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AmusingMuse
09-02-2008, 06:58 PM
I apologize in advance for all of you who are about to read this rant. But I feel so much better for it. :), ok, maybe not... but what the hell?

Well it's happened to me. No matter how hard I've tried to keep positive and just do what I love to do-write, I find myself feeling incredibly down about my book and my writing. Some history:

I tried for two years to get published with a fantasy series I'd been working on and have completed to no avail. Twelve books are sitting on my shelf as I type this nonsense. I've revamped, queried, submitted both via email and snail mail. I've taken all critiquing seriously and have made changes. I even had a graphic animator tell me if this idea sold, I could then venture into the video game adventure market, but only if it sold... Now, I've sold a few articles, won small, insignificant contests, ran a column in my local paper for a year, blah, blah...

I'm not entirely stupid about writing; I'm a University grad, business major, english minor. I've continued taking many writing courses, and am working on my English major via online courses because I have a daughter that requires full time care and I am unable to attend in person, a university of choice. With this family need, jobs therefore, have been hard to come by since I have to be available for her on a call's notice.

Over the years, we've managed through crises involving my daughter. These included four holes in her heart, surgery to reconnect her large bowel, intrasusception of the large intestine, cancer scare, diabetes diagnosis, hypothyroid condition, and everything attached to a child of downs syndrome. We met each challenge and have survived. She is doing very well now. But in the process, income has been tight. Insulin costs us almost $1,000.00 a month, and that doesn't include needles, etc.

I was tied to my home, and home office. So I started a business and its survived for thirteen years with the hopes that my daughter who wanted to be groomed for the role, would take it over in the next five years. My business isn't large, but it helps pay our bills, helped educate our kids. So this isn't too bad right?

Well, my daughter recently announced she's moving in with a guy in another city and bye bye grooming. In the meantime, my husband lost his job due to a plant closure, has started a new one... with a pay cut. This job is better, despite the loss of wage, I keep telling myself. Less stress in his life... I'm happy for him... Yadda, yadda...

I've advocated, and fought and recently, I've fought three legal battles, one for my daughter to receive an education like all the rest and won, one for my husband's exwife to gain a life and get a job - still pending, and one for a lawsuit against a lawyer who didn't do his job and cost us $70,000.00 plus. This too is pending.

I've raised a stepdaughter, who also had special needs. A nightmare for 10 years of my life. And during all this crap, I've managed to hang onto my one dream of writing. It saw me through many a sleepless night, filled with worry and strife... But finally I had no choice and I eventually gave up on this fantasy series and moved onto a new project, a thriller with a supernatural twist. I finished it and started the process again.

With this book, I've gone through the ropes of submissions, all with positive feedback but no bites. I've also revamped, edited and done new and better query letters via email and snail mail as asked. But with this one receiving the same bs, causing me to doubt myself, I went one step further and finally self-published. Perhaps, it was my silly way of saying to all those who read and rejected, "Ha! Look! It's in print." But there has to be something in this impulsive decision since I've sold over 800 copies. So what the hell?

If it's good enough for people to want to buy via this route, what's the problem with agents/publishers? Hence being discouraged. Am I suppose to virtually jump into their chairs and do their jobs for them, prove this book will sell and make so many sales prior to their feeling that maybe they'll ask for more information about it? Good God! No wonder there are so many of us pulling our hair out of our heads.

Or, is it because they all want the next J.K. Rowlings? They are aware of how long and in between it was for THAT to happen? Arrrrg! Guess I'm just on the same boat as everyone else--frustrated as all get out, and unable to do a thing about it... except write. And I need to write, in order to survive all the other stuff going on in my life. I need to come up with a ingenious idea of how to market and distribute these worthy self-published ideas of mine, since no one else believes I'm worth it as a writer. Then all these agents/publishers will have to watch out! Self-publishing will put them all out of business... Ok, ok, a pipe dream... hallucination... effects brought on by one too many glasses of wine. Anyway, I have vented, you have all suffered for it, and now I take my leave of you and get back to doing what I do.

One thing I will not do, is give up hope... or the wine, or whine about hope... I'm done. Have a great day!

Bluestone
09-02-2008, 07:26 PM
First, let me welcome you to AW. You've made a great choice already by finding and posting on this site.

I'm not quite sure (and I did read your whole post) whether you self-published your fantasy series, or part of it, or something else. Either way, my advice would be the same. Post your query and put up some of your work on Share Your Work and research all over the boards and you'll come up with inspiration, solid information, advice and assistance.

Best of luck to you. Your perseverence is commendable. :welcome:

Bufty
09-02-2008, 07:31 PM
Welcome, Amusing Muse.

You've certainly had your ups and downs and I hope the present legal wrangle sorts itself out.

You also have enormous determination and drive and that will stand you in good stead with marketing the self-published novel. And congratulations for that, by the way. You must have known what you were taking on when you decided to go that route, and incidentally, sales of 800 copies is above average from what I've read, so you must have presumably done some marketing already.

There is a sub-Forum here on Self-Publishing and you'll find it in the main Forums listing. I can't personally offer any advice or help in that area, but I just thought I'd welcome you and let you know I can well understand the frustration you express.

I am certain you will find encouragement here, both on the SP marketing side and on the continuance of your efforts towards mainstream publication.

I am unpublished, too, but I tell myself it's because my writing is not yet good enough. I just hope I survive long enough for it to improve! :Hug2:

CaroGirl
09-02-2008, 07:39 PM
Welcome. I, too, am an unpublished Canadian writer who's been trying for several years, through dozens of short stories and two novels, to get published. While I haven't had half of your personal struggles, I understand your frustration.

Hang out here and you'll discover you're not alone. There are great people and great advice to be found in this forum. Stick around and you might find success yet!

All the best.

ChaosTitan
09-02-2008, 07:39 PM
Welcome, AmusingMuse. It sounds like you've overcome so much in your personal life, and I find that truly inspiring. Good for you.

I'm also glad you've found AW. There are so many great resources here for writers, both published and unpublished. I do want to try and answer a few of your questions.


