Waiting, but moving on…

Submissions = 55

Rejections = 23

MS request (partial) = 0

MS request (full) = 0

Offers of representation = 0

 

Ok, now I’m at the stage where I’m pretty sure I’m going to be one of those people I mentioned in my previous post (https://rohsaanmcinnes.wordpress.com/2016/06/22/submitting/), like Meg Cabot and her book The Princess Diaries, which was rejected for 3 years before finally being picked up and going on to sell 15 million copies.  *Sigh* Do I seriously need to wait that long.  Come on people (agents), The Quadrants is awesome, don’t deny the world of its greatness!

Well, in the mean time I finished a painting, begun an edit of The Muse (which incidentally is up to 22.6k reads on Wattpad 🙂 )and have begun a new book (not the adult fantasy one previously mentioned, another one).  I suppose I’ll do a few more submissions for the Quadrants in a few days when I can muster some hope and force some more enthusiasm.

 

IMG_0739

(above) My latest painting drying on the wall.

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40 Submissions

Submissions = 40

Rejections = 10

MS request (partial) = 0

MS request (full) = 0

Offers of representation = 0

 

I’ve decided submitting is like going to the gym.  Some days I don’t see any benefit in it but I just do it anyway because although it seems pointless, I feel better having tried than not having tried at all.

I’m dying to continue with my new book now, but I’ve told myself I have to submit The Quadrants to 40 UK agents first (and there are also a few real life issues I should get to) before I can start.  If I’m writing my new book when all the rejections start pouring in for The Quadrants, I figure, it won’t stab me in the heart so much. 😉

 

 

 

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Current progress

Submissions = 24

Rejections = 3

MS request (partial) = 0

MS request (full) = 0

Offers of representation = 0

 

Thought you might like to read my rejections as they come in:

#1 – Thank you for querying me! However, I regret to inform you that I am not the right agent for this project. I wish you the best of luck with finding a home for it!

Short and sweet.

#2 – Thank you so much for your submission. Unfortunately I don’t feel I’m the appropriate agent to represent your work as the story just isn’t right for me.
I’m sure another agent will feel differently, and with the vast array of opinions in the industry, I wish you the best in finding the right representation.

Isn’t a story either salable or not?  And if so, then why would another agent feel differently if it’s definitely not salable.  I would think it’s less to do with personal opinion and more to do with predicting the tastes of the target audience.  For example, I tried to read The Lord of the Rings recently, but although that’s not my kind of book, I can see that other people (my brother and those like him, for example) would love it, and buy it.  And what about Harry Potter?  Apparently, although the publisher didn’t like it personally, he gave it to his daughter to read, and as she loved it,  based on that he accepted it.  So, shouldn’t that publisher, and all those who rejected HP, have been thinking from the perspective of the target audience in the first place, and not their own preferences?  Isn’t that how a business is supposed to run?

Unless of course these agents really do think my book wouldn’t sell at all, and they’re just trying to be polite, and give me hope, by suggesting someone else might take it, lol.  Perhaps they should give The Quadrants to their 13-17 year old children and see what they think. 😉

#3 – Thank you for your query.  While your project does sound interesting, I’m afraid it’s not quite right for me at this time.  I genuinely appreciate your email and wish you luck finding an agent who can successfully champion your work. 

I thought this one was really nice, though I still think it’s a stock response.

So… I wonder if there is a mysterious agent out there who my work is right for and who will be able to successfully champion my book.  I guess we’ll find out once I’ve sent it to every agent I can find on the internet.  🙂

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Still submitting

So, my submission count is up to 20 so far.

It’s been school holidays so I haven’t had as much time to work on it.  And surprisingly, it takes quite a while to prepare each submission.  Before sending off to each agent, you have to read through their whole submissions page to make sure you get all the information on how to submit to them specifically.  Some of the sites ramble a bit and don’t include all the info in one place, plus when you look up the individual agent you have chosen to submit to, they sometimes have different guidelines of how they what you to go about it.

So yes… it takes a while.  Because as the agents sites are keen to tell you, they’ll delete your submission if you don’t do it right.

I’m keen to start my next book (the first of another series, not YA this time, kind of a dystopian/future/climate change setting, for which I’ll be using GOT for my research), but I feel like I should make more of an effort to perfect my first book, The Muse, before I begin.  The Muse is on Wattpad, in a poorly edited and rambling form (I wasn’t really the best writer when I wrote it), but the engaging characters and storyline are there (or so I’ve been led to believe through the lovely comments from my wonderful readers- Thanks guys!)  So I might spend a month or two perfecting that and the sequel, The Cafeteria Lawn, before putting them both on Amazon to sell as print on demand books.

