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Want to add that, for better or worse, social media and having an online presence is now more and more important to publishers. It means you're bankable and many publishers won't even consider you unless you have a large Twitter following.
It used to be their job to market you, now it's more and more your job to market yourself before you approach them.
With that said, many writers are finding great success using platforms such as Patreon. Specifically, there have been some very notable sci-fi/fantasy writers who have landed six-figure publishing deals after building a following on Patreon.
The general formula on there seems to be publishing chapters and short stories and giving them away for free, then charging fans a nominal sum and giving them more of your fiction writing.
Take that into account that that is a LOT of work and a LOT of writing you will have to produce to get the kind of following where agents/editors will take you seriously.
Sci-fi and fantasy lends itself really well to Patreon because you're generally creating a fictional "universe" and inside that universe you have an endless scope to produce spin-offs and short stories and tangential narratives going off from you main novel.
So if you can get on Pateron, and start writing short stories and build an following BEFORE you approach an agent; well that's just another avenue to get published that is becoming increasingly significant nowadays.
Indeed, you don't even have to write other short stories on there; you could even produce a podcast detailing your journey as a writer, interview other writers going through the process - any type of content that gets you follows, so you can take that to an agent and prove you have a ready-made audience that will help them take you more seriously.
I was graffiti writer and published in a few books and many magazines.
First, congratulations, if you've finished the novel. That's a huge undertaking. What's the wordcount?
I have a few sci-fi publications but they are all short stories. For long form, you will need an agent. To get the agent you'll need a log line, synopsis, pitch, first 50, etc. Basically a bundle of stuff for the agent to know what they are getting into before they get into it.
If you get a bite, agents will usually ask for the first 50 pages, if there is an interest, then ask for the full shebang. I don't recommend cold-emailing agents as they get inundated with stuff and you'll be lost in the slush pile.
I recommend instead that you meet them at conventions etc, and then pitch them when they ask what you are working on. There are tons of strategies for pitches... often what works is using other works as analogy. Ie "Think Dune, but with time traveling samurai" or "It's a near-future spoof on El Cid." The analogues won't get you all the way into the explanation of the story, but it will help set the table.
Stories tend to sell when there is broad interest in the high concept, which is why I recommend perfecting the logline—it lets you know if the concepts in your story can be articulated simply, effectively, and for whomever you are pitching, opens their mind to the possibilities. You end up having a great conversation when you immediately begin playing with the possibilities with the person you are pitching, rather than wasting a lot of air explaining a convolution of concepts.
If you say it is a scifi novel... what kind of scifi? Agents, editors and publishers have a sense for what is selling off shelves and want to know if the genre is hot, or if there is already a lot of it and the milieux is stale. They will want to know if the work stands on its own without the illustrations, as they will likely want to market the book in written and audio format. So it the story requires the visuals, it's going to be a harder sell.
One thing I've noticed about your story "short version" is that there is a lot of explanation about what happens, but not much about the Poet. Who is he? What are his motivations? His fears? What makes us want to read a story about him? Agents will look for resonant characters who we want to follow throughout the story. Most scifi that sells nowadays is character driven primarily, not plot driven. So enchant us with the Poet's story, not the story about what happens to the poet, if you know what I mean.
Getting published means getting into a market and a community of content makers. What other scifi books are out there that you love? What authors do you feel write like you? I would get some other eyeballs on the work... genre/speculative fiction writers if you can.
Best of luck!
- Oh one thing I forgot... agents and publishers usually avoid stories that have already sold online because they want to buy first rights.cannonball1978
- So, I would take your book off your site or anywhere else you have it available online.cannonball1978
- It's 110,000 words in 60 chapters. all good info especially about character rather than story.pr2
At the beginning, my first reaction was the idea was very derivative of ACC and Space Odyssey, with a dash of the time lost from the Interstellar and Alien films.
However, the concept of the soul and the fact that machines could not trigger the Even is interesting. More intriguing is the concept of a VA for astronauts suffering from time-loss and gained consciousness. I think this is the strongest element of your story.
Constructive criticism time:
I'm going to venture a guess that you're ESL? I'd suggest getting an editor to clean up your pitch, as it is a bit wordy and there are a few typos scattered about.
Good luck, sounds like an interesting project.
- The whole "signal from space" was so overused by so many that i tried to stay away from it and only use it as a trigger point. So than you for pointing out...pr2
- ...that for you it still stays in that reals. This helps!pr2
- Not a problem. Any other questions are welcome.garbage
Hey - i'm in the process of publishing my first book. Creative Non-fiction.
