PDA

View Full Version : Agents vs Direct to Publishers, what are the real options?



C.J. Rockwell
08-15-2010, 08:15 AM
After trying over 30 agents for my novel Gabriel last year, the list of agents left who don't say "No talking animals, period" is small, and while many have told me otherwise, this is what my market research tells me.

I haven't found any promising leads on Agent Query, Query Tracker, or in the newsletters I subscribe to for months, and I only have a handful of agents left to try for the next go round. Yes, I know it only takes one yes from the right person, but all I'm saying is you've got to hunt a long time to get it.

Though I don't have this year's print market guides yet, I know from my research last year that my choice of agents for Gabriel were limited. I'd be surprised if that number increased this year, even when I can buy the new print market guides.

Every once in awhile someone will suggest I go straight to a publisher. One of my form rejections last year even said-

"Thank you for your good offer to let us consider your work. We must decline, but do so wishing you best luck in finding the right agent, or better yet, a publisher."

But there are two key problems with that. First and foremost, the publishers that I feel would be the most accepting of Gabriel don't take unsolicited submissions or queries from un-agented writers. I don't just mean the super big names either, even some smaller publishers have taken this route. Since I've yet to connect with the right agent, these doors seem to be "closed" for the time being. I know sometimes editors from closed houses will give writers the chance to pitch or query their work at conferences, but I don't have the money to go in person, and none of the online conventions I've heard about do something similar.

Finally, and I'm sure I'll get picked on for this, but the shameful fact is I'm afraid to go direct. Why? Because if I can't get an agent interested in my writing, why would it be that much different with an editor? They both are overworked, pressured to perform, and bring revenue to their respective companies, but from what I've read lately, it doesn't feel like I'd have a better chance. Rather, it'd be harder unless I had something instantly universal, which I'm sure I don't, not that I'm trashing my own hard work, but I know my potential audience for Gabriel isn't in the same league as the current bestsellers in terms of widespread appeal.

I also have to admit that the word "Editor" still makes me shiver in fear a bit. Just living up the expectations for my critique group is a struggle, and they're in the same boat as me, though a couple have published some stories and articles, I don't do well in shorter formats.

I'm sure this is a question that will get many an "It depends" response, but I'm curious how many writers on AW had better luck directly going to publishers, and can you really still do that today if you're a "Debut writer?" What I've heard around here lately seems to indicate that it doesn't work all that often.

CACTUSWENDY
08-15-2010, 08:35 AM
I'm sure you have already done this....but in case, when you check to see who the agents/publishers of other 'talking animals' books, is that the list you are talking about? It is interesting that if they published/represented others that do them that they would be open to look at yours. I would guess, and this is only a guess, that a small publisher would be the way to go with this. I'm sure others that are more versed in this area will be by to help. I sure wish you success with this.

AlishaS
08-15-2010, 09:06 AM
I'm curious to know what age group your novel is... There are lots of books with talking Animals in them, in print already. I'm not sure why you'd have such a hard time finding agents that represent your age group and genre.
What I did when I started out querying, was going into the book store and pick out all the books that were in my genre and age group, books similar to mine and wrote down all the specs (Author, Agent, Publisher) and googled them when I got home. That way I knew who to submit to, and who not to.
And thrity queries isn't really that much. I've heard of people going through hundred before they got picked up, so don't get discouraged.

C.J. Rockwell
08-15-2010, 09:48 AM
Gabriel is my middle grade novel, and I didn't say the age group because I didn't think it mattered. In general, regardless of the age group, the subject matter has been one of my main stumbling blocks in finding agents willing to rep it.


And thrity queries isn't really that much. I've heard of people going through hundred before they got picked up, so don't get discouraged.

That only applies when you have 100 or more places to go, and I don't, and nothing you say short of giving me a list will change my mind.

You obviously didn't read what I said carefully or you would've realized that my research showed me that the places that are the best fit are places that simply don't take anything not through an agent, it's their policy, and I have to respect that.

anonymous_guest
08-15-2010, 10:14 AM
CJ, I'm in the same boat in that there's just not that many places to send my MS, but no talking animals? Seriously? I thought it was pretty much a universal rule that all kids like talking animals. I know when I was a kid I refused to read anything BUT animal books, and I'm fairly sure I wasn't the only one.

C.J. Rockwell
08-15-2010, 10:27 AM
CJ, I'm in the same boat in that there's just not that many places to send my MS, but no talking animals? Seriously? I thought it was pretty much a universal rule that all kids like talking animals. I know when I was a kid I refused to read anything BUT animal books, and I'm fairly sure I wasn't the only one.

I know, I was the same way as a kid. Even as a teenager I never stopped loving them, but I'd be hard pressed to have found kids my age who still loved Winnie the Pooh, so it was my deep dark secret for years before I started writing.

But I guess publishers and editors see so many bad ones, particularly by writers who don't really love them the way I do, it's easier for them to shut them off completely.

But everyone has their own particular tastes.

Outside of HP and and a couple other series, I don't like some of the more popular books in recent years.

Especially books that are deemed "Boy" books, which often tend to thrive on more jerky heroes, endless sarcasm, and gross-out humor than I think should be required by law. Hence, why I can never muster the courage to read Captain Underpants. It wasn't my kind of book as kid, it's not now.

Not liking bodily humor doesn't make me anymore less of a man than women and girls who don't like cooking or Barbie dolls.

Polenth
08-15-2010, 11:35 AM
If there's no one else you want to query, it's time to start querying the next book. Or if you haven't started one, write the next book. You might find the talking animals easier to sell once you'd sold something else.

Theo81
08-15-2010, 11:47 AM
Gabriel is my middle grade novel, and I didn't say the age group because I didn't think it mattered.


In your QL or here? If in your QL, therin may lie your first problem; it matters.

I'm not surprised that there are so many agents who refuse to look at talking animal books. There are so many around already and it's hardly a new concept; yours needs to be outstanding to get their attention. Is it? What makes it special and different from Blinky Bill or Winnie the Pooh or The Wind in the Willows?

I'm all about the tough love and I know I'm going to regret saying this to you given your high handed response to Alisha, so take a breath before getting back to me on this:
Nobody cares what you think of the childrens books of today. Nobody cares that you dislike the current trend for bodily humour in children's publishing. Nobody cares that you love books with talking animals.


Now, with that in mind, go back to your QL and rewrite it to show how your book is so marvellous it can compete on equal levels with what is popular in the market. Chuck it in SYW. Take stock of your new position.

Otherwise, my specific advice to your question would be; send the book to any agent or publisher you think you have a chance with who accepts MSs. We all have a dream agent/publishing house, but if that doesn't work out there are plenty of other viable alternatives. Often they are worth more than we thought at first. The book does nothing while it's sitting on your hard disk.

C.J. Rockwell
08-15-2010, 12:04 PM
In your QL or here? If in your QL, therin may lie your first problem; it matters.

I'm not surprised that there are so many agents who refuse to look at talking animal books. There are so many around already and it's hardly a new concept; yours needs to be outstanding to get their attention. Is it? What makes it special and different from Blinky Bill or Winnie the Pooh or The Wind in the Willows?

I'm all about the tough love and I know I'm going to regret saying this to you given your high handed response to Alisha, so take a breath before getting back to me on this:
Nobody cares what you think of the childrens books of today. Nobody cares that you dislike the current trend for bodily humour in children's publishing. Nobody cares that you love books with talking animals.


Now, with that in mind, go back to your QL and rewrite it to show how your book is so marvellous it can compete on equal levels with what is popular in the market. Chuck it in SYW. Take stock of your new position.

Otherwise, my specific advice to your question would be; send the book to any agent or publisher you think you have a chance with who accepts MSs. We all have a dream agent/publishing house, but if that doesn't work out there are plenty of other viable alternatives. Often they are worth more than we thought at first. The book does nothing while it's sitting on your hard disk.


I don't care if nobody feels the way I do. I can only be me, I can't be you or anyone else!!!:rant:


It's easy for you and so many others to say, write the next book, write the next book. Well, it's NOT easy!!!

If you've ever written a novel, no matter how bad it was, you should know that. I did start my next book, and guess what? It's another talking animal book!


I've already put my QL through SYW, but that still didn't help.

I was only replying to a previous commenter about my experience, I wasn't trying to imply anything. You saw issues where none existed.

But since you're going to give me that attitude, I don't care if you think I'm wrong for feeling the way I do. Take that serving of your own medicine.:tongue


To me, love is understanding, kindness, trust, CARING!!!:Soapbox:

Not everyone responds well to "Tough love" and as far as I'm concerned, what you just said isn't being tough at all!!!

It's just an excuse to be mean and force your will and way of thinking onto others.

I've dealt with know-it-all types like you more times than I ever want to remember.

I can have an opinion without it having to be everyone's personal gospel.