But there has to be something in this impulsive decision since I've sold over 800 copies. So what the hell?

If it's good enough for people to want to buy via this route, what's the problem with agents/publishers?

You say you've gotten good feedback on the writing, so it doesn't sound like that's the problem. It sounds like the problem is that you have a twelve-book fantasy series to sell. Maybe someone else will, but I can't think of a single debut author who's ever sold such a long, pre-written series. Publishers may take a risk on an established author, but never on an unknown.

800 copies sold is pretty dang good for self-published fiction, but it's not really enough to get noticed by one of the big five. Publishers want to sell in the tens of thousands, and no book is ever guaranteed to sell that many.

Does the first book in your series stand alone? Can it be sold as a single book? Marketing a first novel as a standalone with series potential is much easier than trying to sell all twelve as an interconnected series. Agents are more likely to take you on, and publishers are more likely to buy a single book (or two or three).

Let's say by some tiny miracle someone takes a chance on an unknown fantasy author and buys eight pre-writtten book. Say books one through three sell okay, but four doesn't. Five bombs. Sure, there are some loyal readers, but it costs more than its worth to publish the last three books, so they never come out. Fans are outraged. The author may never publish another book, since all of their time and energy was put into this eight-book series. Yes, it's a worst-case scenario, but it's one of the reasons why pubs won't buy long series like this.


Or, is it because they all want the next J.K. Rowlings? They are aware of how long and in between it was for THAT to happen? Arrrrg! Guess I'm just on the same boat as everyone else--frustrated as all get out, and unable to do a thing about it... except write.

No one knows who the "next JK Rowling" will be. Hell, no one could have predicted JK herself as the "next big thing." It was a fluke, good timing, good storytelling, any number of cosmic coincidences that lined up at just the right moment. Publishers want an author who writes books they can sell. Period.

Williebee
09-02-2008, 07:41 PM
Welcome! (And it is about time you got here, too.) :)

Your experiences have much to offer the folks here. Thanks for sharing.
I would echo the comments above this. SYW. Do some more looking around.

As to your chief complaint/whine/gripe/WELL justified rant?

Yeah, me too. Sometimes, after you've done everything as right as you can, querying still feels like you're playing craps with words.

However, judging from what you've said about your backlist, publishing is not why you're writing. So, pass the wine and we'll both get back to work. Next bottle's on me.

aka eraser
09-02-2008, 07:45 PM
Hello and welcome from another Canucklehead. Many here can relate to your frustration. If you take the time to browse our various forums, you'll arm yourself with new tools and ideas as well as benefit from the commiseration of those who've been there/done that.

That said, I don't believe your post belongs here in Novel Writing so I'm going to port it over to Roundtable.

Don't worry, you'll be able to find it again. ;)

Marian Perera
09-02-2008, 07:56 PM
Wow. The only 12-book fantasy series I've ever heard of are The Wheel of Time (the author died before book 12 could be written) and The Twelve Treasures (series sits incomplete at three books).

smoothseas
09-02-2008, 08:08 PM
Ahoy there, AmazingMuse, and welcome aboard...

Stick around to learn, to share, to rant. We're a sympathic bunch.

Red-Green
09-02-2008, 08:26 PM
Yup, sounds like you're incredibly discouraged, but you don't sound done. You sound like someone who's capable of a lot of amazing things. So I hope you'll keep writing and trying. You made it this far.

TheWritingRunner
09-02-2008, 08:31 PM
Yup, sounds like you're incredibly discouraged, but you don't sound done. You sound like someone who's capable of a lot of amazing things. So I hope you'll keep writing and trying. You made it this far.

Hit the nail on the head. You definitely have a lot of passion, so don't give up!

josephwise
09-02-2008, 08:44 PM
So, when do we get to see a fantasy novel involving a hero who has to care for special needs children? I'd read that. I'd pay good money to read that.

Phaeal
09-02-2008, 08:57 PM
Rhode Island has a simple motto: Hope. And, as Obama wrote, hope is audacious. Hell, for fiction writers, hope is practically delusional. ;)

You haven't quit yet. You know what you have to do. Get more clarity here, plus ears that hear you and hearts that understand. We are the bleeding survivors of a long, long war, a band of scribblers! (So when are we getting our TV series? Doesn't Hollywood see the inherent drama in licking those query envelopes?)

Nateskate
09-02-2008, 09:35 PM
Hi and welcome to AW.

There are phases in life where some of us go through this "Jobian" phase, where like the Bible character, Job, everything just falls apart. I've been in one of those phases, so I can relate at least a little bit to what you're going through.


But if you look at really great historical figures, many times they went through a desert or faced giants before grasping victory. So, if you really have a dream, and have at least the writing credits you have, don't ever give up on your dream.

I wound up in a similar situation, with lots of words on paper, and trying to market a book. The problem for me was that I was trying to market in chronological order, which meant I wasn't marketing the strongest book. Eventually the door opened and I found a publisher, but there were times it seemed impossible.

Hang in there, and I hope and pray your situation works out.

Nate

stormie
09-02-2008, 09:48 PM
You got a lot of great responses, AmusingMuse. I have nothing to add but welcome to a great place for info, friendship, and a shoulder to rant on. :)

regdog
09-02-2008, 10:09 PM
Welcome to AW and just between us I'd follow the advice my smarter posters have already given. Post your query in Share your Work. There are a lot of smart and savvy people here who will give you an honest critque.

Also you have certainly been through a lot and deserve a hug for it all :Hug2:.

But don't quit on yourself or your dream. By the sounds of it you still have the dream of being published and writing for an audience so stick with it. The advice you get here might make all the difference for you.

IceCreamEmpress
09-02-2008, 10:11 PM
Start something else.

Third time might be the charm.

Seriously, Carrie was the fourth novel Stephen King submitted to agents and publishers, but the first one to be published.

Having two attempts that didn't break the glass ceiling doesn't mean the third won't. Or the fourth.

Marian Perera
09-02-2008, 10:15 PM
Third time might be the charm.