What do you think of that as an idea?

I feel bad though, because if I did this, it would mean not continuing to post the rest of The Cafeteria Lawn for free on Wattpad.  And I know how pissed-off my readers would be, because they were getting increasingly edgy when I took months between chapter updates. But sorry guys, I need to make money somehow. 🙂

The idea is to get all the people who loved The Muse on Wattpad, to go across to Amazon and buy the sequel.

Other than the time consuming edit (while still earning no money), the only other problem I can see is the fact that I think there would be a copyright issue if I used the current covers.  Yeah, you may recognise who that is.  So, I have decided to do my own sketch of the current cover for The Muse (thanks again to my friend Mia for her awesome idea) because as far as I’ve read, an artistic representation of a photo or painting doesn’t breach copyright. 😀 yay!  But the cover of The Cafeteria lawn will have to be redesigned, it’s current state is a bit of a half-hearted effort.

So, in conclusion, my next few weeks will consist of:

  • Continuing to submit The Quadrants to every agent on the planet
  • Doing an extensive edit of The Muse and The Cafeteria Lawn
  • Doing a sketch of the cover of The Muse
  • Um… ok, and finishing Mia’s mum’s painting which she paid me for 3 years ago, lol. Sorry!!! (I’m currently re-setting up a corner of the lounge as my new painting zone, but I am scared that wet paintings might be in danger of cushions thrown by boys).

 

If you are currently submitting, or just about to, let me know how it’s going in the comments below. 🙂

 

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Submitting

Yay, the time to submit The Quadrants to agents has finally come!

My awesome friend, Mia, who is normally kept busy in my dungeon re-reading a multitude of manuscript drafts, researched agents for me on the weekend, and came up with a list of 40 willing to take on YA fantasy.  Thanks Mia!

So far I have submitted the new shorter version (now 76,000 words long) of The Quadrants to 7 agents.  One in Australia and the rest Canada or the US.  I’ll continue to send them out until the list is done, before moving onto a list of British agents.  Surely someone will take it… at some point-surely.

To help me continue in this belief, I turned to Google.

Harry Potter received 12 rejections before a publisher took it on and the series has since earned over $1 billion, making JK Rowling the first author to become a billionaire. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/harry-potter/8592280/Pottermore-JK-Rowling-facts-and-figures.html)

The Princess Diaries was rejected for 3 years before finally being picked up and going on to sell 15 million copies.

OMG, I hope this doesn’t happen to me: Roots was rejected 200 times over 8 years until finally being taken on and selling 1.5 million copies in the first 7 months.

The Time Traveller’s Wife was rejected by 25 agents, so the author went directly to a publisher and was accepted.  It sold over 7 million copies and was made into a movie.

The Help was rejected 60 times and went on to be a best seller and made into a movie.

It seems that Gone with the Wind was rejected 38 times before being accepted and selling over 40 million copies.

lol, I love this one:  “To prove how hard it is for new writers to break in, Jerzy Kosinski uses a pen name to submit his bestseller Steps to 13 literary agents and 14 publishers. All of them reject it, including Random House, who had published it.” (http://www.litrejections.com/best-sellers-initially-rejected/)

24 agents rejected The Notebook, but after one accepted it, it was sold to a publisher for a million dollar deal.

Source- http://www.litrejections.com/best-sellers-initially-rejected/

I think I’ve said enough. 😉

 

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Final Read Through

Woops, I didn’t post last week, sorry.  I was furiously writing the first half of The Quadrants into a separate book of its own.  I think it’s worked well.  The three chapters I had previously cut out because of the word count thing… well, now they’re back!  There’s suddenly a place for them in the world again.  And that’s great because when my son read the whole thing, when it was the 110,000 word version, he had one compliant, and that was that at a certain point, it seemed to jumped too suddenly to the next chapter, like something was missing.  Well that’s because it was.

So, now I’m on my final read through (again) of the new shortened version of The Quadrants.  It’s complete at 63,000 words – which is within those strict word count bounds I mentioned in my previous blog Death by Word Count (https://rohsaanmcinnes.wordpress.com/2016/05/26/death-by-word-count/).  The plus side of cutting it into two books is that in the series of (now) four books, the second one is already finished!

I have to agree that this shorter version is a much easier read for the intended audience, which is 13+, and it flows nicer too, rather than ending up unbalanced as I tried to cram everything in while still cutting important bits out.