Polenth
08-15-2010, 12:46 PM
It isn't the fault of anyone here that talking animals went out of fashion with agents. It isn't the fault of anyone here that your book didn't sell. It isn't the fault of anyone here that all your ideas are about talking animals. It isn't our fault that there's not an easy solution to your problem.

Before you get ready to start shouting at the people, it's worth remembering that nothing about this situation is the fault of anyone here. It isn't fair to use people here like virtual punchbags because you're angry at the publishing industry.

It's not easy to write another book or to try writing something outside your comfort zone. No one said it was easy. But if you've run out of other options, that's the only thing we can suggest to you. There just isn't a magic cure for this.

Mr Flibble
08-15-2010, 12:55 PM
Okay, big deep breath and relaaax.



It's easy for you and so many others to say, write the next book, write the next book. Well, it's NOT easy!!!

Isn't it? Well sorry, dude but nobody said this writing malarkey would be easy. It is still extremely good advice, because it will stop you obsessing over this MS.


If you've ever written a novel, no matter how bad it was, you should know that.

Actually I find it easy. You can only be you, true. But that doesn't mean we all find it the same. My personal bugbear is the worry that the next book will be worse than than the one I just write, and what if I've peaked? But there you are. All got our cross to bear. Doesn't mean we get to throw our toys out of the pram when someone offers good advice.


I did start my next book, and guess what? It's another talking animal book! See it wasn't so hard. If it's another talking animal book, then you'll at least know the list of agents when it comes to the time.



But since you're going to give me that attitude, I don't care if you think I'm wrong for feeling the way I do. Take that serving of your own medicine.:tongue
Exsqueeze me? You, sweeet, are the one who started with the 'you obviously didn't read my post' stuff. I realise you're stressed. It happens to us all. Taking it out on people who are trying to help, wont help.


To me, love is understanding, kindness, trust, CARING!!!:Soapbox:

Or giving you good advice you don't want to hear. This too is love, if it's good advice.





I've dealt with know-it-all types like you more times than I ever want to remember.

At this point I am repeating to myself 'poor bugger, stressed. Cut some slack'. But....


I can have an opinion without it having to be everyone's personal gospel.

So can everyone else.;)

Seriously. You need to take a big deep breath and remember that every damn writer out there has had rejections. Buckets of them. You have to learn to take it in your stride, or stop querying. It's really that simple. And that hard. For everyone, not just you.

C.J. Rockwell
08-15-2010, 01:40 PM
It isn't the fault of anyone here that talking animals went out of fashion with agents. It isn't the fault of anyone here that your book didn't sell. It isn't the fault of anyone here that all your ideas are about talking animals. It isn't our fault that there's not an easy solution to your problem.

Before you get ready to start shouting at the people, it's worth remembering that nothing about this situation is the fault of anyone here. It isn't fair to use people here like virtual punchbags because you're angry at the publishing industry.

It's not easy to write another book or to try writing something outside your comfort zone. No one said it was easy. But if you've run out of other options, that's the only thing we can suggest to you. There just isn't a magic cure for this.

That still didn't give that Theo81 the right to judge my feelings!

I only called out that pompous knucklehead on false accusations.

I never once blamed her, you, or anyone for my problems. But that doesn't mean I agree with what she said.


IdiotsRUs, I didn't think what Theo81 told me was good advice. Obviously we differ there. But I couldn't help shouting, I didn't start this thread to browbeat anyone. But it's obvious Theo81 didn't read my OP carefully.

Otherwise Theo81 would know I said I did the exact same reseach he/she thought I haven't done.

That's why I got upset.

Theo81 says I don't listen, but that's not true, and that's not the issue here. My problem is I listen so well that I stop trusting my own feelings, what I really think, what I truly believe. Regardless of whether it's the most popular answer or not.

It seems every time I try to get information here, people take me the wrong way, or think I'm not doing enough. If you think I blatantly blamed anyone here for my frustration, than.......

What's the use? No matter what I say, you'll never understand.

Theo81
08-15-2010, 02:01 PM
Reread my post. Do so aloud if it helps. I'm not railing on you.



I don't care if nobody feels the way I do. I can only be me, I can't be you or anyone else!!!:rant:

I'm not saying you should be anybody else. I really wouldn't want you to be me. There's enough problems in this world without that happening.
I'm saying, you have to understand that nobody cares as much as you do and if you want to sell you book, you need to find a way to make them care about.



It's easy for you and so many others to say, write the next book, write the next book. Well, it's NOT easy!!!

The reason people bang on about writing the next book is because they understand that sometimes, the book you write - however good - is not enough to get you published. They also understand that you may spend a year of your life querying if not more. It's a good idea to get on with the next one as soon as possible. Many people find that their second book makes their first one look like a big pile of nothing. I didn't even write a second draft of my first MS, it was THAT bad.



If you've ever written a novel, no matter how bad it was, you should know that. I did start my next book, and guess what? It's another talking animal book!

Why would I be here if I hadn't written one? Serious question.
It's up to you what you write. You have told us there are problems trying to sell books about talking animals, you have one which you tell us isn't getting anywhere with agents, so you write another one. That's fine, but you know the problems and should probably bear them in mind when you write.
Of course, the market may change and talking animal books will be all the rage. Who knows what fickle forces may foist upon us next?



I've already put my QL through SYW, but that still didn't help.

Didn't help as in you didn't get any helpful feedback? It got the thumbs up there but isn't doing anything in the meatworld? How didn't it help?



I was only replying to a previous commenter about my experience, I wasn't trying to imply anything. You saw issues where none existed.

But since you're going to give me that attitude, I don't care if you think I'm wrong for feeling the way I do. Take that serving of your own medicine.:tongue


I'm not your enemy. You took a pompous attitude towards a fellow poster who was only trying to offer their opinion. I knew this when I made my post. I know this now.
You are perfectly free to think I'm wrong. Either my advice is helpful to you or it isn't. It's up to you what you do with it. Hissy fits are unnecessary and unhelpful.




To me, love is understanding, kindness, trust, CARING!!!:Soapbox:

Not everyone responds well to "Tough love" and as far as I'm concerned, what you just said isn't being tough at all!!!

It's just an excuse to be mean and force your will and way of thinking onto others.

I've dealt with know-it-all types like you more times than I ever want to remember.

I can have an opinion without it having to be everyone's personal gospel.

I know not everybody responds to tough love. It's why it's so rarely delivered.
I'm not interested in trying to be mean to you - I don't know you. You are some person on a message board asking for an opinion; I delivered mine making a nod to the fact that it may very well prove unpopular with you. It has. Neither fact matters.

You are passionate about your book; I understand this. You have a tough sell on it due to the subject matter; you have told us this. You need to work out what is special and different about your book: there is going to be something. What angle does your book have that others don't? You are not the only person who dislikes toilet humour, how can you capitalise on this in a positive way?

Theo81
08-15-2010, 02:09 PM
Cross posted with yours and I'll do this separeately in case it happens again


That still didn't give that Theo81 the right to judge my feelings!

Didn't judge your feelings unless "accusing" you of loving your book is doing so.


I only called out that pompous knucklehead on false accusations.

Accusations? I haven't accused you of anything. I simply drew attention to your high-handed response to Alisha; drew-attention being the operative phrase. I could have name called. I didn't. Name calling will get your thread locked but I hope it doesn't because I would like to continue to discuss this with you and take no offense from your attitude.


I never once blamed her, you, or anyone for my problems. But that doesn't mean I agree with what she said.

You don't have to.



IdiotsRUs, I didn't think what Theo81 told me was good advice. Obviously we differ there. But I couldn't help shouting, I didn't start this thread to browbeat anyone. But it's obvious Theo81 didn't read my OP carefully.

Otherwise Theo81 would know I said I did the exact same reseach he/she thought I haven't done.

That's why I got upset.


I know you've done the research. You have told us it's difficult to sell books with talking animals. I'm going by what you've told us.



Theo81 says I don't listen, but that's not true, and that's not the issue here. My problem is I listen so well that I stop trusting my own feelings, what I really think, what I truly believe. Regardless of whether it's the most popular answer or not.



No I didn't.



It seems every time I try to get information here, people take me the wrong way, or think I'm not doing enough. If you think I blatantly blamed anyone here for my frustration, than.......

What's the use? No matter what I say, you'll never understand.


Try explaining it a different way. Better yet, take my advice from my first post here; take a deep breath before you come back to me. Think it over.

It's all good. I'm not here to rail on you. We all feel your pain. Let's work out what the problem is and how we can solve it.

third person
08-15-2010, 02:13 PM
It's like this: if this project means so much that it's a piece of you, write and self-publish it and put a copy of it on your mantle. This in itself is an accomplishment. You wrote and finished a novel. Awesome! It's not easy but you did it. But if you want to sell? If you want a rabid fanbase (no pun intended) that demands book after book from you? Then find a hot market and write for them.