Sixth time was the charm for me as far as agents are concerned.

Willowmound
09-02-2008, 10:20 PM
I was just about to say the same thing. Write new stuff, don't simply try to sell your old.

writer friend
09-02-2008, 10:59 PM
Hi, Amusing Muse,
I just want to say that you have done so much already, not just in writing but in family challenges! Good for you, trying the self publishing route, which takes courage. It is very hard to wait, isn't it? I can see you have lots of inner energy and drive and you've sold 800 copies! I know what you mean about all the prep work, submissions, and then...poof, they don't bite with an offer. I think something good will happen whenever you work so hard and are that dedicated. It isn't all for nothing, so please keep up the good work.
Writer Friend

Mr Flibble
09-02-2008, 11:41 PM
The most important thing a writer can possess is determination, and you've got that by the bucket load. We all have our 'bugger it why am I doing this?' days. The trick is to work through them


Does the first book in your series stand alone? Can it be sold as a single book? Marketing a first novel as a standalone with series potential is much easier than trying to sell all twelve as an interconnected series. Agents are more likely to take you on, and publishers are more likely to buy a single book (or two or three).

I'd second this. Try and make the first a stand alone with series potential - it's waaaay easier to sell.

And just a few thoughts, so you know you're in company with the greats:

Midsummer Nights Dream, William Shakespeare Performed in London, 1662
“ The most insipid, ridiculous play that I ever saw in my life.” — Samuel Pepys, Diary

They laid into Edgar Allan Poe with comments such as, “We require some kind of spiritual ablution to cleanse our minds of his disgusting images,”

Stephen King received rejections on Carrie. One said, “We are not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.”

William Faulkner’s novel, “Sanctuary”, was tossed back in his face with the editor’s horrified remark, “Good God, I can’t publish this. We’d both be in jail.”


When George Orwell offered the classic satire of communism, “Animal Farm,” an editor wrote back: “It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA.”

Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray” got this rejection from an editor: “It contains unpleasant elements.”


And THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT was turned down so many times, Beatrix Potter initially self-published it.


At least you said you had positive feedback, so that's a step in the right direction - your rejections weren't as bad as those, and these books are considered good, right? Every day you write you are getting closer to your goal. Don't doubt it for a minute.

Have a hug

http://e.deviantart.com/emoticons/g/glomp.gif

waylander
09-03-2008, 12:32 AM
And a little closer to the genre you're writing go here http://www.ursulakleguin.com/Reject.html
to read a rejection of Ursula LeGuin's 'The Left Hand of Darkness'

jst5150
09-03-2008, 12:39 AM
Eighty five percent of the battle to produce something/anything is attitude. It's easy enough to cave into what people MIGHT say or what you THINK they're saying/thinking. However, the reality is usually something much different.

Focus on the 85 percent stuff. The other 15 percent will fix itself.

You can do it. Don't let the bastards grind you down.

triceretops
09-03-2008, 01:02 AM
I'm absolutely gobsmacked that you've written a 12-book fantasy series! That IS a stunning achievement, and belongs in the Goals and Accomplishment thread. Dear Lawd.

That being said, I think you're very, very close to the victory prize here. I think your association with AW just might push you over the edge of success. If your association with us isn't enough, crikey, we've got silver bullets, voodoo dolls, garlic and blood sacrifices to tip the scales.

Welcome home.

Tri

Lauri B
09-03-2008, 01:08 AM
Hi, welcome to AW!
I want to reiterate a couple of other posters' comments:
1. Selling 800 copies of a self-published book is NOT the norm. Congratulations (although I know it's a bittersweet accomplishment) on that--you obviously have written a decent book and also have some really good marketing skills.
2. Most conventional publishers are very leery of being pitched a series of books, in general. So for the next project, pitch one at a time. You'll probably have better luck.
3. As hard as it is to hear, you should probably move on to another project and try again. All the work you've put into the novels you've written but that haven't been published has helped hone your writing skills, so keep pushing forward.
4. Take heart in the fact that every published writer has at least (and I mean AT LEAST) one or two (or a dozen) works that didn't get published for one reason or another. You aren't alone, and it sounds from your experience that you shouldn't give up.
5. AW is a place where people will give you constructive, honest feedback, good advice, and a lot of moral support. So stick around, and please keep writing!

veinglory
09-03-2008, 01:12 AM
Just my 2c, but you might try putting your eggs in more than one basket. So keep trying with the series but perhaps put your further-honed skills to work on some separate single titles?

Niniva
09-03-2008, 01:30 AM
Fantasy has a young adult feel in my mind; is there a connection there that you could use? I remember serial novels fondly as a part of my youth, and they were fantasies.

I'm just muddling through right now. I decided that I would have a better chance of selling a novel if I created a highly marketable non-fiction book. I don't know about the wisdom of this, but I managed to interest a local publisher. *crosses fingers* We'll see.

Deccydiva
09-03-2008, 01:33 AM
Wow. You've met some incredible challenges, and dealt with them all extremely well, by the sounds of it. However, we all have to re-charge our batteries at times and maybe this is what you need to do. There's some really good advice on here already so I can't add much except to say take a deep breath and some mental time-out, get recharged the way you know how to then go for it! You'll get tons of support on here too.
Look forward to hearing good news soon!

AmusingMuse
09-03-2008, 02:22 AM
I will confess... I read this thread at least a dozen times, sat in shock at so much encouragement. The last time I read it, I cried a little... just a little. But if you repeat this, I'll deny it all.

I think sometimes we forget as writers that we are not alone in the universe and there are others who scribble potential book titles on scraps of paper, type and argue with a computer screen while pouring out their emotions and baring their souls... do the idiot dance when an idea is there but they just can't grasp the full flow of it... run around in their underwear when halfway from the shower and an idea hits them, forcing them to trip over the dog while racing to the computer to type it out before old age claims another thought to the land of lost and never found again... wait... ok moving on...

