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Staying Focused

June 4, 2010

I just finished reading the 50 pages, and found that the changes I made really work.  The story is more to the point now and even has more action in it.  I’ve only read through about 1/3 of my book, I’ll read the rest over the weekend.  At least I won’t have to do any more serious changes to the manuscript.

–> Read carefully through your manuscript before querying.  Then read carefully through it again.

After I finish correcting the little changes, I’ll read through the manuscript yet again (for possibly the 15th time – as I said, perfectionism can be a curse).  Then, hopefully it’ll be ready.  I had a freelance editor read over the old manuscript, but I don’t think I’ll have her read over it again, since I only changed one chapter, because it costs a lot of money (especially since the Icelandic Krona plummeted in 2007 and hasn’t recovered much since).

–> Have someone read over the manuscript for mistakes (grammar or structure-vise).

–> Have the manuscript polished and ready before querying.

Last night I was feeling a bit pessimistic about ever getting this book published, because I keep working on it, over and over, and I never seem satisfied.  The story, writing and everything is great, and much, much better than a lot of what I’ve read, but I see this difficult task ahead of getting an agent, and reading about all the trials and horrors of trying to get one.  One starts to wonder why one would be the exception.  I think that ALL new authors must be intimidated by the process, so I don’t think I’m alone here.

In my agony, I visited Publishers Marketplace and very easily found 10 possible agencies, in case my chosen one refuses.  I’ll look for more (already have some bookmarked that I haven’t written on my list yet), because I expect to have to query a lot, just like everyone else.

–> Compile a list of agencies to query – a lot of agencies.

Reading comments on the agencies’ pages kind of lifted my spirits and encouraged me to just stay focused on my project, finish polishing the manuscript (and I won’t – I repeat – won’t read over it again after I’ve finished reading through all of it as a whole after my changes), finish writing the full proposal and polish my query letter to the chosen one.

–> Keep focused on one thing at a time and try not to be overwhelmed by what’s ahead.

Then, since my book is the first in a series of three, with the possibility of more if the publisher would be interested, I’ll have to make a synopsis for the other two books, which should be easy since I know exactly what’s going to happen and have most of it noted.

I read somewhere last night, that publishers were going for single books now, instead of series, and I was disheartened by that.  But then this morning I read on Randy’s blog that publishers often want to sign new authors who have series, because the marketing cost will stretch over a series of books instead of all of it on a single book.  That made me feel better.  Whichever is true, I’ll have to stick to my project, which could by no means fit into one book, and stay positive.

–> Make a synopsis for the next book(s) in the series.  Include this in your full proposal.

The one thing I’m dreading a lot (if I allow myself to think of the things ahead) is comparing my book to other books.  Most of the books I like to read are vampire books, and my book isn’t vampire-based, although it’s paranormal.  I know that many writers probably say this, but I don’t think there’s another book quite like mine.  The magical creatures are unique – I haven’t heard of or read about any that are similar, and the world, I suppose, is a bit Lords of the Ring’ish – and yet not at all the same.  I can hardly compare my book to the masterpiece of J.R.R. Tolkien – I’ve read warnings about comparing your book to anything hugely popular (I think it was Randy that advised against it in his book).

–> Find books in the same genre, make short synopsis for them and compare them to your books in a few words.  Include this in your full proposal.

I thought I could use Eragon, Twilight maybe (although it’s vampire based, and hugely popular), The Mortal Instruments series (definitely) and ehm…  Any ideas anyone?  I could hardly go for Harry Potter, since that was beyond huge.  Still, I suppose I could compare it – it is another world, and although my series is for teens a bit older than the first Harry Potter book was written for, the later books were for older teens, I thought.  I suppose these books are the most commonly chosen to compare ones YA fantasy with.

Task for the day:  Type in the little changes into the three chapters I read this morning, pick up my twins form the kindergarten and go to my parents for the weekend!

Task for the weekend:  Read the rest of the chapters and check for any mistakes and try to put the book out of my mind for just enough time to enjoy the celebrations.

Have a nice day!

Tessa Quin

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