Too long, didn't read version: choose whether you want to write for yourself (which is totally fine) or for a market.

night-flyer
08-15-2010, 02:15 PM
I think everyone here is trying to be helpful and honest. I see some good sound advice. Sorry C.J.--I think you're taking it the wrong way. Calm down read their posts and see if maybe you missed some helpful advice. Not my place to butt in, but I think they just want to help you in whatever way they can! The business it tough. Chillax.:)

C.J. Rockwell
08-15-2010, 02:23 PM
I don't have the money to self-publish, and I don't mean that in a snotty, defeatist way. But I really don't have the money.

As to answer you other question, I took the advice of a friend of mine here-

"t's not an either/or. If you want to be published, it has to be both."

It's been hard living up to that advice, and it took a long time to understand it, but it's what I believe.

night-flyer
08-15-2010, 02:36 PM
May be walking on thin ice here, but I was curious about what kind of feedback you got from SYW. Was it bad, good, or none at all. You don't have to answer, just curious. I myself have not had the courage to put any work in there yet.

Polenth
08-15-2010, 02:46 PM
It seems every time I try to get information here, people take me the wrong way, or think I'm not doing enough. If you think I blatantly blamed anyone here for my frustration, than.......

This doesn't happen to everyone else on the forum, because most people on the forum assume the best: that other writers are trying to help them... even if the helpers are wrong, don't word it very well or don't make any sense.

You assumed the worst: that Theo81 was a know-it-all and a pompous knucklehead, rather than someone trying to help. Assuming the worst means you'll lash out when people aren't attacking you.

Theo81 assumed you were a writer frustrated by rejection, who was too upset to realise you weren't being attacked by a previous poster. That's assuming the best. The worst would be assuming you purposefully lash out at people because you're an evil meanie. No one's made that assumption.

Try assuming the best. People want to help you. They don't want to make you angry. Do something calming. Keep working on the next book. Remember we're not evil meanies either.

HJW
08-15-2010, 02:51 PM
Hi CJ

One thing you may want to try is entering the Times/Chicken House children's fiction competition. In case you don't know, Barry Cunningham, who runs Chicken House, is the publisher who gave J K Rowling her break. I know that Barry loves a good fantasy and he's also not averse to talking animal stories - he shortlisted my novel (which had talking animal characters in it) for the 2009 competition!

I had a look at the rules and I don't think there's any restriction to UK residents only, so maybe you should give this years competition a shot?

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article7076052.ece

I trunked my novel in the end, though. It just wasn't good enough...

Mr Flibble
08-15-2010, 02:54 PM
That still didn't give that Theo81 the right to judge my feelings!

I only called out that pompous knucklehead on false accusations.

Theo answer3ed already. I'll just add - what accusations?


I never once blamed her, you, or anyone for my problems. But that doesn't mean I agree with what she said. No one said you had to agree. (man you should see me and Priene when we get on politics. I still love the old curmudgeon) You can, however, disagree in a respectful manner.



IdiotsRUs, I didn't think what Theo81 told me was good advice. Obviously we differ there. But I couldn't help shouting, I didn't start this thread to browbeat anyone. But it's obvious Theo81 didn't read my OP carefully.

Otherwise Theo81 would know I said I did the exact same reseach he/she thought I haven't done. Honestly, I don't see anything in Theo's post that indicates not reading your OP.

And yes, you can help shouting.





It seems every time I try to get information here, people take me the wrong way, or think I'm not doing enough. If you think I blatantly blamed anyone here for my frustration, than.......



I think your problems may be you think every piece of advice is a judgement against what you've already done. Which makes it tricky when you ask for advice, no?


What's the use? No matter what I say, you'll never understand. We are writers. We need to use the right words to make people understand.

Note, here I could easily have said some things that were disrespectful. But I did not. I chose my phrases carefully, to give the meaning I intended. Maybe you should do the same. And maybe you should stop reading judgement and bile in every post you read.

HJW
08-15-2010, 03:04 PM
It's easy for you and so many others to say, write the next book, write the next book. Well, it's NOT easy!!!

If you've ever written a novel, no matter how bad it was, you should know that. I did start my next book, and guess what? It's another talking animal book!


CJ, I know it's hard, but I think you have to accept that talking animal books are very hard to sell unless you have something really unique. I haven't read your book, so I can't say whether it is or not. But if I were you, I'd write something different.

I spoke to one of the editors at Chicken House about my book. She said that although they loved my writing, there are too many similar books out there (i.e. talking animal fantasies).

That's when I decided to trunk it.

C.J. Rockwell
08-15-2010, 03:23 PM
CJ, I know it's hard, but I think you have to accept that talking animal books are very hard to sell unless you have something really unique. I haven't read your book, so I can't say whether it is or not. But if I were you, I'd write something different.

But it's all I'm really good at writing.

I've tried writing different books and never finished them, either because they were boring me, or I couldn't do them justice, no matter what I tried. I mean, if it's boring me, why would it be interesting to anyone else?

The few things I've finished that are "Normal" weren't any better.

I try to say what I mean, but no matter how clear I think I'm being, this is almost always the end result.

Bufty
08-15-2010, 03:29 PM
My, you come across as a pessimist, CJ, and you may be your own worst enemy.

What was the final Query you sent out? I ask because the last I saw in February you had some excellent advice re your Query but the thread just petered out.

Did you trim it down so it was as slick and streamlined and error-free as it could be?

HJW
08-15-2010, 03:29 PM
But it's all I'm really good at writing.

I've tried writing different books and never finished them, either because they were boring me, or I couldn't do them justice, no matter what I tried. I mean, if it's boring me, why would it be interesting to anyone else?

The few things I've finished that are "Normal" weren't any better.

I try to say what I mean, but no matter how clear I think I'm being, this is almost always the end result.

Well if that's all you truly want to write, read as many recently published talking animal books as you can. That way, you'll get an idea of the kind of talking animal books which do sell in today's market.

C.J. Rockwell
08-15-2010, 03:37 PM
Well if that's all you truly want to write, read as many recently published talking animal books as you can. That way, you'll get an idea of the kind of talking animal books which do sell in today's market.


Trust me, I've done that, but I had to stop for a while because I have to be true to what I want.

I can't be Warriors or Seekers, or even The Wind and the Willows, I know what I like and just because my stories aren't hip and edgy doesn't mean they can't be good.

I know you aren't saying that, but it's the way I feel.

I've had to avoid certain books or movies that I ordinarily would love because I won't let them influence me in the wrong kind of way.

Ken
08-15-2010, 05:06 PM
... even if they say 'no unagented submissions, etc' you can still query the publisher. I've read about some here who have. One at least got a request. The greater possibility is that your query will just be trashed. But it's worth a try I'd say. Then again, agents don't like shopped manuscripts. So if you go the agent route again with the manuscript that might make things more difficult.

2Wheels
08-15-2010, 05:27 PM
I don't have the money to self-publish, and I don't mean that in a snotty, defeatist way. But I really don't have the money.


If you have a computer and an internet connection (which apparently you do), then you can self-publish without it costing you a cent. There are lots of free options for getting a book out there, if you want to go that way. Really.

If you decide that's the route you want to go however, and you want it to be successful, then be prepared for some damn hard work.

ChaosTitan
08-15-2010, 05:45 PM
"Pompous knucklehead", CJ? Even though Theo did not seem to take offense to this, it very much crosses the line of "respect your fellow" writer. Name-calling is not okay, and yes, you can help shouting.


If there's no one else you want to query, it's time to start querying the next book. Or if you haven't started one, write the next book. You might find the talking animals easier to sell once you'd sold something else.

This is excellent advice, even if it isn't the advice you want. Maybe it isn't just that it's a talking animal book. Maybe the story didn't catch the agents you queried. Maybe they just signed another talking animal book and didn't want another one quite so soon. There are a lot of maybes, and a lot of good reasons why it may be time to move on to the next book, talking animal or otherwise.

No writing is wasted writing, and there is no shame in putting aside a manuscript and going full-steam on a new one.


The reason people bang on about writing the next book is because they understand that sometimes, the book you write - however good - is not enough to get you published. They also understand that you may spend a year of your life querying if not more. It's a good idea to get on with the next one as soon as possible. Many people find that their second book makes their first one look like a big pile of nothing. I didn't even write a second draft of my first MS, it was THAT bad.

Exactly.

The book I finally signed with an agent on was the seventh I'd written and the third I'd queried. There is a huge range, and not everyone hits gold with that first (or second, or fifth) manuscript.

Be true to yourself and write what you love, but be aware of your market. It is limited. Once you've exhausted it on one project, don't get frustrated and upset and take it out on helpful posters at AW. Move on to the next book. Maybe talking animals will be on an upswing in a few months. There's no way to know.