I self-published a business book under a pseudonym on Kindle format via Amazon, which is easy and straightforward.
For my proper book, under my own name - it's a more difficult process, and i expect to invest 1000's and not make any money.
You need to have your draft ready and then send it to editors. I've met with many mentors in this area and they've advised me on how to get my book ready to be sent to an agent.
You need an agent, who then takes your book to a publishing house - just sending manuscripts out like that will not get you very far.
At the moment i'm looking at spending around $4,000 to edit my 60,000-word manuscript. You don't need to pay that much, at all, but I would recommend not cheapening out here.
So your first step should always be getting it professionally edited. What type of editing you need will depend on your budget and the amount of work your book needs.
There are 4 basic types of editing your book will go through:
1. Developmental/structural editing - The editor will look at the entire book holistically and see how you structured the text, the chapters, character development etc. and point out any confusion in your story, inconsistencies in the narrative etc., But more than that, the editor will understand what market the book is being aimed at and suggest you restructure based on your target audience and the best chance it has to sell.
2. Line editing - This is like copy editing ++ - in that the editor will look beyond simple grammar and syntax. The editor will suggest you rephrase sentences and paragraphs so they flow better, sound crisper. They will look at names you've used and make sure they are spelled consistently etc., They will look at any plot holes, narrative issues and use of vocabulary
3. Copy editing - Will go through your book and check for grammatical errors, usage, consistencies (is it american english? is it british english? etc.,) punctuation usage and basic "style".
4. Proofreading - This is the final editing that will scan your book and double/triple check for formatting issues, typos etc., before it's sent to get published.
Developmental editing is the most expensive (about $4k for a 60,000 word manuscript) but the editor you will work with will be highly regarded and very competent and will work closely with you as you develop the book. As such, this should happen at the early stage and he might get you to re-write whole chunks. But, with that you get the whole package - line editing as well as developmental editinig.
Not every author needs developmental/structural editor. But at minimum you need line editing - which would be about half the price.
Copy editing if you really can't afford a line editor.
Proofreading will be done by the publisher at the last stage.
Get your book edited professionally then send to agents in your niche, and they'll introduce you to a publisher.
But again - all teh money will come out of your own pocket and you're likely to loose 1000s on your first book. That's not the point though, you first job is to get a publishing deal so you can build an audience for your material (create social media accounts, create a blog, market yourself, do readings, whatever it takes to get known) - only once you have a name, you can think about advances for your next book and actually making a living at it.
Some good editors i've looked at are here:
I'm currently working with someone from the NY Book Editors - which is probably the most priciest option in the list (full developmental editing) - but i think it's worth it. The EFA has lots of freelancers you could negotiate prices with.
If this is your first manuscript, you need to work with one of these people before approaching an agent who will then approach a publishing house on your behalf.
Again, you will not make any money on your first book, expect to spend 1000s, but, you will get your foot in the door and then build your career from there.
- yeah, it's not about the money. i've learned that on my feature-length doc. and your considerable write up is MUCH appropriated!pr2
- This was very informative. Thanks for taking the time to write this out.SteveJobs
- Yeah i been going through this process over the last 6 months, made lots of notes and bookmarks. ywKhurram
- Photobook universe is a bit different. But you do it out of passion, it's impossible to make money from it.SimonFFM
- Excellent advise thanks and inspiring. I'm working on my first book to self publish since Jan 1, my 1st draft came in 30 days. Now editing.robotron3k
- Y'all inspiring.ideaist
- my brother in law just had his first fiction book published...went through exactly what you said :)exador1
- i did the cover :)
- he's done a few non-fiction books as well...
it's everything you mentioned...takes a long time to get things right...but the end result is worth it...exador1
- @exador1 - ^^ wow, your brother-in-law is very accomplished!Khurram
- beautiful cover too mate.Khurram
- My brother-in-law is a cunt! I guess you don't get the on you WANT, you get the one you DESERVE!ideaist
- lol... thanks Khurram :)
yeah, he's a professor, political activist, author, and podcaster ... definitely a busy guy :)exador1
- working on the cover was a LOT of fun :)
doing a ton of design work for his podcasts now as well...exador1
I got 2 books out. Publishing house contact us. Working on the third book now. Although its more stories and photography.
Seeing your story is more in Arthur C Clarke vein (The City and the Stars & Time Oddysey vibes) I would start sending it out to publishing house like this.
Maybe make like 10 real versions, so it becomes 'real'. Always helps here in selling the new ideas.