General Advice Needed


#1

So I am about 75% done with the second draft of my current novel. I plan on getting it fully completed and publishing it on wattpad in 2019 to see how the community reacts to it before shopping around for agents/publishers.

My question is, other than being active and getting views on wattpad then hope for the best. What are some steps that I can be taking to give my book the best chance at (maybe) one day being a published work.

In other words, for those of you that have been published (either traditionally or self pub)… what are the things you did between draft and publication that got your book ready for the spotlight?

Editors, beta readers, or any other trick of the trade that maybe people fail to mention or often overlook?

I’ve always been very private about my writing so for those of you that are also that way, is there advice you can give on being more comfortable sharing my work?

Also, if you have any advice on the best approach to publishing or your opinions on traditional vs self pub… I’d love to know that also.


#2

Well, first off you can start with getting people to crit-read your story before it is fully published. Getting a lot of followers and having good relationships with people is important because they can help you to get more reads,votes,follows and ect. The more followers you have a good reputation with, the better your chance of getting your story read. If you wish to actually publish the book for purchase then i recommend seeing how well it is read on Wattpad or even Quotev first. If it is well read the you can use that as a reason to publish and if any publisher has doubts, you can show them how well read and reviewed your story is.


#3

Is getting people to crit-read different from seeking a beta read or editor?


#4

Yes.

A critique partner reads and gives feedback chapter-by-chapter, generally as it’s being written. Critique partners are usually other writers and can give feedback on craft and story.

A beta reader reads the completed manuscript from the perspective of a READER and tells you what they like, dislike, where it’s slow, where it’s confusing, and so forth.

There are different types of editors:

  • Developmental editors focus on structure and story.
  • Line editors focus on the writing.
  • Copy editors focus on mechanics and details. A proofreader is a type of copy editor.

#5

Grow thick skin. Don’t take criticism personally. Learn from it.

Beta readers are critical. You might be able to self-edit and don’t need an editor, but how you think your novel reads and how your target audience reads it could be greatly different.


#6

My recommendation would be to write a good, solid synopsis NOW, and let it be torn apart. If there are holes in your structure, you want to know that as soon as possible. Finding out when you think you’re done SUCKS.


#7

What would your suggestions be on finding a good crit partner? Should I seek one on wattpad? And would putting my story on wattpad be considered a type of beta read since technically it is a bunch of people viewing it.

To be honest, I have no idea how to even write a synopsis or what it involves. I’m assuming it’s different from a blurb?

I’m definitely going to have to work on this. Any advice on how to separate the harsh yet helpful comments and the ones that are just harsh? I know if something is repeatedly brought up in comments then it a general flaw in the story vs personal opinion. Best ways to ease the ‘ouch’ from the blunt people that’ll read and may not like it?


#8

Are they commenting on your writing or you? It’s that simple. Also, they may not be right.

Just be open minded.


#9

I’ll do my best to, it can be hard sometimes I’m sure.


#10

Crit partners are GOLD – and just as hard to find. You have to find people who are equal or better writers than you, and who want the same kind of crits that you do. You may go through a lot of partners before you find the right ones!

I’ve always done in-person crit groups. Places to look include conferences, local writers orgs, bulletin boards at my college, bulletin boards at the library, and among friends, classmates, and coworkers with the same interests. Every group is a little different – different personalities, different meeting schedule, different set up, different expectations. Like I said, you have to keep looking until you find people who click!

Very. A synopsis is a description of your novel’s plot and character arcs, including the ending. Its purpose is to convince an agent or publisher that you know how to organize and pace a novel. In this case, of course, you’re using it to make sure your organization and pacing are solid BEFORE you approach an agent or publisher.

The most common length for a synopsis is 1000 words – two pages, single spaced. It’s not uncommon to be asked for other lengths, however. I’ve seen everything from one double-spaced page to ten double-spaced pages. You don’t have to worry about length at this point.

Synopsis tips:

–Do NOT do a chapter-by-chapter summary.

–Imagine how you would tell the story to a friend. A synopsis is similar.

–Focus on the main plot line and the character arcs of the main characters. Simplify if you need to.

–Do not include every subplot or every character. Mention as few names as possible. For secondary characters than need to be mentioned, use relationship descriptions instead like JIM’S MOTHER as much as possible. Rule of thumb, only 5 or fewer names, CAPPED on first use.

–Writing counts. Like the query, write the synopsis in third-person even if the novel is in first-person. Make sure the synopsis reflects the style and voice of the novel, but again like the query, don’t write it from the point of view or voice of a specific character. (Again, don’t stress too much about this for this version.)

–Have people who are unfamiliar with your book read your synopsis and give you feedback. Note where they got confused and what they had questions about. You don’t want to leave an agent confused.

