August 12, 2005

The Long Road to Publication

I have been totally incommunicado while I finished work on my first novel – I didn’t do much writing here or on DC and I have not been doing much work on my software – except to write a few new tools for my writing but more on that later. I finished the first draft about two months ago and since then, spent a month polishing up the first draft. Laurie helped me immensely with it since I tend to have this bad habit of using adverbs liberally and Laurie is of the opinion that there is only one solution when it comes to adverbs – total genocide :p Between the two of us we hit a happy medium where I do use adverbs but not as profusely as I did at first. I do see her point about adverbs being the lazy way of saying things at times and how it weakens a sentence but sometimes I feel that an adverb can actually make a sentence more succinct rather than having to use many more words to say the same thing without adverb usage :)

Anyway, now that I’ve polished things up a bit, I’ve moved up to the next step. There is difference of opinion at this point – some believe that you should go straight to a publisher while others believe that you must find an agent first. The first class of people say that if you find a publisher, any agent will take you on while the latter say that an agent will give you more credibility with a publisher :) I decided to try an agent first and wrote to one and waited a couple of weeks, they took a look at the first few chapters and said that wasn’t for them. (Of course, I had done something really stupid with the first agent – I sent them my unedited first draft because I was too impatient and in the words of Laurie, "Of course, they rejected it" :p) That’s a lesson for anybody who might want to learn from my mistakes – do not send out your unedited first draft no matter how impatient you might be :p

I then queried a second agent and waited two weeks with no response and then wrote to them again to find out that they’d never received the first query. They came back with a "I personally dislike humorous science fiction". Then I queried another well-known agent and was told "that this doesn’t sound like a project for us" without them even seeing my manuscript.

So here I am – struck out three times. This probably is the time when I should take a good look at things and decide where I am going … or maybe not :p I did manage to get a hold of Terry Pratchett’s agent Colin Smythe and I must say that Colin was a really nice bloke and a great human being in that he didn’t know me from Adam and yet, he helped me out as much as he could and pointed me in the right direction for submitting to more agents and publishers. I will be forever grateful to Colin for his kindness.

I have decided to continue to try agents till I find somebody who likes my style of writing because I’m beginning to get the feeling that humorous science fiction might be a dirty word amongst agent or something. However, I ran across this site by a fellow programmer who has actually managed to get his humorous science fiction novel published and that has given me hope. I will continue on my road to publication and will try to keep this page updated in case somebody is still interested in how it goes with me – or not :)

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Tags: Internet, Personal, Site, Writing
Posted by Fahim at 8:01 am   Comments (1)