Waiting, Or; Sending a Book Out

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Dec 6, 2004
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My wife has played the "send in a manuscript and wait" game a few times. Maddening doesn't begin to describe the process.

Frankly, there's very little you can do. From the author's perspective, a submission is a Big Deal. The manuscript's a sizeable chunk of your life, your identity, and your hopes. You'd think that publishers, well aware of writers' tenuous grasp on sanity, would show some empathy and Do the Right Thing.

But for a publisher, a manuscript is just product. No - it's potential product. A selection of publishers have shown varying levels of compassion and humanity, none of them moved at anything more than a crawl.

Give 'em 3 months, then find a telephone number. Your letter would just sit on the same desk that the (maybe unread) manuscript's on. Ask sweetly when they'll get their $#%$ ass... (ahem) have an opportunity to get back to you on your project.

Writing is not for the weak. As Orwell said "It's very easy. I sit down at the typewriter and open a vein..."

Tom.
 
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That was a good post, Tom.
I've played this game with hundreds of submissions to magazines, but only one other time involving a book. The 'first book I ever wrote' I sent out to some kind of organization, not sure which now, I hadn't done my homework well enough, but anyway, it came back with my postage sans protective box in a torn envelope and a note. "What were we supposed to do with this?"
'Read it', might have been my answer. They made money by proofing work and other editing tasks, and I hadn't understood that initially.

I was so crushed I put the thing in my closet and never sent it again. It was contemporary, Celine - Henry Miller kind of thing, and I didn't have enough confidence to fight by its side. This new book is different because I wrote it for a specific market.



munk
 
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My wife's experience with book-length manuscripts seemed designed to unhinge her. 3-6 months of waiting was the norm, up to 12 months for one outfit whose editor will (I hope) have a special level of Dante's inferno reserved for him alone. It's the alternation of hope/encouragement/no hope/no news that makes one crazy. And in any business that relied on some degree of service - including collegial work among professionals - such treatment would signal the imminent failure of the company.

But publishing isn't like that. They don't have to be "nice" to unknown authors, and frequently are somewhat appalling even to folks with a market history behind them. The once-common idea of having an editor, uhmmm ... edit ... is now long gone. Editorial services are all outsourced, and at the often penniless author's expense.

While Sasha's published quite a number of poems, her manuscript(s) now rest in the bottom drawer of the dresser. Partly because she won't write for a niche market ... she's a p/t university English instructor, and only wants to write Literature. I could possibly edit her stuff into market trim (90% of my day is spent writing), but my marriage is worth more to me.

Best wishes, Munk. Frankly, I think that writing for a niche market is the way to go ... if it's how you want to eat. More than that, write for a specific demographic that buys books (fantasy's a good one). Relatively few unsolicited manuscripts get picked up, and most published books were rejected more than once. But one book-length publication credit will go a long ways to establish your marketability to the publisher. Keep at it.
 
Joined
Feb 21, 2001
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Nothing to add but good vibes and positive energy.

Use the waiting time productively. Write another one. (ducking)

Good luck bud,

Steve
 
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munk said:
I started the first chapter of the second one.



munk
Make it a trilogy. Trilogies in sci-fi fantasy are very big right now - publishers view it as brand development.
 
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Tom, trilogies have been big in SF and Fantasy for 50 years.
It's kind of scary... find an idea, and never stop.
3,4,6, or 8 books to tell a story.



munk
 
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Oh yes, series in Sci-Fi and Fantasy have been very big starting maybe with the Narnia books, then through Tolkein, and following them countless others. I especially love Ursula K. LeGuin's Earthsea books ... once a trilogy, now (I think) 5.

In marketing terms, it makes great sense. In creative terms, probably a mixed blessing. You get to explore the characters well ... but if successful, you never get to put them away and write something else.
 
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You don't spread the story over 8 books. You do the same story again and again. Same hero. Same sort of conflict. Just fool around with villians and the methods / weapons they're gonna use to destroy the world. Works for James Bond, Harry Potter, Travis McGee. Heck, lots of Grisham's books end with the good guy running off with lots of money to live in the Carribean.

