Author Topic: First Time Writer  (Read 544 times)  

Offline T. Kowis

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First Time Writer
« on: May 21, 2020, 02:34:36 pm »
Greetings, everyone!

I am currently on Wattpad and trying to find my audience on there. I have been on that site for a few years, however, life has gotten in the way of my muse working with me. I have been able to find it though and am working on a few different books. I usually work on one book in the morning and then one book in the evening. I just have some silly (silly to me) questions that I would like to know from those published authors who are willing to share their experiences.

First question is: How long did it take for you to be satisfied with your book before you sent it out to be published?
Second question is: How do you keep yourself from giving up on a story idea?

Thank you for your feedback!

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    Offline alhawke

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    Re: First Time Writer
    « Reply #1 on: May 21, 2020, 06:38:12 pm »
    It takes me at least three months to be satisfied with a book before publishing. I can write the rough draft within about a month. The three months include beta reads, edits and my cover. And lot's of reading and revising. But my first published book probably took nearly a year from start to finish. And I wrote a number of books that were never published before I released my first one.

    When I'm frustrated with a story, I go back a few chapters and edit. Usually I like what I've written and this provides impetus to move on. If I don't like it, there's a problem and I'll toss chapters out or write new ones. You should be your toughest critic and be willing to even throw away full books. Write, cut, revise, throw away, repeat. That's the way it is for me any way.

    It might sound dreadfully difficult but it gets easier, easier and easier with time. It's also addicting. Good luck!

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    Offline Jena H

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    Re: First Time Writer
    « Reply #2 on: May 21, 2020, 07:15:06 pm »
    First of all, if you're self-publishing, you don't really "send it out there"... to anywhere.  When you think your book is good, you publish it.  I can only say what MY process is, and how it works for me.  I write and finish the book.  Then I let it sit for a couple of weeks, just long enough so that it's out of my head a little.  Then when I re-read it, I can see it with fresher eyes than when I'm in the midst of writing.  I also have a reader who reads my stuff, and is of course a neutral party.  I read his comments, if any, and make any tweaks that I agree need to be made.  Then I upload the book.

    The nice thing about self-publishing is that you can make changes as you deem necessary.  I'm not talking about anything that materially changes the story in a major way, but rather I'm referring to a tweak here or there, or fixing typos, or changing a sentence to make more sense.  It can always be updated in that way.

    (Hint:  if you wait until your book is absolutely perfect and every word is the exact word you want to use...  it might take years.  At some point you have to decide your book is "finished enough" and just go for it.  However long that takes.)

    As for your second question, there's no one, single way to know when or if it's time to pull the plug on a story.  I had an idea I liked, and I started writing, but I found myself getting bogged down in tangents and backstory.  After about 10k words, I realized I wasn't writing the story I originally started, so I dropped the whole thing.  Who knows, maybe I'll get back to it some day.  I guess the moral of the story is to keep your original story idea in mind, and try not to stray from it; every scene needs to tie back to that original idea in some way.

    On the other hand, if your heart isn't in it and you're cheating on your story with other ideas... it may be time to rethink or put it aside.

    Offline Usedtoposthere

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    Re: First Time Writer
    « Reply #3 on: May 21, 2020, 08:43:16 pm »
    It's a good question. My first book--I edited for about a month, with feedback from some helpful and brilliant friends. Then I wrote Book 2. That one needed more rewriting than Book 1, but I learned a lot, so I went back and edited Book 1 some more. Then I wrote Book 3, which came really easily and needed nothing but proofreading. I finally knew what I was doing! Back to Book 1 for some more editing.

    I published them all together, about eight months after finishing Book 1. They were each about 90K. So that's my short answer. Eight months. Nowadays, i edit as I go, and when it's done, it's done--but that's 31 long books in.

    To answer your second question--I don't. I've written almost every story idea I've ever had, and I've finished every book I've ever started. People's processes are different, though, because people are different. I think you have to find out for yourself. Oddly, the two books I really almost gave up on turned out to be reader favorites. I've learned that I'm a lousy judge.

    Best of luck with your books.

    Offline atree

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    Re: First Time Writer
    « Reply #4 on: May 21, 2020, 11:56:44 pm »
    In my case, the process was different then, to what it is now, and good riddance.

    I began when it was either "get published" or nothing. It was a market completely dominated by a few market makers cooperating as a cartel and you either got a trade deal, or printed at your own expense just to show off your author status.

    In such an environment, where your manuscript had to make it through slushpiles and filtering on various levels, starting with an agent who might or might not have had a good day when looking at your submission (oh and first you had to entice an agent to represent you at all).... well, in those days what you sent in had to be stellar. If you got a contract, and after publishing a few, you could ease off a bit and send in rougher manuscripts. On the other hand, you might be with a contract that forced another 3 books out of you before they set you free. The old days also meant long waiting times before you saw your material go to print, and sometimes, you got paid without ever seeing anything go to print at all.
    From start of writing to sending in a manuscript to my agent, it would take 6 months to a year and if accepted by a publisher, another month or so with their editor (who might submit to you request for changes after anther year of silence. Work was slow because by then you had lost the fire that burned for that book. Torture, pure and simple.

    These days, it's all up to you. I still polish my work, perhaps more now than ever, but the path to market is so much quicker that it feels like easier work. From start to publish, if I run with an idea, it takes about 3 months.

    A lot of ideas lead nowhere, so killing you babies is perhaps skill nr.1 we all have to learn.

    You can still chase a trade contract, although I strongly suggest not going in that direction, at least not until you have several books earning money through self publishing.
    • The trade industry (publishers) struggles and they are more particular about what, and who they sign on. Your self-publishing acts as a merit, easy for them to analyze... and it offers you a backbone for stronger negotiation.
    • It's practice, and while you practice by self-publishing, things may take off on their own. Money might flow in and put a dent to your wish for a trade deal, possibly saving you from grief.
    • People don't have the patience or inner calm to sit down with a book nowadays. So not only is the trade biz harder to get into, but it is also caters to a diminishing market. Why fish in a drying creek?

    Trade does have a few benefits, specially in some niche markets and non-fiction. Just beware of contracts that force you to produce.

    Publish yourself, and when doing so, you may be offered a trade deal because they do scout. If so you have the upper hand. I won't say no to a trade deal today, but don't expect it to make you rich, or famous.
    Make your own future.

    I used Wattpad before as a marketing resource. It's not a bad place to start.

    Offline notjohn

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    Re: First Time Writer
    « Reply #5 on: May 22, 2020, 02:38:02 am »
    I wrote my first novel when I was 20, but it really wasn't finished. I did finally complete a book when I was 28, that got me some contacts but was never published. The next novel I submitted for publication when I was 33, and it was published the following year. I was working fairly steadily on TGAN, as it was popularly called in those days, all that time, so that was thirteen years.

    What I would suggest that any writer manque do is to join a writer's group, where people will tear your work apart in your presence. (Okay, maybe by Zoom these days.) It's easier to get educated by others than to do it yourself.
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