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Wednesday, May 16

Do You Have Any Writing or Publishing Questions?

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

It's been a while since I opened the site up to questions, and we're due. So, what's been on your mind about writing and publishing? Do you have a frustration issue you can't quite work out? Is a technique eluding you? Are you unsure what path to take to tell your story?


Ask away!

18 comments:

  1. How does one go about finding their audience for a book they write? What if it doesn't fit the guidelines of Christian publishers because it's erotic and inspirational romance?

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    1. Angela Quarles did a great three-part series on this, so here's the link to her indie author posts:

      http://blog.janicehardy.com/search/label/finding%20your%20audience

      Aside from her advice, it's all about market research and spending time on Google. What sites come up when you search for "erotic inspirational romance?" If there's an audience for this, that's where you'll most likely find them.

      You can also try looking on Amazon Kindle and seeing if there's a category for your genre. If there is, see what the top-selling books are and Google them--they'll likely pop up on sites that cater to that audience as well.

      Also look for any festivals, conferences, or conventions around that genre. Your readers will be there.

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    2. Thank you for the reply. You've been very helpful. I'm checking out that link you provided.

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  2. This is rather minor, but I’ve never found an answer . . .when an agent or editor asks us to paste our document into the body of the email, and I do so, it never turns out well. I either have to respace it, indent again, or do other typing gymnastics to make it work. Do they expect it to be perfect, or can they re-format it on their end easily? What is their expectation? Thanks!

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    1. For what it's worth: I think some email systems just don't translate their format well to some others-- and it looks like you've got one that clashes with many, and you'll never know which until it happens, let alone how it's distorted. Actually I'm surprised any pro would ask for the document in the body at all.

      One thing you might do is send both. Paste it into the body, but also attach a proper Word file, and say that if they like what's in the email they can use the doc to make the formatting easier.

      The first time I had a chapter featured on a website I had to complain to the host that he'd lost my italics. All we can really do is hang in there.

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    2. I think you have to save your document as a Rich Text Format (RTF) before you paste it into the email.

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    3. I think they understand of something isn't quite right it's likely the email. I get weird formatting from time to time with my RLD submissions, and I just reformat so I can read them.

      What you can do, though, is strip the text of its formatting before you paste it in. You should be able to covert it to "text only", which removes any formatting. Saving the file as .txt or .rtf as Sussu suggested is another way to make it as easy to read as possible.

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  3. My question is about writing...
    Are there any methods [formulas] for doing editing that help with the feeling of being overwhelmed?

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    1. Oh goodness, I wrote an entire book on this one (grin). Yes, there are, and this is a good topic for a much longer reply (which I'll do next week).

      But the short answer is to break it up into manageable bites. Don't try to do the entire manuscript at once, or try to revise everyone at the same time. Pick something, do that, and not worry about other aspects until you're ready for them.

      For example, work on tightening the story before you bother with typos or fixing the text. If you know you're short on description, flesh that out before you worry about the pacing.

      Making a list and taking it one item at a time can also help.

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  4. I would like to know if we can get back the copyright of a book after selling it to a publisher or is it gone forever? Thanks.

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    1. It depends on the contract you sign, but typically, there's a clause in your contract that states the conditions upon which rights revert back to you. Usually that's when the sales during two (or whatever they decide) consecutive royalty periods fall below a certain number.

      If you have an agent, they'd get you the rights back at that time. If not, you'd have to speak with the publisher and do it yourself.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Thank you for offering your advice so freely! I've been blessed by your site, your answers, and your 30 word pitch comments. Like Anonymous, I suspect my book wouldn't be accepted by most Christian sites even though it is a testimony of what God has done. My goal is to reach those hurting from abuse and see that healing is possible through God - but my path describes the incestuous abuse I survived, not pornographically, but graphically enough that people who have been abused can identify. Same with some of the paths I took before I found God - I describe partially (not complete as it's not an instruction guide) witchcraft rituals, voodoo, paganism, psychotherapy, etc. Enough that those who took those paths know that I know what I'm talking about, but not enough that someone can replicate a ceremony. Then I show how God healed. The new agers in the writing class I'm attending are astounded I'd give up the new age for Christianity. It sparks dialogue about forgiveness and other issues. What I wonder is where my book fits in for it's not totally Christian, but it's not secular either. It has a wonderful ending --- salvation.

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    1. The best way to find the genre or market for a book is to find books similar to yours and see where they're shelved. Amazon Kindle has a great list of categories and sub genres (use the Kindle site, not the regular site. Kindle has way more).

      I'd start with the Christian tag and then look to see what's under that and what best fits your book.

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  7. can we just write whatever we want if we about to write novel? is there some kind of structure?

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    1. Yes and yes. It's your story, you can do whatever you want however you want.

      However...there are some proven story structures that make the entire process easier and consistent with what readers are familiar with and usually want to read.

      This link will get your started with the most common ones, and you can explore from there.

      http://blog.janicehardy.com/2018/04/5-ways-to-structure-and-plot-your-novel.html

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  8. My questions are about finding an agent in the US if you live in another country. Is this increasingly acceptable for first time authors in the age of digital communications?

    If I query US agents will they assume my manuscript must have been rejected by agents in my own country? Are they less likely to accept my work because I live in Australia? Do I need an already established 'name' in my own country?

    (Some people I spoke with suggested this was the case... However, the number of agents in Australia is quite small and the number that accept YA fantasy even smaller. It seems sensible to expand my chances of representation by querying abroad.)

    Thank you for the opportunity to ask even more questions! So many of mine have been expertly answered by your blog. (I’ve even had the pleasure of finding answers to questions I hadn’t thought to ask but should have!)

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    1. In today's online world, it doesn't matter. My agent has non-US clients.

      I'm not an agent so I can't speak for them, but from what I've read and what I've heard them say at conferences and online, all that matters is that you send them a great query with a book they'll fall in love with.

      You do not need an established name. They will not think you got rejected by your own country. They'll just assume you want to sell your book to American publishers. And so many deals are international, there's a chance you'll sell Australian rights anyway. For example, my debut novel sold World English rights, which meant my publisher could publish it in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia (basically anywhere English is the main language).

      Aw, thanks! Glad it's been so helpful to you :)

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