Any writers out there?
#1
I may have asked this here before, but since we have new members I'll throw it out again.

Anyone out there *write* as well as read? If so, what? Going by the subject of this BB, presumably SF/F but maybe not.

For myself, I write SF/F. Pre-published as of now.

Finished the first draft of my first novel last June; working on revisions now. Before that, I wrote short stories. No FanFic, although I have nothing against it.

In fact it was correspondence with the Lady that inspired me to seriously start writing for publication. I'd written one short story (submitted and rejected) and mentally plotted a couple of more, but it was a comment from the Lady that inspired me to *really* try. Whether I am ever published or not, I'll always remember her with gratitude, above and beyond the pleasure she has given me through countless hours of reading.

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
Paul (no, the other one)
Captain of the ISS Andre Norton

By vocation, I am a Horta-master
By avocation, I am a reader
By Dream, I am a star-roamer
By choice, I am Andrefan
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#2
I'm not a regular to this forum, but was just going through on my rounds and came across this thread. Since it's non-specific to the forum, I thought I'd answer.

I've been writing for sometime now, trying to refine my craft, finish a number of stories and make something of a career out of what I love to do: tell a good tale. So far, I've only managed to finish one book that I started down the road for submission, but no luck. I've taken the good advice on such rejection, though, and started work on my next project.

I write mostly fantasy, I've dabbled in science fiction, and most recently in some paranormal stuff.
All your base are belong to us.

It could be that the purpose of my life is only to serve as a warning to others.
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#3
Moved from Norton.
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#4
Me too, I'm sort of interested in getting something published as I have several good storylines (that is, good in my opinion) floating around in my head but still neding to be typed out and refined. Some might be book length, others are more short-story like but might go well as a collection of short stories as they are all linked in some way. The stories are a sci-fic/fantasy mix. I'd be interested in hearing of any experiences you have in finding a publisher
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#5
shadowfax Wrote:Me too, I'm sort of interested in getting something published as I have several good storylines (that is, good in my opinion) floating around in my head but still neding to be typed out and refined. Some might be book length, others are more short-story like but might go well as a collection of short stories as they are all linked in some way. The stories are a sci-fic/fantasy mix. I'd be interested in hearing of any experiences you have in finding a publisher

I can't tell you in full, as I haven't found a publisher, and only went through with half of the work: trying to find an agent. There are different arguments for finding an agent first or finding a publisher first, and I'm not certain there's a good answer.

What I did was buy a book called: Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents (I have the 2005 version). Herman, an agent, sends out a brief questionnaire to publishers, agents and editors and then prints the results. This includes what genres they are and aren't looking for, how to contact them, and what they want in the initial contact.

I went through the book and folded down every corner of an agent who might look at my work. I then went back and made a file for their addresses, which also allowed me to track status. I printed labels for both my mailings and my SASE for replies (even then, some agencies won't respond). I made certain my mailings included exactly what they wanted and nothing more. Items I needed to have ready were:

Query Letter
Author Bio (think back of the book, only a paragraph or two longer)
Plot Synopsis (I have three: a paragraph, a page, and a three page)
Story Outline (like the plot synopsis, but taking the story from begining to end)
Sample chapters (three is standard, some request one or two, others have a number of pages they want to see)

Everything went out in manila envelopes to keep it nice and clean, and when possible, it went to a specific individual. I even called agencies to try to find someone to send to. I sent out about fifty or sixty packages, and received actual rejections from ten or fifteen agents. I received one request for a revised manuscript, but the next response was a flat rejection. I got the impression the agent didn't remember the request, and didn't bother reading my revision.

I knew going in that I wouldn't hit gold the first time out, and so I need to re-up and start the process again, this time hitting the publishers. Once you get all the stuff together, the process is pretty quick.
All your base are belong to us.

It could be that the purpose of my life is only to serve as a warning to others.
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#6
Thanks,

Please keep me/us informed of any significant developments.

And if you do get it published, please let us know. I for one will go out and buy it.
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#7
I, also, have several started, but not finished short stories and novels. I'm wondering if it might be best to just try writing a short story for the magazines, and see if that 'breaks the ice', assuming - of course - that they are accepted for publication. Has anyone done that, or is it an easier way to get into writing?
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#8
catsrule1 Wrote:I, also, have several started, but not finished short stories and novels.