Thank you all so much for all the kind words and wow, who would have thought so many nice folks in one location could be possible. I am very interested in the idea of trying to fly my first novel of the fantasy series as a solo act first and then go from there. Thanks again everyone, and I will post more and I look forward to getting to know you all. All the best,


Amusing Muse
(most days)

Mr Flibble
09-03-2008, 02:37 AM
there are others who scribble potential book titles on scraps of paper, type and argue with a computer screen while pouring out their emotions and baring their souls... do the idiot dance when an idea is there but they just can't grasp the full flow of it... run around in their underwear when halfway from the shower and an idea hits them, forcing them to trip over the dog while racing to the computer to type it out before old age claims another thought to the land of lost and never found again... wait... ok moving on...

I think you just described my life

My boss even makes sure they have plenty of scrap paper by where I work so if its slow I can make notes. There's nothing like the adrenalin of thing 'ok, I have ten seconds till that customer gets here to write the 200 words that just popped into my head or you know damn well you'll lose it.'

except extreme roller coasters. That's close. Funny how the muse turns up when you're doing something else.

KCathy
09-03-2008, 03:23 AM
I can't improve on what Lauri B said. Congratulations on what you've accomplished (800 copies?--DANG!) and on just hanging in there as long as you have. This is going to make such a good story when you get published! Don't, don't, don't give up.

VoltShadow
09-03-2008, 03:29 AM
Premium life experience in the dark and in the light. I must say, I'm impressed madam Muse. 800 self published copies, that too is one devil of a feat. If you can make it in that market, you easily should be able to make it in an agented/edited world. Most genius like JK is about 10% Skill, 14% Dedication, 6% of something random, and then an easy 70% plus some extra luck for good measure. Does it add up to over a hundred percent? Yes but that's aside from the point. Time makes all things possible, and your time is coming.
Good luck my dear and welcome to the forums.
- Your (Generally) Friendly Neighborhood VoltShadow

Chrisla
09-03-2008, 04:34 AM
You've received good advice. The only thing I can add is this: Remember that all the things that life throws at us increases our knowledge, our experience, and our compassion for others. That always adds depth to whatever we write.

I wish you well as you forge forward. You obviously are a strong woman; I hope you are writing about strong women. There are not enough stories about them. Tough or hard chicks, yes, but not strong women.

Jackfishwoman
09-03-2008, 06:21 AM
AmusingMuse, i really enjoyed reading your post. Not because I enjoyed hearing your anguish, but because it was well-written, entertaining, and hey, I can relate to a few things you said. (perhaps you should write about your own life and overcoming struggle??)

Perhaps this will make you feel a little better:
I was at a writer's fair over the weekend selling my (university press published) book and this old guy was set up beside me selling his self-published book. The old guy out-sold me 3-1!!! And his was cowboy poetry!

anyway, hang in there. I truly believe that sooooooooo much of the publishing world has to do with luck, and soooooo many of us just have bad luck. But sooner or later, everyone wins a little something, even if it's just out of the gumball machine.

J C Coy
09-03-2008, 06:38 AM
Welcome to AW and don't give up. This is a wonderful place. Grab a cup of coffee and stick around.

blacbird
09-03-2008, 10:24 AM
Grab a cup of coffee and stick around.

Bad advice. Grab a tumbler of good single-malt scotch (Talisker, Laphroaig, Cragganmore, Highland Park, Oban) and stick around.

caw

Michael Parks
09-03-2008, 10:37 AM
You're close, AM. You've done beautiful work with survival for you and your family, and kept the flame of love for writing alive. You're close. Believe it.

Full court press. Be creative. Be instinctual. Extend. Don't stop.

BarbaraKE
09-03-2008, 06:41 PM
AmusingMuse - I just wanted to add my welcome to the others you've already received. Your determination and fortitude are incredible. I salute you!!

I think the advice you've received about a twelve-book series vs. a stand-alone novel is good. Publishers/Agents will be much more interested in a stand-alone ('with series potential') than a series. Of course, once you sell the stand-alone and it's a success, you'll be way ahead of the game when your agent asks if you can make it into a series.

Darzian
09-03-2008, 07:22 PM
Oh-my-god. I cannot believe that one person can undergo so much trouble. I really wish your daughter didn't leave you after all the trouble you went to over the past 18 years.

I furthermore am astonished that you filed a case against a lawyer! Wow its like a tele serial.

Congratulations on you success so far. You really have succeeded in life by managing all this so well. Most people would utterly break down in the circumstances.


I heavily recommend revising the books and cutting them down. You might want to make Book 1 stand alone and pass it to the agent. Don't tell them its a 12 book series. Just say that you've written some more but it is very important that the first book appears stand alone.


Good luck. Be sure to post any successes.

Susan Lanigan
09-04-2008, 08:26 AM
AmusingMuse, I wish you the very best of luck with this. Welcome.

Yeshanu
09-04-2008, 09:26 AM
I think sometimes we forget as writers that we are not alone in the universe and there are others who scribble potential book titles on scraps of paper, type and argue with a computer screen while pouring out their emotions and baring their souls... do the idiot dance when an idea is there but they just can't grasp the full flow of it... run around in their underwear when halfway from the shower and an idea hits them, forcing them to trip over the dog while racing to the computer to type it out before old age claims another thought to the land of lost and never found again... wait... ok moving on...




Wait! When did we meet? I don't remember baring my soul to you, but must have done so...

Oh, wait. I have cats, not a dog. Whew! For a minute there I thought you'd installed a camera in my home. :D

I can't think of anything to add to what's already been said, except to say that your continued output seems to indicate that at some point, you'll achieve your goal of being published. Don't give up as long as you have a story to tell!

AmusingMuse
09-04-2008, 06:51 PM
Thank you again for all the encouragement. Last night, I sat down with my first novel of my fantasy series and read it. I am more and more thinking about submitting it as a stand-alone. Of course, the other option is to self-publish again...

So I suppose I should start looking for agents/publishers in the fantasy genre. What if I've already pitched my series to them and they sent me a resounding "no thanks", should I resubmit my first book only and try to sell it as a stand-alone to them, change all names to protect the innocents? Just the thought of starting over again with submissions...

