I began this week with Writer’s Market Guide to Getting Published. I read through it really quickly, found it very easy to assimulate, and filled up several pages of paper with websites, more books to reference, ideas, great tips, and a better understanding of how to build a platform (and what it is!). There’s also some good beginner info on self-publishing and marketing. Great comparison for someone like me who is on the fence and therefore wants to explore both possibilities. The query letter samples were perfect, as well as the short and long synopses. Exactly what I was needing. Writing the novel itself is one thing, but to shrink it down to essentially a very short story without losing its soul is just stumping me. And to fit the whole essence into one quick paragraph for a query letter- my brain is crying. There’s so many avenues I can focus on and I’m not sure which one does the best justice.
Sorry, back to the book that isn’t mine. Guide to Getting Published does focus largely on fiction and non-fiction, even though there’s so many other genres that require different guidelines! You can’t tell everyone in an envelope generalization how to market your theme (or write according to the market) with, say, an example of a dog breed: Market to dog lovers, breeders, etc. I can’t market to people raised by dragons, because, well, it’s fantasy. Dragons don’t generally do that sort of thing. Likewise, the only thing that makes me an expert on my subject matter is that I fabricated the whole entire thing all on my own! 😛 Therefore, I can make myself an expert on nearly anything I put my characters through. Suffice it to say, they already hate me for that cause I put them through a shit-ton. Which is why I need to hurry up and get Book One published so I can get to the next one and clean up the mess I made of their lives.
Is that what I’m supposed to say (dragons, expert, shit-ton?)? Does that make people laugh or would they take it as a snide, embittered comment and throw my entreaty away? I’m pretty sure it’s the latter. I need a shirt that bears the disclaimer: Don’t take me so seriously. I’m not serious.
Back to the book that isn’t mine! I do think that Fantasy and Sci-Fi writers are vastly underserved in these Guides. A lot of the tips for Fiction writers don’t apply to us, and I flip through the chapters feeling that the several I need are missing. Is my life a book? Am I the protagonist who must find those sacred missing pages? If I were to go back to the trend following tip, I think it very truthful to say that fantasy appears to be queen right now, and we writers need our info.
Right after devouring this book, I went into Getting Your Book Published For Dummies. A week later, I’m still trying to force myself to read it. It is so opposite from everyone else’s advice that I can’t find it reliable. They talk down getting an agent and go very heavy into going the editor route as your gate to a publisher. More than that, they say call them all first, which everyone else says NOT to do. And if an agent’s website tells you to include a SASE, DO NOT do so, as (following directions) is the mark of an amatuer. It’s all just hard to accept as trustworthy. Half-way through the book, and I’ve got nothing written down: no helpful links, no websites or groups to join, ways to network, follow-up books. I doubt I’ll finish it.
Though it does prove that you really do have to snag your reader very early on before you bog their mind down with nonsense. My nonsense is much more enjoyable, though.