The best advice I ever read was from Stephen King on writing. In short, he said just write to conclusion. Don't go back and edit, or you'll end up with 20 pages of well-edited text to a story that doesn't have an ending except in your head. I've fallen victim to this so many times it would make me weep if I didn't have my hands firmly wrapped around my Man Card at the time.

But since reading this advice, and taking it, I've actually managed to work on and finish projects that I was interested in. They require editing, and in some cases heavy editing, but that's part of the fun. It's even more fun knowing that 40 acres of work doesn't still lay in front of me to complete the effort.

Quote:I'm wondering if it might be best to just try writing a short story for the magazines, and see if that 'breaks the ice', assuming - of course - that they are accepted for publication. Has anyone done that, or is it an easier way to get into writing?

Writing for magazines is a time-honored tradition, and some of the biggest names made their starts with short-stories. It pads out your writer-resume, and gives your potential agent/publisher something to sink their teeth into, rather than trying an untested author, no matter how good the freshman effort is.

I would think it is easier to break into magazine publishing than to break into novel publishing for the simple reason of numbers. A magazine comes out on a regular basis, even if it's just an annual, with multiple authors to appeal to a wider-range of readers within a particular genre. Of course, the pay is far less, if anything at all (never, never, never, never, never pay to have your work published), but if you can break into it, and keep breaking into it, you've a better shot at seeing something larger in print.
All your base are belong to us.

It could be that the purpose of my life is only to serve as a warning to others.
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#9
If you look at pages 107-121 of CATFANTASTIC V, you will find my one published story. I had shown Andre a few of my early efforts and she liked them. I got a letter one day saying that they were going to put out C-5 and would I like to try a story for it and to let her know ASAP if I were willing. I had never even thought about writing a cat story before, but I didn't hesitate. I picked up the phone and asked "When do you want it?" She gave me the deadline and the rules. She also reiterated the sage advice "Write what you know", which is why it is set in a restaurant. I got it to her two weeks before the deadline which was better than most of the contributors did. Andre love it and put it in the book. When I got the proofs, the biggest rush was looking at the table of contents and seeing my name listed with so many writers that I liked and admired.
The editors made a few minor changes and I wasn't about to protest. Hey, I getting published! Dont rock the boat.
Then I got promoted at work and went from 35 hours per week to 60 hours per week and haven't finished any more. I've got a fantasy novel half written
and several short stories in various stages.
My Witch World novella and my sequel to "The Dowry of the Ragpicker's Daughter"(maybe If they ever put out an Arabesques 3) were written before the Catfantastic story.
Enough bragging. Later Kind Folks --Paul
Frontiers of any type, physical or mental are but a challenge to our breed. Nothing can stop th questing of man, not even man. If we will it, not only the wonders of space, but the very stars are ours
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#10
RobRoy Wrote:(never, never, never, never, never pay to have your work published)

This is definitely sound advice from the days when print media ruled and independent publishers basically faced a closed shop.

But I'm beginning to question it in today's context.

Print on demand print shops mean you can produce even relatively small print runs at an acceptable price and acceptable quality. If you produce a succesful website to market your book (maybe letting readers download sample pages) and also place the book on Amazon etc, you probably only need to sell a couple of hundred to break even. At least in my calculation which is probably flawed somewhere.
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#11
I think all of this is good advice. Shadowfax, I think what RobRoy was alluding to is the concept of using a "Vanity Press" to publish one's work. Their imprint is easily recognizable, and - I assume - would be a negative on a writer's list of credits. I have been thinking of writing a family history, and would not hesitate to use a vanity press for that type of project, since no commercial publisher would do such. Otherwise, the only time I would use such a publisher would be if I just totally gave up, and had no intentions of a legit publication, but wanted to see my name in print. I think that is different from self publishing books that are good enough for the market, but the writer wants more of the take. I realize there is a fine line though between the two. ERB, Inc would be the ultimate example of "self-publishing", and obviously very successful.

