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Local Authors => Brandon Sanderson => Topic started by: imflyer20 on January 15, 2008, 05:44:04 PM

Title: Interested in Publication
Post by: imflyer20 on January 15, 2008, 05:44:04 PM
I was linked to this forum by my brother in-law who is an avid fan of the Wheel of Time, which he extends his congratulations for picking up the final book. I'm a writer myself, have been since I was 15 (now 25), and I've found great difficulty in publishing my works, which is nothing new for an unknown author. So far I've completed a Sci-Fi trilogy and have started a Sci-Fi comedy chronicle and a Fantasy/Fairytail at the request of my wife (nearing completion), with numerous others waiting patiently to begin. I actually live not far from you. I'm a student at UVSC if that gives you an idea demographically. This I think was my brother in-law's motivation for linking me here (Thanks Jon!). I'd love the opportunity to speak with you about becoming published via whichever method is most convenient for you. Any tips or advice will be well received. Thanks ^_^.

[email protected]
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: Shuez on January 16, 2008, 01:22:13 AM
The first two most important things to remember:

1) Get an agent. If you can get an agent to accept your work. then it is likely that they will find you a publisher.

2) Don't expect any instant gratification. Write because you love it, not because you want to turn a profit. It will take, on average, seven years from the point that you tell yourself that you wish to be a writer to landing a publishing deal. Brandon wrote five other books before 'Elantris', Patrick Rothfuss spent nine years working on 'In the name of the wind', New Zealand writer Russell Kirkpatrick wrote his Fire of Heaven trilogy over the course of almost seventeen years!

Tenacity. This is what 99% of all aspiring writers lack. Be a part of the 1% that can handle ample rejection and is willing to walk the long, hard, and humble road to publication.

R. Schuyler Devin
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: imflyer20 on January 16, 2008, 03:14:45 AM
Duly noted. Tenacity is an awesome word that currently fits my frame of mind (note to self; add to vocab list. No really, it fits the mood of one of my characters right now). Thank you. Even if I pass retirement without publishing one thing, I will keep trekking and work on my projects on the side. I was turned down by most agents/publishers who deal with Sci-Fi a couple years ago, but nothings in writing that says I can't continue to pursue them again, along with taking workshops too. Once I obtain my BS I'll have more time to pursue. ^_^

Note to EUOL: Since I posted this morning, I've looked into what you've done and when I'm finished with my latest work I'll look into Mistborn for my break. I was going to read Eldest...but...I'll take an extra long break and read both, maybe more. I need to catch up on what others are doing. Now I have several reasons to wrap this up quickly! Thanks again.
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: EUOL on January 20, 2008, 11:47:24 AM
Sorry to take so long on this.  You still around, Diaigma?  My forum moves far faster now than it once did, and things slip through the cracks.  I might be able to throw you a few pointers.  Let me know if you're still watching.
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: imflyer20 on January 20, 2008, 06:34:30 PM
Keenly watching with eager anticipation  ;D I'm especially interested in knowing the process that led you to publication. So far I've tried everything under the sun, unless there are other venues that I'm not aware of. The biggest break I've had so far is my first sci-fi work is currently in the hands (since August 07) of screenwriter Mickey Birnbaum, for which I'm still waiting for feedback, but I know he's busy with a big project at the moment. I hope to hear from you soon.
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: EUOL on January 22, 2008, 05:26:46 AM
Let's see...what can I say that will be of help.

1)  You're going about this the right way.  You're writing consistently and productively.  You've finished projects, then moved on to other projects, rather than just sitting around and waiting to sell.  For that, I say good job!  I think this is the most important lesson to learn, and you're way past it.

2) I'd suggest staying away from writing entire trilogies.  Now, it CAN work.  Rothfuss had his entire trilogy completed when he sold the first one.  It can get you a better contract once you actually get an editor interested.  The problem is, it's much harder to get an editor interested.  Let's say that instead of writing a trilogy, you'd written three first novels in three different trilogies.  You could now be marketing three different books to three different publishers and increasing your chances of selling threefold based on sheer percentages.  Instead, you've got one property that you can be sending out, since you can't really send book two to an editor after they've rejected book one.  You could, however, send them book one of a different series.  Just helps you beat the odds, but it's by no means a hardfast rule. 

3)  Another thing you seem to be doing right is networking.  If you're really, really serious about this, then I'd go for it even more.  Attend Worldcon, World Fantasy Con, or other big conventions and start to learn the names of editors.  Follow the business; read Locus and learn who is selling what.  Learn who is buying and what they're buying.  Try to meet editors at conventions.  Read their blogs.  In other words, become more than just a writer--become a business person.  If you hear that editor X has moved from Tor to Baen, but didn't take many of his authors with him, you'd know that this is an editor who might actively be searching for new authors.  That's a good person to target. 