Joe Bob Briggs advises movie makers that when writing a sequel they should do the Exact Same Movie All Over Again. Don't change things around too much. If people liked the first one, they expect pretty much the same with the sequel.

Sales is tough because -- whatever you're selling -- you face lots of rejection but need to keep going. Trying to sell your own creative work has to be incredibly tough because it feels personal, even though turned down several times is normal.

I recall a TV series, "The Fabulous Teddie Z" I think. One episode, some guy shopped his screen play around Hollywood and got turned down and jeered at by all but Teddy, who, in his inexperience, thought that the screenplay was good but needed a better title. The punchline was that the guy, to make a point, had been passing around "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" with another title.
 
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Convince David Weber (or even John Ringo [His real name, so help me!]) to do a joint project with you. :thumbup:

Write a story in an uber SF author's "universe."
 
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It's in God's hands, Karma's hands?
I'll fight for the work, but if if doesn't happen, it doesn't happen.


This has always been between He and I.

Sounds crazy, eh?

>>>>>>>>

Well then, the perfect opportunity to inject true psychosis into the thread. Many sources list the not awake, not quite asleep place between dream and sleep as a holy possbility, a place of enlightened consciousness if you know what to do when you are there. In that state, at age 17 I flew into the future and saw myself as an old man. The old man was struggling over a machine, a writing machine. He'd written works. "Where are they? Can I see them?" He sort of growled at me. I was surprised how depressed and cynical the old man was. I read some of the stuff; it wasn't Dostoyevski, but still, not bad. I was a little disapointed, but overall, not too let down.

How am I to know now that old man is not the same one pounding these keys in front of this screen, the only works I'll ever do?

Now that is a 'true' science fiction story.


munk
 
Joined
Jun 4, 2004
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I'm glad you are trying it Munk.

I love what you write in this venue.

I have dreamed up many stories, but never had the discipline to do the work.

Same with music.

I was too broke to buy my wife anything for our 10th anniversary, so I wrote her a poem. best present I ever gave her.

I don't normally write sruff well unless I am somewhat depressed.

I don't like being depressed.

I am not depressed very often anymore!

At least relatively speaking, that is!

Working with words is a powerful and rewarding vocation.

If you love it, keep at it, and make it as excellent as you may.

"Do you see a man skillfull in his work? He will stand before Kings; he will not stand before obscure men."
Prov. 22:29

I am proud to know you.

Tom

:)
 
Joined
Jul 30, 2004
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I think a better name for my editor would be "discarder".

Aye, munk must sit tight and wait. No, not easy. Hopes are at stake.

Try the zen thing of watching a rock grow. But have your calendar marked, and call in 3 months.

Google search "the man in the arena" speech by Teddy Roosevelt. If you don't already know it, it will help.


Ad Astra
 
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Mar 22, 2002
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I'm proud to know men like you, Tom. And Ad, thanks for the chin up.

We do what we can and live with the rest.


God has a sense of humor. He is not unkind. Everything is going to be OK.


munk
 
Joined
Dec 16, 2004
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I managed a warehouse for a small publisher for a while. So I was the guy who received all the manuscripts and gave them to the boss.

I had one job there, the boss had about 6. One of which was sorting through manuscripts. As you can imagine, when something had to get put on the back burner, this was it.

Once a book was accepted, it was routinely a year or two, at least, before it got published. But, then again, it was a small, independent publisher.

I'd wait until monday and then call. Just to see if they got it. Maybe the guy in charge of manuscripts is on vacation. Maybe the shipper is backed up. Maybe he's sitting on the loading dock reading it... :D You have no idea, and a phone call will only bother them if they are so disorganized that you wouldn't want to work with them anyway. Did that make sense??

I'd mail it out to as many publishers as you can as well. Find a company that you actually like working with, if you have the option.

my $.02


~ Bamboo
 
Joined
Mar 22, 2002
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Horray! Horray. I got the card today. Book logged in on the 8th of November.



At least now I know it has a chance.

thanks all,



munk
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2000
Messages
3,708
Horray! Horray. I got the card today. Book logged in on the 8th of November.

:thumbup: Good news!!

This is a great thread.

I've enjoyed reading it, and strange for me, just reading without adding my .02$;) :D
 
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