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Why manuscripts are rejected by agents.


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The handle on my pitchfork broke. I do have a potato fork, but it's buried in the haystack. I have a few flashlights, but they're not as intimidating as torches. I guess I'd have to show up with cooki

Sorry, Wes, your reply was rather comprehensive and it took me a while (in the midst of weekend chores) to sit and read through everything.    My overall concern with establishing and growin

I know you are probably  right but I just want to crawl into my bunker at the thought.   The other issue for me is that it would mean I have to come clean with my church and diocese unless I

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Well, you've got start building a presence, Shamrock.  Believe me, it matters.  You can start with Facebook, but you can also hold author interviews on YouTube, and talk about your writing.  It doesn't matter that you don't have a book published yet, but you've got start building.  Believe me, you've got to have a social media presence, and Facebook and YouTube are great for that and I would suggest LinkedIn, too.

 

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By the way, stop on by Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn and check out what other authors are doing and do similar things.  Believe me, you can't go wrong.  As an author, without name recognition you've got to think that you're dead in the water unless a miracle happens.  That goes for traditional publishers, indie publishers, and self-published authors.

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I know you are probably  right but I just want to crawl into my bunker at the thought.

 

The other issue for me is that it would mean I have to come clean with my church and diocese unless I use a pen name which is pointless as someone would be bound to find out who I am. Not sure I am ready to go public yet. If I had something published then it would give more credibility to do the social media stuff. Catch 22.

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4 minutes ago, Shamrock said:

The other issue for me is that it would mean I have to come clean with my church and diocese unless I use a pen name which is pointless as someone would be bound to find out who I am.

They'd be impressed and want to read your books! Instant sales!

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43 minutes ago, Shamrock said:

What! 5000. How on earth  can an unpublished author get that many followers. 

 

This is one reason why I self-published. I didn't have to prove to an agent that I was a bankable author with a following, before ever being published. Unless I'm already famous, it's totally illogical and completely irrational from a business standpoint. I can see why so many newbies turn to self-publishing.

 

50 minutes ago, suspensewriter said:

No, but you've got to build your social media presence, Shamrock.  How many YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram followers do you have anyway?

 

Sorry, but you can't effectively build a following until you have something to follow. For an author, that would be a book.  

 

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5 minutes ago, Accord64 said:

Sorry, but you can't effectively build a following until you have something to follow. For an author, that would be a book

 

That's not true, @Accord64.  You can talk about writing, the writing life, interview other authors and such.  Reach out to other beginning authors that haven't been published yet that are working on a book. Talk, talk, talk and you can get it done.  You'll develop a following, believe me.

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2 minutes ago, suspensewriter said:

 

That's not true, @Accord64.  You can talk about writing, the writing life, interview other authors and such.  Reach out to other beginning authors that haven't been published yet that are working on a book. Talk, talk, talk and you can get it done.  You'll develop a following, believe me.

 

True, you can get interviewed and talk, talk, and talk about writing. You can even post your own YouTube videos and opine about everything under the sun. No shortage of that.

 

There's just one small problem with that plan. If you haven't yet published anything, who wants to interview you and take you seriously? What exactly do you have to sell, besides your ego? And how do you rise above the throng of other authors who are trying to do the same thing, and have actually published something.     

 

You really can't - unless you're already famous.

 

But it makes it a lot easier if you already have a published book for sale. Now you have something concrete to talk about.

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Well, we can agree to disagree, but every writer has to start somewhere and there are literally hundreds of thousands of writers without a book published that would love to be interviewed.  Trust me, I know.  My own authors do it, and are quite successful at it.

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On a completely  different point . What kind of boomsdo you publish SW?  I ask because certain genres may well prove more open to newbies doing the kind of thing you mention. 

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6 minutes ago, suspensewriter said:

Well, we can agree to disagree, but every writer has to start somewhere and there are literally hundreds of thousands of writers without a book published that would love to be interviewed.  Trust me, I know.  My own authors do it, and are quite successful at it.

 

And my point is why go through all that effort to establish a social media presence just so an agent will notice you, so maybe they'll consider publishing your work? Sorry, I think that's a terrible business plan. A total waste of effort. I'd rather work to publish a book and then spend that social media effort to sell something tangible, and more profitable to me. No agent needed.

 

That's why the self-publishing model has been decimating traditional publishing over the past decade.

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1 hour ago, suspensewriter said:

That goes for traditional publishers, indie publishers, and self-published authors.

 

 

This goes, again, for traditional publishers, indie publishers, and self-published authors.

 

But, like I say, I'm fine with our disagreement.

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3 hours ago, Accord64 said:

True, you can get interviewed and talk, talk, and talk about writing. You can even post your own YouTube videos and opine about everything under the sun. No shortage of that.

 

There's just one small problem with that plan. If you haven't yet published anything, who wants to interview you and take you seriously? What exactly do you have to sell, besides your ego? And how do you rise above the throng of other authors who are trying to do the same thing, and have actually published something.     

 

I 100% agree with that.  However...

 

There are ways to go about it that don't require having a major presence on social media.  I've read and listened to a lot of different people about how to generate a following for self-publishing.  One of them was actually getting involved in a community or segment of potential readers.  That's why I'm involved with comics people.