But I do appreciate all the support. Thanks again.

AmusingMuse
09-04-2008, 06:52 PM
By the way, I can't post any of my work. The passwords don't seem to want to work. I'm sure I'm missing the boat here... or something?

Kate Thornton
09-04-2008, 07:20 PM
AmusingMuse, welcome to AW! It's a wonderful place.

I echo the idea of sending stand-alone queries, rather than a series. I have a friend who has a nice 6-book deal for a series - but only after her first 3 titles sold well. Publishers like to see that first one go out with a chance of return before investing in a series which may not work out for them financially.

And bravo to you for living life so fully - ever experience, every trial, every heartache, every delight, is grist for the writer's mill.

Jimmyboy1
09-05-2008, 06:50 PM
Muse,

This small bit of info from another (yet) unpublished writer might help:

After about 200 queries to agents, I got approx. ten that asked for a sample or synopsis. After several months I tried something new: I queried publishers.

I didn't think I could do that, but I found all the best info on Predators and Editors. ONly the biggest pubs request agents-only submissions.

Sixty queries to pubs left me with ten requests for partials and even full mss! And most came within a day, not four months. One pub actually phoned me within 30 minutes of my email query, asking that I email her all three of my full mss. I kid you not.

My guess is that God is saving something extra special for you. Be ready!

Jim

AmusingMuse
09-05-2008, 07:05 PM
Hello Jim,

Yes, I've found wonderful suggestions here. I am in the process of revamping my first novel to propose it as a stand-alone. Then, I'll go from there. It's strange the one genre I truly wish to write in is giving me so much grief and the one I never pictured writing in is doing so well. Go figure huh!

Sixty... dear God man! I give you gold Kudos for your determination.

And yes, I'm so very aware of God having plans for me... just wish he'd not leave it so difficult in opening the packages he keeps tossing my way...

I am taking all this advice in stride and using most of it. Thanks again for yours.

AmusingMuse
09-05-2008, 07:07 PM
Oh-my-god. I cannot believe that one person can undergo so much trouble. I really wish your daughter didn't leave you after all the trouble you went to over the past 18 years.

I furthermore am astonished that you filed a case against a lawyer! Wow its like a tele serial.

Congratulations on you success so far. You really have succeeded in life by managing all this so well. Most people would utterly break down in the circumstances.


I heavily recommend revising the books and cutting them down. You might want to make Book 1 stand alone and pass it to the agent. Don't tell them its a 12 book series. Just say that you've written some more but it is very important that the first book appears stand alone.


Good luck. Be sure to post any successes.

Thank you for your kind words. Yes, we too wish she hadn't abandoned her family and all for a whim. But, this is something she has to do for herself. Her little sister will miss her company the most. I will simply miss her heart and soul.

AmusingMuse
09-05-2008, 07:08 PM
AmusingMuse, welcome to AW! It's a wonderful place.

And bravo to you for living life so fully - ever experience, every trial, every heartache, every delight, is grist for the writer's mill.

This is so true, isn't it?

AmusingMuse
09-05-2008, 07:09 PM
I can't think of anything to add to what's already been said, except to say that your continued output seems to indicate that at some point, you'll achieve your goal of being published. Don't give up as long as you have a story to tell!

Such positive words. As for story-telling, I have never been short on that factor. I have closets full of those.

AmusingMuse
09-05-2008, 07:11 PM
[quote=BarbaraKE;2711762]AmusingMuse - I just wanted to add my welcome to the others you've already received. Your determination and fortitude are incredible. I salute you!!

Thank you Barb, but for every battle faced, the captain is never alone. I have had a lot of support from family and especially my mom, who is my muse.

AmusingMuse
09-05-2008, 07:12 PM
You're close, AM. You've done beautiful work with survival for you and your family, and kept the flame of love for writing alive. You're close. Believe it.

Full court press. Be creative. Be instinctual. Extend. Don't stop.


Thank you Michael, I hope you are right.

AmusingMuse
09-05-2008, 07:14 PM
Bad advice. Grab a tumbler of good single-malt scotch (Talisker, Laphroaig, Cragganmore, Highland Park, Oban) and stick around.

caw


Okay, you had me until the "malt scotch" part.

chirp!

AmusingMuse
09-05-2008, 07:14 PM
Welcome to AW and don't give up. This is a wonderful place. Grab a cup of coffee and stick around.


Cup of tea please, and yup, I'm sticking, I'm sticking?

AmusingMuse
09-05-2008, 07:16 PM
AmusingMuse, i really enjoyed reading your post. Not because I enjoyed hearing your anguish, but because it was well-written, entertaining, and hey, I can relate to a few things you said. (perhaps you should write about your own life and overcoming struggle??)

Perhaps this will make you feel a little better:
I was at a writer's fair over the weekend selling my (university press published) book and this old guy was set up beside me selling his self-published book. The old guy out-sold me 3-1!!! And his was cowboy poetry!

anyway, hang in there. I truly believe that sooooooooo much of the publishing world has to do with luck, and soooooo many of us just have bad luck. But sooner or later, everyone wins a little something, even if it's just out of the gumball machine.


This entry was one of many that made me smile.

Could I please have the pink gumballs?

AmusingMuse
09-05-2008, 07:17 PM
AmusingMuse, I wish you the very best of luck with this. Welcome.


Thank you susan.

AmusingMuse
09-05-2008, 07:18 PM
You've received good advice. The only thing I can add is this: Remember that all the things that life throws at us increases our knowledge, our experience, and our compassion for others. That always adds depth to whatever we write.

I wish you well as you forge forward. You obviously are a strong woman; I hope you are writing about strong women. There are not enough stories about them. Tough or hard chicks, yes, but not strong women.


It's funny you've written this. All my female characters are strong. I always claimed that my writing has never reflected its author, perhaps, I've been wrong.