It is of interest though, that technical articles written for scientific journals have somewhat different rules. As a general rule, getting an article accepted for publication in a technical scientific journal is felt to be 'such an honor', that if it involves too many illustrations (tables, charts, photos) along with the text of the article - the author has to pay the journal for the excess. And, of course, no payment is made for the article from the publisher as a general rule. It might be different if the author is solicited by the journal to write something specific, but that is usually not the case. It is a completely different type of commercial project. But, of course, completely different writing too. I have had several articles published in technical journals, and definitely agree with the concept that one HAS to finish the first rough draft completely, even if it stinks. Then, work on the finish of the product. Unfortunately, I used to have to go through about 3-4 revisions/drafts after the first rough draft, to get to something I was satisfied with. I do realize that it is completely different from getting fiction published though. I admire those who went all of the way to the finish, even if not accepted for publication. It may just take 4 more rewrites to get it done and accepted, which is 5 'writes and rewrites' closer than I have ever come.
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#12
shadowfax Wrote:This is definitely sound advice from the days when print media ruled and independent publishers basically faced a closed shop.

But I'm beginning to question it in today's context.

There is something to the vanity press/self-publishing option, and I know some folk have managed to be successful from it, but those who have are few and far between. Certainly not the norm, and not for those who are to make even a semi-career out of it. It certainly doesn't count, as far as the general publishing/agent community is concerned, as an actual published work . . . unless you're one of the very few who manage to make some level of splash from self-promotion.

Our own Mike of Quantum Muse published in this manner, and could speak to his own success at it. I believe Michael Martinez did something similar, though he would have to speak to the details, which were a little more lucrative.

However, in the case of vanity press/self-publishing, authors generally go in knowing what they are doing. There are, however, some publishers who are just this side of scamming authors. They offer services that appear too good to be true, and are. You pay them, they publish your work, but there is no editing process (and even the best writers want/need an editor) and there is no promotion process.

In general, any legitimate (and I agree, traditional) press, be it magazine, novel, anthology, even web-press, will at least offer you a number of copies of your own work in lieu of payment (catsrule1's comments on technical/scientific journals asside). If they start talking fees, as an author, you need to know what you're getting into, which is mostly likely a vanity press/self-promotion situation.
All your base are belong to us.

It could be that the purpose of my life is only to serve as a warning to others.
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#13
RobRoy, as a general rule the technical journal does provide you 1-10 (or so) copies of a reprint of the article itself (not the whole journal) for free. Any number over that, you would have to pay for. So, they do give the author 'something' for writing the article.

It's somewhat different with the 'throwaways' that are actually just bunches of advertisements for various products bound together with a few technical review articles to make it 'informative'. With those, the authors may be paid something to write the article, although I suspect they are on staff and paid a salary to write articles on a regular basis.
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#14
catsrule1 Wrote:RobRoy, as a general rule the technical journal does provide you 1-10 (or so) copies of a reprint of the article itself (not the whole journal) for free. Any number over that, you would have to pay for. So, they do give the author 'something' for writing the article.

It's somewhat different with the 'throwaways' that are actually just bunches of advertisements for various products bound together with a few technical review articles to make it 'informative'. With those, the authors may be paid something to write the article, although I suspect they are on staff and paid a salary to write articles on a regular basis.

That's good and helpful information. Thanks catsrule!
All your base are belong to us.

It could be that the purpose of my life is only to serve as a warning to others.
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#15
I'm involved with technical journals both professionally and by private interest. At work, one of my resposnibilities is copy-editing technical articles for the company's customer magazine. Of course because the authors are in house payment is not an issue, but just oocasionally we get external experts (university professors, inventors, politicians - or their staff) to write for us, and I'm not aware of any of these ever having asked for or been offered any form of payment.

