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Writing Books/Getting published


So, I've finished my first 150,000-word, adventure novel and I'm eager to get on to my second but the "getting published" progress is frustrating me. I would like to expand my knowledge about the subject. I'm reasonably educated on the matters of literary agents, synopses, query letters and basically everything you can learn from reading Writer's Market. Yet, I have no idea what to do in terms of submitting unsolicited manuscripts directly to publishers, or determing what exactly a vanity press co. is and then knowing which companies out there are vanity and which one's aren't. I'm aware that only about 5% of all writer's make enough $ to live off but this is definitely what i want to do with my life so i'm willing to be patient. Still, i'm past my 30th rejection and am stumped. What would u say about writing competitions, writing clubs, submitting manuscripts to publishers. (Just for the sake of building credibility and possibly making myself more appealing to publishers.) And can you help me with finding the publishers, or agents, who accept unsolicited works? Actually, any help would be great. Like I said, I want to keep moving forward with the process but right now I'm stumped. Thanks for your time.

Welcome to the publishing world, Quentin.  Check your sanity at the door.  Antidepressants will be served shortly.

So many things to address here, honestly.  Let me figure out where to begin.

Well, okay.  I'll begin with the obvious.  Is your 150,000 word novel actually ready to be published?  I know nothing of your writing abilities, sir, so you'll excuse my impertinence... but is it any good?  I've known a ridiculous number of people who were looking into becoming published, but whose works weren't worthy of it, because they hadn't taken the time to really learn the craft of writing.  (This is exactly how I was, when I finished my first novel... which is still unpublished, I might add.)  If you haven't, yet, please take the time to really study the craft of good storytelling.  This is critical.

Unsolicited manuscripts to publihers... well, the truth is, there simply arne't that many out there who accept unsolicited manuscripts.  Your best bet is to look in Writers Market.

If a company charges you miney to produce your printed and bound book, it's a vanity press.  Period.  And it doesn't matter whether it's a conventional press who'll charge you a bundle and then give you a garage full of books and wave goodbye, or a company that charges only a few hundred bucks, and stores you file digitally in their system to produce them "on demand."  Both are still vanity presses... though I prefer the term subsidy press.

Writing competitions are a good idea.  Writing clubs can be, though they vary widely in quality.  As for submitting... you'll need the Writer's Market books.  That's where your critical information is.

As for agents... they're also a hard nut to crack, but only persistence and time will help you with them.

Hope that's helpful.

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Vincent M. Wales


I am a speculative fiction novelist (fantasy, science fiction, and so on). While I may be able to answer questions on non-fiction, my specialty is fiction. Please keep that in mind when asking questions.


For four years, I taught a series of fiction writing classes in Sacramento, CA.

BA in fiction writing.

Awards and Honors
My 2004 novel, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, won BEST FICTION in Fresh Voices 2006, BEST FICTION and BEST YA FICTION in the NCPA Book Awards, and placed as a finalist in BEST BOOKS 2005. In 2002, my novel WISH YOU WERE HERE won awards for Best Fantasy and Best Fiction/Drama in the 8th Annual SPA Awards. My latest work is a trilogy titled THE MANY DEATHS OF DYNAMISTRESS (a superhero memoir). The first book, RECKONING, was released in 2013 and won the SF category in the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival, took second place in the 2013 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for the SF/Fantasy/Paranormal category, second place in the SF category of the 2013 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards, and was finalist in Foreword's 2013 Book of the Year Awards, Fantasy category. The second book, REDEMPTION, will be released in early 2015 and the final book, RENAISSANCE, is scheduled for release in late 2016.

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