C.J. Rockwell
08-15-2010, 07:52 PM
I don't know what more I can say except, I'm sorry.

I didn't intend to get so angry, but I did, and I only have myself to blame.

ChaosTitian, you're right, I shouldn't have resorted to name calling, but at least no one hear has to actually hear me shout. But yeah, cutting back on the exclamation marks and angry emoticons is a good idea.

I know there's no shame in starting another book, and I've done that, there were two books before Gabriel, and four more books after it. But it gets hard sometimes to work on a new project for fear that it'll be another dud.

If writers don't love their stories, that can't give them what they need. When you put in so much blood, sweat, tears and sleepless nights into a book, you don't want it to fail every time. I know trial and error is inevitable, but it can be hard to move on to another book for fear you'll once again put so much into it, only for it to be another dud.

Toothpaste
08-15-2010, 08:23 PM
CJ - we have a bit of a history. We've worked together a bit, especially on your perception of reality thinking all anyone wants is edgy books which I've tried to explain to you is not true.

The fact is, in this thread, you demonstrate that you have a serious problem. Your problem is you want to write exactly what you want to write, no compromises, no changing anything - because when you have tried to do so you haven't enjoyed it - but the way you write isn't getting your book attention. So you right now are at a crossroads. Do you try and write something marketable, or do you keep pushing on with your ideals and fight the good fight? If you try the former, then you really have to give it a shot and not get upset when people try to tell you that the world isn't this miserable place that it is, that creating complex characters does not mean you have write depressing works, and that characters can start off in a bad place and still wind up in a good one. You have to trust us that that is possible, and reshape the way you view the world.

That's one tall order, but I think rather worth it.

If however you wish to stay on this current path you are on, defending your work despite the fact that it is a much harder road to getting published, then you simply cannot keep creating threads like this here. You can't come in and complain about a tough industry, get mad when people offer sincere advice because you really don't want to hear it, and then go away only to come back a few days later and do it all again. It's not fair to us here, especially people who don't know your history and so come to your threads trying to help and make you see alternatives only to be told that you've already tried and it's hopeless. These people are coming here thinking they can help, not realising that there isn't a thing they can say to help you, aside from, I suppose, "Hey I happen to be an editor at a big publishing house and I love talking animal stories, let me publish your book!" You can't keep snapping at people, you can't keep moping about this. If you choose the harder path, then you have to be even more stoic. You have to understand that what you are doing isn't popular, but keep the faith that maybe one person will understand what you are doing. But you simply cannot keep posting these kinds of threads that always devolve into you getting angry that someone should dare suggest you write about something else.

That's not fair.

Lastly, I know I'm little miss agented published author, but CJ you have no idea what I've gone through the last 2.5 years trying to get a new work published. It's been agony, I'm getting rejected left right and centre. I know I'm a good writer, I know what I've written suits the market, but still. No one wants me. It's heartbreaking. So you see I totally understand the pain.

But you know what I did? I saw that paranormal romance was popular in my genre, so I wrote one. I didn't want to write one. It was hard for me to write one. But you know what? Once I finished (and it wasn't easy), I fell in love with my book. My characters. All of it. So much so that now that it too is being rejected it is heartbreaking. I never would have thought that this book I was writing merely for commercial purposes would become something I would care so much about.

My point is that sometimes the impetus for writing something, ie writing a marketable book, might be less than inspiring. You might hate every moment of writing it. But it is still possible that in the end you'll discover something new that you love. You'll never discover new loves if you always write the same thing. Just because it's hard doesn't mean you shouldn't do it.

Anyway, those are my two cents. I hope they are somewhat helpful. But even if you decide to keep on this path, which is totally cool, you have to change your attitude.

ChaosTitan
08-15-2010, 08:35 PM
I'm replying after having read Toothpaste's very thoughtful post, so there isn't much more to add, except...


If writers don't love their stories, that can't give them what they need. When you put in so much blood, sweat, tears and sleepless nights into a book, you don't want it to fail every time. I know trial and error is inevitable, but it can be hard to move on to another book for fear you'll once again put so much into it, only for it to be another dud.

Trunking a book and moving on can be hard, yes. But it is all about perspective. To me, that trunked book is a learning experience; however, it sounds like to you it's a personal failure. It's true that it's all a matter of perspective, and only you can choose your attitude.

Trunking a book also does not mean it's over for that book forever. Once you get your foot in the door, it's possible to go back and say, "hey, I also have this book." I did that with my agent, and he sold a book I'd had zero luck with when querying. No one wanted to take a chance on a superhero series from an unknown author, so I went another route and wrote an urban fantasy (which was a hot, hot genre). It got me an agent and a deal. It also made it much easier to get editors to read my superhero series and to buy it.

It got my foot in the door.

I'm not really saying anything that Toothpaste hasn't already said. But whichever path you choose, good luck. :)

Jamesaritchie
08-15-2010, 08:39 PM
I may be missing something here, or reading something wrong, but a talking animal book for middle grade strikes me as very unusual. A MG fantasy may have a talking animal or two, but true talking animal books are for children much younger than MG.

Having said this, your second book is whatever you want to make it. If it came out as a talking animal book, this was a choice on your part, not the book's part. Write a book that isn't about talking animals. Tal;king animal books are an incredibly tough sell, even when written for young children, let alone the MG group.

But you can query publishers directly, even many who say they take no unsolicited queries. I know a first time novelist who is going through the rewrite/editing stage with an editor at one of the largest publishers out there. He cold queried, and the editor found the query interesting enough to request the novel.

Mr Flibble
08-15-2010, 09:59 PM
CJ, you're frustrated, we get that we really, really do and I don't think there's a writer anywhere who has never been frustrated in this way.

Now you can write what you love, no doubt - write what you want. Or you can write for commercial reasons, no doubt - write what will sell, what the market is after. But, for me, the most effective way is this: Write what you love, but keep the market in mind.


That does NOT mean 'selling out' or 'not writing to your artistic integrity'. It means that if you want to sell your book, you have to keep in mind what readers like. Because publishers take on what they think readers will pay money for.

So you can write a romance where the heroine is a whiny old snotbag and the hero is a sadistic arrogant bastard with no redeeming features whatsoever. If you want. You probably won't sell it. (Well, maybe if you're Nora Roberts lol). But you'd be surprised what little tweaking it can take from 'complete bastard' to 'bad boy readers will fall for'. Not reading in your genre (which I'm kinda inferring from your posts that's what you do) means a ) you don't know what is selling and why. and b) whether you're just writing what has already been done. Re-inventing the wheel.

If you want to be pubbed, you can't just fire off onto the page whatever you feel like. You have to consider; who will like this, and what sort of thing do those people like? Don't write to the market, don't write what you don't love. But do keep in mind the person who will be buying your book. When you write a book you want people to read you make a contract with them. You say 'hey this is a book you will like', they pay money, and it better had be a book they like. So if you write a non-erotica romance, then while I'm sure there is a market for romance readers who like to read about the hero bedding fifteen women a week as well as the heroine and he tells her she's got fat thighs and laughs sneeringly at her wrinkles, I suspect it's rather small.

You have to fulfil the contract you make with your reader. They are in the ride with you and to ignore them is to ignore the people who would actually read your book. That's not to say you can't stretch the rules; I've had a mass murderer and a half-crippled suicidal junkie as romantic heroes, and shortly I'll be having a man with very light fingers and a rather wayward approach to morals. BUT. But, I've made sure that while they are like that, (my artistic vision darling) they should also appeal to romance fans (keeping the market in mind). Although the last isn't a romance...but it's still for romance fans.

It's a learning curve, I know. It's hard to get your head round. But if you want to get ahead, you will have to get your head round it.


a talking animal book for middle grade strikes me as very unusual You're kidding right? It's about all my daughter reads. ETA: except for the fairies. *rolls eyes*

third person
08-16-2010, 12:41 AM
Watership Down is a favorite of many adults (not I, however. In fact I've never read it). Let's not get into what's "unusual" for x people, as there is no accounting for preference.

Jamesaritchie
08-16-2010, 12:44 AM
CJ,
You're kidding right? It's about all my daughter reads. ETA: except for the fairies. *rolls eyes*

No, I'm not kidding. If there's a tougher market, or fewer books in any category than talking animal books for MG, I haven't seen them. Bear in mind that a hbook may have talking animals without being a talking animal book.

But I really can't think of anything less likely than selling a talking animal book in MG.

Ken
08-16-2010, 01:02 AM
... why are talking animal books out? It is true they are. I've seen many listing by publishing houses in the Writers Market Guide saying not to sub such! Maybe years ago talking animal books were hugely popular, resulting in a backlash? Or maybe society has just become too sophisticated? Sad if so. A world w/o Bambi or Winnie would be a bleak one for sure :-(

Mr Flibble
08-16-2010, 03:01 AM
No, I'm not kidding. If there's a tougher market, or fewer books in any category than talking animal books for MG, I haven't seen them. Bear in mind that a hbook may have talking animals without being a talking animal book.

