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Thread: My First Flop

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW SDBmania's Avatar
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    My First Flop

    Since self-publishing my latest work, I've been using social media a bit for marketing. I'm not really focused on it too much, because I have school and I'm focused on my current novel.

    I've been writing close to 7 years now, off and on. The first book I ever wrote was mostly for me, I admit it, and I am sure I made some mistakes with it. Part of writing it was to prove to myself that I could do it. I was a little naive and I thought it was an awesome story at the time. In hind sight, I probably shouldn't have self-published it, but oh well!

    I self-published it in 2006 and I have sense left it alone. I don't really talk about it too much and I don't promote it. I've thought about reading it again, just to see how good/bad it is, but the thought of re-reading it makes me a little nervous. I have gotten a negative review on amazon and my best friend didn't like it, talk about honesty! Still I did have some positive reviews from family friends, but you know how reliable those are!

    Recently I went back and re-read a couple of my works for eBook publishing and it wasn't too bad. The most recent one I like very much and the older one was ok. I feel that it is clear that I have made some improvement in my writing and storytelling abilities.

    I'm thinking about what, if anything, I may do with it. I've thought about rewriting it and trying to make it a better quality work. But then I think maybe it is best to leave it as is. It may not be very good, but it is a symbol of where I started. I'm curious if anyone has gone back to an early work and realized it wasn't really well written and how did you deal with it?
    "If writing doesn't pan out, maybe I can take up clog dancing?"-SDBmania

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  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW Billycourty's Avatar
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    I like your title for the book in your sig. Very clever! Might work even better if you dropped the "My".

  3. #3
    figuring it all out
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    You won't know how good it is until you read it, and having a poorly written book up could be bad for your name recognition.

  4. #4
    Girl Detective AW Moderator Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    The second book I ever wrote was a medieval romance (well, the first book I ever wrote was, too). I sort of half-heartedly submitted it to a couple of agents and then gave up on it. Then I tinkered with it a bit and sold it to a horrible epublisher; that was a nightmare and I got my rights back a couple of months later.

    By that time I was published with EC, so I mentioned the book to my editor, and she was interested in it. I went through and completely re-edited it, and it ended up as a release from EC's Cerridwen imprint, and I was pretty happy with it overall.

    So long story short, yes, I've gone back and re-edited and "fixed" one of my first books, and it was fairly successful. I still have the original drafts and even the first published version, it's not like that completely disappeared or anything.

    I say go for it!
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  5. #5
    Retired Illuminatus dangerousbill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SDBmania View Post
    But then I think maybe it is best to leave it as is. It may not be very good, but it is a symbol of where I started. I'm curious if anyone has gone back to an early work and realized it wasn't really well written and how did you deal with it?
    My first novel had a superb premise, but because it was my first, it's amateurish and seriously in need of rewriting. I still intend to do that someday, but I'm full of other, new ideas that I want to explore. Realistically, I'll probably never get to it.

    By the way, your first novel wasn't a flop. It never really had a chance to succeed or even fail, because you never marketed it. A little marketing push might generate enough interest to give you better feedback on it.
    Dangerous Bill

    'Lessons for a Dominant Woman' - A woman's journey, breaking out of the abused wife trap to enslaving her college professor. Romantic realistic femdom. A prequel to 'Lessons at the Edge' CAUTION: Explicit, 18+
    http://www.amazon.com/Lessons-Domina...=william+gaius

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW Robert Gonko's Avatar
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    I have a manuscript from fifteen years ago that is extremely long and I'm sure it was terribly written, but it's an idea close to my heart and I'm sure I'll revisit it down the road. At least that's what I tell myself.
    Robert Gonko
    Author of "The Servant"
    EBook available at Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple iBooks.
    Print edition available from CreateSpace
    WIP: "Sniper"

    Check out my blog: http://robertgonko.wordpress.com

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW A.P.M.'s Avatar
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    My first completed novel was written over a period of almost four years, so I improved as I wrote. I ended up having to cut the first third of it, though, to make the rest of it publishable ten years later when I looked back on it. It was that bad.

    I'm not sure if those 50k words will ever see the light of day. :P
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  8. #8
    Freelance Writer Orianna2000's Avatar
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    My first (finished) novel was pretty terrible. I had considered self-publishing it at one point, but then I decided no, I wanted it to be properly published, which meant raising the quality. So I started rewriting it. Still working on it, to be honest, but it's already a hundred times better than it was before.