AmusingMuse
09-05-2008, 07:20 PM
Premium life experience in the dark and in the light. I must say, I'm impressed madam Muse. 800 self published copies, that too is one devil of a feat. If you can make it in that market, you easily should be able to make it in an agented/edited world. Most genius like JK is about 10% Skill, 14% Dedication, 6% of something random, and then an easy 70% plus some extra luck for good measure. Does it add up to over a hundred percent? Yes but that's aside from the point. Time makes all things possible, and your time is coming.
Good luck my dear and welcome to the forums.
- Your (Generally) Friendly Neighborhood VoltShadow


Wise words, my friend, thank you.

AmusingMuse
09-05-2008, 07:22 PM
I can't improve on what Lauri B said. Congratulations on what you've accomplished (800 copies?--DANG!) and on just hanging in there as long as you have. This is going to make such a good story when you get published! Don't, don't, don't give up.


My mother told me I should write my story. I've always fought doing this because of the "reliving factor" being too painful. But I will in time, harden all the necessary parts of my fractured heart in order to accomplish this feat. It will be my last novel written, I think. So I'm not ready to write it yet.

AmusingMuse
09-05-2008, 07:23 PM
I think you just described my life

My boss even makes sure they have plenty of scrap paper by where I work so if its slow I can make notes. There's nothing like the adrenalin of thing 'ok, I have ten seconds till that customer gets here to write the 200 words that just popped into my head or you know damn well you'll lose it.'

except extreme roller coasters. That's close. Funny how the muse turns up when you're doing something else.

Wow, wish I could have a boss like that. Wait... I do have a boss like that... me...:D

AmusingMuse
09-05-2008, 07:26 PM
Wow. You've met some incredible challenges, and dealt with them all extremely well, by the sounds of it. However, we all have to re-charge our batteries at times and maybe this is what you need to do. There's some really good advice on here already so I can't add much except to say take a deep breath and some mental time-out, get recharged the way you know how to then go for it! You'll get tons of support on here too.
Look forward to hearing good news soon!


Thank you for your kind words. I have taken many mental time-outs over the years, breaking from writing because my life was just too unsettled at that time, or I was needed to focus elsewhere. So your advice is great not just for me, but anyone who is going through tough times. Thanks again.

P.S. We are hoping for good news soon.

AmusingMuse
09-05-2008, 07:29 PM
Fantasy has a young adult feel in my mind; is there a connection there that you could use? I remember serial novels fondly as a part of my youth, and they were fantasies.

I'm just muddling through right now. I decided that I would have a better chance of selling a novel if I created a highly marketable non-fiction book. I don't know about the wisdom of this, but I managed to interest a local publisher. *crosses fingers* We'll see.


I am very curious about the non-fiction world. I would appreciate you keeping me up to date on your progress/success. And, I'll cross my fingers for you too.

My fantasy series is definitely NOT for young adults. There are adult aspects to it that I would never allow any young adult, teen or child to read. But I know exactly what you are thinking, considered it, but realized that it would kill the series potential.

AmusingMuse
09-05-2008, 07:30 PM
Just my 2c, but you might try putting your eggs in more than one basket. So keep trying with the series but perhaps put your further-honed skills to work on some separate single titles?

Great advice! I have written another novel, taken online writing classes, attended book signings, etc. and have started another novel. So great advice!

AmusingMuse
09-05-2008, 07:32 PM
I'm absolutely gobsmacked that you've written a 12-book fantasy series! That IS a stunning achievement, and belongs in the Goals and Accomplishment thread. Dear Lawd.

That being said, I think you're very, very close to the victory prize here. I think your association with AW just might push you over the edge of success. If your association with us isn't enough, crikey, we've got silver bullets, voodoo dolls, garlic and blood sacrifices to tip the scales.

Welcome home.

Tri

OMG! I love that word "gobsmacked".

I am hoping you are right about AW being my missing link. Pssst... keep one of those silver bullets handy will you, think I heard something moving out in the bushes the other night...

AmusingMuse
09-05-2008, 07:33 PM
Eighty five percent of the battle to produce something/anything is attitude. It's easy enough to cave into what people MIGHT say or what you THINK they're saying/thinking. However, the reality is usually something much different.

Focus on the 85 percent stuff. The other 15 percent will fix itself.

You can do it. Don't let the bastards grind you down.


You can officially head my cheering section any time :D

AmusingMuse
09-05-2008, 07:35 PM
Hi, welcome to AW!
I want to reiterate a couple of other posters' comments:
1. Selling 800 copies of a self-published book is NOT the norm. Congratulations (although I know it's a bittersweet accomplishment) on that--you obviously have written a decent book and also have some really good marketing skills.
2. Most conventional publishers are very leery of being pitched a series of books, in general. So for the next project, pitch one at a time. You'll probably have better luck.
3. As hard as it is to hear, you should probably move on to another project and try again. All the work you've put into the novels you've written but that haven't been published has helped hone your writing skills, so keep pushing forward.
4. Take heart in the fact that every published writer has at least (and I mean AT LEAST) one or two (or a dozen) works that didn't get published for one reason or another. You aren't alone, and it sounds from your experience that you shouldn't give up.
5. AW is a place where people will give you constructive, honest feedback, good advice, and a lot of moral support. So stick around, and please keep writing!


Thank you Lauri, your words are so very true to point. Excellent advice.

AmusingMuse
09-05-2008, 07:36 PM
And a little closer to the genre you're writing go here http://www.ursulakleguin.com/Reject.html
to read a rejection of Ursula LeGuin's 'The Left Hand of Darkness'


Wowee...

AmusingMuse
09-05-2008, 07:55 PM
Welcome to AW and just between us I'd follow the advice my smarter posters have already given. Post your query in Share your Work. There are a lot of smart and savvy people here who will give you an honest critque.

Also you have certainly been through a lot and deserve a hug for it all :Hug2:.

But don't quit on yourself or your dream. By the sounds of it you still have the dream of being published and writing for an audience so stick with it. The advice you get here might make all the difference for you.


Thank you HeaGrg, I posted my query and a sample of this book in Thrillers. I will always have my dream of being published and one day... I will see my work published... I hope :D

AmusingMuse
09-05-2008, 08:06 PM
Welcome, AmusingMuse. It sounds like you've overcome so much in your personal life, and I find that truly inspiring. Good for you.