But I really can't think of anything less likely than selling a talking animal book in MG.


You know, thinking about it...my daughter adores talking animal books. But of the last half dozen she'd read, none have been recent (in any definition. At least three I read when I was a kid). Yet she wants more.

I would also like to know the diff between a book with talking animals and a talking animal book ( the focus? Ie in a talking animal book, it's about the animals that talk - watership down, farthing wood - yet in the book with talking animals there just happen to be talking animals? If so, she's still reading talking animal books. And wants more)

Girls of a certain age LOVE taht kinda stuff - I certainly did - and they are your readers of the future (see Twilight for how teen girls can boost sales)

Toothpaste
08-16-2010, 03:13 AM
There are talking animal books. They are still quite popular. But still, the genre is generally out of fashion these days.

Here are some of the current popular ones:

The Redwall Series
The Warriors Series
Guardians of Ga'Hoole Series (that is coming out as a film directed by Zack Snyder in the fall)
And as ever The Wind in the Willows - which is a classic but still very popular.

All of these have kids crazy about them, I spent a good hour talking about Redwall with a ten yearold and thirteen yearold a few weeks ago.

So yes James, there are very popular MG talking animals stories. But they are not the genre of choice these days and thus in order to sell such a series you had better be writing something absolutely fantastic.

C.J. Rockwell
08-16-2010, 12:23 PM
I said I was sorry, didn't I?

But then I've said it before, and while I meant it, I keep blowing up despite my efforts not to.

Toothpaste, did I ever once say to you that you couldn't understand how I felt because you're published and I'm not. No, I didn't. Maybe the way I carry myself here gives that impression, but it's not true.

I certainly have no idea how you suffered through your life.

Maybe the only to not be negative and angry is to never post anymore. Despite what some of you think I don't go out of my way to act this way. But I won't let anyone tell me what I have and haven't done. I wouldn't have the right to be frustrated if I did nothing to remedy the situation.

Fine, I overreacted, but that doesn't mean what I felt was wrong.

Toothpaste, you said you wrote a paranormal romance, even though at first you didn't want to. What made you like it after it was over?

Anyway, I am sorry, and I guess the best way to avoid this is not to post anything if I can't be Mr. Positive right now. I don't like the person I've become lately, but I can't change myself overnight, so I just won't subject you or anyone with it anymore.

Theo81
08-16-2010, 01:10 PM
CJ, you don't need to be Mr Positivity and it's fine to have a differing opinion from other people.



I said I was sorry, didn't I?


Not really, although thankyou for the Rep points. It nearly made my head explode with delight at the irony ;)
When I was little and apologising to my Mammy, she'd always make me explain what I was sorry for. It ensured I learned how to recognise the effects of my own behavior and (inadvertantly) ensured I don't apologise for things I'm not sorry for. Like this paragraph (I'm a jerk and happy to admit it).
If you feel you have something to apologise for, address it directly to the people involved and acknowledge what you feel you have done. As I said before, I have no hard feelings on this matter and am happy to try and help but for all I know, you're in a huff with me and ignoring me because, so far, you haven't replied to me.
Show, don't tell. :evil



But I won't let anyone tell me what I have and haven't done.


It's not about "letting" anybody tell you. You don't "let" people tell you stuff. If somebody tells you that you haven't done something which you have, correct them.



I don't like the person I've become lately, but I can't change myself overnight, so I just won't subject you or anyone with it anymore.


The grand walk out of the conversation with a melodramatic sweep of your cape and your face turned upwards to catch the rain so we can't see your tears, is it? We all have bad days and if several people on this thread had been having one yesterday, I wouldn't be able to post this message here.
If you want some help to try and address the problems you are having with getting your MS published, grand; please don't start the whole "sparing you my company" thing: it's annoying and unhelpful.

Again, I want to help. If you don't want my help, there are other people here who want to help. If you wish me to naff off, my PM is at your disposal for the conveyance of that information.

C.J. Rockwell
08-16-2010, 01:24 PM
Fine, let's try this again-

Theo81: I'm sorry for calling you names.

ChaosTitian: You were right about what you said, but that doesn't make it easy to execute, and I'm trying even though it doesn't show right now.

Toothpaste: I didn't mean to blame you or anyone for my lack of getting anywhere.

Is THIS direct enough for you, Theo81?

Finally, don't bite my head for being dramatic. What's the point of continuing to post if all I do is make people mad at me and taking what I say out of proportion because I can say everything in a super-happy positive way. That doesn't mean I'm trying to blame others for my problems.

I think it's more unhelpful to not realize how you're effecting others with what you say. I think by holding my tongue, or rather what I type in the case, is the better option.

I'm afraid based on how we've been at odds, there's not much we could discuss.

Mr Flibble
08-16-2010, 01:41 PM
Finally, don't bite my head for being dramatic. What's the point of continuing to post if all I do is make people mad at me and taking what I say out of proportion because I can say everything in a super-happy positive way.

No one said you had to be super happy-positive all the time. That would be impossible!

But it seems (to me) that you type things without realising how they come across. That you mean one thing maybe and what you post implies something else. This is something I struggle with on my off days (well, most days as it happens lol) - how is this sentence going to look like to someone else? Someone who is not me and doesn't know all the extra little bits in my head? It also seems to me (correct me if I'm wrong) that the same sometimes happens to you the other way around. Again, sometimes I have to read twice to make sure I understand the other poster's intent.

So when a poster says 'Have you tried...?' This is not 'You haven't...how very dare you!'. It's an honest question. To help, we often need more specific information. It's not telling you what you have/haven't done. It's a request for more info.

It's maybe just a disconnect in perception? Lot of us have been here a long time. No body always gets it right either. A lot of threads are people dissecting what they really mean in a way others will see. Practise makes it easier. And by stopping posting, how are you going to practise? How is giving up posting helping? If you start from the assumption that people are trying to help and work from there, maybe you can relax from your defensive stance.

PS: I read this post three times to make sure that everything says what I mean it to say.

Theo81
08-16-2010, 02:01 PM
Thankyou, I appreciate you taking the time to say that.

I'm sure I speak for everybody when I say that your having problems is not an issue and is not why people take what you say out of proportion. There's no need for you to feel that you can't discuss what's going wrong for you. You don't need to do it in a positive way.


Anyway, the problem seems to be this: You write books with talking animals but many agents aren't interested in them and you are rapidly coming to the end of your list of agents who will.

I had a quick look at your old QL thread in QLH to get a better idea of what you are doing although I don't know how close it was to what you sent out.
From that, I didn't feel you managed to show what was so different about your book compared to the big, established classic novels. So, maybe the answer is to re-write your QL to demonstrate that better. The bottom line always seems to be: Why should the agent care about this novel?

Then again, the answer may be, as Toothpaste said, to try writing something different. You've told us you don't want to do that so, is there a happy compromise?
What is it about the talking animals that you like? Why talking animals at all? How can you use this to create something different?
Could you, for instance, do a rewrite with brownies or some other folk creature? Or replace the animals with shrunken humans (a bit like the Borrowers but with your own take on them)? Your book deals with talking rodents - would it be more original if they were cockroaches? These are just very random and inappropriate ideas. Would it be possible to re-skin your basic novel for commercial purposes? A twist is sometimes all a book needs.

Then, there is the question you asked to begin with, if I don't get an agent - should I send it to publishers (Although there aren't many of them either)?
Absolutely. You have nothing to lose by doing that but it's not going to make the main issue go away.

Toothpaste
08-16-2010, 05:42 PM
Toothpaste, you said you wrote a paranormal romance, even though at first you didn't want to. What made you like it after it was over?


Because I'm still me. I'm the one writing the book. So even though I'm not a fan of the genre, I am a fan of my writing :) . So I started out thinking I was just pandering in what I was writing, but as I went along, as I created my characters, and came up with my world and plot, I started to really have a good time. My sense of humour still came through etc. You see writing a different genre does force you to write about different things and in a different way, but at the same time you are still yourself and so what you wind up with is an interesting mixture of new and old. Plus it turns into a fun challenge: How do I write this genre so that I'd read it?

Calla Lily
08-16-2010, 05:53 PM
Meant to post this last night:

Nightshade City (Holiday House, this year): MG talking rat series by an AWer.

Debut talking animal book. They are selling.

Monkey
08-16-2010, 06:10 PM
I don't have the money to self-publish, and I don't mean that in a snotty, defeatist way. But I really don't have the money.


Have you tried Lulu? Or CreateSpace?

