Wednesday, February 6, 2013

IWSG February 6, 2013



It's that time of the month again. Man, it seems like it's only been about thirty days since we last had a first Wednesday of the month....go figure.

Anyway, the first Wednesday of the month means that it's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post.  The IWSG is the brainchild of that Wizard of Words, the Swami of Synonyms, that Baron of Blogging, the Upper Echelon of Encouragement....the Ninja Captain, himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh. As always, a big thank you to Alex for hosting.

The IWSG posts are a place to discuss with our fellow bloggers the ups, downs, and sideways of writing and what makes us feel a bit insecure.

This month, I'd like to talk about.......the future! <insert Doc Brown's voice here> "Great Scott!!"



The more I think about writing, the more I wonder just how I'm going to proceed. I mean, obviously, I want to improve...that's a given and I think there will always be room for that.

I mean, after that. When I finally finish my story...edit it...polish it up...edit it some more....what's the next step?

I've read about doing a "query", but am not real sure what all that entails.

Do I look for representation?

Do I self-publish?

Do I traditionally publish?

Am I  being arrogant in thinking that anyone would actually pay real money to read my stuff?

Now, I know I'm not the first, nor will I be the last, to ask these questions, but they really do give me pause and I get the feeling that I'll be in for a lot of research, once I get to this point.

So tell me, future-boy (or girl), if you've already passed this stage in your writing, what advice would you give your past self, if you could hop in the DeLorean and travel back in time?

33 comments:

Yolanda Renee said...

The world has changed so dramatically that it's really hard to know what to do. I don't have any answers, I'm still searching too!

You've got your list, follow it...

Nancy LaRonda Johnson said...

Yes, I've been there and will likely be there again once I've finally finished my WIP. Here's an article I wrote about the process: http://publishmyself.net/the-woes-fears-and-promises-of-an-expectant-writer/

I do believe having a good query is muy importante. Do all you can to learn to do it right. Had I known how much work it takes to market and promote my work, I think I would have given querying more time. In the article, I think I said I queried for 8 mos, but it was closer to 6, maybe even less.

Scribbles From Jenn said...

I'm not there yet. But I think I'll lurk around and see what great advice you get, so I can share it with my future self.

Yvonnes Poetry Corner said...

Look into all possibilities before you decide what you do. Sometime it pays to hang on a while.

Yvonne.

Teresa Coltrin said...

Since I started blogging in 2009, self publishing is looked on more favorably than ever before.

First time here. Hello!

michelle said...

The market trends are constantly changing... what's in today, may be old news tomorrow...
I think that self publishing is gaining in popularity... it's no more the "step-child" of the publishing family (and that's just my two cents worth)
I'm also trying to find out... please share with us when you have some answers...

Mark Means said...

@Yolanda: Well, let me know how it goes for you and I'll do the same ;)

@Nancy: Thank you much for that link and I'll definitely be giving it a read!

@Jenn: Hopefully, we'll get some good info to pass along :)

@Yvonne: Yes, I'll definitely be taking a 'watch and see' stance.

@Teresa: And 'hello' to you too, thanks for following :) More and more I'm seeing where self publishing is becoming more viable, where it wasn't just a few years ago. Who knows how it will be when I finally get to that stage. Hopefully, there will be room for both routes.

@michelle: I think you're right on self publishing....which is a good thing, in my view :)

Barbara Watson said...

When it comes to writing, write the very best things you can. And then polish them more. And more.

As for publishing, I tend to think there's a route that 'feels' right to each person. Find that route for you.

Mark Means said...

Thanks Barbara, I'll definitely have to do more research and find the route that feels best for me....after I finish the dern thing, of course :)

Jess Schira said...

I don't think there are any easy answers. The best advice I can offer is to take a deep breath and go with what the little voices in the back of your head tell you.

Best of luck!

Nancy Thompson said...

First, once you really believe you've done all that you can do to your ms on your own, find a half dozen or critique partners. Not beta readers or family or friend,s but writers who will critique for you. Work one at a time, make revisions based on their advice and what you believe is best, then move onto another CP. After that, write a query. Start at QueryShark for advice on how to do that. Use your CPs again, then submit to Matthew MacNish's Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment for public feedback. He's really good at tightening up queries as are his commenters. Then research agents in your genre and make a thorough list, but do not send your query out to your favorites, at first. Wait for feedback. Send it out in batches of 10, and don't forget about small presses who accept submissions without representation. Wait on feedback and adjust your query and ms as necessary. But don't give up. It's hard. it's tedious, and it;s demoralizing, which makes it all the sweeter when it works out. Good luck to you!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Do a little research while you write . . .that's what I did, and it gave me time to process all the different angles and options out there. In the last stages, I went to bookstores and scoured the copyright info pages for book publishers that published books like mine - it turns out there weren't that many that have been publishing Christian Fantasy lately. Fantasy - yes. Christian Fantasy - less so. And then I dug further and found out that the authors that had been published in that area had either been previously published in another genre or previously self-published. (Yes, there were some that had been publishing in that same genre for a dozen years, but the market has changed). That last bit of research sent me over to the self-pub side.
and as for what's next? Keep writing!

Tyrean Martinson said...

