping, I must confess!
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Re: Writers Central

Postby alphanubilus » Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:09 am

Subject: Writers Central

Tornado wrote:I have had some people who weren't friends look at it (they are now my good friends, and my book's greatest advocates!), however, they certainly aren't writers. If you can put me in touch with someone that would be good, although I want to do a lot of cutting myself before I let anyone else see it. It does need some friendly chopping, I must confess!



To answer all of your questions....

80,000 words is the standard limit for YA fiction, especially for first time writers. Unless they are a large publisher they will usually have you cut the pages down to a modest level, as fewer pages they have to print, fewer dollars are spent. Once your series is established though, and if you are a success you get a little bit more freedom. There are exceptions to this rule of course, but it all comes down to the publisher. I have a friend who has been publishing books for years, and he still has to follow the 80,000 word rule, but then again his works tend to be a niche audiance versus a large readership.

In regards to agents... You could query 60 agents and get one or two looks, and that is still normal. Most established agencies receive hundreds, if not, thousands of queries a week. This is why it can take 4 to 8 weeks before they get back with you. Just because your work gets turned down doesn't mean it isn't exceptional, it simply means that it isn't something they are pursuing at this time, or something that they could readily sell. I've gone through several agents in my time, receiving some by recommendation (my last two) and others buy standard query. Even WITH an agent, I didn't find much success because the agency was too small to handle my material. In both cases the agency was very pleasant, but I had to part ways because a neophite agent is just about as bad as not having one, especially as I had MORE contacts than they had!!!!! My last agent was a jewel but she was diagnosed with cancer and due to health reasons she had to close shop. I was then moved to a colleague of a producer friend of mine, but she has since became a talent manager of which takes her out of the agenting arena.

SO... (drum roll) how do you lure an agent? There are a couple of wonderful tips that I've learned from in the past. Find out what they want, when they want it, and give it to him, nothing more or nothing less. In short if an agent isn't pursuing fantasy... don't even try to query them now. They won't even look at it. Secondly, learn about the agent themselves. Get their name, their reading pereferences, tailer that query to THEIR liking. Agents love it when writers do their research, and when you submit a query with THEIR actually name (spell it correctly!...I know it sounds silly, but you would be surprised) it shows that you took the time to look THEM up, as opposed to opening a query with, "Dear Agent or Dear Literary Agency". Of course none of this guarantees you that they will look at your work or take it on, but I WILL tell you this, by writing a query write, it does move you to the top of the pile. :)

Other tid bits is... the query itself... First paragraph - Tell them what you want, usually giving your title, word count, and any other important info about the work, such as if it is going to be a series and such.

Second... your pitch...

Thirdly, your short 500 word or less synopsis

Lastly, tell them about you. Your accomplishments, any references to your work, or (a plus) published writers who've read your work. ANYTHING that can help them know that you are the right or...hehe WRITE person for this job. Sell yourself...this ain't the time to be bashful! Just don't doddle about things that have NOTHING to do with writing. :)

In short, make sure your query fits on one page. :) Why? They can quickly get through it and move on.

With concerns to writers groups - They are always a plus, and if you can find published writers that would be interested in reading your work, that would be even better. If possible you want to surround yourself with people who are in the field. I've found this to be a FACT through out my short writer life, that most published/professional writers, are MORE than happy to help give life to an upstart, providing you are decent. Stealing is incredibly uncommon, because most writers I know, including myself, and too in to their OWN universe to even consider robbing somebody else. Networking is one of the greatest assets that is hardly ever considered by many new writers. The more people you know, the further you'll go. :)

On my own personal writing news...

Brad Steiger's "The Werewolf Book: Encyclopedia of Shape-shifting Beings 2nd Edition" was officially released this month. I'm proud to say that all of my articles that I submitted were included, including my write up for Harry Potter, Twilight, Underworld, and a few other films. They even put a picture of me in the book... (I already hate that picture because I think I look fat... :P)

In other news, I've been submitting "Tales of Ulrica: The Wolf Prince" to several agencies. It's way too early to yes or no, at this time, but I will say this one of the agents that I was blessed in getting to send it to... ... .. . Stephenie Meyer's agent!!!!! Doesn't mean anything, but she handles all the YA fantasy stuff, so we'll see. Other books her agency reps is Christopher Polini's "Inheritence Saga - Eragon"... SO I think WP would be right up their alley.... I'll let you know what happens... granted I have a very long 3 to 4 weeks to wait... ugh... I...HATE...WAITING!

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Re: Writers Central

Postby Tornado » Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:00 pm

Alphan, that sounds great!! Congratulations!!!
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Re: Writers Central

Postby alphanubilus » Tue Sep 20, 2011 6:01 pm

Tornado wrote:Alphan, that sounds great!! Congratulations!!!

Thanks Tornado, but... they still gotta pick me up... SO HOPEFULLY... everything will work out. :D
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Re: Writers Central

Postby Tornado » Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:17 pm

I understand what you mean about stealing. I find it very difficult to write about someone else's characters. How can I be sure of what they would do when I did not create them? This is one of the reasons I have not tried to write Twilight fanfiction, and why I don't read it either. I can't believe that the characters in someone's fanfiction are really the ones SM created. Not to mention that they often do things that I do not believe those characters would do!
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Re: Writers Central

Postby alphanubilus » Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:58 pm

Tornado wrote:I understand what you mean about stealing. I find it very difficult to write about someone else's characters. How can I be sure of what they would do when I did not create them? This is one of the reasons I have not tried to write Twilight fanfiction, and why I don't read it either. I can't believe that the characters in someone's fanfiction are really the ones SM created. Not to mention that they often do things that I do not believe those characters would do!


Well fanfiction is a bit different. With FanFiction the writer is simply writing for the sheer enjoyment. FanFiction is actually a wonderful way for new writers to start the seeds of character development and story structure, as the main characters and main story structure are already on hand. As, for the most part, they already know that they can't make any money off of their works. (Well there was that episode with Russet Moon...but Laura and Lori already conquered that one). So FanFiction is good for the most part as a writing exorcise, until the writer is confident enough to move onto new territory. Many of the writers here have done just that.

So I don't necessarily equate FanFiction to "Stealing" although a LOT of stealing happens in FanFiction, but that is because a FanFiction writer can not copyright their material and doesn't have any legal rights to the material they create, as the legal rights belong to the original creator.

I don't write fanfiction because I don't have time. I'd love to delve into the Twilight Universe, and I wouldn't be lying if I stated that I've plotted out a really awesome story once or twice in my mind, but ultimately I have my own universe to play in, and because that universe is my own... (Smeagol voice) my preeecccciouuussssssssss... I have too much fun playing in that world, to want to play in anybody elses.

I wasn't always like that, but years of writing, both screenplay and novel, have blessed me with a very nice imagination. :D
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