Ryan David Jahn
08-16-2010, 09:34 PM
Because I'm still me. I'm the one writing the book. So even though I'm not a fan of the genre, I am a fan of my writing :) . So I started out thinking I was just pandering in what I was writing, but as I went along, as I created my characters, and came up with my world and plot, I started to really have a good time. My sense of humour still came through etc. You see writing a different genre does force you to write about different things and in a different way, but at the same time you are still yourself and so what you wind up with is an interesting mixture of new and old. Plus it turns into a fun challenge: How do I write this genre so that I'd read it?

Good stuff.

I've certainly found that writing with selling in mind does not necessarily mean selling out. It's entirely possible to consider the market while still writing truthfully -- while putting yourself into the story and characters and tone and themes.

I've never written something in a genre I didn't like a whole bunch, but when picking projects I certainly consider whether I think others will want to read what I'm doing.

And as a side note (building on Toothpaste's last sentence): writing outside your comfort zone can be a fantastic way of stretching yourself and improving your craft. Writing a book -- for me, in any case -- is a learning process. I'm learning how to write this book while I write it. That is part of why I enjoy it. If I only wrote things I knew I could pull off, I'd get bored.

Phaeal
08-17-2010, 12:36 AM
I don't mind talking animals unless they also sparkle. (And, IdiotsRUs, I'm not talking about your avatar. Well, maybe a little...)

Polenth
08-17-2010, 01:02 AM
I don't mind talking animals unless they also sparkle. (And, IdiotsRUs, I'm not talking about your avatar. Well, maybe a little...)

...not even talking sparkly jellyfish? They can't help being sparklie. It's their genes.

(Are there any books told from the point of view of jellyfish? I remember a SF story told from the point of view of a barnacle. I think it was a barnacle anyway.)

quicklime
08-17-2010, 07:01 PM
Fine, let's try this again-

Theo81: I'm sorry for calling you names.

ChaosTitian: You were right about what you said, but that doesn't make it easy to execute, and I'm trying even though it doesn't show right now.

Toothpaste: I didn't mean to blame you or anyone for my lack of getting anywhere.

Is THIS direct enough for you, Theo81?

Finally, don't bite my head for being dramatic. What's the point of continuing to post if all I do is make people mad at me and taking what I say out of proportion because I can say everything in a super-happy positive way. That doesn't mean I'm trying to blame others for my problems.

I think it's more unhelpful to not realize how you're effecting others with what you say. I think by holding my tongue, or rather what I type in the case, is the better option.

I'm afraid based on how we've been at odds, there's not much we could discuss.

I'm still scratching my head at your posts CJ, but without getting into my initial impressions of you, let's just stick to the book.

Your book was queried to 30 agents, all rejected out of hand. You are now feeling as though you are out of agents who are good enough.

As I see it, you have several options:

1. Lower your standards and query "sub-par" agents

2. Query big houses personally

3. Query small houses personally

4. Trunk it and move on

If you do any of the first 3, sub your query at QLH and see what you get. As I recall, several here said they saw it and were underwhelmed. Better to fix it now, than to burn more bridges first and then fix it when you have even fewer options. Ditto for the book.

As for number 4, and your resistance to moving on, you may not enjoy the luxury of choice. If it cannot move forward, you either FIND something else to write or you just give up. I know, I know....you've tried, nothing else is as true and beautiful and perfect. Sorry, but sometimes that also is the reality. Maybe you NEED to fight your way through a few things that don't "write themselves" in order to learn from them, even if they turn to garbage. Maybe then you could even go back and make Book 1 marketable, and maybe through learning you will see why nobody else is jumping on your existing book. All possibilities.

In any case, perhaps moving on for a few months, dud or otherwise, would give you some clarity. Maybe it would help your writing, and at least it would give you some space from your current book so you can come back better-equipped to write your query letter. If you write a dud, you write a dud. If you're afraid to even start for fear you will end up writing a dud, though, I'm not sure there's much hope for your career; you gotta write.

Good luck,
Quick

C.J. Rockwell
08-17-2010, 07:11 PM
What do you know about reality?!

How do you think it feels to be struggling at the only thing you're good at?

BenPanced
08-17-2010, 07:17 PM
Wow. Maybe it's time to take a step back from the keyboard.

C.J. Rockwell
08-17-2010, 07:21 PM
Wow. Maybe it's time to take a step back from the keyboard.

That's all I ever do anymore.

Either I run away for weeks on end, or I do my best to face the problem, only to be stuck in the same place.

Why is writing in these forums the only writing I can do consistently? That question's rhetorical so please don't answer it, I can't take anymore know-it-all sarcasm today.

BenPanced
08-17-2010, 07:31 PM
Honestly, I've only seen people trying to answer your questions and provide assistance yet all you seem capable of doing is jumping down their throats, playing the victim, and claiming nobody understands your situation. Trust me: we've all been there. Plenty. Maybe it is time to take a break and regroup, and come back when you're less edgy and less prone to knee-jerk reaction.

C.J. Rockwell
08-17-2010, 07:32 PM
I promised I wouldn't comment in my new thread, but I made no such promise here.

For the 100 trillionth and final time-

Gabriel is NOT my first novel!!!!! Period.

quicklime
08-17-2010, 07:33 PM
What do you know about reality?!

How do you think it feels to be struggling at the only thing you're good at?


1. Do you honestly think that you are the only one who struggles to put words on a page? Perhaps that right there is an excellent summation of your problems as a whole. Writing is hard.

What I know is what you told me--book hasn't sold, as far as you are concerned, you're out of agents. I gave you your options, for which it appears I am going to get drama and hystrionics. Shit of get off the pot; if you can't let the book go, then revise it and your query, and give it another go--ideally after a few months away from your baby so you come back better able to be critical. If you can let it go, perhaps do so, at least for a bit, and force your way through another story.

Lastly, if you can't finish anything except the single book, sorry pal, but maybe it's not "what you're good at". Writing is as much about starting and finishing work as it is the pretty words in between.

2. Before you assume too much about reality, I think everyone here has been very real with you. On the other hand, you seem to have taken everything as a personal slight rather than looked at the hard truths: Is the book not ready? Are you not ready? Do you need to move on and give up on this book? Do you need serious revisions?

Folks asked you to consider these things, and in general they got about what I got here. If you can't deal with that sort of help, and you can't bear to part with your work, to move on from it, or to try to revise it, I'm at a loss for how, reality or otherwise, you expect to become a writer. You seem to want to be done with the book, not do another one, not fix this one, collect sympathy points, and sell. You're gonna have to pick and choose a bit, we can give you sympathy but many of us were trying to help you move on, with this book or a new one, instead. Which would you like?

quicklime
08-17-2010, 07:38 PM
I promised I wouldn't comment in my new thread, but I made no such promise here.

For the 100 trillionth and final time-

Gabriel is NOT my first novel!!!!! Period.

Ok, want a medal?

First or fortieth, it doesn't matter. The point was you can't place it, we've been giving you options and the relative merits of them. and as pointed out, you've been giving us correspondence courses in victimology.

Want to know a secret? I subbed a memoir to 30 publishers, all rejected. It felt like shit. What am I doing? writing another book. when I'm done I will go back and fix my memoir, and query, and try again, but not until I've had some breathing room. I shouldn't have subbed already, but new guy, and I jumped the gun. Overeager rookie mistake. I accept that, and realize I damaged my own damn book, considerably. It happens. I'm moving on, both with a new book and also the old one. Rejection happens. You can do what you're doing about it, which might make you feel beter (looking at your posts, I doubt it), or you can try to take the advice given and move on. Your call.

BenPanced
08-17-2010, 07:46 PM
I promised I wouldn't comment in my new thread, but I made no such promise here.

For the 100 trillionth and final time-

Gabriel is NOT my first novel!!!!! Period.
Then maybe it's the wrong project at the wrong time. Put it aside and either start a new project or sub something else. It's obviously causing you untold grief so let it go for a while.

Or not. Continue beating your head against the wall and wail "poor little me" whenever you ask a question, somebody answers it, and you rip them a new one because we just don't understand. Believe me. We all understand what you're going through. Been there, done that, got the folder of form rejections. Seriously: get it together or you're going to get punted into a time-out or worse.

Toothpaste
08-17-2010, 07:53 PM
What do you know about reality?!

How do you think it feels to be struggling at the only thing you're good at?


CJ, calm down. Remember when I used myself as an example of struggling and you got annoyed at me saying that you'd never said I hadn't struggled, well now with this post you offer a perfect example of why I chose to talk about myself struggling. You really don't think anyone else has to deal with reality? You really don't think we don't know what it feels like to be struggling at the only thing we're good at?

Honey, that's what I'm doing every single day. Rejection after rejection, on book after book. And heck, it's not even just in writing, it's also my acting life. Audition after audition, and not getting part after part.

You are not the only person on the planet to want something so deeply, with every fiber of your being and not be able to get it. To just want to scream and pull your hair out.