Now, after all the editing and adjusting and read-throughs, this weekend will mark the beginning of the magical event… querying. 🙂

How have you gone about tackling the word count issue in the past?  Was your book either too long or too short, and what did you do about it, if anything?

Let me all know in the comments.  I’d love to hear what you came up with.

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1 becomes 2

I’ve finally conceded defeat and The Quadrants has now become two books!

I didn’t want to risk it being rejected just because it was too long, so I have split it into two.  Book 1 will now end up around 65-70,000 words and I have to think up a name for book 2.  The Quadrants book 2 doesn’t sound brilliant, so…

Once again I’m back to adjusting and reading through The Quadrants.  I feel like this is my life now and that I’ll be doing this forever, because every time I think it’s finished and perfect, apparently it’s not.  Except the next time it will be!

I’ll put the first page or so up in the books section if anyone’s interested to read.

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Death by Word Count

So, after 10 months, I’ve finally done it!  Last night I finished the final read-through of The Quadrants.

I began writing The Quadrants in July last year, and could have had it finished after 8 months, except for the fact that the original manuscript was 131,000 words long.  Cutting out 21,000 words is surprisingly time consuming, but I hope now I’ve come up with a faster paced, more gripping story.

Even at 110,000 words, I fear it will be considered too long for most agents to be inspired to consider. -sigh-  So… I guess I’d better google it.

Well, that was depressing!  Here’s what I found:

Word counts of some novels by debut authors

Twilight – 118,975

Divergent – 105,143

Maze runner – 101,182

Hunger Games – 99,750

The Hobbit: 95,022

Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone – 76,944

And then there’s War and Peace – 561,304

Google came up with dozens of articles/websites saying that to be considered by an agent or publisher, a YA novel should be within the following word count ranges:

45,000 – 80,000

55-69,999

50-80  – I found lots of votes on this range.

80 – 100

120,000  – occasionally as high as this for YA fantasy

Another site said that going any higher than 80,000 words means that you don’t know how to self-edit.

Sooo… despite my excitement of a few paragraphs ago, it looks like the result of my extensive research is… OMG, I’ve got to cut out 10,000 more words from The Quadrants. 😦     Waaa, kill me now.

 

 

 

 

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Finishing and Starting Books

Finishing

So, to date I have submitted The Quadrants to 10 agents, and so far I have gotten back 2 rejections (they were very prompt about it too).  Six were UK based agents and four were in the US. I decided to go for the UK agents first, mainly because they sounded so much more welcoming of first time authors on their websites, and they generally don’t tend to be so pedantic about how you submit to them.

My final read through of the 367 pages is taking forever but it’s almost finished, and once it is, 20 or 30 more lucky UK agents will be receiving a submission from me.  Yay for them!  See!  I’m being persistent.

My other excitement for the week has been reading The Quadrants to my younger kids.  They say they like it (woo hoo!) but the 11 year old complained at the end of the chapter (they conned 2 out of me tonight) that he hates it how I keep ending each chapter on a cliffhanger.  “…because we just want to find out what happens, and it’s annoying coz then you stop,” he said.  Oooooh, so sad that my book is causing them pain because it’s so awesome. 😦

Also, my 14yo son has chosen to do The Quadrants for a school project, in which he has to make a trailer for a book.  Depending how it goes, I might post it.  He’ll have to read the book first, however.  He’s up to chapter 17 so far, but the night he started it I caught him still up at one in the morning reading.  It felt wrong to tell him to stop.

Starting

Although I told myself on Tuesday that I wouldn’t begin my next book until this one was completely wrapped up… I couldn’t help myself.  I held out about 10 hours before I caved and began writing the plan for it today, damn it!  It tormented me for hours last night with the story playing through in my mind, so at least I will be able to sleep tonight.

 

 

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Persistence

Hi!  I’ve started this blog so you can all follow along the journey with me to getting my books published.

I always find it interesting when I read the stories of successful authors and how they went from just deciding one day to write a book, to actually finishing it-first big step-then having it published and on bookshop shelves.

Before each bestselling author found success, they were just like you and me.  Just an average person in a normal job who one day had an idea for a story.  Lots of us have had ideas, but what sets them apart from the rest of us?  I like to think it’s persistence. 🙂

  • Persistence in writing till the story is complete.
  • Persistence in redrafting and editing until the story is smooth and with no plot-holes.
  • Persistence in finding an agent to represent you.

So whether it’s that simple or not, I don’t care, I’m going with it.

I’m going to be persistent.

IMG_0583My work space.

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