4)  Just keep writing.  I was working on book 13 when I sold book 6.  It took me nine years of dedicated writing before I had a book come out.  You have to be in for the long haul.  Don't give up.  Keep honing your craft.  Keep writing.  Keep asking for advice. 

And, if you happen to be at a con or meet an author, offer to buy them lunch in exchange for letting you pry them with questions.  Everybody likes free food.  (Though, I'd probably get together a buddy or two and say "We'd all like to take you to lunch" so that you're less threatening.)

Anyway, that is pretty much the road I followed toward getting published. 
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: Daarian on January 22, 2008, 06:32:24 AM
That is such great advise.. man I wish i could write. :(
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: imflyer20 on January 22, 2008, 05:06:10 PM
Incredible. This is exactly the kind of information I've been looking for. Thank you a million EUOL! You can say I've done everything BUT go to conventions. Looks unavoidable, but now I know what must be done. Sounds like I should go ahead and start other projects and be a serious attender until after I graduate (soon at hand). Speaking of lunch, a friend of mine (who also writes) and I would love to meet with you whenever you're available. Interested?

For Daarian:
I may sound like I'm saying a quote from a recent rat movie, but "Any one can" write. If you have a great idea, the words will follow. Before I began writing at fifteen, I hated to write. The highest grade I ever achieved in English was a C. Then I developed this idea while playing with LEGOs and it would not leave me alone. I started to put it on paper, and a year and a half later, my first draft was done. A first draft for any writer may not be a masterpiece and will require massive editing, but you'll have proven yourself that you can do it. My grades in English since then have been nothing less than A. I would even go to the library at lunchtime and read...actually READ the Thesaurus, to build vocabulary. Your ideas could be short stories first, and whether you publish or not, you'll leave something of yourself behind. My grandfather wrote a time period novel that was never published and his handwritten manuscript was my inheritance. What a treasure! I plan to type it up someday and do something with it in his memory. In short, if you want to write, go for it.  :)

If anyone has more advice to share, I'm all eyes!
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: Daarian on January 23, 2008, 01:11:51 AM
My problem is not so much that I can't write as much as I lack dialogging skills and I can never finish a story line.
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: charity on January 23, 2008, 07:16:39 PM
Since we're all talking about this I have two questions:

1) When you wrote Spook and gave him that really thick dialect, is the reason he doesn't have it so much in the second book because you got tired of trying to write his speech that way?

I only ask cause this story I've been working on, I've got this character with a dialect and about half way through I thought, AAAAH, forget it!
Dialects are really hard to keep up on.

2) How do you revise? When you are done with your first draft and whoever goes over it for you says, 'you need to fix these five points', then what do you do?

My husband says, to go one by one down my list and fix each one before moving onto the next. 'Course my husband is a Civil Engineer and he doesn't think like I do at all. But I'm a little lost as to where to start with all these great pieces of advise.

I guess that really had nothing to do with publication... did it.
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: imflyer20 on January 24, 2008, 12:05:35 AM
I'll write what I know and leave it open for anyone else who wants to reply. Hope I'm helpful...

1) Concerning Dialects: I can't think of a better way to express and learn about a character then by his/her speech, whether simple, chalked with vocabulary, accents, so forth. If you have created a dialect for someone specifically, you'll want to be consistent and stick with it until the end. A way around this could be...the character has to learn to change his/her speech as not to reveal who they are while in the presence of an enemy or an unfriendly land. I have not seen it much, but it's fun to read a character learning another way of specking or another language. I would create a dialect that is not too complicated and can be read with ease. People will be frustrated if they can't understand what your person is saying.

2) Concerning Revision: Revision is awesome, fun, and a headache. This was a difficult lesson for me to learn, so here goes. What you write will generally make sense to you, but how does it look if read through another's perspective? Not just one, but dozens, thousands! Will they be able to understand what you wrote? My first book has been under the revision lamp for six years. I have come to a point where I personally do not see how it could be any better. A few months ago I invited several people I know well to read it. I gave them a red pencil with their copy and asked them, if they were ever confused or if they noticed technical mistakes, to mark it and explain on the side what confused them and how could it be changed to be clear for them. I hear you when someone saids "you need to fix this" and leaves it at that. Fix what? Kind of leaves you hanging doesn't it? When you ask someone to read your work, ask not for feedback only, but for suggestions on improvement. Remember to be speculative with your reader's remarks too. One person may hate it while another loves it. I would not base your work on one opinion. Have as many look at it as you can so you will have a better direction on what really needs improvement. Keeping your audience in mind over your personal thought processes will make for a better revision. There is also a point where you can't revise it anymore, because you can edit it the rest of your life and may still not look perfect, but revise a few times. You may find details that you did not think to include the 3rd time around that will help your story. My last revision I deleted 25 pages from my manuscript but ended up adding over 50 more. I hope you don't have to do it a dozen times (like I have, and still not quite done  :P ), but I almost enjoy it more than the creative writing process. Maybe I should be an editor...