The difference is, we don't take out this frustration on people just trying to help us. No one has picked on you in this thread, nor mocked you. And another thing. The advice we give you isn't us thinking it's easy to take said advice. That's another false conclusion you have drawn, that somehow the advice we are giving you we think is super easy and why doesn't CJ just take it already. It's damn hard, all the advice we are giving you, and no one is saying otherwise. But just because it's hard doesn't mean you shouldn't maybe take some of the advice on board.

Writing isn't easy. And anyone who says otherwise has never written anything.

Mr Flibble
08-17-2010, 08:02 PM
What do you know about reality?!

Not much - me and reality aren't on speaking terms some days. But I know enough not to be rude to the people who I asked for advice, purely because they gave me what I asked for.


How do you think it feels to be struggling at the only thing you're good at? You think you're the only one? You ain't. As we've repeatedly said, you aren't alone. But you refuse to accept that, and instead insist your suffering is somehow special. It isn't. Most of us have been there. It doesn't mean you get to be rude.

C.J. Rockwell
08-17-2010, 08:15 PM
CJ, calm down. Remember when I used myself as an example of struggling and you got annoyed at me saying that you'd never said I hadn't struggled, well now with this post you offer a perfect example of why I chose to talk about myself struggling. You really don't think anyone else has to deal with reality? You really don't think we don't know what it feels like to be struggling at the only thing we're good at?

Honey, that's what I'm doing every single day. Rejection after rejection, on book after book. And heck, it's not even just in writing, it's also my acting life. Audition after audition, and not getting part after part.

You are not the only person on the planet to want something so deeply, with every fiber of your being and not be able to get it. To just want to scream and pull your hair out.

The difference is, we don't take out this frustration on people just trying to help us. No one has picked on you in this thread, nor mocked you. And another thing. The advice we give you isn't us thinking it's easy to take said advice. That's another false conclusion you have drawn, that somehow the advice we are giving you we think is super easy and why doesn't CJ just take it already. It's damn hard, all the advice we are giving you, and no one is saying otherwise. But just because it's hard doesn't mean you shouldn't maybe take some of the advice on board.

Writing isn't easy. And anyone who says otherwise has never written anything.


That's all I did last year. Struggling to follow whatever advice I'd been given. Only to be told this year that it wasn't enough.

I guess what I meant when I said quicklime didn't understand reality was that

I felt ashamed that I couldn't heed the advice I was given. Not always because I didn't agree, but because I agreed, but couldn't execute it. I either didn't understand, and no amount of clarification helped me get it, or

It seems the only thing I've mastered is taking breaks for months at a stretch when I get like this.

BenPanced
08-17-2010, 08:16 PM
CJ, calm down. Remember when I used myself as an example of struggling and you got annoyed at me saying that you'd never said I hadn't struggled, well now with this post you offer a perfect example of why I chose to talk about myself struggling. You really don't think anyone else has to deal with reality? You really don't think we don't know what it feels like to be struggling at the only thing we're good at?

Honey, that's what I'm doing every single day. Rejection after rejection, on book after book. And heck, it's not even just in writing, it's also my acting life. Audition after audition, and not getting part after part.

You are not the only person on the planet to want something so deeply, with every fiber of your being and not be able to get it. To just want to scream and pull your hair out.

The difference is, we don't take out this frustration on people just trying to help us. No one has picked on you in this thread, nor mocked you. And another thing. The advice we give you isn't us thinking it's easy to take said advice. That's another false conclusion you have drawn, that somehow the advice we are giving you we think is super easy and why doesn't CJ just take it already. It's damn hard, all the advice we are giving you, and no one is saying otherwise. But just because it's hard doesn't mean you shouldn't maybe take some of the advice on board.

Writing isn't easy. And anyone who says otherwise has never written anything.
The authors with track records probably have it just as hard as those of us who've just hit it or are still submitting, considering the state of the business these days. Even though you've sold a couple books, you're probably still having to prove yourself to your publisher that you're worth the risk. (generic "you", and just my speculation. I could be wrong, but it's the general idea I've picked up from reading the boards.)

Mr Flibble
08-17-2010, 08:20 PM
That's all I did last year. Struggling to follow whatever advice I'd been given. Only to be told this year that it wasn't enough.But I suspect you're better now than you were a year ago. Writing isn't something you can pick up as easily as riding a bike. It's a long hard slog for most people. You never stop learning, unless you give up.

Don't expect instant brilliance; that's setting yourself up for frustration and failure. Work to get better. Always. And then one day, just when you least expect it, the Spanish Inquisition! No, wait, one day you'll get there. In the meantime, don't get grumpy and rude because you have to learn things. WE ALL HAD TO LEARN THE SAME THINGS. But instead of whining about it and being rude to people who 'don't understand you' when they do, learn. Listen. Accept good advice. Look at the challenge and rise to meet it. Think how good you'll feel when you overcome it.

Bubastes
08-17-2010, 08:20 PM
That's all I did last year. Struggling to follow whatever advice I'd been given. Only to be told this year that it wasn't enough.


That's the other part about writing: you can do everything "right" and still not get the result you want. That's when you learn you can control only part of the publication process. Focus on what you can control and let of the rest. Otherwise, you'll drive yourself nuts, and that doesn't help improve your writing.

C.J. Rockwell
08-17-2010, 08:31 PM
But I suspect you're better now than you were a year ago. Writing isn't something you can pick up as easily as riding a bike. It's a long hard slog for most people. You never stop learning, unless you give up.

Don't expect instant brilliance; that's setting yourself up for frustration and failure. Work to get better. Always. And then one day, just when you least expect it, the Spanish Inquisition! No, wait, one day you'll get there. In the meantime, don't get grumpy and rude because you have to learn things. WE ALL HAD TO LEARN THE SAME THINGS. But instead of whining about it and being rude to people who 'don't understand you' when they do, learn. Listen. Accept good advice. Look at the challenge and rise to meet it. Think how good you'll feel when you overcome it.

I never learned to ride a bike, and the few times I tried were harder than this. At least the pain of a skinned knee goes away after a few days.

But I get the point. But despite my anger lately give me some credit. If I thought this was supposed to be easy, I would've quit long before now.

Just because I listened to everyone's "sounds easier than it is" advice doesn't mean I can execute it.

But I'm done. You all may understand how I feel, but it's obvious nothing I say short of "You're right, let me get over my bad mood right now" will always be not listening.

BenPanced
08-17-2010, 08:38 PM
:e2violin:

Wow. Don't even know why I bothered to care. The hell with this noise.

Mr Flibble
08-17-2010, 08:42 PM
You all may understand how I feel, but it's obvious nothing I say short of "You're right, let me get over my bad mood right now" will always be not listening.

*sigh* dude....please, enough with the attitude, it's getting tiresome. Listening means you engage in discussion rather than just saying 'You don't understand me!' or 'But it's hard!' or whatever. It's taking on board what others say and digesting it, turning it over and applying to your own style, or discarding if it doesn't work for you. It's looking at from different angles rather than banging your head on the same one.

You don't have to say 'you're right'. Shit, you don't even have agree with any of us! You do have to engage the braincells in thinking new thoughts though.

Seriously, if I can do that, you can. But only you can do that for you.

Momento Mori
08-17-2010, 08:43 PM
C.J. Rockwell:
What do you know about reality?!

How do you think it feels to be struggling at the only thing you're good at?

What are you, 12 years old?

Everyone here knows how it feels to be struggling with something they love and think they're good at. You are not the only emo writing snowflake out there, hon. We all know that pain, which is why so many people here have taken the time and trouble to try and give you practical advice and emotional support.

And so far as I can see, all you give them back is random petulant jerk-off comments like that.

In my opinion, if this book isn't working out for you with agents (and it doesn't seem to be), then shelve it and work on something else.

Now, either go and do that, or watch TV or do something else altogether but I think people here have been trying their hardest with someone who, at best, is ungrateful and at worst, a whiney-arsed, back-biting twat-wad.

Shit or get off the pot and whatever you do, don't whinge about it.

MM

C.J. Rockwell
08-17-2010, 08:43 PM
Just because I have mental barriers, I'm painfully shy in public, and my mother's schizophrenic and acts like a three year old who never grows up, doesn't mean I want to write about it!

There, my big secret's out. (Sigh of relief)

Those are real things lots of people deal with, but do I have write it in order for my writing to be interesting?

I never wanted anyone to know because frankly I didn't want people to say "Did you take your freakin' meds?" every time I had bad day. I also didn't say it because I didn't want that to be an excuse for the way I've been acting, and I know it's not, which I'm sure you'll tell me annoying detail, but I'm more harsh with myself on this stuff than any of you could ever be.

But there, I've said it, and it's the truth. Say what you will, but know this, I don't have to be off my medication to feel sad and angry about all the frustrations in my life, whether or not they involve writing.

I'm off for another 6 month break.

Mr Flibble
08-17-2010, 08:45 PM
/derail


a whiney-arsed, back-biting twat-wad.

