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Thursday, April 28, 2011

The *New and Improved* Goddamn Deadline

So, after much deliberation and hair pulling trying to meet my May 1 deadline... I've decided on a new date for having the first draft of The Pendomus Chronicles, Book 1 completed.

{Que sparkles and trumpets}

May 25th, 2011

This time, I know without a shadow of a doubt, this sucker will be done by deadline.

Why May 25th, you ask?

Well, because it's my #1 cheerleader's/co-conspirator's birthday and it seems like a good present to her. While I have number of awesome friends and family who support me, she's the first one who encouraged me to write. She's been here all along the way and continues to push me forward when I need it. Everyone needs someone in their lives like her. Of that, I am entirely certain.

Thank you, Sherry. I would not be sitting on 134,000 words without your pom poms.

So let me ask you something... 

For those of you who have gone the Traditional route for publishing, what was your next step? The first draft is complete-- at what point do you send out query letters? Obviously, I'm neurotic. I probably won't stop looking at this thing until it's being pried from my cold dead hands screaming, "I can make it better!" 

But at some point, I need to get the ball rolling. I know it can take months... years... *gulp* to get into the hands of the right person. At what point do you bite the bullet, feel it's good enough that if someone asked for the whole manuscript tomorrow-- you could hand it over? 

Thoughts? Opinions? Experiences?

For those of you who went Indie... do you ever regret that decision? Or are you completely stoked with how things have turned out?

Right now, I'd like to attempt the traditional route first. I like working with others and bouncing ideas around. I think I'd like the support and help having a team would/could offer. However, I've got an extensive printing/graphic design background. I know could pull it off on my own, if it came right down to it.



Orlando said...

Congratulations, and don't worry so much about when but rather how ready it is. Can't wait to read it.

Carissa Elg said...

Thanks, Orlando! I appreciate that! I can't wait for you to read it. My biggest thing is wanting to get this thing out. It's like being 8 months pregnant and just needing to see the light at the end! HA! Athena is springing from my brain and I have to get her OUT! ;)

SM Reine said...

Be careful what you wish for! I'll hold you to that deadline. ;)

For either publishing method, my advice is this: Wait.

You need to have a book that is practically pristine -- as perfect as you can make it -- for either method. Now is a great time to draft query letters and synopses, but I wouldn't plan on sending any queries for a few months. (I know, weird getting advice on trad publishing from an indie author...)

If you go the indie route, now may be a good time to begin promoting your book and working on the platform, but you shouldn't plan on releasing it for a few months. Give yourself time to edit it REALLY well and run it through several beta readers. :)

Writing is such a waiting game. What a pain in the butt.

Carissa Elg said...

Oh, Sara! Hold me accountable, I'm great with that! Thank you for your advice, it means a lot!! I already figured that it will be many more months until I either a.) have an agent etc or b.) release this on my own. I just like to see what my next steps are... I really have avoided looking too closely into the next step because I want to devote my time to the actual writing. :)

Where did you start for Beta Readers? Did it freak you out a little to send them out?

Anonymous said...

I am not yet published via either avenue, but I'm in a very similar place: finishing up a draft of a novel. My plan is to set it aside for a month or two and work on something else (this might be a longer time than most people would wait, but I have another project to draft in that time). Then I'm going to go through and edit it according to feedback received from my crit partners and my own observations. After that, it will go to my trusty beta readers. Then, one more round of edits, and I'll send it out to agents, editors, whomever. That's The Plan, anyway. We'll see how it works.

Good luck, and congrats on closing in on finishing your manuscript!

KendallGrey said...

I *tried* to go the traditional route. 35 rejections, 12 major rewrites, and three years later (all for the same book, mind you), I threw my hands up and said f*ck it. After reading the full, requesting changes, and rereading it, my dream agent claimed to love it but it wasn't enough. No two people told me the same thing. One person loved the hero, another hated him. One thought the world-building was fantastic, another couldn't follow it. WTF, people? Sorry, but there's only so much rejection and wishy-washy crap a human being can take before she starts thinking about slitting her wrists. This book is my *baby*. If the Big 6 don't want it, then I don't want them either.