–Answer ALL of the reviewers questions to their satisfaction, and rewrite until reviewers are satisfied. If you are unable to answer their questions or they are confused by or dissatisfied with the answers, you may well have discovered a problem in the manuscript. This is a GOOD thing, even though it’s painful at the time.

One of the differences between a newbie amateur and a professional writer is a desire to get better, even when that requires rewriting that novel for the third, fourth, or tenth time. Painful feedback SUCKS, but it makes you better.

It’s also a necessity if you’re going to successfully traditionally publish. If your reviewers are identifying holes in your story, it’s a given that an agent or publisher will. Listen to that niggle in your gut: fix the problems before you submit and blow your chance with an agent.


#11

One more suggestion: Start studying the industry, both trad pub and self pub, NOW. Publishing a book is similar to starting a business. If you go into it uneducated, you are BEGGING to be taken advantage of.


#12

Clearly I have some research to do.

For the synopsis. What are your suggestions for finding people that may be willing to look it over and give advice? I remember seeing on wattpad once someone had posted one. Is that a good idea? Personally, I think it runs risk of someone online reading and mimicking your story but if you live in an area that may not have local writing clubs, what do you think is the best solution.

The reason I ask is because I live in the mountains and while it is a busy town, it is mostly tourists. We are largely a summer and winter economy, during fall and spring there is a very distinct shoulder season. I know we have a very small local publishing house that just opened but I’m unsure if they offer groups or anything around those lines. I’ll have to see but if they don’t, the next best choice in your opinion?

Also… Just to make sure I’m getting the general idea for synopsis. It’s a very very cut down version of the plot and characters? I’ve done some googling and it looks like that’s what it is. I’d love to see an example but I can’t find any so I’ll have to keep looking.

(PS: Have you been published or are looking to be published? You seem pretty knowledgeable. EDIT: Read your bio. You’re published :joy: )


#13

:grin:

There was a person here – @Ctyolene – who specialized in ripping apart peoples’ synopses. I haven’t seen her in a while, but I bet she’d still do it. I recommend emailing her: cytolene@gmail.com (yes, it’s spelled differently). The worst that could happen is that she says no.

Yes, it’s a streamlined description of the plot and characters. It’s detailed enough, though, that she should be able to tell what’s going on.

If she asks questions, don’t get frustrated. You WANT her to dig in and find the holes. Trust me, she’s not seeing anything that an agent or publisher wouldn’t see.


#14

I would suggest starting with QueryTracker, they have a synopsis forum. Read the pinned thread which has a number of resources for writing different length synopsis. Then you can read the ones others have posted for critique to get a better feel for them. You can also post yours there for feedback once you’re ready.

For finding critique parters I’ve also used online sites, these were my main ones:
Critters.org
Author Salon
Critique Circle

I also found this article that lists 40 places to find CPs. Just remember its a bit like joining a dating site, you need to find the right match :slight_smile:


#15

Thank you! I obviously don’t have one written right now but I’m going to do some research and get started on one. I’ll send her an email when it’s finished :smiley: You’ve been so helpful I really can’t thank you enough.

(May or may name drop wattpad to see if it’ll up my chances of her saying yes.)


#16

Amazing, thank you!

I’m going to check them out now. Do you have a favorite among the sites you’ve listed?


#17

For critique I spent a lot of time on Author Salon, but be warned its very intensive/high level. You make your own critique group on there (assuming it hasn’t changed too much since I last used it! lol) and you move through the levels with that particular group. You are expected to give critique as well as put your book up for critique. They have agents who frequent the site now to look at books that have been through the critique system.


#18

That does sound pretty intense but probably incredibly helpful


#19

I second asking Ctyolene. She’s really good.

However, just like everyone else, she has biases. We all have. She reviewed my synopsis for my first novel. The novel’s theme is revenge. One of my main characters is a cop who’s revenging his sister’s rape (he can’t live with the guilt because he blames himself) and is hunting down and killing the rapists.

Ctyolene said the character is not likable so, as a hero, it doesn’t work. I pointed out the movie “Death Wish,” “Dirty Harry,” even that Jack Reacher kills the bad guy in cold blood at the end of the first novel, and others. She didn’t buy it because, to her, the hero cannot do those bad things. No matter what the reason.

Obviously, she’s not my targeted reader. I would expect the comment from a Beta reader, but not a Development editor which is what she’s basically doing by tearing your synopsis apart.

But, as I said, she’s great.


#20

I’m guessing that this could also fall into the ‘take everything with a grain of salt’ category. Since there can be biases with everyone, do you think it’d be beneficial to have multiple people read and review your synopsis? Just like with crit partners and beta readers.