 

Last night I was on a livestream with 41 viewers where I was providing my input on the state of the current culture.  Many of the people on that livestream know of me, and know I'm trying to get a book published.  In fact, I am a regular on numerous comic livestreams, some big and some small.  I'll show up on related YouTube content creators, supporting their livestreams, and connecting to people that can help me get exposure for my book.  And, I have the attention of a well-known comic creator who is also a devotee of Chesterton, Tolkien, and Lewis.  One mention from him, and I could potentially see 100 sales on that recommendation alone, maybe more.

 

I've joined various comics Discord servers, chatted with people there, and also let it be known that I am publishing a book.  Some of these people also have connections to some major YouTube content creators.  So that opens up a lot of potential avenues to try.  I also have people asking me when my book will be published, because they want to read it.  Not a lot right now - maybe a dozen.  But they can help spread the word.

 

There are a lot of parallels between this community and the genre I'm writing.  Plus, there are a lot of Christian and Christian-friendly people in this community.  So, I've already started building a following OUTSIDE social media.  And when I put up my YouTube and Locals content, some of these people will check it out.  I won't be going into it cold.

 

Now, what will I talk about in a YouTube video?  I don't have a published manuscript, and it'll probably be another year before my book will be available.  I'm not a published author, so I can't in good conscience talk about how to get published, how to query, and so on.  I can't talk about the usual stuff that other "experts," talk about: writing mistakes, show-don't-tell, things that peg you as an amateur writer, and so on.

 

There are lots of things you can talk about.  You can talk about your publishing experience.  You can provide background on your book,  You can talk about what inspired your book.  You can narrate short stories ala audio book.  You can talk about which writers inspire you, and what you look for in a good book.  What music inspires you to write.  There are lots of topics that will garner attention without making you look like half of the other authors that provide "advice," when they have nothing to their credit.

 

I intend to narrate some short stories I've written.  Some will be put behind a paywall, maybe on Locals.com.  But that amount of content takes time to gather, edit, and turn into a video.  Which is fine.  It can be done over the course of the next eleven-or-so months before I release...building an additional following.

 

 

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Accord64 said:

And my point is why go through all that effort to establish a social media presence just so an agent will notice you, so maybe they'll consider publishing your work? Sorry, I think that's a terrible business plan. A total waste of effort.

 

Which is part of the reason why I posted that video.

 

These are the gatekeepers you have to get past.  People who are hostile to your beliefs, and have to love your book to actually pick it up.  So I'm not writing for an audience that I know exists, I'm writing for an agent who doesn't even know that audience exists, or doesn't care.

 

The funny part is that the agents that DID request a manuscript, asked about my audience and my marketing plan.  This is true of at least one of the publishers who asked to see my manuscript.  So I obviously said something that got their interest.

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That is very enterprising Jeff.

 

I do have to say, that if you work full-time and have other commitments carving time out to do this kind of thing is difficult.

 

Whilst I have got over feeling that writing is a selfish occupation that only I benefit from,  nowadays, I am not sure I can justify devoting time for such activities at present with not book coming out. It hard enough finding time to write.

 

But good luck to those of you who do.

 

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While it's true that self-publishing, indie publishing and traditional publishing take a commitment of time, it's not true that social media has to take that much of your time, Shamrock.  About an hour a week is all it takes.

 

Most of your investment of time is already a sunk cost.  You've already written the books, which is by far the biggest investment of time.

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9 hours ago, Jeff Potts said:

Now, what will I talk about in a YouTube video?  I don't have a published manuscript, and it'll probably be another year before my book will be available.  I'm not a published author, so I can't in good conscience talk about how to get published, how to query, and so on.  I can't talk about the usual stuff that other "experts," talk about: writing mistakes, show-don't-tell, things that peg you as an amateur writer, and so on.

 

If you can pull this off, great. But after a decade of writing/publishing, I've lost count of how many of my fellow authors have tried the same thing. Success rates tended to be disappointing, especially considering the considerable effort put into it. I've come to the conclusion that the amount of time to do this usually pulls authors away from writing, and they'd actually be better off redirecting it into generating (and publishing) more content. 

 

9 hours ago, Jeff Potts said:

These are the gatekeepers you have to get past.  People who are hostile to your beliefs, and have to love your book to actually pick it up.  So I'm not writing for an audience that I know exists, I'm writing for an agent who doesn't even know that audience exists, or doesn't care.

 

My viewpoint on this subject is radical, and probably heresy around these parts. I think all trad published authors should fire their agents and go it on their own. The gatekeepers need to go. Publishers need to be removed from the marketplace. The current retail model simply doesn't require them anymore. They have turned into leeches in the system, sucking profits away from writers while offering less and less in return. All authors should hire their own resources (editors, book cover designers, publicists, etc.) and run their own operation. Let the marketplace decide what sells and what dosen't.

 

Okay, I assume you'll all be showing up on my doorstep soon with torches and pitchforks. 😉😆     

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The handle on my pitchfork broke. I do have a potato fork, but it's buried in the haystack. I have a few flashlights, but they're not as intimidating as torches. I guess I'd have to show up with cookies instead.

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