I appreciate the replies--I'd long since given this thread up for dead
Everything I've read over the past few weeks--and of course all knowledge I had on the subject before hand--has told me exactly what you say about
the difficulties in getting published. From what I've learned, it seems to be ever-so-slightly easier to get into than other artistic fields (namely
music, another hobby I had attempted to turn into more), but still extremely difficult to get anything more than a quick glance.
Originally posted by Justin Oldham
It's a real tough situation. More and more authors today are turning to companies that will charge a fee to get in to print.
This is something I've been warned against very strongly by quite a few people. Most notably was my English professor a couple of years ago--he very
vehemently stated that a "real" publisher or agent will pay you
, and anyone else is just trying to rip you off.
In that regards, though, I'm sure it's just like music in a lot of ways--if you're damned lucky (financially speaking, at least; other aspects are
arguable), you sign a contract with a major label who covers all your production costs and studio time. Most people wanting to record have to foot
the recording and production bill themselves, then distribute the CD's at their shows on their own.
One thing writing does definitely have over music--or most other arts that I've seen--is that it is much easier to self publish. It's much easier
to format a Word document and convert it to a PDF than to get a great mix out of a home studio recording. Especially with the internet, and that's
something I have considered once I had a handful of stories--get them into a portable, preferably non-editable format (like PDF), upload them to my
website, and if I'm feeling really arrogant charge people a quarter or $0.50 per file.
If you are new to writing, I would suggest that you sharpen your claws on a few short stories. It can't hurt to run down to your local used book
store to pick up a few titles on how to write fictions, poetry, or whatever else you're in to. In many respects, self-teaching is the hardest thing
you'll do as an author.
Actually, the self-teaching part is fairly easy at the moment; I've found tons of material online that has been great at putting things into
perspective, and for helping me out with structure, etc. The main part I'm having a problem with is trying to determine how realistic to be (or
not), and that's just something I'm going to work out over time. For example, I have a short that I'm working on where the stage is getting set to
open up a primary conflict. I just haven't decided if I want it to be a "normal" conflict--i.e. we're broke and you just lost your job--or if I
want to go off the deep end--i.e. aliens are about to invade and you need to go to another dimension to save humanity. I guess would be a good way to
look at it is that I'm having a hard time deciding where I'd like to try to fit in (regardless of where I end up fitting in).
The big question to ask yourself is, "why do I want to write?" No. Not why do I want to publish...why do you want to write? Do you have something
to say? Does it make you feel good to do it? Would you do it for free? If the answer to one of these is "yes," you should do it. If the answer
is "yes" for two of these, you should still do it. If the answer is "yes" to all three, you may have what it takes to publish some day.
I know this was most likely a rhetorical question, but I feel obliged to post a response here. Writing is something I enjoy; it's nice to sit back
and see the words "The End" at the bottom of a page. It's nice to think about different realities for a little while, and it's much more
involving (for me) than reading someone else's ideas about those other realities. I think that I do have a few things to say, which is something I
wouldn't have been able to honestly state even a couple of years ago, but I know it's going to be awhile before I can relay any messages in a
Another reason I'm looking into this--and why I was in a position to make my original post--is that I'm in one of those fuzzy spots we all go
through from time to time, where you're not really sure where to go next and nothing seems quite right. I'm wanting to see if perhaps being an
author is my little niche in life; I've tried a couple of other fields, and they didn't exactly strike the right chord (pun intended--music was one
of those, as I stated above.)
Because different publishers use different typesets, your MS Word document will not always come out the same as you formatted it. It can be longer,
or shorter, depending on what margins or fonts the publisher uses. Don't fuss over word counts when you're first starting out. That sort of thing
is a job skill, and it'll come later. For now, you will have enough problems just focusing to put words on the page.
And in response to nickelbee as well, that's something I've since become less concerned with. It would still be nice to look at X number of pages
on a Word doc and say "alright, that means I've got between this many and that many pages if I found this in Barnes & Noble's", but I'm not
worried about it.
Originally posted by nikelbee
It is very difficult to get a short story collection without first being known. Short stories don't sell as well as novels and most publishers won't
take the gamble on an unknown. This isn't a set rule.
That's something I pretty much figured on. The more I've thought about my original question, the more I've realized that no matter how I'd slice
it, it would still be a novel--each chapter could probably be taken as a self-contained story in it's own right, barring overall background details,
but still would fit in perfectly fine as part of the full story.