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Cafe Doom  |  General Discussions  |  General Discussion  |  Note To Self: I Really Should Work Harder
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Author Topic: Note To Self: I Really Should Work Harder  (Read 3855 times)

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Offline delboy

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Note To Self: I Really Should Work Harder
« on: January 12, 2010, 04:46:59 PM »
We all hate rejections, but I was looking through a few of my old ones today and some of the comments were highly encouraging - especially a couple from an agent I sent a thriller manuscript to about eight years ago. So what did I do with it? Put it back in my drawer and haven't looked at it since. :scratch:  I have two other completed crime manuscripts that I've never done anything with! Well, that is aside from spending a year of my life writing them. :/ I have hundreds of short stories that I've never done anything with. Where I have submitted pieces and they were rejected I generally put them away and forgot them - after one rejection! My most recent acceptances have been for stories that have been 3, 5, even 15 years old. One of these was never subbed anywhere, two were rejected once. Now they've all been accepted. There's a lesson there (although now we have the interweb I have to say there are hundreds more markets then there was back in the day). There's a box in my attic full of old tales and I know there's a neat western werewolf tale up there that might fit the market Womble mentioned recently. Why haven't I got up there and dragged that tale down into the land of the living again?

I know that "writing is rewriting" so why don't I do it? Is it because there's always another story waiting to be written and the story ahead of me is much more exciting than the one behind me? I genuinely feel I'm improving as a writer, yet unless I start being a bit more hard on myself and doing some 'work' I feel that I may always be in this situation. It would be easy to blame the stresses and hours that my day job demand. Or the time that my bandmates and students demand. Or my family and friends. I don't know, maybe if I was cut out to be a real writer I'd be giving all of this stuff up just in order to be able to write the new pieces and rewrite and sub out the old.

Guess I'm just lazy Del  ::)
« Last Edit: January 12, 2010, 04:48:17 PM by delboy »
"If you want to write, write it. That's the first rule. And send it in, and send it in to someone who can publish it or get it published. Don't send it to me. Don't show it to your spouse, or your significant other, or your parents, or somebody. They're not going to publish it."
 
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Offline Ed

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Re: Note To Self: I Really Should Work Harder
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2010, 06:12:14 PM »
I think it's the old thing about letting the story out, Del - once you've laid it out there you lose interest in it. It's true, though, all the pros write, edit and re-write. I don't write nearly enough to begin with, let alone edit and re-write. You're well ahead of me in the productivity stakes :afro:
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Offline Woody

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Re: Note To Self: I Really Should Work Harder
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2010, 06:47:18 PM »
Interesting points, Del. What I find brilliant about writing is the process of writing itself. Sending off manuscripts in the hope for a letter that says they’re interested, for me, is secondary to the writing, but I still do it; just in case.

Since I got interested in writing I've bought the Writers' & Artists' year book every year and the change in tone from the agents and publishers listed is quite phenomenal.

When I started writing in 2004, when I was writing the children’s humorous fantasy for my kids, many entries in the W&A yearbook explicitly stated that children’s story were a no-no. How things have changed, now nearly all of them are after that genre.

In the subsequent years I’ve spent much money on postage to agencies and publishers that expressed an interest in the particular genre I had written; not forgetting the money required to print the first three chapters or the first 10,000 words all double spaced – all to no avail, but as Del said, with quite positive and encouraging rejection letters.

The two responses I liked the most were (paraphrasing);

Your story made me laugh and it was very well written, but we don’t publish this genre.” Damn that W&A year book.

and

Your story was well written but we’re only a small publisher and would suggest sending the manuscript to other publishers.

After a gap year or two without sending anything out one of my New Year’s resolutions for this year was to start again but avoid the palaver and expense of sending out weighty envelopes with the return postage.

I have considered, in the past, letting the recipient know that the return was not necessary as my work resides on a PC and I can print it off any time; however, how do you gauge if the work has at least been viewed? For me the return was the best way.

This year I decided to forget everything that was requested for submission, as detailed in the W&A year book, and just sent a preliminary enquiry letter plus SAE (a lot cheaper).

Last week (4th Jan) I sent 40 of such for the Centurion novel I am working on.

Last Friday (8th Jan) I received my first response – “we do not respond to enquiry letters, please send in the first 3 chapters and a synopsis.” Wow! that’s pretty positive, though I must admit it was a form letter.

Then yesterday I received a response from an agency that had explicitly stated in their W&A year book entry; full MSS only. Centurion is only about half complete as yet. At the top of my returned enquiry letter was written; “Okay to send the first 10,000 words with return postage.” That was it. Blimey!

Today the first 10K words were duly sent. And there was me thinking that there was no urgency in opening the letter because it had come back so swiftly – meaning a swift rejection.