I love the way you think.

/end derail.

BenPanced
08-17-2010, 08:48 PM
Just because I have mental barriers, I'm painfully shy in public, and my mother's schizophrenic and acts like a three year old who never grows up, doesn't mean I want to write about it!

There, my big secret's out. (Sigh of relief)

Those are real things lots of people deal with, but do I have write it in order for my writing to be interesting?

I never wanted anyone to know because frankly I didn't want people to say "Did you take your freakin' meds?" every time I had bad day. I also didn't say it because I didn't want that to be an excuse for the way I've been acting, and I know it's not, which I'm sure you'll tell me annoying detail, but I'm more harsh with myself on this stuff than any of you could ever be.

But there, I've said it, and it's the truth. Say what you will, but know this, I don't have to be off my medication to feel sad and angry about all the frustrations in my life, whether or not they involve writing.

I'm off for another 6 month break.
Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

Momento Mori
08-17-2010, 08:54 PM
C.J. Rockwell
Just because I have mental barriers, I'm painfully shy in public, and my mother's schizophrenic and acts like a three year old who never grows up,

Oh please. How does any of this explain or justify your behaviour here?

Answer: it doesn't.

You chose to respond to people in the way that you did and now you're (again) whining about the consequences.


C.J. Rockwell
Say what you will, but know this, I don't have to be off my medication to feel sad and angry about all the frustrations in my life, whether or not they involve writing.

Is there I'm supposed to go "Oh, poor CJ!"? Because I don't see how any of that explains the way you've been so unforgiveably rude to some of the people here.

Frankly, I don't care if you're a tutu-wearing, paranoid schizophrenic who talks to a penguin puppet called Flipper because if you're in control of yourself enough to visit a discussion thread, read the responses and then type your own response, you're in control of yourself to be responsible for that response.

Blaming your mum or meds or the fact that there's a 'e' in the month doesn't come into it.


C.J. Rockwell
I'm off for another 6 month break.

Whatever, dude.

MM

Mr Flibble
08-17-2010, 08:57 PM
Say what you will, but know this, I don't have to be off my medication to feel sad and angry about all the frustrations in my life, whether or not they involve writing. I don't have to be off my meds either. And no you don't have to write about it. I don't write about my psychotic episodes (well, there is this one story...).


And I don't have to be on my meds to be polite either. We all have our moments, I'm sure. But whining never got anything accomplished apart from making everyone else grumpy. We all have problems too. The difference is in how people attack those problems.



a tutu-wearing, paranoid schizophrenic who talks to a penguin puppet called Flipper I thought the puppet was called Mr Flibble? Mine is anyway. And Mr Flibble is very cross.

Toothpaste
08-17-2010, 09:05 PM
The authors with track records probably have it just as hard as those of us who've just hit it or are still submitting, considering the state of the business these days. Even though you've sold a couple books, you're probably still having to prove yourself to your publisher that you're worth the risk. (generic "you", and just my speculation. I could be wrong, but it's the general idea I've picked up from reading the boards.)

It can definitely be the case. Or it can be the case that you have fulfilled your contract to one publisher, they aren't interested in anything further from you, and now you have to sell a new work all over again as if you'd never sold anything to begin with. Now you do have more of an advantage, a decent reputation in the industry and, importantly, an awesome agent, but still. Imagine what it's like to experience the high of FINALLY getting published only for it not to go anywhere and be back at almost square one.

CJ - No one has ever said you had to write about real life. And you're right, your problem is you simply don't understand the advice being given to you. I don't know how to help you with that though, as I have tried in many different ways to explain it and am out of ideas. I wish I could help, but honestly, I simply don't have the time to devote all my energy to you. Needless to say, I will say it again, like I have a thousand times, you don't have to write about real life in order to write a story that has a core to it that is truthful, you don't have to write about depressing subjects in order to have complex characters, and you don't have to write about anything you don't want to in order to write something more marketable. You are a person of extremes (we have discussed this already as well), you can't seem to understand that the world isn't black and white, and until you understand that, you will stay right where you are. A perfect example of your outlook can be seen in this thread. Just because the advice people gives you makes you feel mad, does not mean that the people were trying to be mean in giving it to you. Just because you feel a negative emotion, does not mean that we are trying to make you feel a negative emotion. The negative emotion comes from no one but you. We are trying to help. If you could look back at this thread and see the true nature of it, how you have all these people trying to help you, you a total stranger to them, people going out of their way to spend some time to make your life better because you seem so upset, as opposed to seeing them as somehow ganging up on you (you'll note the negativity started with you and your response), well if you could see how wonderful this thread is as opposed to how evil you think it is . . . well that would be a huge step.

So that's my advice. Have a nice break.

quicklime
08-17-2010, 09:28 PM
Just because I have mental barriers, I'm painfully shy in public, and my mother's schizophrenic and acts like a three year old who never grows up, doesn't mean I want to write about it!

....
I'm off for another 6 month break.


hmm, when I was in fourth grade I got to the point of holding knives on my skin, trying to will the strength to cut--I was deathly afraid of needles, but wanted to die. I had guns downstairs and only refused to use them because they were my father's, and I wanted out but was afraid to leave him with that sort of baggage, and take about the only thing he seemed to enjoy in life (hunting) from him. I went through the medicine cabinets, hoping some label would have enough information to let me know how to OD and NOt get sent to a hospital for a stomach-pumping.

I was fucked up. My parents pretty much loathed each other, and all my formative tidbits on how to have a relationship I took from them were to do a full 180 in almost every shape and shade of how one treats a spouse. I cried myself to sleep until I couldn't cry any more, and I walked around numb and vacant instead.

shhhhh, here's the paydirt--big fucking deal. Everyone has their cross--my home life sucked for awhile, I got over it. Wasn't easy, fun, or even something I was entirely in control of, but it happened. I had a friend who's dad committed suicide when I was in high school, and another who's dad was killed in an owi. I knew girls who were sexually abused, and boys who weere beaten. EVERYONE has a cross or six; what matters is HOW YOU HANDLE THEM. In your case, I'm sorry you had it tough, but you seem to want to use the cross as a crutch.

You wanted help, and folks here WANTED to give it to you--on that mark alone, you are well ahead of the game out in the real world. Stop the pollyanna routine if you don't like what you hear, as someone else mentioned you don't have to agree, disagree, or anything else, but you owe the folks here, and guess what--you owe yourself as well, if you're serious about writing and not just looking for a place to have a self-indulgent tantrum--the simple courtesy of being relatively polite, even if their answers do not juve with what you were hoping to hear.

At this point I have no idea what your book is like, but I am 99% certain your biggest enemy is your lack of self-control--say your book gets an agent but they come back and say "on page 45, I do not understand why Chucky the woodchuck masturbates into a straw hat", are you gonna go this postal on them? Guess what, back into the pool you go, minus your agent--they don't need that shit either. For now, forget the writing, I'm saying you are never going to be able to succeed until you get some modicum of control over yourself. And honestly, if you have that little self-control in personal interactions, it leaves me with serious doubts about how you propose to be able to write in the first place, as writing is as much discipliine as it is art, if not more.

Good luck, I really was trying to help you. so was everyone else. The fact you still cannot see that makes me wonder how you'd expect to be able to communicate with others via novel.

Phaeal
08-17-2010, 09:50 PM
...not even talking sparkly jellyfish? They can't help being sparklie. It's their genes.

(Are there any books told from the point of view of jellyfish? I remember a SF story told from the point of view of a barnacle. I think it was a barnacle anyway.)

Perhaps the most audacious POV choice was made by Lois Cook in The Gallant Gallstone. Fortunately, this is a fictitious book.

BenPanced
08-17-2010, 10:09 PM
Then again, Reader's Digest had the legendary series of articles "I Am Joe's.../I Am Jane's..." on the human body, written from the first person POV of the various organs/parts of the anatomy covered.

Theo81
08-17-2010, 11:00 PM
CJ,

I'm certainly not going to use the fact that your Mom is schizophrenic or the fact that you take meds yourself as any kind of excuse for your anger; I don't give anybody that kind of leeway. If you want to deal with somebody who doesn't give a damn what kind of problems you have and who isn't going to judge you by them, deal with me.

I'm sorry that you are so hurt and upset by the comments I and other people have left for you. I'd hoped I could help with the problem in you OP. I haven't and, in retrospect, I shouldn't have got involved here given my expectation of what your reactions to my opinions would be.

I hope that you don't walk away from the boards for 6 months. It sounds like you've felt you've had to do that in the past and are now repeating the cycles of behavior which led to that event. Try something different.

It sounds like you are feeling very isolated due to your and your mother's condition. You are not alone, CJ. Please believe that.

Theo

Soccer Mom
08-18-2010, 12:27 AM
We have wandered far afield of publishing advice. I'm going to lock this now.