I'm also glad you've found AW. There are so many great resources here for writers, both published and unpublished. I do want to try and answer a few of your questions.



You say you've gotten good feedback on the writing, so it doesn't sound like that's the problem. It sounds like the problem is that you have a twelve-book fantasy series to sell. Maybe someone else will, but I can't think of a single debut author who's ever sold such a long, pre-written series. Publishers may take a risk on an established author, but never on an unknown.

800 copies sold is pretty dang good for self-published fiction, but it's not really enough to get noticed by one of the big five. Publishers want to sell in the tens of thousands, and no book is ever guaranteed to sell that many.

Does the first book in your series stand alone? Can it be sold as a single book? Marketing a first novel as a standalone with series potential is much easier than trying to sell all twelve as an interconnected series. Agents are more likely to take you on, and publishers are more likely to buy a single book (or two or three).

Let's say by some tiny miracle someone takes a chance on an unknown fantasy author and buys eight pre-writtten book. Say books one through three sell okay, but four doesn't. Five bombs. Sure, there are some loyal readers, but it costs more than its worth to publish the last three books, so they never come out. Fans are outraged. The author may never publish another book, since all of their time and energy was put into this eight-book series. Yes, it's a worst-case scenario, but it's one of the reasons why pubs won't buy long series like this.



No one knows who the "next JK Rowling" will be. Hell, no one could have predicted JK herself as the "next big thing." It was a fluke, good timing, good storytelling, any number of cosmic coincidences that lined up at just the right moment. Publishers want an author who writes books they can sell. Period.


When I first read this, I was sadly disappointed that having a 12 book series would never fly. I am not sure how many books there are in Steven Donaldson's Chronicles series, but I know there were a few and had hoped... Then I got to thinking. This series was originally, ten years or so ago, only six books, but each was so large that I split them up into the now twelve. I realized too, I needed to seriously ask myself, how much was filler, how much was needed... etc.... This was painful to do since this was my first novel attempt.

I have realized that you are right. I am probably better off in selling my first as a stand-alone and then go from there. Others have suggested that I will be ahead of the game should this first sell, and this is also correct. So I will take your advice and thank you for the same.

As for the self-published novel of mine... It's a bitter sweet victory, even with the sales... My initial decision was to seek an agent and attempt to get into films, television... I knew I had something... and no one else seemed to care. So I self-published, moreso to prove a point I think. The 800 copies was all from my own marketing skills, which is limited and thus again proving my point--if someone with greater marketing knowledge and connections were to take this novel... So, here I am stuck with a self-published novel, that sells, yet I can't get an agent to see this. So I'm not so certain about marketing a book as a stand alone being far easier... think the whole process of submissions and acceptance an incredibly discouraging and difficult process regardless of genre or quantity.

I will now look at contacting publishers directly. But we all know about slush piles and what happens to unsolicited manuscripts. Now that this thriller is self-published, I find publishers are even more leery about getting involved/interested...

However, thank you for your advice on my series. It's greatly appreciated.

AmusingMuse
09-07-2008, 04:38 PM
Well, I've spent almost a week here at AW. I feel that I have found an excellent resource site for most parts. I have also seen a lot of contradictions, far out opinions and comments by writers ranging from no experience to great experience--all refreshing and interesting to read. It's been amusing too. Isn't writing wonderful!

I would like to thank the powers that be for allowing my membership to this site and will continue to use its resources in the future. For hopefuls, I recommend the section on agents, Bewares..., publishing information and marketing.

Good luck to you all. Happy writing.

Myself, I will be taking a break.

Kujai
09-09-2008, 04:36 AM
:welcome: I Bid You a Fair and Hearty Welcome Amusing Muse, :welcome:

You seem like an extremely friendly fellow whose just been handed over, over, and over again a battered and bruised stick in life. One thing to consider is that things can always be worse, and as such they can always get better. You've stated that you've written twelve books, and as such that is quite a feet, but from reading your numerous responses to the generous replies you have been getting it seems that you are not quite satisfied or content with your writing. Perhaps the reason may be that you know that you are capable of doing better. You feel it but your written words do not express such ability. And so you feel tormented, down, and in poor spirits. But writing, as with any act, job, or duty, is not a simple task, it requires dedication, skill, and practice.

A toddler can write, but is he good? A critically acclaimed writer can write exceptionally, according to critics, but will everyone appreciate his or her work? No. You've tried for two years to get your novels published but you were unsuccessful? Why was that the case? That is what you have to find out and to answer in order to improve your chances of being published. Are your words truly worthy to be published? Will they inspire others? Is your reason for writing honorable? Will you be embarrassed by your books mediocrity when you know you've could have done better? Was your work ready to be published? Would you rather have a three book series that you are proud of, that you've poured your heart and soul into or a set of thirty that produce a decent wage but you write under a pen name due to its laughable content?

I am not trying to be disheartening, I am simply trying to illustrate that what you put into your work is what you will get out of it. I too am a college graduate, one who majored in political science and public administration. I was to go to Law School this fall but I procrastinated. I've given up that opportunity and postponed that life because it was not what I truly desired. Unlike you it seems that I've had a relatively decent life. So why did I give up that path of mine you may ask, a path to guaranteed success, a certain and healthy wage, respect and a sense of satisfaction that I've made my parents, brothers, and friends proud? Because let's just say I'm a little wacky in the head, a healthy kind of wacky.

I discovered Absolute Write last December, and ever since then I've said 'tis nice knowing ya' to a future that had been scribed to me ever since I was but a child. Ever since then I've made a commitment, that I won't write crap and that I won't disgrace my opportunities and my so far blissful life. I've revised and edited a story that I had written throughout my college journey. For the past eight months I've been living like an indoor deranged social hermit, getting the ever so delightful sun once every five days when I tend to the yard. I rarely go out unless for writing supplies, and as such the last time I filled my car with gas was last October. I spend hours increasing the size of my pupils as I stare blindly at a paragraph that doesn't want to budge. I spin around in my chair wheeling for minutes forcing ideas to work in my pulsating head. My room is dressed with tissues, napkins, paper, note cards, boxes, what ever I've written on when an idea surged within my focused mind.

