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Not e-book or Self Pub - a programme to help ? : FAQs • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Not e-book or Self Pub - a programme to help ?

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MoreDifficult
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Not e-book or Self Pub - a programme to help ?

Postby MoreDifficult » Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:39 pm

Having almost finished part one of a 3 part trilogy, I am going to be published by a real life author in paperback.

Don't ask me how, I'm here to ask you that!

Seriously, I just wrote and wrote and wrote in MS Word and now have just under 98,000 words and Part I almost finished.

I know I have to turn the words once edited and pared down into a MS, but wonder if there is a reasonably priced online tool to do this formatting, or if doing it this way will land me at the bottom of the slush pile.

I would very much appreciate input from more experienced writers as to which online program works well, is fairly easy and appreciated by agents.

Millions more questions but will hold them back for another day. Must say this is a brilliant site, great job Mr T and whoever else created it.

Thank you all.


Judy in gray nasty cold England x

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Re: Not e-book or Self Pub - a programme to help ?

Postby pls » Mon Dec 21, 2015 4:27 pm

Judy, authors are not publishers. Did you mean to say a "real-life publisher"?

As for editing, there's no tool that I know of that will help you with reducing your book to something manageable. If you've written it in Work, you've already formatted (in Normal, hopefully, and without tabs) it.

If you're going to be published, why are you worried about a slush pile? Do you intend to submit your manuscript electronically or in hard copy to your … um … publisher?

There's just too much vagueness in your post for me to give you any kind of definitive answers. Sorry.
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Re: Not e-book or Self Pub - a programme to help ?

Postby MoreDifficult » Tue Dec 22, 2015 4:52 am

Sorry Pls - sorry for upsetting you.

Yes, obviously I meant to say "real-life publisher"- my enthusiasm got the better of me several times, but it is exciting to get the opportunity to 'speak' with genuine traditionally published authors, so please excuse my errors.

Yes; my work is written in 'Word'. No indents or tabs, italics or anything else out of the ordinary.

Being determined but new, I got some terminology wrong, I am very sorry. No-one can craft, pare. reduce or shape my words, that is for me to do and I was not asking for help or advice on that.

I have no agent right now, and no publisher lined up, and I presume they have their own requirements about submissions whether electronically or in hard copy format. Or is that not so?

Anyone determined to get published (unless in e-format) knows about the slush pile and is rightly wary in my view of trying to avoid it, hence my badly phrased sentence.

Thank you for answering, I assume then that you are a published author, the traditional way, for that is the route I intend to follow. My question about editing was actually about Formatting i.e. positioning the text on the page, how wide the margins should be, should each line or paragraph be double spaced, only typed on one side; that kind of thing.

I assume there is some software out there which will help me with this when I am ready, and that is my first question.

The second question being I hope to be writing for all English speaking countries, (particularly North America which is a vast market compared to Europe). The question is should I use Americanism, such as 'trunk' on a car instead of 'boot'. Or again, would be publisher have their own requirements on that?

Finally, I had considered e-books, but cannot see making substantial money that way. I realise that is the way the market is trending, and it depends how many e-books one sells, but surely the return cannot possibly equal that of being published, popular and in hard copy?

I do hope that I have been more concise on this message and apologise for my enthusiasm running away with me. Thank you very much for taking your valuable time in trying to help me. It is is truly appreciated.

Most sincerely


Judy

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Re: Not e-book or Self Pub - a programme to help ?

Postby James A. Ritchie » Tue Dec 22, 2015 10:17 am

Formatting a manuscript is easy, and about ninety percent of all writers just use MS Word. Basically, proper formatting just means indenting each paragraph, double spacing the manuscript, and using one inch margins all around. Begin each new chapter a third of the way down the page. Use no special fonts, and no special formatting. Rather than indenting with tabs, use Word's auto-indent feature. That's really about it. I don't know of any program that can do this for you, but you really don't need one. Formatting really is easy, and Word is all you need, and then some. It's just knowing what proper formatting is.

Use grammar and syntax and terminology from whatever country you live in. If an American publisher wants changes, an editor at the publisher will make them.

As for the slush pile, I'm afraid avoiding it is pretty much impossible, unless you're famous enough to make an agent and publisher sit up and beg. As bad as the slush sounds, we all came through it. I came through it, Stephen King came through it, and darned near any writer you can think of also came through the slush. Go into a bookstore or library, look at the thousands of books, and understand that almost every writer there came through the slush. Knowing this helps.

At the very least, you will have to query an agent, and even this is slush. When an agent asks for your manuscript, this, too, is slush. But as I said, this is how we all get our start. I'm not only a well-published writer, I also read a lot of slush for a publisher. Most of it is pretty bad, even though the great majority of it is submitted by agents. The good news is that talent trumps everything, and good writing, good characters, and good story shine like a diamond in a pile of coal. All the bad in the slush makes the good look even better. If you can't find an agent and/or a publisher, it won't be because you had to go through the slush, it will be because no one thinks your books are good enough to make money.

I will say that, if at all possible, the first book in you trilogy should be able to stand on its own. This makes it much, much easier for a new writer to find an agent and/or publisher. Each book is a huge risk for a publisher, and you might be surprised by how much money it takes to publish a book, which means how much a publisher stands to lose. Three books equals three times as much risk.

If you haven't already done so, read the first Harry Potter book. J. K. Rowling managed to write the ending in such a way that it could, if necessary, stand alone, but that left the story line she needed to continue the series wide open.

Anyway, I hope this helps.

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Re: Not e-book or Self Pub - a programme to help ?

Postby shadowwalker » Tue Dec 22, 2015 10:26 am

"It seems rather like wanting to be ... a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip." - Roger Zelazny

It's really not that hard. Just tell me a story.

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Re: Not e-book or Self Pub - a programme to help ?

Postby pls » Tue Dec 22, 2015 10:28 am

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Re: Not e-book or Self Pub - a programme to help ?

Postby James A. Ritchie » Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:55 pm


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Re: Not e-book or Self Pub - a programme to help ?

Postby pls » Tue Dec 22, 2015 5:50 pm

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Re: Not e-book or Self Pub - a programme to help ?

Postby shadowwalker » Tue Dec 22, 2015 7:43 pm

Discussions about who has or hasn't "cleaned up" in any kind of publishing is kinda pointless, IMHO. People have very different ideas of what success is - what one considers great sales is peanuts according to someone else. Doesn't matter one iota what others do. We set our own goals and try to figure out what gives us the best chance of reaching them.
"It seems rather like wanting to be ... a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip." - Roger Zelazny

It's really not that hard. Just tell me a story.


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