Thanks Joel, I really appreciate the input, and will try to start communicating with the local groups around here about publishing. I had some bad experiences with people more concerned with presentation than product, but am growing the thick skin of a Kerouac. I'm learning.
Daniel, you were talking about "getting it into the right hands to take a look." Have you already gotten it into the hands of LOTS OF friends, family and former teachers (those who said you're a good writer) to give you input? I like to get my manuscript into lots of hands when I've got my self-edited manuscript. They give me lots of good ideas and I find out if a niche of people really like it. I find that many first-time authors skip this step, or just run it by one or two people, then just start sending it out to agents and publishers.
There is a whole business side of writing that authors resist learning about, but it's typically essential to making it in this industry. If you haven't already, go to the library and check out the most recent edition of Writer's Market and read the articles in the front.
Feel free to run questions by this discussion group as you have them. It's no bother, really. And there are no stupid questions. Nice folks here.
Thanks Steve, I'm going to dive into those articles in the Writer's Market.
My feedback so far has been the humor contests, as my wife refuses to read my writing (she hates humor writing), so I rely on blog friends, who have been very supportive. I never thought to check-in with old college professors, but perhaps I should look into that. You've given me some great ideas to work with. This certainly is a supportive community.
One of my concerns is that sometimes I feel that authors write their stuff, largely in private, then submit it to literary agents and publishers to see if it's any good. Yet, often they're rejected and then assume that their writing must be mediocre. "If my writing were any good, surely a publishing company or agent would take it."
Actually, there are many reasons publishers reject manuscripts that have nothing to do with the quality of your writing:
1) The writer isn't already famous, so why would bookstores take the book.
2) We've already accepted our quota of mysteries for this year.
3) We're only taking novels this year by established novelists with followings.
That's why I think it's best to get input from lots of people before going to a publisher. If a niche of people love your work, then you know it's good and that it's got a niche of people you can market to. Then, if traditional publishers ignore you, you pursue alternative avenues to publishing, of which there are plenty today.
Thanks again, Steve -- Words of wisdom, and I'm certainly guilty of that whole "If my writing were any good, surely a publishing company or agent would take it" attitude. I'm learning fast though, and people like yourself are definately opening doors to approach the task at hand.
The biggest thing for me is leaving the entire "recluse in the woods" approach behind, to just write and send things off for the next rejection. Now that I'm learning the blog and e-book game, the marketing and networking techniques come with it.
This site is proving that now, dragging me out of the woods -- Thanks again!
Write what you're passionate about. Write about a topic that comes from your heart—perhaps your life's work.
Keep in mind that it's no longer a world in which a writer exists isolated in the woods, writes a book and turns it into the publisher. The work really begin on a different level once the book is done. You'll need to come equipped with a lot of tools to promote your book. It always helps when you love what you'll be asked to promote.
My books often start with a dream. I take my dream and fill it in with a day dream using my own input and then set down and the book just comes out. I have written my last five books this way and it works for me. You might find another method. But, it has been said, that I am one of those guys that can take an old hat and made a great story around it. Hey, that's a good idea, I think I will.
Best regards and good luck
Dr Robert E McGinnis
Love that Robert, makes me curious about your books. And I'd love to read the one about the old hat...
In freewriting we do something similar, although it doesn't have to be a dream. Start with a prompt, which can be just about anything from one word to a whole thought, put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and start writing. Half the fun is seeing what comes out!
How about we start our "hat" story with a sixteen year old girl and her fourteen year old brother rummaging through grandma's attic ten years after grandpa has passed on? They open an old and dusty, partially hidden hatbox that they found down in a rather large, hand carved, umbrella stand. Lo and behold, it must be grandpa's hat from the size and looks of it.
The boy starts dancing around and flipping the hat into the air and without much effort, it actually lands square on his head, wow, then..................hmmmm Does he hear voices? Can he see things? Wouldn't you like to know.
I am working on a book which we call number nine (sometimes nine becomes eight in my series during production, but the order in which the books first come along gives it a position status.) To make a long story short, a philosophy professor is recruited by a freelance American spy ring to to some serious reconnaissance. (my first BS degree was in Social Studies) but in this book the young professor has to go through three different phases of training for his summer spy work. The feature here is that in his practice parachute jump he messes up something fierce and get tangled high up in a tree. You will have to read the book to find out how he gets out, ha, see I do have a serious nature. I simply love to write, don't get me started.
On a different note. After my books are published, I love reading them to find out how they end.
Dr Robert E McGinnis
I just noticed albertasequeira's note below this one. Her reply reminded me of me and my two younger brothers, the youngest couldn't have been more than six or seven. We were tubing in a small creek behind our house (My parents let us roam from daybreak to dark.) It began to rain and we just laughed and splashed (we are three years apart totally) The clouds opened up and a cloudburst occurred and we were caught in a flash flood. We saw the wall of water coming and began paddling for shore. We didn't make it, the wall of water picked us up and carried us for miles, over fences and fields. We ended up in another swollen creek and were being carried faster than we were able compete with the current which carried us to an even bigger stream. We finally got out a few miles before that creek would erupt into the Mississippi river. Finding our way home was an all day affair. We lived on sacred Indian ground. This life has been fun, I can't wait to see what comes next. (true story)
I am in first rewrite of book nine and that is what I have been doing since my last post. You mentioned above that you have a curiosity about my books. I thought as I was doing the rewrite that I would offer a page or two that ties the first series (The Paradise Series) to the third series (The White Panther Series) from the second series (The little Eagle Series) and here is is. (keep in mind, this is unedited, unpublished and heretofore unseen by any human other than myself.)
As soon as the door appeared before Little Eagle, he jumped back several feet for the old medicine man was standing just inside. I didn’t know if it was the surprise of the door or the man that made him jump. Spengeeh could not see the door or the man and looked strangely at Little Eagle’s bizarre action.
I was so happy to see that Little Eagle could see the doorway, now he would be able to visit the people inside with me. The old medicine man stepped out and it was Spengeeh’s turn to jump back three feet, he actually was very frightened to see a man appear before him. Spengeeh looked at me, then Little Eagle and then with an ashen face, he looked at the old medicine man from the dimension beyond the door.
The old man spoke to the two newcomers each in a different language and both understood him easily. Little Eagle understood both languages very well because he had learned one language from his mother and the other from his father. I had no idea what was going on, and when he spoke to them in their native languages, I could not understand one word, but I could see that they did and their expressions were changing with every word he spoke.
I stood quietly by and observed a meeting of the past with the present. I found out later that he was some sort of saint and very important to tribes of both men and they knew of him and respected him immensely. He did not look much like an Indian, but possessed certain European characteristics instead.
The two men listening to the old man began to weaken with the intense, recognition of meeting a spirit from their past. Both men sat down simultaneously with open mouth and wide eyes. Neither man could turn away from the speaker, nor could either man speak. The sight was something I had never seen before and most likely would never see again. Then the old man put his hand on Little Eagle’s shoulder and the boy closed his eyes as if he had fallen to sleep. They stood like that for a few long minutes until the old man removed his hand and returned through the blue mist doorway. The door closed and Little Eagle opened his misty eyes.
The men neither spoke for some time nor did either look at me. Finally, they both turned toward me. I will never forget that look. They had been filled with love and a new knowledge that shone brightly in their eyes and in the glow on their faces.
Little Eagle was the first to speak and he told me of the Irish boy that led the Wisnook across a rugged and dangerous continent to settle in this area. The man was given the name of White Panther and that was the man that had just stepped out of the doorway four hundred years later.