I say to my self that perhaps I could have finished the novel four months ago. Perhaps it would've been good enough. But why haven't I finished it? Procrastination, an enjoyment of being a strain on the economy, the beauty of loading up Microsoft word, fear of rejection...? The reason; I know the difference between the best of my ability and a half-hearted attempt at writing an acceptable story. Until I am finished and received well deserved rejection from both betas and agents I can not say 'At least I tried,' 'I did my utmost best,' 'I'm satisfied.'

With the tirade of problems you've had with life Amusing Muse it seems that you do not have much time to devote to writing as many other writers do. A suggestion that I will send to you is to write in the morning or evening. Or you could set up a schedule and perhaps allocate certain portions of your day to idea creation, revisiting yesterdays work, and writing your previous planned thoughts. After you've set up an allocated amount of time for your writing figure out why your old writing isn't working. Is it dry? Has the interpretation of your idea been done before? Too many plot points? Uninteresting, flat, un-compassionate, stereotypical character development...? Is it time to move on to another idea? Does your previous work, the twelve books, represent the best of your ability and your current state of mind?

I do apologize if I am bordering on the lines of annoyance, like an irritating fly, but I am simply trying to give you another perspective to your discouragement. And with that I wish you the best of luck as a fellow Fantasy writer! Hopefully we'll both get published sooner rather than later...
:flag:
Disclaimer: As noted by my post count I do not post here that often but I do visit AW everyday. I do not claim to have 'Truth' and absolute knowledge but a perspective of a caring soul. Do be gentle if you disagree with my reply Amusing Muse.

AmusingMuse
09-11-2008, 03:50 PM
:welcome: I Bid You a Fair and Hearty Welcome Amusing Muse, :welcome:

You seem like an extremely friendly fellow whose just been handed over, over, and over again a battered and bruised stick in life. One thing to consider is that things can always be worse, and as such they can always get better. You've stated that you've written twelve books, and as such that is quite a feet, but from reading your numerous responses to the generous replies you have been getting it seems that you are not quite satisfied or content with your writing. Perhaps the reason may be that you know that you are capable of doing better. You feel it but your written words do not express such ability. And so you feel tormented, down, and in poor spirits. But writing, as with any act, job, or duty, is not a simple task, it requires dedication, skill, and practice.

A toddler can write, but is he good? A critically acclaimed writer can write exceptionally, according to critics, but will everyone appreciate his or her work? No. You've tried for two years to get your novels published but you were unsuccessful? Why was that the case? That is what you have to find out and to answer in order to improve your chances of being published. Are your words truly worthy to be published? Will they inspire others? Is your reason for writing honorable? Will you be embarrassed by your books mediocrity when you know you've could have done better? Was your work ready to be published? Would you rather have a three book series that you are proud of, that you've poured your heart and soul into or a set of thirty that produce a decent wage but you write under a pen name due to its laughable content?

I am not trying to be disheartening, I am simply trying to illustrate that what you put into your work is what you will get out of it. I too am a college graduate, one who majored in political science and public administration. I was to go to Law School this fall but I procrastinated. I've given up that opportunity and postponed that life because it was not what I truly desired. Unlike you it seems that I've had a relatively decent life. So why did I give up that path of mine you may ask, a path to guaranteed success, a certain and healthy wage, respect and a sense of satisfaction that I've made my parents, brothers, and friends proud? Because let's just say I'm a little wacky in the head, a healthy kind of wacky.

I discovered Absolute Write last December, and ever since then I've said 'tis nice knowing ya' to a future that had been scribed to me ever since I was but a child. Ever since then I've made a commitment, that I won't write crap and that I won't disgrace my opportunities and my so far blissful life. I've revised and edited a story that I had written throughout my college journey. For the past eight months I've been living like an indoor deranged social hermit, getting the ever so delightful sun once every five days when I tend to the yard. I rarely go out unless for writing supplies, and as such the last time I filled my car with gas was last October. I spend hours increasing the size of my pupils as I stare blindly at a paragraph that doesn't want to budge. I spin around in my chair wheeling for minutes forcing ideas to work in my pulsating head. My room is dressed with tissues, napkins, paper, note cards, boxes, what ever I've written on when an idea surged within my focused mind.

I say to my self that perhaps I could have finished the novel four months ago. Perhaps it would've been good enough. But why haven't I finished it? Procrastination, an enjoyment of being a strain on the economy, the beauty of loading up Microsoft word, fear of rejection...? The reason; I know the difference between the best of my ability and a half-hearted attempt at writing an acceptable story. Until I am finished and received well deserved rejection from both betas and agents I can not say 'At least I tried,' 'I did my utmost best,' 'I'm satisfied.'

With the tirade of problems you've had with life Amusing Muse it seems that you do not have much time to devote to writing as many other writers do. A suggestion that I will send to you is to write in the morning or evening. Or you could set up a schedule and perhaps allocate certain portions of your day to idea creation, revisiting yesterdays work, and writing your previous planned thoughts. After you've set up an allocated amount of time for your writing figure out why your old writing isn't working. Is it dry? Has the interpretation of your idea been done before? Too many plot points? Uninteresting, flat, un-compassionate, stereotypical character development...? Is it time to move on to another idea? Does your previous work, the twelve books, represent the best of your ability and your current state of mind?

I do apologize if I am bordering on the lines of annoyance, like an irritating fly, but I am simply trying to give you another perspective to your discouragement. And with that I wish you the best of luck as a fellow Fantasy writer! Hopefully we'll both get published sooner rather than later...
:flag:
Disclaimer: As noted by my post count I do not post here that often but I do visit AW everyday. I do not claim to have 'Truth' and absolute knowledge but a perspective of a caring soul. Do be gentle if you disagree with my reply Amusing Muse.

Food for thought, my friend, food for thought...