Some of the articles we get are so poorly written that we have to pull them apart and re-write whole chunks from scratch. A lot of people have no idea how much work (and money) goes into editing, which is one reason why a well written piece of text has much higher chaces of getting past the board of editors (especially if they are lazy and prefer easy articles to potentially good ones, which sadly is mostly the case). I've seen many articles whose authors obviously ahd excellent ideas being rejected because they couldn't write properly.
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#16
And the other half of my story in this domain is that through the local Tolkien society we have a small publisher and we get various Tolkien experts writing articles for us. All this is non-commercial and we don't make any money, ie, all earnings are re-invested, and if we did charge for the work we do the company would be bankrupt in no time, but as things are we are getting bigger and bigger and more and more people are buying and more and more people are coming forwards with articles. We originally worked on the concept of selling to society members and at congresses and other events, but our focus has since shifted to the internet where we now make most of our money.
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#17
Paul G. - my next task: Look through stacks of A.N. books for that CF5, find and read that short story. That is a great honor to not only write a short story, but have it published, and even better - have it published in one of her works!

Shadowfax and RobRoy: Fascinating discussion. Makes me want to dust off that unfinshed short story, and try to finish it, even if somewhat 'in the rough'. Interesting point on the technical articles and quality of work. I can imagine some of the 'sighs' when the manuscripts come in to the editor, and he/she is facing the daunting task of making it publishable. Maybe even a few discouraging words.... I wonder if those authors just send in the first draft, or cannot polish it to a finished product?
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#18
catsrule1 Wrote:Shadowfax and RobRoy: Fascinating discussion. Makes me want to dust off that unfinshed short story, and try to finish it, even if somewhat 'in the rough'. Interesting point on the technical articles and quality of work. I can imagine some of the 'sighs' when the manuscripts come in to the editor, and he/she is facing the daunting task of making it publishable. Maybe even a few discouraging words.... I wonder if those authors just send in the first draft, or cannot polish it to a finished product?

Mind you, I'm not complaining. If people sent in perfect articles I'd probably be out of work.

I think that for lots of people working on exciting projects, writing the accompanying articles is just a chore or a necessary evil and they invest as little time as possible to be able to spend more time on the project itself. Also, sometimes they are so close to the project that they don't see the bigger picture. They don't stop to explain facts that are obvious to them but probably not so obvious to the average reader. They pepper their texts with acronyms that anybody who's not in that particular specialized field is unlikely to recognise. And often they don't even stop to explain what the whole thing is about, but just jump straight into the details.
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#19
Yes. I've written a comedy book. I did try submissions to a publisher, rejected yes. I used Lulu.com self publishing, by far the cheapest simplest way to get your book out there. For a minor fee, much less than other self-publish services, you get listed on major booksites. My book is everywhere now, just needs buyers.

Bookfinder4u.com, barnesandnoble.com, Amazon.com, Lulu.com, Target.com
all carry it, including sites off continent.

Three Forces Of Evil Comedy Shorts is the title
John Ross Harvey is the author

I call myself a bilingual vulcan in the book as it is a lot of ranting about driving, specifically those that have no clue how to drive in the winter, which is where the name comes from.

Mobile Snowbanks
Defroster Dunces and
The Wipers Only Brigade

are the Three Forces Of Evil

my reading, and writing skill has largely developed because of reading Arthur C. Clarke. The comedy writing was assisted by taking a course at Humber college's summer comedy workshop. This book is a compilation of works written over 4 years. It can be read from anywhere, it isn't necessary to read front to back.


If you're having trouble getting a publisher, Lulu will not dissappoint you.
It couldn't be a simpler way to get published.
\\// \\//

please read my Blog about traffic, life, and anything at all really.
http://[URL="http://www.threeforcesofevil.blogspot.com"]threeforcesofevil.blogspot.com[/URL]

www.acronymville.com where every word can be explained by each letter

http://batracer.com/-1FrontPage.htm?1ku
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#20
I consider myself a writer.

I've submitted one short story to a magazine, and am waiting for my response. I have a few other short stories I have done or half-done, but I need to concentrate on schoolwork for the next month or so, so those have been put off to the side for now.

I've only seriously considered trying to publish some of the things I have written in the past four months or so. I finally realized that I'm going to be writing probably for the rest of my life, so I might as well see if I can get a little money for it or something, haha. I don't imagine I'll get published right away, but I guess it's always a possibility, so I'm going to keep trying.

And I just realized it's snowing again. Ugh.
Don't do nothing.
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