My writing year has got off to a good start as I completed Stage 1 of my writing plans. Over the last month, I have managed to finish a re-edit of my debut novel “Spiral of Hooves” with the aim of getting it republished. For those that missed the original release, it was in December 2013.
So, I removed a subplot that didn’t work and garnered some negative comments. I also tidied up some strange sentence constructions, and corrected all the Americanisms, as it’s set in England, and I had a UK publisher in mind.
Then, everything went awry – I read more about the publishers including an interview with their main man and I concluded that my mystery was wrong for them – not gritty or dark enough. They also tend to go for writers with a few books to release at the same time.
The problem now is what next? Do I submit this novel to a UK agent, a UK publisher, a US agent, a US publisher, OR do I translate it into German or Martian? Joking…
Oh, in case you were wondering, it’s a mystery set against the horse world, but not a cosy mystery. It has action, darker moment, and a couple of erotic scenes, but it isn’t really bloody or violent except for a few brief moments.
A shorter version of this post first appeared on Facebook, and several friends made helpful suggestions, some of which I will mention here.
In the FB comments, and back on my January blog, several people talked about self-publishing. However, I know now that will require extra skills that I need to acquire or pay for – not just the editing services that I already use. I have been reassured that I am capable of learning to format but I’m a writer. I am aware that there are excellent companies out there that will help in that process.
My major concern is the money, as we face major health bills that look like a bottomless pit. When my wife spent two days in the hospital after her recent heart attack, the bills came to $30,000.
The logical alternative is to try to find an agent or a publisher in either the UK and/or the US. How many submissions should I do at once? Do I start with agents first? Does it matter where the agent/publisher is?
The big quandary: As I’m disabled, I’m very restricted in where I can go. Flying is out, so that leaves driving – well, someone else driving me. What happens if an agent in New York wants me to go there = 2+ days driving? Book tours would be a challenge.
Then there is the language – British-English and American-English. I changed the manuscript into British-English with a US address, but I’ve found a US agent that is interested in submissions on horses. Guess I need an American-English manuscript for US agents and publishers. Yikes. Back to Grammarly then.
That would then allow me to submit to publishers like Imajin Books when they open for submissions in April? Although they like to see reviews, Amazon deleted mine but my Goodreads reviews are still up. One of their star authors said, “I wouldn’t worry about it. You can do this.”
So, do I submit to agents first and then, come April, I submit to publishers?
Do I mention that I don’t stick to genre? “Spiral of Hooves” is a mystery with a sequel; then I’ve almost finished “Storms Compass”, Book I of my post-apocalyptic saga; then comes “Fates Maelstrom”, first of the Snowdon Shadows mysteries; and my alternative history, “Eagle Crossing”, is flying along.
Yikes about the health care bills. That’s a huge chunk of change. The whole British English vs American English is fascinating. I spent 12+ years working in Scotland and New Zealand and when I started a blog I had to work really hard to make sure I was writing in American English. Really tricky to know what to do for a manuscript.
Hoping that we might get the bill reduced. As for language. I suspect my blog is Brit-English with a few American words thrown in as I’m married to a Southern Belle. As for the manuscripts, the best solution seems to be two versions so I have the choice where I submit.
Great post, Roland. Haven’t we all been there! It’s a steep learning curve, and doesn’t stop either. I hope that by setting down all your alternatives, you have cleared your mind somewhat, and have found the next step forward, which suits you. Only you can tell, by giving it a go.
I’ve found that resorting to writing it down (in a diary, blog or whatever) the problem clarifies itself. But the work continues.
It’s the writing and striving that keep us going.
That bill is horrific. Think we may be facing something similar with my husband, who is threatening to give up, and stop doing things even for himself…. where am I going to find the time, or – more importantly – the drive – to even put pen to paper for a few sentences?
But I must. It will keep me going –
I really loved Spiral of Hooves in its original form, so much that I glossed over the few obvious editorial glitches. One thing you might consider – when submitting to an agent or publisher, use a different title, (although I just love that title) and don’t let on it’s a revamp. (Or perhaps only confess if you’ve changed it beyond all recognition?) I know some publishers don’t like to accept books that have already been published in whatever form. On the other hand, perhaps some do…
Best of luck.
Thanks for the encouragement, Jane. I hope your situation with your husband, and with the writing sorts itself out.
Went through all my projects and was surprised at how unfinished they all were – although I was aware that my Welsh mystery was going to need a kick-start as I had to stop working on it when I moved to the US.
Anyway, haveing assessed the state of play – making notes in a great project diary I acquired – I have decided that the latest one, the alternative history, is further evolved than the others; I start a revision workshop on March 1st – yikes.
As for Spiral of Hooves, I found a publisher that is open to previously published work and come April is looking for published authors only. Guess that’s me. I will keep the title, just put it into American-English, although they are a Canadian publisher. Hopefully, the glitches have been removed as well as the sub-plot that jarred with some readers.
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Brilliant news, Roland – best of luck with Spiral…
You know what I say? Do your research then shoot wide. Have both versions of the book on hand and try both avenues. If it’s ready to go, then don’t hold back. Get it out there.
Going to ensure that I have both versions so all avenues are open. Minor delay as doing a revision course this month, but come April, it will be all hands on the keyboard. Thanks, Crystal.
In regards to whether you go to and agent or publisher in the US or UK depends on where you want your book to be promoted the most. If it goes on Amazon, as it should, it’ll be available in many different countries. So its really just up to you and your preference.
Thanks, Chrys. Amazon seems to be the main outlet at the moment so I’m looking at the option.
The decision has been reached after all the comments here and elsewhere. Amazon makes the most sense, Chrys so going that route with the help of a proofreader/editor/formatting friend. The second edition will have the same title but a new title that will help it sell. Cover reveal may be the next announcement. Thanks, everyone.