Loose ends killed me the most. "A remedy is applicable when a problem arises". Hope this was helpful. You can do it!
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: VegasDev on January 24, 2008, 01:25:55 AM
If only one person has a accent, then the spoken language of their world is English, otherwise the author would have translated the accent too.

If no one has a accent, then it's safe to say that they don't speak English and the author translated it to an understandable version for us. Or they all just speak English, as Ookla points out.

If someone has a accent early in a book but then they don't at the end, their speech hasn't changed, it is the reader that has learned to comprehend them. I'm sure if you read the book a second time you will notice that they no longer speak with an accent. Wasing the was, at least.
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: Peter Ahlstrom on January 24, 2008, 02:21:31 AM
If only one person has an accent, then that person speaks differently from the other characters in the novel, who, since they're in a fantasy world, may not speak English either.

If no one has an accent, then they might be speaking English, or some other language the author has translated for us.

If someone has an accent early in a book but doesn't at the end, then perhaps they've stopped speaking with that accent, especially if they've hung around for months with people who don't have an accent. (This is the case with Spook. His speech is not so much an accent as it is street slang or a cant. Spook chose to stop using it, and it probably took a deal of effort.)
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: Daarian on January 24, 2008, 05:17:05 AM
I may not know a great deal about dialogging or be able to write a full story line, but with the bit of writing I do an being a Dungeon Master with millions of NPCs in a more freestyle play environment I have only this to say.

A change in accent/speech pattern occurs from time to time when a character is in a group dynamic, but always make sure that the change in accent/speech pattern is character driven and not just because it is easier for you as an author. Speech is an major part of your characters, and can actually be very defining to who they are and to change that without allowing them to grow through it us to write about them and not from them, which if it occurs mid-story can really suck for a reader. If you are in the beginning of your story and you just don't want to hassle with it and don't think it will make much difference in the story then it shouldn't be to difficult to go and change their speech, but remember that when you change the way one person says something it changes the way the other people perceive it.

Anyway, thats just my 2 cents.
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: Miriel on February 11, 2008, 06:13:16 AM
Sorry to bring up an older post again, but if you're still here Diaigma, there IS a convention this week in Provo.  I guess it's not huge by convention standards, but I saw Brandon Sanderson, Eric James Stone, Orson Scott Card, and Gaile Carson Levine all listed as panel members.  Might not be a lot of editors there to meet, but the panels are worth it alone -- you'll learn a lot about writing.  Bring paper and pen, and take notes.  It's at BYU: "Life, the Universe, and Everything: The Marion K. Doc Smith Symposium on Science Fiction and Fantasy."  It's free, which is also happy.  If you google "Life the Universe and Everything BYU," it should be the first link to appear.  Runs Thursday through Saturday.  It's very, very good.  And, well, it's a lot easier to get to than other conventions if you're down here (it sounded like you are).  Hope that's helpful.
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: Shrain on February 12, 2008, 05:33:33 PM
Ah. LTUE. I have fond memories of that. And CONduit. Both in Utah.

Of course, I *am* homesick lately. Haven't been home since last August. But anyhow, those cons were good. And you can't beat LTUE when it comes to entrance fees because there are none.
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: imflyer20 on February 19, 2008, 07:08:30 AM
Curses. I just missed those dates, but thank you Miriel for posting that information. I better stay frequent with this place or I'll miss out on future important stuff like this.
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: EUOL on February 25, 2008, 10:14:18 AM
Next Con is Conduit in Salt Lake.  May, I think.  After that, Denver Worldcon is the best the area has to offer this year.  (Though I'll be heading a little farther out and hitting BEA and ALA in between.)
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: imflyer20 on March 04, 2008, 04:49:13 PM
I'll be there! By the way, I just finished my first fantasy project yesterday, so I placed an order for "Mistborn" on my amazon account. I'm excited to start reading your work. I noticed on the CONduit web site that the next convention will be May 23-25. Since it's three days long, how do I know which day I should go, or should I plan on booking a hotel room for two nights and attend everything? Looking back at some of my stuff, and that this is my first convention, I see I am not ready as of yet to sell my books (they need a little more work), but I will attend to get an idea of what a convention's like and mingle/make contacts, as you suggested. Is it wise to bring along some of my work anyway, like keep it in the car and bring it out if someone wants to look at it? Once again, thank you for your help and advice. It is well received.
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: pengwenn on March 04, 2008, 05:25:18 PM
I've gone to conventions for years in various states, but last year was my first time at CONduit.  I loved it.  I'd recommend going all of the days.  For someone who is still looking for a little help/inspiration/commiseration with their writing this is a great place to go.  The wealth of information you'll receive is worth the price of a hotel room (and airfare or gas if you live out of state like myself).
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: Miriel on March 04, 2008, 06:55:59 PM
I've never been to CONduit, and so far there isn't a schedule posted on their site -- so I don't really know what's going on there.  Could someone maybe briefly expalin this one for me?  How it's the same/different from LTUE?  Thanks.
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: imflyer20 on March 19, 2008, 09:25:39 PM
I don't mean to bring this old thing up again, but I have a new question about attending a writer's Convention. I'm clueless as far as the protocol or what the dress standard is for such an occasion. Would it be wise to bring some of my works, in case an acquaintance of influence has an interest in browsing through it? Do you have any pointers that would help make a good first impression with other members, publishers, authors, everyone in general? Thanks.
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: Peter Ahlstrom on March 19, 2008, 09:57:53 PM
Vocal story pitches should be one sentence. If the editor is interested, he/she will ask you to submit it or might ask for more details. But don't pitch anything until you've had the editor in conversation for a while and then asked him/her if you can pitch something.