As this is an agency I am now solely dependent on my style of writing to win over the editorial people there. Fingers crossed they will be interested.

But I put this interest down to the enquiry letter I wrote following the advice about enquiry letters I found in the W&A year book 2009.

If anyone is interested in my enquiry letter I am more than willing to post it in this forum; let me know.

But apart from that I would recommend the sections in the W&A yearbook 2009; “How to attraction the attention of a literary agent” (pg 436) and “Dos and don’ts of approaching a publisher” (pg 124)

I didn’t comply with every suggestion from these sections; some seemed like too much work and others would mean I would break the first rule I was ever told and that was; the preliminary letter should only be on one side of A4.

As it stands today I have only received the two above responses to my 40 letters of enquiry.

 

« Last Edit: January 14, 2010, 07:37:32 PM by Woody »
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Offline delboy

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Re: Note To Self: I Really Should Work Harder
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2010, 03:49:47 AM »
Good luck with those enquiries, Woody. I like your attitude and I must adopt a bit of it. I've always been nervous about subbing out initial chapters from uncompleted novels as I have an awful tendancy to abandon them, but then maybe if someone replied positively then that would be the encouragement I need.

As per the thread title - must work harder. Though I think it might be, must work very slightly differently.

Del
"If you want to write, write it. That's the first rule. And send it in, and send it in to someone who can publish it or get it published. Don't send it to me. Don't show it to your spouse, or your significant other, or your parents, or somebody. They're not going to publish it."
 
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delph_ambi

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Re: Note To Self: I Really Should Work Harder
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2010, 04:00:20 AM »
I don't think I could stand the stress of sending out anything from a novel that wasn't complete and thoroughly edited.

Offline Woody

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Re: Note To Self: I Really Should Work Harder
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2010, 12:30:36 PM »
Delph, I like writing, actually I positively enjoy it so having a very good reason to finish a story is a bonus. And I did state in my letter that the novel wasn't finished and there seems to be no problem with that.

Today I received back four more responses and things are getting extremely weird; One reply stated that the agency doesn't deal with the particular genre, one said that they're a small agency try this other one and TWO more  :dance: said; "Yes, please send us the first 3 chapters or 50 pages, plus synopsis."

What is going on? As far as I'm aware and my experience tells me, this is not normal. It's got to be something to do with the preliminary letter.

OMG  :grin:

So much for saving money by not sending out the initial requirements for submitting; such as chapters etc, but this way round they've bought into what I'm attempting to sell.

Lots of printing to do tonight.  :cheers:
« Last Edit: January 14, 2010, 07:26:28 PM by Woody »
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Offline Ed

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Re: Note To Self: I Really Should Work Harder
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2010, 01:23:34 PM »
Best of luck, Woody - I hope you get a few offers :smiley:
Planning is an unnatural process - it is much more fun to do something.  The nicest thing about not planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise, rather than being preceded by a period of worry and depression. [Sir John Harvey-Jones]

Offline Woody

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Re: Note To Self: I Really Should Work Harder
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2010, 02:16:57 PM »
Best of luck, Woody - I hope you get a few offers :smiley:

Thanks, Ed, so do I.

But I also know that the path has barely been started. However, it is good to have people tell you that they're interested; it's at least a start.

On to the 1 page synopsis - let the writing begin.  :shocked:
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Offline Woody

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« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2010, 07:30:42 PM »
.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2011, 08:09:36 PM by Woody »
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Writers Anonymous(http://www.writersanonymous.org.uk)-a source of sinister anthologies
Perception is nine tenths of the look. Brave Dave the Feather in Caribbean Conspiracy

delph_ambi

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Re: Note To Self: I Really Should Work Harder
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2010, 03:28:10 AM »
In my experience, publishers prefer what looks like a thoroughly edited product and complete product. Yes, they then are free to make adjustments as they see fit, but at least you've not presented them with something that looks like they're going to have to do a hell of a lot of work to knock it into shape.

Offline Rev. Austin

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Re: Note To Self: I Really Should Work Harder
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2010, 02:46:58 PM »
Going back to Del's earlier post (good luck by the way, Woody!), I have tons of stuff written, some of which has been critted (eg the ones on here) and though they recieved ace crit (ie the ones on here haha) I always seem to prefer to keep moving forward by writing something brand new.  I think this is partly down to wanting to get it out my noodle and onto paper, and partly because some of the older stuff I simply cannot find a suitable market for (regards length and/or theme).  I don't think any of us are 'lazy' by following similar methods (I hope :D) just it's always more exciting to do something 'fresh'.  Mind you, the first story I got accepted (last Feb) was a story I wrote at college (15 years ago) that I made very, very minor changes to, so we all probably have gold hidden in old folders, on old floppy disks, etc.
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