Monday, May 30, 2011

The Novel, Guerrilla Style: part 13, The Manuscript and the Future

Finally, this concludes this whole novel writing series. We end with the future. What is the future of your novel? If this is the first one you've written, it's highly unlikely that it's going to win the Pulitzer Prize. It's unlikely to make the best seller list. It's unlike to ever get published. But this, I hope, was not the motivation for writing it. So, what is the future? Well, it can go anywhere from here. You can shop around and solicit a literary agent, for instance. A literary agent, like any agent, is a specialist who can be very helpful if you don't know about publishing contracts and law. They generally take a percentage of your contract if it gets that far. I say that far because if an agent chooses to take on your project, he or she will shop the novel to publishers. If a rejections comes then, it's the agent getting it and not you, so, the 15% you pay an editor is worth that alone. The next option, eliminate the agent and go straight to the publisher. I can't imagine this will yield great results, but it may. Sure, small presses offer contests. You write a check for $20-$200, submit your manuscript and hope for the best.
If you choose either of these two options, study your market (agent of publisher) and put together your packet. The packet will include a letter, your hook and summary, your credentials and contact information. Avoid the used car salesmen pitch in your cover letter. Good luck in this endeavor. My anecdote: I pitched 2 novels in a query letter to Kristen Nelson Literary Agency. Mostly, they serve women's fiction, something I do not write. I did it anyway. Why? I wanted the experience. Aside from the experience, a friend of mine worked there and so, I may have gotten a read just for that. During my research I knew that that agent and this writer were not well matched. But, it was worth the experience. And as we're talking about query letters, if you want an idea of a hook and summary, check out the bottom of this page. I have all my novels as hook and summary there.
Now, there is self publishing, or the vanity press. If you just want a book in print, and that's it, this costly future may be for you. I don't recommend it. It's one thing to get a book printed and another to get it marketed, distributed and sold.
Last, the electronic option. E-publishing is cool. The possibilities are endless. Also, it is inexpensive and unlimited. My two examples: my novel, Sand and Asbestos at Sophia Ballou. This is a third party publisher and she specifically chose me and my work. Great. It counts as a publication. No money in it and no guarantees it will be there for the generations to read. But there it is.
Victor David Giron, his book Sophomoric Philosophy and his magazine, Curbside Splendor is example number two. Mr. Giron wrote a book. He then created a publisher to promote the book. Along the way, he began to publish other writer's work. He became an editor and a publisher. I doubt he knew how wonderful Curbside Splendor was going to become when he started. Not only did Sophomoric Philosophy get published and promoted, Curbside Splendor is a wonderful magazine and a voice for dozens of writers, poets and artists. Mr. Giron will probably not become a rich and famous writer because of Sophomoric Philosophy, but he has achieved the best this a writer can achieve, he has become model and mentor, he had enhanced his own experience and by providing a forum for others, he has developed a network for himself. I am continually impressed by Mr. Giron and I've always been excited by Curbside Splendor.
Whatever the future brings for you and your manuscript, always know that the work you did during the Novel, Guerrilla Style is the best work you've done so far and it's nothing compared to the work you will do.
If you do choose to promote this piece of writing, please know that finding a publisher will be long and tough and you will probably get more rejections than you'll be able to count. Don't get disheartened. It's all part of it. Hopefully, you'll find a forum for your work an d hopefully the reward will be equal to the work you put into it. Yet if you competed the novel in the 12 week time-line, you will write three more this year. How amazing is that?
Thank you for this opportunity to share what I know about the writing of a novel. I hope these last several weeks have proved lucrative for you.

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