So, what next…?

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So I’ve handed in the rewrite of Baby X to my publisher, and it’s too early to expect comments back yet.   I’m thinking about what to do next.

I’ve got two other ‘completed’ manuscripts I want to get out there, a middle-grade novel called Seal Skin and a YA novel called He, She, It.

By ‘completed’ I mean that in each case I got to the end of a first draft, then I went back to the beginning and edited (draft 2).  Then I got a few trusted reader and writer friends to read the manuscript, and waited for their comments.  Then I let the comments sink in for a while, and only then, on the basis of these comments and further thoughts I’d had in the meantime, I edited again (draft 3).

Then I sent each book out to agents.  Each book got some positive attention, but no one took the punt on signing me.

Which means that at the moment I don’t have a publisher for either book, or an agent working to get them out into the world.  They’re finished, but not Finished.

So, what next?

Obviously, I’m hoping that having one book out there already will lend me credibility, open doors.  But in the immediate term it isn’t going to get those other two novels published.

And I’ve got a new idea gnawing at me, so there’s a part of me that would really like to start working on that.

I’m not afraid of hard work, and I don’t mind rewriting.  And yes, the first draft is mega exciting, but I’ve found ways to love rewriting too.   I’ve been rewriting Baby X since last summer after all.  But that was different, because I knew there was someone out there who believed in the book and was excited to read the new version.   Now it’s back to rewriting on spec, with no one to send the book out to at the end of the process.

That’s not quite true – a number of agents were interested in He, She, It.  One even sent me pages and pages of enthusiastic comments and constructive criticism, and said she’d be interested to read a rewrite.  But I also know from bitter experience that ‘interested to read’ is nowhere near a sure thing.  Who knows how she and her list might have moved on in the last eighteen months? And if I rewrite, will she actually like this version anymore than the last one?

Another agent expressed an interest in reading another draft of Seal Skin, but suggested I get it professionally edited first.   Professional editing might be the way forward, but costs a lot of money, is no sure-fire route to success.

To complicate matters further, advice from agents and writer friends hasn’t been at all consistent.   I’ve been advised not to rewrite anything on spec on the basis of agents’ comments, but to start something new, in the hope that I produce a book that chimes sufficiently with the what the market is looking for, and hooks me an agent who can move my career forward.

I’d love to hear what other #WhatI’mWriting authors think about this dilemma, and how you’ve chosen to deal with it.

 

Writing Bubble

11 thoughts on “So, what next…?

  1. Maddy@writingbubble

    Firstly, congratulations on getting a publisher for your novel – that’s a huge step! It also sounds like there’s a lot of exciting feedback going on with your other work. I know that positive comments aren’t the same as a ‘yes’ to publishing your work or making you a client but you clearly have a talent that is recognised in the industry or you wouldn’t have got that feedback. This suggests to me that perseverance will get you what you want sooner or later. It’s tricky when advice is inconsistent but I think that’s the nature of the beast with writing – everyone has their own opinion and they can all be considered ‘right’ and ‘wrong’! I’m also wondering what to do about feedback I’ve just received… make all the suggested changes? Some of them? Although the editor did say to me to follow my heart as her opinion was subjective so perhaps that’s what you need to do to. Welcome to our #WhatImWriting linky anyway! Hopefully we can be a useful sounding board. xx

    Reply
    1. Becky Post author

      Thanks very much Maddy, I’m very excited about #WhatImWriting – there are some great bloggers linked in, and a wealth of advice and support. I was glad to hear the feedback you received recently was positive and encouraging. I can relate to that thing of pondering what to do next with it though… it always takes me ages to work out how I feel about feedback, even if it’s positive!

      Reply
  2. Chrissie (@rantybeast)

    Well done with the publisher. Second drafts are where I fall down as I generally have to rip the guts out of the first draft and turn it into something new because the first draft is so full of holes that it’s completely unusable. I’d say start something new. See what comes out. Leave the others to cool for a while longer so you can decide what’s best for you and them x

    Reply
    1. Becky Post author

      Thanks Chrissie – glad to hear someone else has the problems I have with first drafts!

      Reply
  3. Mummy Tries

    Hi Becky,

    Firstly congrats on securing a publisher, no mean feat in this day and age! I agree with Chrissy, let the other manuscripts cool down and go back to them with properly fresh eyes. If you’re writing in the mean time then great.

    I’m afraid I don’t have much advice for you, as I self-published my first and only book. I just knew when it was ready to press the publish button if that makes sense? It’s one of those things that you just instinctively know… I mean we could faff around and tweak forever, but then you might be in danger of over editing.

    Sorry this has become a bit of an essay. Best of luck and welcome to #whatimwriting 🙂

    Reply
    1. Becky Post author

      Thanks. It’s interesting that you know when something is finished, because I’m not sure I’ve worked that out yet! I think you’re right that there’s a danger of over editing, though. Thanks for the advice on leaving things to cool – that makes sense.

      Reply
  4. Nicola Young

    I definitely wouldn’t re write for one agent, but take on board the comments and I only make changes if you feel they need to be done. It’s sounds like you are on the right lines with your work judging by the interest you’ve had so far. Keep going. Perhaps it’s more a case of having not found the right agent. There are so many out there.

    Reply
  5. Iona@Redpeffer

    I’m not sure i have much in the way of advice. My own experience is that I;m at the stage of waiting for feedback from beta readers before deciding which way forward. I’m not against self publishing and am considering it. I’ll probably try both routes. But I agree with Maddy, any positive comments are encouraging considering how many manuscripts they must read-to take the time to send these comments back to you indicates an interest that is worth holding on to.

    Reply
  6. Becky Post author

    Thanks Nicola and Iona, it’s really helpful to hear your comments – and so nice to be able to share this stuff with other writers!

    Reply
  7. Emily Organ

    I suppose it’s quite nice to have a dilemma like this because it shows you’re getting somewhere with your writing! Having listened to a lot of agents at the London Book Fair recently I would say definitely don’t rewrite for an agent who isn’t going to take you on (and don’t get a professional edit either). When an agent signs you they often suggest rewrites before they approach publishers and then the publisher works on the final edits with you. The only reason to get a professional edit yourself is if you’re self publishing. That said, if you’re constantly being turned down it might be worth a rewrite, but personally I’d do that in response to what your beta readers are saying. Or there’s self publishing! Good luck with the next step.

    Reply
    1. Becky Post author

      That’s really interesting Emily, thanks for your input. I’m quite confused about this professional edit business to be honest – a few agents have suggested it, but it feels like a BIG financial risk for me (and I wonder if they *really* saw promise in the book, they’d take me on while I work on it, right?) But I don’t know – other people are telling me the industry has changed so much, and this is what happens now… I’d love to hear more about what you learned at the LBF.

      Reply

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