Writing a book...

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LoveMoo11

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I am finishing up a book of farm stories from my childhood that I plan to send to a publisher here in Maine to try and get published. It is about my experiences, adventures with my cousins, and all the unique animals I had growing up. I know you are all very busy, but if anyone would be interested in reading a couple of chapters and giving me some feedback, please let me know and I will email you a little to read. I would like any input on how to improve, etc. Thanks.
 

Calman

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LoveMoo11":1ynxso1f said:
I am finishing up a book of farm stories from my childhood that I plan to send to a publisher here in Maine to try and get published. It is about my experiences, adventures with my cousins, and all the unique animals I had growing up. I know you are all very busy, but if anyone would be interested in reading a couple of chapters and giving me some feedback, please let me know and I will email you a little to read. I would like any input on how to improve, etc. Thanks.


You are one brave person setting yourself up to the critics of cattle today.
We haven't even found out how to change a lightbulb yet.
Man I gotta get out of this house today,I think i'm coming down with that Nawrthern Cabin Fever. :help: :help:

Cal
 

brandonm_13

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I have a couple of questions/comments that might be useful.

1. Who are you going to try to get to publish the book in Maine? If they don't take it, are you going to submit it to other publishers? Publishing isn't easy to get into. Usually you need an agent to get published, but most agents won't pick you up unless you are a published author. It's a catch 22. You can self publish with companies like iUniverse, but you need to be able to market your product, a thing most writers do not want to do.

2. Have you set your spell check to check for grammar and sentence structure as well? Stories need to have action, or at least use active verbs. This can check for passive sentences. Passive sentences can be fine when you're doing research, writing a thesis, etc., but for stories, too much passive writing can be a killer.

3. This may not be for you, but if you want to improve your writing craft, especially if you plan on doing more writing, it can be useful to enroll in a writing school like the institute of children's literature or long ridge writer's group.

4. Buy books (or get some at the library if you can) about writing. They can be very handy and can give you alot of insight. They are good reference books to have around as well. You can also look alot of info on the internet.

5. When you think you've got your writing the way you want it, go back over it sentence by sentence. Look for things like how you start your sentences. Do you have a tendency to use the same 4 or 5 words to start most sentences? Do you use many of the same verbs over and over? Are there words you can cut out like was, the, that, while, etc.? Look at your sentences for structure and see if the wording flows smoothly or is it choppy. Readers don't want to wade through a jungle of words. They want to walk on a beach (so to speak).

Can't think of anything else now, and you can take my advice for what it's worth. I'm not a published writer or anything.
 

Running Arrow Bill

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I have had 3 books published with major houses, plus a number of journal articles, and manuals. Stay away from "Publish Your Book" vanity publishing places...you pay money up front and you are responsible for advertising, marketing, and selling your book. Some agents can be good; however, quite a few will charge a fee to "read and critic" your work before they even consider submitting a manuscript to a publisher--agents always require a percentage of your royalty as long as the book is being published & sold.

That aside...

A good publication to consult is "Writer's Digest" a periodic magazine. Articles plus names of agents, etc.

Only consider publishers that publish "your" type of book. The major houses won't even consider unpublished authors as well nitch items. A "minor" work usually only has a first "test" printing of 1,000 to 3,000 copies. If it sells well 1st year, they may reprint. Author usually gets about 10 free copies of book as soon as it is published, additional ones at a significant discount.

Consider those publishers that publish agricultural, self-sufficiency, and related books. Check names of publishers where books are sold at Farm & Ranch and/or Home Improvement stores. A small publisher that pays you royalty is better than nothing. Expect a 10 to 20% royalty. If you are not "famous" a publisher will not give you an advance.

Good word processing program with spell checker is essential. Manuscript preparation instructions are available from every publisher. Manuscripts are always double-space lines. Citations must be accurate, as well as correct grammar and spelling. Manuscript margins should be 1" on all 4 sides. Editors always require a book outline, author resume/vita, as well as one or more sample chapters. Expect it to take 6 - 12 months from manuscript acceptance to seeing your work in print. Unlike high school and college English classes, it is ok to use "poetic license" and other gimicks in sentences to effectively communicate your point. That said. Ok. You get the point..." No one sentence paragraphs. Make an outline to use before you write...revise as needed as the work progresses. Copy must flow from one paragraph to another. Also nice to have a "hook" at end of each chapter to entice reader to go read next chapter. Avoid LONG paragraphs that bog down the reader...at least 2 to 3 paragraphs per typed, double-spaced page.

Citations should be as (Martin, 2009) in the copy. Use APA reference style:

Such as: (Example...not a real book...lol).

Martin, W.T. (2009). Instructions On How To Write A Book. Wellington, TX.: Running Arrow Farm. 100+ Pages.

Hope this helps some :D


Don't use fancy typestyles when you type manuscript. A good printer (inkjet or laser) is essential. Never send same manuscript several publishers at same time. Can take up to 3 months from submission to getting a response from an agent and/or an editor.

Always, always, write "to your audience" that may buy your book: words, language usage, writing style, etc.

There's a lot more...however, hope the above helps!
 

brandonm_13

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What kind of books have you published, fiction or nonfiction? Are they still in print? Just curious. Alsways trying to learn more about the writing/publishing business.
 

Running Arrow Bill

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brandonm_13":kr7tgrla said:
What kind of books have you published, fiction or nonfiction? Are they still in print? Just curious. Alsways trying to learn more about the writing/publishing business.

Wrote one on psychological things. Two others on personnel, organizational, human resources items. Journal articles in horticultural things, e.g.: Colorado Greenmagazine. Newspaper columns on horticultural subjects in weekly newspapers in Colorado and Texas. [These things published between 1967 and 1990]. Several training manuals (books we have published ourselves and still currently sell in landscaping and irrigation things, between 75 and 125 pages single spaced copy). Am currently a feature writer for the International Texas Longhorn Association's "Longhorn Drover" be-monthly journal on topics of business, advertising, marketing, and related issues.
 
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LoveMoo11

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The company that I plan on submitting to is a Maine publishing house, they aren't one of the ones where you pay to have your book published. They only publish manuscripts that relate to Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont in some way. The reason that I chose them is that they have published some other farm related memoirs. Thanks for the tips. I'm not doing this for a career or anything, but I do like to write, so the advice is appreciated. Again, if anyone is interested in reading a couple chapters and critiquing I would love to hear from you, I want to improve it as much as I can before submitting it.
Thanks again.
 

Running Arrow Bill

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LoveMoo11":327cd6bz said:
The company that I plan on submitting to is a Maine publishing house, they aren't one of the ones where you pay to have your book published. They only publish manuscripts that relate to Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont in some way. The reason that I chose them is that they have published some other farm related memoirs. Thanks for the tips. I'm not doing this for a career or anything, but I do like to write, so the advice is appreciated. Again, if anyone is interested in reading a couple chapters and critiquing I would love to hear from you, I want to improve it as much as I can before submitting it.
Thanks again.

A bit of "unofficial" "legal" advice regarding writing of anything:

On each page you give to or send to anyone, affix the notation:

Copyright(C) 2009 Mary Q Public. All Rights Reserved. Printed in U.S.A.

Of course, you insert the current year and your full name. According to copyright law, affixing this notice establishes common law proprietary ownership of the work. Once a page or more is distributed to someone else, without this notice, you no longer have exclusive title to the material. On a sidebar: this notice is NOT included on manuscript submitted to publisher's editor (certified, return receipt, priority mail), since the publisher acquires the right to Copyright since THEY are now the publisher and the royalty agreement you sign conveys YOUR common law right to the publisher.

:)
 
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