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Publishing a Book on the Web for Free in Installments : Writers' Block Party • Page 2 • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Publishing a Book on the Web for Free in Installments

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Norman P. Jones
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Re: Publishing a Book on the Web for Free in Installments

Postby Norman P. Jones » Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:02 am

Hi Cynicalwanderer,

and thanks again for your input. The script needs tightening up in general, I agree.

Also the car chase section would have to be changed, although I can tell you at this time, that later on in the story this car chase will be revisited from a completely different angle. If you’d know this coming section, it might change your opinion, although that still feel you’re right that the dynamics need changing here.
I know you’re right with what you’re saying, but at the same time it’s grinding my gears that I would have to alter the manuscript in such a way that it would go against my intentions for the sake of pleasing the reader, although for a book as a market product this would be just about rule number one. If I did this, it wouldn’t be my book anymore.

As I’ve given up the thought of selling it, I’ve got the choice to go nuts with it, and I’d like to retain the atmosphere I hopefully created.

I suppose it’s optimistic to expect the reader to follow the story and the intentions of the author instead of being taken for the expected ride down easy lane.

It’s like a political party going out into the street and building a manifesto on what they hear what would get the most votes, instead of having an agenda and then trying to convince the public. Well, that’s what’s happening nowadays, I suppose, but that doesn’t make it less distasteful.

But back to the story: it’s not meant to be a spoof, overall humorous, or a comedy, but it’s meant to contain elements of over-the-top humor that pop up now and again.

Already the prologue contains a number of such short passages and remarks; the things I describe there are so evidently grotesque in parts that the reader should, by the time he reaches chapter one, have discovered that the story does not take itself too seriously, while at the same time not going down the comedy or the spoof road.

As you might find out in the next few chapters down the line, the whole story becomes less and less realistic as it goes on, without (hopefully) losing its coherency or believability (in a suspension of disbelief kind of way). It just unravels in a controlled way.

At the start and during the first couple of chapters, the reader doesn’t know this yet, although the signs are there, and my challenge would be to keep him interested through the sections you’ve mentioned, so he finds out that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

I’m very happy to find that you’ve taken enough interest the story (and thank you for your words of encouragement), to go to the trouble of writing your replies, and in return I could offer to send you some chapters in advance to try and point out where all this is going.

But please don’t be afraid to decline, I would fully understand.

Regards
Norman

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Re: Publishing a Book on the Web for Free in Installments

Postby Norman P. Jones » Fri Sep 09, 2016 9:37 am

Hi again, Cynicalwanderer,

I’ve taken a little time to mull over what you wrote, and the more I think about it, the more interested I’m becoming in whittling the book down, as you suggested, to, say, about 110 000 to 120 000 words.

I didn’t like the idea at first, especially as I’m busy with other projects, but I might put them aside for a while.

An important factor here is that I’m not sure it can be done without the story losing its essence during the process, but that’s a challenge on which I’d be quite keen.

As you know, I’ve already published the prologue and the first chapter on Booksie, and if I stop now, I could always pass that off as a teaser before I attempt to submit it to a company again.

I don’t think that anyone would be very sad there, it hasn’t garnered a particular amount of interest (yet).

But that brings me to a point that worries me slightly: apart from submitting the book to companies I’ve not been in contact with it before (what few of them are left), do you know if agents or publishers would be prepared to take another look at a book (even strongly revised) that they’ve rejected before?

Personally, I have grave doubts.

Regards
Norman

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cynicalwanderer
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Re: Publishing a Book on the Web for Free in Installments

Postby cynicalwanderer » Fri Sep 09, 2016 11:05 am

Unless an agent/publisher has rejected it but given specific encouragement and suggested some changes, then no, you're unlikely to score a repeat reading with that crowd. But by all means you can clean it up and then submit it to a fresh agency. Unless you've already sent it to hundreds of places, I'm sure there'd have to be suitable agents still yet to be approached.

