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Old 12-07-2009, 12:45 PM   #1
RJPineiro
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Lightbulb Tips for getting published from bestselling author R.J. Pineiro

MobileRead Community,

I'd like to share with you some of the FAQs I typically get from readers who are aspiring to become published writers. Keep in mind that although the online services such as Amazon's DTP does make the publishing effort (getting your book/story released to the public) easier, you should become familiar with the editing/copyediting/pre-production process that the publishing industry uses to convert the average manuscript into a real book. After twenty years writing fiction and 15 published novels, I made the call to take my newest thriller, MELTDOWN, directly to Amazon's DTP while still sticking to the editing/copyediting process required to get a manuscript ready for publication. Whether you choose to go the ebook route or the traditional (and oftentimes painful) path to publication, I hope you find the FAQs below useful. If you have further questions/comments, just post them here and I'll be happy to provide further insight based on my experience.

Cheers,

--R.J. Pineiro


I am working on a novel. What steps I should take to get it ready for submission to an agent or publishing house?

Make sure to finish the novel first. If you don’t have any formal fiction writing training, then you might chose to do what I did, and use self-help books on the elements of plotting and character development. Be sure to write about what you know as both agents and publishers always look for non-fiction hooks to sell/promote your work of fiction. After you get it as clean as you possibly can, I recommend that you contract the services of a copyeditor. You should be able to find such services advertised in the back of trade magazines like Writer's Digest and Publisher's Weekly. I used a copyeditor to check my first three novels. After that my "writing muscles" were strong enough to do it all on my own. The copyeditor was my first line of defense before making an official submission to an agent or publishing house. You should receive an editorial letter along with a copyedited manuscript. Follow the copyeditor's advice closely. I did, and as a reward I got four agencies wanting to represent me.

Should I get an agent?

If you intend to sell book-length fiction to a major publishing house, the answer is absolutely yes (and, of couse, the answer is no if you choose to go straight to an ebook). Most publishing houses will not consider submissions sent directly by a writer. They use literary agencies to "screen" the submissions to avoid wasting their own time. If you are writing non-fiction or magazine articles, you might be able to get away without an agent, just beware that you will have to be savvy enough to negotiate contracts.

How do I find an agent?

There are many publications, including Writer's Market, that have a section listing most literary agencies in the United States. Make sure that the agencies you select do represent your genre. Also, read the guidelines and rules of each agency you intend to make a submission to. Finding the right agent will be the most critical step in your fiction-writing career. The right agency will get you hooked up with the right publishing house.

What are agency reading fees?

These are the fees that some agencies like to charge to unpublished writers to read their work before deciding to represent their work. I refused to pay these fees and did not consider any agencies that charged them. A reputable agency will make its money from the commission it will charge after selling your work to a publishing house.


How long does it take you to write a novel?

Somewhere between six and eight months, depending on the amount of research involved. That includes about three drafts of the story and a final polishing pass. After this the manuscript is ready for the expert hand of a professional editor, who typically makes me revise the story at least once more before it is ready for the copyeditor, who is a third set of eyes who really dives into every possible detail you can imagine about the story. A good copyeditor will help you clean up all of the annoying typos, minor story or character errors, etc. If you choose to go the eBook route, this is a step I don't recomment you skip if you wish to have a professional-level book published.


How do you go about writing a novel?

Atuhors vary on the approach. Some dictate the novel into an electronic gadget while hiking through the woods. Others create very detailed outlines before writing a single page. I start with a very neat idea, something that hopefully hasn't been done before. Once I have come up with the basic premise, I begin to work on the characters. I usually do a brief outline (a few pages) and also backgrounds on all main characters. I always know how the story will start and how it will end. However, I not always know how it will flow in between. Most of the time the story almost "writes itself" once the action gets rolling.


How much research do you do on a novel?

It depends. If the topic is related to what I know, like computers, martial arts, firearms, or flying, the research is minimal because I have done (and continue to do) those things, so it's almost second nature to write about them. The same applies to the locales, since I have visited just about every place where my novels are set. The challenge comes when I want to write about a topic that I'm not familiar with. First thing I do is download everything I can. That usually gives me a reasonable head start. I then complement that knowledge with recently-published books on the subject, as well as interview with experts on the subject. And I even ask them to proofread relevant sections of the manuscript for technical accuracy. For example, during the Writing of ULTIMATUM, I interviewed Navy pilots who fought in the Gulf War. For CONSPIRACY.COM I spent time with FBI agents. For those with a computer backgrop, like CYBERTERROR and SPYWARE, research is minimum as this is what I do for a living (I'm a computer engineer).
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Old 12-07-2009, 03:29 PM   #2
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Good info, thank you!

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Old 12-08-2009, 03:12 AM   #3
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Good info, thank you!

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Old 12-08-2009, 09:17 AM   #4
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Old 12-08-2009, 03:49 PM   #5
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