    The best advice I can give is to keep writing. Keep learning about how to write. Apply what you learn. Improve your skills. Then, when you feel ready, you can go back and revisit your original novel. If you find it has some merit, you can rewrite it. Otherwise, you can "trunk" it--put it away and move on to your next novel.

  9. #9
    Creepy Centipede Chasing the Horizon's Avatar
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    I used all the good parts from my first and second novels in my current WIP. It's not a rewrite of either one, the plot is new, but it uses all the good characters, adventure scenes, and themes from those first two works.

    That's basically my answer. Recycle the good bits from the old into something new and better.


    March Editing Goal: 8/10 chapters


  10. #10
    My Protagonists Hate Me Kyla Laufreyson's Avatar
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    My first novel was like...terrible in too many ways for me to list. I keep thinking I'll go back and fix it one day, writing it over from scratch with just the same premise and characters, but so far that hasn't happened. One of these days.

    Maybe.
    Elegy - YA horror - 40,000/80,000 words
    Untitled YA horror -- planning stages
    Weeping -- adult fantasy -- soon to be revised

  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW SDBmania's Avatar
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    I published my first book with iUniverse and every few months they call me offering me a marketing package. I usually tell them that I can't afford to do that at the time. I think it's tough to know just how good you are as a writer, even when you are being honest with yourself. It's not like singing; I know I suck at that! lol. Still, I do think I will push myself to read it again sometime, since I should give it an honest look. I'm usually hard on myself, but if I think I've gotten better at judging my work.

    My second novel, which is still unpublished, was written similarly to what Chasing the Horizon has done. I took the same theme of my first novel, but focused it on a clear genre. Many of the elements in my first book were used in the second book, specifically my favorite monster from the first, but I used new characters and the plot was different. I even submitted it in a writing contest and got runner up, so that gave me some hope! For now, I want to get my third novel finished and in the amazon contest and then maybe query it to agents, because I have a good feeling about the story.

    So, even when I am finished with this story, I will do one edit and then put it away for a while and go back to my second novel. It’s nice having this website to share experiences and get some reassurance!
    "If writing doesn't pan out, maybe I can take up clog dancing?"-SDBmania

    http://www.scottdavidbrown.com



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  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW Robert Gonko's Avatar
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    I never throw a good idea away. I may put it aside, ignore it for a while or completely change it but I never throw it away. Good ideas are too precious to dismiss.
    Robert Gonko
    Author of "The Servant"
    EBook available at Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple iBooks.
    Print edition available from CreateSpace
    WIP: "Sniper"

    Check out my blog: http://robertgonko.wordpress.com

  13. #13
    Life isn't all beer and skittles. lemonhead's Avatar
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    I wrote my first novel at fifteen, and then picked it back up after college. I didn't really have any better ideas, so I spent the next three years writing it over Andover again. I joke I learned to write on it. Then, when I finished I realized I was lacking as a story-teller. I queried the first novel, while working on my second. I didn't think the first would go anywhere but I felt I owed it to myself to query. It got a good response but never clicked with an agent (that whole story telling thing).
    My second is infinitely better thanks to the first. I have a good gut feeling about the second....
    There is no such thing as good writing, only good re-writing

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  14. #14
    Retired Illuminatus dangerousbill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SDBmania View Post
    I published my first book with iUniverse and every few months they call me offering me a marketing package. I usually tell them that I can't afford to do that at the time.
    Take your iUniverse deal and chalk it up to experience. If you still own the rights in your book, you might want to try publishing it on your own, or even submitting to a real publisher. iU can do nothing for you that you can't do on your own.

    In the meantime, you likely know that we are all are the worst judges of your own writing. You need to join a critique group, or team up with one or more other writers for mutual editing help. Some folks like to hire professional editors, but that doesn't guarantee publication and may not repay the investment.
    Dangerous Bill

    'Lessons for a Dominant Woman' - A woman's journey, breaking out of the abused wife trap to enslaving her college professor. Romantic realistic femdom. A prequel to 'Lessons at the Edge' CAUTION: Explicit, 18+
    http://www.amazon.com/Lessons-Domina...=william+gaius

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