If you're going to tackle a rewrite, might I suggest that before you bite into that big pie, take some time to do a post-mortem outline. This would take the form of roughly a page per chapter (or scene, if you prefer), or more or less depending on how detailed you feel like making it, where you jot down the following:

Key events that happen in the scene or chapter
--> Action sequences, particularly paying attention to cause and effect
--> Character development/backstory/interactions
--> Important themes/hooks/foreshadowing
Goals for the scene or chapter
--> Start and end states for the plot/characters coming into and out of the scene - are these logically flowing? Meaningful? Believable? In context?
--> Consistency of character behaviour and motivations, for strong characters
--> Thematic and "authorial" requirements - is this scene meeting your intentions, or have you meandered off onto an irrelevant tangent?
Potential restructures and cuts
--> Is point X relevant and in context to the action at the point it appears? Is it slowing down the pace with exposition? Could it be culled, reduced, or moved elsewhere where it fits better?
--> Repetitiveness - are the characters bantering back and forth over the same point? Have you used three adjectives when one would do?
--> Dilution - can two fairly bland secondary characters be combined to make one more interesting one? Can two flat action scenes be merged into one? Are you using the right POV for a given scene (generally speaking, the char to whom the scene matters the most emotinoally is the ideal one to have the POV assigned to)
--> Rubbish - now that you have some distance from the manuscript, can you spot with fresh eyes any padding/waffle/flab or stuff that you just plain aren't 100% happy with, that could use the razor
--> Over-telling - one common writing problem is the urge to explain everything to the reader; over time, a good writer learns to give just enough for the reader to fill out the rest in their imagination. This can often mean culling entire chunks of interesting, but not sufficiently pertinent, backstory, and yes it can be hard to let go of those babies, but the story nearly always benefits from such harsh cutting

That's the sort of pre-revision analysis I'd suggest. You don't need to belabour it for months, just get down the bullet points and come to know your work better as your own critic. I guarantee that as you go through the process, you'll be hit by wave upon wave of insights and improvements and ways of tightening up what you've got - jot these down as you go, and then by the time you're done, you'll be armed with so many changes that you'll be pumped and motivated to apply, that you'll be able to think of nothing else for weeks. Good luck!
"I've stopped giving advice. Even when people ask for it, they resent getting it." -Ross Macdonald.

Norman P. Jones
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Re: Publishing a Book on the Web for Free in Installments

Postby Norman P. Jones » Fri Sep 09, 2016 1:10 pm

Thanks for those tips. As a matter of fact I already have most of the points in your first two sections, because I'm a bit of a chaotic writer.

This means that as outlined and pre-planned the plot may be, I always like to work in any promising idea that occurs to me while I'm writing.

As the plot is pretty convoluted, I have to make changes in various back parts of the manuscript where appropriate to accommodate
such an idea, and the only way to do this effectively is with exactly such listings.

Your 'Potential restructures and cuts' section will be very useful, and I want to thank you for going to all that trouble. I'm very much obliged.

jmar2
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Re: Publishing a Book on the Web for Free in Installments

Postby jmar2 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:53 am

Hi,
One option, is build your own website and publish there. That's what Andy Wier did with his best seller "The Martian". Even ended up selling it as a movie last year with Matt Damon.

J

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Re: Publishing a Book on the Web for Free in Installments

Postby williamadams » Mon Sep 19, 2016 9:10 pm


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Re: Publishing a Book on the Web for Free in Installments

Postby Oldtimer » Tue Sep 20, 2016 7:38 am

@cynicalwanderer
I found your post so useful that I have printed out a copy and intend to use it to diagnose what went wrong with a story I wrote many moons ago. It's a women's interest story, going back to the days of WWII, and I would like to see it published in some form or other before I die.
Read samples of my Martian series (by Dorothy Piper) and two romances (by Joni Havel) on Smashwords.
Hard copies of all are on Amazon.

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cynicalwanderer
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Re: Publishing a Book on the Web for Free in Installments

Postby cynicalwanderer » Tue Sep 20, 2016 3:39 pm

"I've stopped giving advice. Even when people ask for it, they resent getting it." -Ross Macdonald.

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Re: Publishing a Book on the Web for Free in Installments

Postby Dreaming Imrryr » Wed Sep 21, 2016 4:39 pm

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