Don't bring manuscripts with you, unless you have convinced the convention to give you a reading slot. (Doing a reading in one of the convention rooms, on their schedule, can sometimes, though rarely, result in an editor wandering in and being interested.) The last thing an editor wants to bring with them on the plane back from a convention is a stack of manuscripts.

Dress business-upper-casual. You won't impress an editor by wearing a costume or a grubby T-shirt.
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: Juan Dolor on April 22, 2008, 07:51:51 PM
Pitching in one sentence seems really hard.  You can't sum up the entire plot, obviously.  How do you do it?  For example, how would we pitch Lord of the Rings in one sentence?  Or one of Brandon's books?
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: Peter Ahlstrom on April 23, 2008, 12:31:21 AM
In order to defeat the Dark Lord and save the world, a small-town youth must put his life in peril as he and his companions travel to the fires of Mount Doom in order to destroy the Dark Lord's ring of power.

In a world where a thousand years ago, a hero set out to destroy the ultimate evil and instead turned into a Dark Lord himself, a motley crew of thieves and con men scheme to bring down the empire he created to oppress them. (Actually I'd split this into two sentences and just say "A thousand years ago, a hero set out to destroy the ultimate evil and instead turned into a Dark Lord himself. Now a motley crew of thieves and con men scheme to bring down the empire he created to oppress them." Two sentences, but fewer words.)

Ten years ago, a city of gods among men was transformed into a city of the damned. When a prince awakens one morning to discover he has joined the walking dead, he must reverse what happened ten years ago or go mad trying.

It's just the basic idea boiled down, including what makes your story different from anyone else's. Obviously this sentence for Lord of the Rings would sound cliche today, but this is how it might have been pitched back in the day (not that it actually was).

I think these would be good quick pitches, enough to pique the editor's interest so he or she asks for more information. Then you give a couple paragraphs more, perhaps about the basic characters and/or magic involved, and if they still look interested ask if you can send them the first three chapters. You don't want to monopolize their time.

There's more than one way to pitch, but it's important to keep it quick, interesting, and to the point.
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: darxbane on April 23, 2008, 09:11:23 PM
I couldn't help but hear Don Lafontaine's voice while reading those blurbs.  Seriously, though, listen to movie trailers, teasers for news stories, etc.  Then try to explain your story in that vein.  It might help to explain the story to someone else, and they may simplify it for you.  I haven't written any stories, but I do have to come up with solutions and ideas often, and I know it's hard to simplify something you've worked hard on.  An unbiased viewpoint could help.
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: Peter Ahlstrom on April 23, 2008, 10:34:33 PM
(Not being too much like Movie Trailer Guy was why I preferred to remove "In a world" from my Mistborn pitch...but it fit more easily as one sentence if I included the initial clause.)

Also note that the pitches do not necessarily avoid spoilers. Pitching a book to an editor and pitching a book to consumers are two different things. If the secret in your book is what makes it most interesting, it should be in your pitch so the editor knows how interesting the book is. Like, if I were pitching The Prestige, the secrets would be included in the one-sentence pitch. (Not writing a Prestige pitch here for spoiler reasons.)

But it's also okay for the pitch to contain lies, if they're lies consistent to the book, such as in my Mistborn pitch. Yeah, the hero didn't turn into the Dark Lord, but that's what everyone thinks happened, so that's good enough.
Title: Re: Interested in Publication
Post by: imflyer20 on April 25, 2008, 12:36:27 AM
Wow. I was going to ask that question myself, but that helps a great deal. Now I have a few lines ready when needed.