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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

lizmonster

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50 SoG was originally self published and got picked up by a major pub.

Not precisely. :) 50SoG was published by a small epublisher in Australia in 2011.

There are books that started out self-published and ended up with trade publishers, but 50SoG - despite being oft-cited - isn't one of them.
 

Woollybear

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What was the book that hit it big on Wattpad before getting picked up?

ETA I know there was such a title but I can't find it. Still, it's another way to 'make it' sans agent. Or pre-agent.

PPeterson, this might be another idea to squirrel away for yourself if you do not wish to self publish but do wish to build an audience for your series.

 
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Nether

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It's a dirty shame. That, and how few open short markets there are.

I came to writing short stories (none of which I've yet sold) because I realized I desperately needed practice 1) finishing complete stories and 2) being crisp. The relatively puny word-budget that most short markets allow (over 10K words is unusual) certainly forces you to choose carefully.

Yeah, it's kinda weird considering on one hand there might be more places than ever willing to take short fiction, but on the other, the number of paying markets seems pretty small now.

I had been into writing short stories for a while because I always enjoyed reading it and I was more likely to actually finish it at the time (although, even then, my record for finishing drafts was spotty). I've always kinda felt that short fiction was ideal for horror since, like comedy, so much of it can be built up around a set-up followed by a punchline (which is why I adored tv/film anthologies like Tales of Terror from Tokyo and All Around Japan).

Now that I've been into long fiction, I think my mindset has changed so I don't enjoy writing short fiction as much. And, honestly, most of my short horror was quirky, semi-humorous nonsense anyway -- killer toasters, man-eating pools, and the like -- which would be a harder sell (or harder sale? It feels like harder sale sounds right, but I can't grammar right now).
 

mccardey

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If you're not, then I'm not sure what you meant. But I had edited my post for clarity which must have gone through while you were looking at the old version.
I just meant I don't know why you're explaining what querying is. I thought you'd left out the rest of your post or something.
 

Fuchsia Groan

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What was the book that hit it big on Wattpad before getting picked up?

ETA I know there was such a title but I can't find it.
The After series? It started as One Direction fanfiction and has spawned a ton of trade published books and three movies so far.

I can think of many other examples of self-published or Wattpad/AO3 fiction that ended up with a publishing contract. The common factor: huge, unignorable popularity. Take The Course of Honor, which became Winter’s Orbit (from Tor? I can’t recall). It had 70k hits when I read it on AO3. Wattpad stories often have millions. (Granted, a read for each chapter counts as a hit, so hits and readers/sales are not the same.)
 

Introversion

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Amateur. :tongue I waited almost three years.
:gone:

I can’t decide whether I loved or hated that rejection. On the one hand, they included comments from several of the readers, which were positive. OTOH, it summarized to, “We can’t buy everything, and we liked others better.” 😛

I think I prefer Clarkeworld’s 1-day NOPEs? Just nope. Not, “almost”, or “good job but others”. Nope.
 
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Calla Lily

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Greetings again. Allow me to speak some uncomfortable truths.

I'm not going to spend time re-researching the percentages/numbers; I knew them once. they're a bucket of ice water on the back of the neck. If anyone wants to dive down that rabbit hole, keep tissues at hand.

My credentials: I have 12 trade-published books and several short-stories under my belt. My agent and I parted ways a few years ago and my mystery series ended a couple of years after that. I have not yet had a breakout novel, which means I have had no luck selling on spec. I'm cynical and tired but dammit, I *am* going to get a new agent and a book deal with an advance and my books in brick-and-mortar stores again.

So let it be written. So let it be done.
(Anything said by Yul Brynner in a leather mini-skirt is gospel to me! *swoon*)

1. Agents will not take on a previously self-published book unless it's stormed the world. ATM I can think of only two. Yes, two.

2. WRITE SOMETHING NEW. I once thought I had only one book in me. :roll: I have more SNIs than I'll probably have time to complete before I croak.

3. There are MANY MANY factors which affect writing speed. Not listing them here. I used to write and edit as I went, which equalled a snail's pace. I'm forcing myself to write faster, leave placeholders, and fix it in the edits. It's a struggle, but things are looking positive.
I know people who can write a decent first draft in 30 days--and I mean anything from 80K-200K. I am in awe of them.

