(Original post by Sir Esh)
I think this is the link
you'll be looking for, in that case. Just scroll down to the "Writers' Society", then click "Join this Soc"
Well, it's not actually physically published yet - i.e. you can't buy one in the bookstores. You can over amazon and our publisher, though. I wrote it with my twin brother since the age of 11 (so we've been working on it for the past 6/7 years now).
Hm, I can see that I'll be asked about the novel a lot, so I should have a post that I can refer people to when asked
Or you could check out our website here
. It has pretty much all the info on it, plus some extras. I should type up a post with enough info in it some time.
As for the question of what we did after
we wrote it. . .
We sent it to some publishers after about a year of writing, when we finished the first draft. We kept on working on it, though, even though it got turned down by numerous publishers and agents. We kept on re-writing, and re-sending, and got constantly improving feedback and comments by the publishers/agents. About two years ago, we thought it was much better, so sent it to off again. By this stage we had matured sufficiently to know how good a novel needed to be, and our characters, the plot, our style of writing, and pretty much everything had improved to a stage where we were happy for it to be released. The parties we sent it to gave some feedback, but weren't willing to take it on, although they did say that our writing was 'better than most of the stuff we get. Considering your age, that is even more impressive!". They helped us a lot, though. By this time, my brother had become a full time writer (he left school and did a few o-levels so that he had 'formal qualifications'), and knew a lot about what to do regarding sending off the MSS (manuscript), sample chapters, cover letters etc, so that our dealings were very professional. We got into talks with an American publisher, but ended up not going with them. But we then started talks with our current U.K. publisher, who really liked the book, and we started talking seriously about the contracts. At the same time, our current Indian publisher was approached, and they thought it amazing. They also gave it to a test-reader who had no info on it at all, and the feedback they got from them was very positive. So we ended up with these two publishers, after a lot of careful discussions, and many versions of contracts.
Actually, if anyone is interested in getting their words published, then make sure you get some advice!
This was stressed to us in various places at different times, and we made sure that we knew as much as possible about the details of publishing. Writing the book is only half the work, you know. If you want to get a decent deal out of it, then you need to sell your book in the rigt way as well! If, on the other hand, you only want it published, and aren't too bothered about the financial returns, that you may be willing to not put in all the tiring effort, and let the publisher / agent have it for not very much. It depends what your situation is. Most writers are short of money, so need to haggle the best deals they can out of agents and publishers
I would suggest doing a good google (or whichever search-engine you prefer. www.goodtree.com
is a apparently a charity-type search engine, which is an amalgamation of the main search engine companies. Helps a good cause if you look about there
) to find some information about the publishers you'll be looking at for your genre. (i.e. we didn't exactly want to send our fantasy novel off to the Vintage Books imprint of a publishing house
) Find out which publishers are likely to accept you, or which ones you would like to accept you. Then do some research on them. They will generally tell you on their website if they want the prologue and first 3 chapters, or the first x-hundred words, or a synopsis or whatever it may be. Or you can of course ring them up and ask them, or send them an e-mail. Don't be afraid to do this! It often saves a lot of hassle. Also, there are few things more annoying to publishers than someone submitting something that does not follow the guidlines which they express. Make sure that your publisher is happy for you to e-mail it to them, and if not, then send a hard copy. Your e-mail will at best get glanced at then deleted, and most likely won't even get past their heavy filtering system. If you do send an e-mail, also check if they like it as part of the e-mail, or as an attachment, and in which format (.doc, .pdf, etc.).
Remember that you will get turned down. And again. And again and again and again. If not - great! Congratulations! If, however, you do, then don't worry. don't get worked up saying 'they didn't even look at the whole thing! How can they only decide on the merit of a few pages! This is so unfair!'. It is unfair, but they receive mountains of stuff each day, and cannot afford to look through an entire MSS. Simply keep on trying. Remeber that even JRRTolkien and JKRowling got turned down by most of the publishers before being accepted! If you keep on sending off your script, then you will get an answer at some stage. The general procedure is for you to send to the publisher e.g. the first 3 chapters. They will then dump it in a pile. Your precious MSS will stay there for a long time, while you are anxiously biting your fingernails, wondering what is happening to it. After a few days/weeks/perhaps even month someone will pick it up and flick through it. If they don't like it, they'll bin it. You may at this stage get a letter saying "thank you, [bla bla bla] but we're sorry that we can't find a place for this in our publishing schedule at the moment". If, however, they do like it, they will request the full MSS from you. Then you have to once more wait for a month, or few weeks at the least. (times may vary hugely depending on who you send it to. If it is a small, individually owned agency, for example, your MSS might get read within a couple of weeks. If you send it to a publishing giant such as Random House, it will probably take a considerable amount longer, simply because they receive so much more!) They will then send you a letter, saying either that they regret that they can't see it fitting in, or that they would like to discuss things further. If the latter is the case; congratulations!
But you are still far from published. You need to negotiate the terms of the contract(s), publication date, the front cover design, extras (such as a map, or glossary, or 'on the author' etc.) font size, dimensions of the book, indents, promotional pictures, promotional activities. . . Although you will only have control over these if it explicitly says so in your contract. If you sign a simple contract, which fails to mention these things, you may find that it is all out of your hands, and you may end up looking at the hardcopy of your book, thinking that the front page is awful! Or you could inform yourself about contracts, then show the publisher that they're dealing with someone who knows their stuff, and make sure you have some control over that side of things. Once the contract is out of the way, you still need to do all the editing / do the adjustments the editor from the publisher suggests you do.
As you can see, it is a lot of hard work. I am by no means an expert! I've only been lucky enough to experience this first hand, but I'm sure that there are plent of people on TSR that are more knowledgeable than I on such matters.
The above help is also only what we experienced. I.e. without an agent or an editor going through it first. It is generally recommended that you get a decent literary agent before a publisher, because they will look at the contract for you, and get you a far better deal than you are likely to get. They do take a certain %age off what you get, but you will probably end up with more than if you had missed out the agent, so it is worth it.
Your book is also likely to benefit hugely from a good editor. Now, editors can be nasty people, as far as you, the author is concerned. Firstly, you pay them. Before you are even guaranteed that you will sell your book. (Well, unless you happen to have some very good connections, and know some very kind editors! That is something most of us don't, however
) Secondly, they rip your book apart without any seeming care for your creation. It is often hard for an author to see their MSS changed about so much, and sentences that you thought the world of seemingly destroyed beyond repair. But remember that the editor will know what they're doing. (hopefully - get as much info on the editor as possible beforehand, so that you're sure it's someone who knows the genre, and what people want to read) I've seen that a lot of authors say that "Every book benefits greatly from a good editor going through it". If nothing else, they will pick up inconsistencies and other small flaws that you failed to see.
For agents - follow similarly as with publishers. Only that once you've got an agent, they will take care of the headache of finding a publisher, and getting you a good deal, and a say in the cover art etc. etc.
Well, I sure did not intend to write that much! (That sounds horribly american, doesn't it?) But if anyone can be bothered to look through that, I'm sure it'll be helpful. Remeber, though, that it's not expert advise - just some tips that I would give. Wow, that really is a lot that I wrote there! Perhaps I should save it to post again some time, or improve on it, and place it somewhere were more people can benefit from it
Josiette, you prompted the longest post out of me that I have ever made on TSR, I do believe!