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Old 08-27-2010, 01:45 PM   #2
neilmarr
neilmarr
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Location: Monaco-Menton, France
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Good to have your company, Abigsmurf. Let's look at what you can do without spending money ...

When you've completed your first draft, you should self-edit to hone the ms. Belonging to a good writer's site, you can then appeal for readers (developing authors will often be happy to do this if you offer to return the favour by reading their work).

If your current site doesn't help in this direction, I can recommend another to you privately. Because membership costs $12 a year, it would be inappropriate to name it here -- so drop me a pm if you're interested and I'll explain it to you. I have no connectio with it, by the way, but I do know many authors who are members and they tell me it's been a priceless resource.

Once you have some suggestions in, weigh them up, and incorporate those ideas that are useful into a new draft, carefully adjusted accordingly.

Next stage is to pull in volunteer proof readers (avoid friends and family -- they are not always impartial and might rave about your work for the best of reasons, but not helpful reasons. You need cool, impartial reading at this stage.)

Again adjust your ms according to errors spotted.

Self edit the ms again yourself.

You're now ready to either self-publish or to tout the ms around to carefully targeted agents and publishers. That 'targeting' is vital. Submit only to those interested in your genre. And, before submission, ALWAYS read the publisher or agency submissions guidelines. If you spam, your email approach will be deleted without a second thought. And that, I feel, is a perfectly fair decision.

Self publishing in PoD print or ebook can be painless and even free. But I always advise first-time authors to exhaust all possibilities in the mainstream of the industry before considering the independent route. If you hit lucky, you'll then have free and professional editorial advice and a whole heap of other important pro help.

And you needn't and mustn't let your soul be destroyed, Abigsmurf. Approach the job realistically with the odds against success always in mind.

You will have rejections, of course, that's inevitable. But depending upon the acquisitions editor who declines (and what side of the bed he got up from that morning), you may get a short note of advice along with the form rejection slip.

Learn from rejection rather than being hurt by it. The most powerful qualities of a developing author are the weapon of sticking power and the armour of a thick skin.

Only when you're sure you've tried everything in the mainstream do you carefully consider the self-publishing option. And it's not a bad option at all.

There are many self-published authors here at MobileRead who went DIY, not necessarily because they'd failed in the mainstream, but because they so highly value their independence. I can understand that.

Good luck and very best wishes. Neil
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