Luck for all of us
I mean the kind of luck that comes from hard work and perseverance, two main ingredients of success in publishing. May this new year bring to you the publication you’ve worked for. It can happen.
Yes indeed, as long as you fine folks send openings to lash, I’ve got the whip to do it. As a reminder of why we’re doing this, I’m going to quote extensively from the Superhero Nation blog written by a former assistant editor at a publishing house. Note the last thing he says in this quote.
Surviving to page 2
Many manuscripts get nixed on the first page. Here are a few things that publishers want to see early on.
1. Is it easy to read through? If your first page introduces many characters, fictional words, place names and the like, the story is probably a slog. If your first page is hard to understand, your manuscript is dead on arrival.
2. “Do I care about this story?” The easiest way to make a reader care is to give urgent, pressing goals to a likable protagonist. If nothing’s at stake, readers will probably find the story boring. If the reader doesn’t care on page one, your submission is in grave danger.
3. Does the author have a professional grasp of English? If the author has glaring grammar or punctuation problems on page one, they’re just going to assume you’re an amateur and move on to the next manuscript. Making a good first impression is important.
4. Does it look like the plot is going somewhere? If the first page gets bogged down in a geography lesson, or a winding prologue, or a lengthy exposition, the answer is probably no. Pacing the first page well is extremely important.
Publishing plans from FtQ Press
I’m going to give a try at the ebook/paperback market with two of my books, We the Enemy and Finding Magic. The plan is to create standard trade paperback versions for sale online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but to also see if it’s possible to build an audience through inexpensive ebook versions.
To that end, the ebooks (Kindle, Nook, and others) will be priced at $1.99. I’m going to lower the Kindle/ebook price for The Vampire Kitty-cat Chronicles to $1.99 as well.
Why the teensy price? These books are, to many who have read them, good reads. I’ll be the first to declare that they’re not for everyone, but no novel is. The thing is that they’re not doing any good sitting on hard drive, and it doesn’t cost a lot to do this kind of publishing.
Karen McQuestion, a longtime friend of the blog and a very talented writer, writes that it’s a good way to interest readers in your writing because it’s pretty low-risk for them. Karen has an interview here about how this low-end self-publishing was the key to a breakthrough for her.
Don’t be surprised to see a call for reader/reviewers for Finding Magic, and perhaps for We the Enemy. Please email me if you might be interested in reading either novel. If I do, I’ll provide more info here, including a sample chapter or so, later. Finding Magic is aimed primarily at the women’s audience, though male beta readers have really enjoyed the story, and We the Enemy more at a general audience, although I have seen it have special appeal to women.
Another exciting prospect is a version of Flogging the Quill, Crafting a Novel that Sells for kids. In a recent discussion with a middle-school language arts teacher, she voiced the difficulty of teaching her students about using strong verbs in their writing (she felt she had to go the route of colorful adverbs instead), I showed her the chapter on adverbs in my book. She thought it would have been a big help, and spoke of the need for such a coaching guide in the classroom. We’re now talking about collaborating on a version aimed at middle-school students and language arts teachers. Could be fun.
And, if I get my act together, I’m overdue for something new. I have a sequel to The Vampire Kitty-cat Chronicles in the works and hope to muster the gumption to tackle that. I have a concept for a YA novel wandering around my mind as well, not to mention a desire to do a graphic novel starring an actor pig character I created a few years back.
All the best from Flogging the Quill.
For what it’s worth.
Submitting to the Flogometer:
Email the following in an attachment (.doc, .docx, or .rtf preferred):
- your title
- your 1st chapter or prologue plus 1st chapter
- Please format with double spacing, 12-point font Times New Roman font, 1-inch margins.
- Please include in your email permission to post it on FtQ.
- And, optionally, permission to use it as an example in a book if that's okay.
- If you’re in a hurry, I’ve done “private floggings,” $50 for a first chapter.
- If you rewrite while you wait you turn, it’s okay with me to update the submission.
© 2011 Ray Rhamey