4. A first draft always needs edits. Never ever ever--no exceptions--query a first draft.

5. Some people can write to formula. I can, if I keep the rules in front of me at all times. This does not make me or anyone else a hack. It's a skill. Period.

6. The agent hunt is Hell on a plate. Why am I putting myself through it again when I could SP?
a. My fanbase isn't big enough yet.
b. I work FT (hello, health insurance and paying the bills!) in a high-pressure job and some nights I don't have a brain cell left. SPers wear all the hats. I can only wear one at this time.
c. I will never sign another book contract without an agent. Period.

7. Some writers have the ability to write FT, write fast, write to spec/formula, and wear all the hats. I bow before them.

8. NEVER compare your journey to others'. That way madness lies.

9. Reread #8.

10. Griping affects the writing voice, your queries, your everything. I refuse to waste my time griping. Sure, I cuss and get down. I do not let it last more than 24 hours. Your query getting no replies? Rework it. Take a class. Join a workshop. Is it the book? You may need to rewrite some of it. You want to get published? Nobody owes you any favors. Do what it takes. There are no golden words. Everything is on the table for edits. Be ruthless. Do what will make the book sell.

11. WRITING IS A BUSINESS. TREAT IT LIKE A BUSINESS. BE PROFESSIONAL ALWAYS.


From one writer in the flames of Hell on a plate to another: Keep your eyes on the prize.
 

mccardey

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4. A first draft always needs edits. Never ever ever--no exceptions--query a first draft.
I like all of those notes, but I like this best. I do a lot of beta-reading and the number of times a new writer has sent me a first draft, thinking that because it's been polished and proof-read it's now a third draft is - heartbreaking.

It's not necessarily a problem that experienced writers have, because they're making second and often third drafts as they go, or they're using an extremely well-worked plot and character outline that's been drafted a couple of times before they start, or they have a particular talent that they have learned how to control and maximise - but it does trap new writers, and it does kill very promising books.

When you're new to the game, and hoping to be trade published and hoping to make a living at it - and especially if you're investing time and money in the early stages - it helps to go slow at first. Focus on one book at a time, learn the skills and let the career build.
 

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10. Griping affects the writing voice, your queries, your everything. I refuse to waste my time griping. Sure, I cuss and get down. I do not let it last more than 24 hours. Your query getting no replies? Rework it. Take a class. Join a workshop. Is it the book? You may need to rewrite some of it. You want to get published? Nobody owes you any favors. Do what it takes. There are no golden words. Everything is on the table for edits. Be ruthless. Do what will make the book sell.

11. WRITING IS A BUSINESS. TREAT IT LIKE A BUSINESS. BE PROFESSIONAL ALWAYS.
Bolded for truth.
 

Vaitalla

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I love all these replies. There are not enough hearts in the world to express my feelings. You guys are fantastic.

Speaking as someone who knew she wanted to be a writer from around age 12, who then let life distract her a LOT from her 20's onward... I only hunkered down and started getting serious ten years ago, and ONLY NOW do I finally have a book in good enough shape to be submitting to agents. I'm 49 years old, but no one else will champion these words in my head. If it's really important to you, don't give up.
 

PPeterson

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I've been away for a bit. Holidays, birthdays, and sinister scheming has taken up a lot of my time.

Here's what I intend to do. I am no longer querying. I will be self-publishing.

My life is somewhat unique in the fact that I don't work, so I have piles of time to utilize. I also have a background in web design and marketing, so promotion isn't new ground for me. The friends I've accumulated over my life are professional artists, editors, and business-level folk as well, and they've been helping me through various issues.

I've built myself a little home office, and have been gathering piles of information on how to best approach this (reader magnets, mailing lists, distribution, pre-orders, etc.), though I really wish I knew someone who'd done this (properly) before.

So this series will be all on me, and I have sizeable plans for the "brand" of my work. Will I eventually go back to hunting agents for trade publishing? Maybe. Who knows? But I'm the kinda guy who likes control over his own destiny anyway.
 

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Best of luck, in what sounds daunting and exciting! Sounds like you have a lot of the skills and contacts needed for this. 👍
 

mccardey

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This sounds like an excellent use of the resources available! There have been a couple of threads while you were gone about how to maximise self-pubbed work - where to spend money, etc - that might be useful to you. If you can't find them, sing out and I'll see if I can hunt them down for you.
 
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