BTW - I'm still researching even as I'm self-pubbing and I did find one small press that appears to pub books like mine . . .but since I'm eyeball deep in self-pubbing, I'll reserve their name for the next project.

Julie Flanders said...

I agree with Yvonne about looking into all the possibilities. Going with a small press worked for me but there are so many choices, you can't be sure what is right for you. It's an intimidating process but I think the most important thing is to just keep plugging away and trust that you will find success one way or the other.

Mark Means said...

@Jess: Breathing is good, yes, and I'll definitely have to remember to do that as the process unfolds. Thank you!

@Nancy: Wow! Thank you very much Nancy. That's a great groundwork to start with. I had seen the "CP" initials thrown around at other's blogs and didn't know what it meant. I do now! I'll definitely be cutting and pasting your advice into my ms folder to use later. Much appreciated :)

@Tyrean: A great idea about checking the bookstores for publishing houses if I decide to go that route. Thank you!

@Julie: I have no doubt that it's going to take a ton of perseverance, but doesn't anything that's worthwhile. Thank you very much :)

Mark Koopmans said...

Hey Mark,

Looks like you and me were on the same page today (and move over - you page hog:)

All I can say is do what your gut tells you... for me it's going to the writers' conference and networking there... surely an agent would love to represent me, the Beacon of Baldness?

Good luck, man :)

Heather said...

I'm still a long way off getting to that stage yet, so I guess my future self that's there now would come back and say to me 'get off the internet and just get on with the writing!'

Love the Back to the Future references, and particularly the Delorean. I've always wanted one ...

Marsha Sigman said...

Three websites, my friend.

Query Shark
Literary Rambles
Query Tracker

The first one tells you how, the second who, and the last one keeps it all straight.

You can thank me later.ha Good luck!


Mark Means said...

@Mark: Hey, you over on -my- side of the page....you scoot! :P Best of luck with your conference and the networking. I'm sure you'll do well and thanks! :)

@Heather: LOL...yes, I'm sure my future self would say the exact same thing to me. Thanks, BttF is one of my all time favorite movies.

@Marsha: I'll gladly thank you now and, after it all pans out, later as well. Thank you! :D

Allison said...

Unfortunately, there is no right answer! It is what is best for you. I'm choosing the traditional publishing route, but lots of people prefer self publishing for different reasons. And I guess you have to be a little arrogant and think someone will like your work, or you will never have the guts to publish at all!

Allison (Geek Banter)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

If I could go back in time, I'm not sure what I would do differently because everything is changing so fast. You have to find what is comfortable for you.

Mark Means said...

@Allison: Good point and one that seems to be popular among most of the commentors, so I'll have to give it some thought when I get to that place. Good luck on your publishing, as well!

@Susan: You're right, it does seem like it'a a very dynamic subject so I guess I'll have to go with 'wait and see' for now :)

Nicki Elson said...

I'd know that DeLorean anywhere! Here is my advice: Don't think about it. Not yet, there will plenty of time for that in the future - and when you reach that point, you're already in a wonderful position to get advice by being active here in the blog community. All you'll have to do is snap your fingers, and the advice will come. So trust that you will get your answers and for now, focus on the writing.

P.S. It was very funny to hear a guy say "It's that time of the month" heehee

Mark Means said...

Nicki, that's a great point...and I really should be focusing on the writing and, especially, the finishing of my work. Great call!

LOL...Hey, we can have "times" too, ya know :P

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I knight thee, Baron of Blogging! I like that.
Do your research! Read everything you can online and in books. Anything to do with publishing and publishers and all that. You'll be in a much better position if you know what you're doing.
That sounds obvious, but not all of us started out that way...

Georgina Morales said...

I think you should look at small publishers. There are a bunch of reputable small presses willing to take a risk with new writers. But the most important advise I'd give myself is to read. Read How to books about publishing, make contacts in Facebook and blogs that delve in the theme, inform yourself tirelessly until the time has come to actually try it.

It is totally normal that you wonder this things and no, you are not arrogant. Even artist deserve to make a living.

Best of luck!

Mark Means said...

@Alex: That's definitely what I plan on doing once I get to that point with my story. I'm in no rush and appreciate all the advice given so far...thanks!

@Georgina: Thank you and, yes, it seems that information is the real key to unlocking the door of publishing :)

Cynthia said...

I'm an unpublished author. So I might have less experience than many others who are commenting here...I don't think it'd hurt for you to try to find an agent/editor first and see where that endeavor leads you...Even if you experience rejection, you might also be fortunate to come across a agent or editor who might give you some useful feedback.

Mark Means said...

That's something worth keeping in my Cynthia and thank you! Any type of feedback could prove useful.

Mark Means said...

That should read "mind" instead of "my"....

Stephen Tremp said...

I could have signed with a smaller publisher but I did not like that they want to retain the rights for up to five years. For that, they had better market the you know what out of the book. Otherwise, self publishing might be the way to start out.

M.L. Swift said...

Mark -

All of the above.

- Mike :o)

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Since I don't want to cause any strange changes in my future I'll just stay in the present. But if I went in the past it would be to peek at someone else. I'm leaving my life alone.

So writing advice. Go with your gut, if you want to go traditional, do it. If you want to self-publish go for it. Still unsure, read more about the market you're writing for, chat with writer friends, meditate...you'll eventually come to a decision.

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