Indie is the way to go for me. I have complete control. There are no more rejections by a**holes who look down their noses at me. Success or failure rests solely on my shoulders from here out. It's been the best career move I could have made. Obviously, indie isn't for everyone. You have to really believe in your book, yourself, and the people you surround yourself with to make it happen.

Ask me next year whether I'd do it again, but at the moment, I can't imagine publishing any other way.

One more word of advice. No agent will touch a 134K manuscript, especially by a debut author. Start trimming now, baby. You want to target 80 - 100K, *maybe* up to 110-120 if it's epic fantasy. Anything more, and you can forget it. I learned that the hard way.

Hugs and good luck! I'll hold you to your deadline too. :-)

Carissa Elg said...

Janelle~ Thanks for your feedback and wishes! I appreciate it!

Kendall~ I'm really open to whatever the future brings. If I don't have luck traditionally, then so be it. I'll do it myself. As for the manuscript size... I've heard that, and while I do plan to go through and edit it to be clear and concise, I'm not going to damage the integrity of the story just to publish traditionally, either.

It is epic fantasy/sci-fi, though. ;)

Anonymous said...

Hey Carissa!

Great post...loved the fact you're asking everyone for their experiences! Here's some of mine:

Well, my manuscript started off at 120K. I trimmed it down to 90K at which time I began the query process, but I still felt it needed work back a year ago. Then between Feb - Apr of this year, I'd gone through an intensive editing process eliminating even more fat from the MS.

I removed many redundancies, almost all the adverbs (replaced with strong verbs), sentences beginning with 'and' and 'but' know, the common ones!

Once all that's done and you're querying...then comes the waiting, and waiting, and waiting and waiting!

I'm currently productive by writing my second book while waiting!

Again, thanks for the great post!!!

Carissa Elg said...

Jack~ I've learned so much just through hearing other people's stories. It's been so helpful! Once I'm done with this phase, I have my "editor/cheerleader" ready and waiting. Sherry's a fantastic proofreader and really missed her calling by going into accounting. I think she'd be amazing as an editor.

I do plan on continuing work on the second book once I start the query process. This world isn't done with me yet. ;)

Thank you so much for your story and advice! I can't wait to hear when your wait is over!!

Anonymous said...

WOW! 134,000 words is no small feat! Big kudos to you & your personal pompom squad of one!

I think self publishing (e-publishing to be exact) will remain to be my alternative option of going traditional. From what I've researched, the ms should be combed through a fine-tooth comb through a series of Alpha & Beta readers before submitting any queries out.

Personally I'd suggest to make quadruply sure that its ready because that first impression whether its a positive one or negative one, once made, its rather difficult to undo.

I think once you are confident in the ms then you should plan on about 4-6 months of querying. Most important thing about the querying process is research, research, research! Don't send a historical fiction agent a fantasy ms. I've heard many many many strike-outs from aspiring authors was this very common and yet very preventable mistake.

Good luck & please keep us posted on your progress.

Carissa Elg said...

Thanks Sophie!

Quick question! I have readers on my end (one specific beta reader) but you do have any additional sources to send a book out for beta/alpha read?

Anonymous said...

hmmm lets see.

I have an 2 alpha readers for fiction and 2 alpha readers for NF. I will have a total of another 2 beta readers and I will randomly select readers who I know like the genre for a total of probably 6-7 sets of eyes on it before I'm going to start querying.

I figure that would be a good enough sampling to iron out the kinks. Ya know? What about you?

Carissa Elg said...

Hi Sophie!

Well, as it stands I have 5 alpha readers - but one of them is also a beta (Sherry). I may have at least 2 more alpha readers in the wings and one more beta... but I'd like a couple more. I have a lot going on and multiple plot twists. I want to make sure I'm not missing anything.

Are all of your readers people you know or have you outsourced to beta readers elsewhere?