Why I’ve decided to pursue trade publication

I’ve decided to pursue trade (traditional) publication. Here I try to explain the madness that led to this decision.

If you know me, you’ll know you I’m a firm supporter of all writers, whether they write for themselves or an audience, whether they’re self-published or big five-published (except for total jerks–I’m slightly less supportive of them).

I started researching how to publish in 2006 when self-publishing was still very much fringe. (Not by coincidence, this was the year I first completed a first draft. It was 200k words long.)

At the time I was a long way from being ready to publish and I knew it, but I always intended to pursue trade publication.

When I came back to writing seriously a few years ago, the publishing landscape was unrecognisable. I redid my research, and concluded that self-publishing was now a real option, but I still wasn’t sure if it was the right option for me.

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The obligatory writer’s block post

You can start open battles in the streets of writing forums by claiming that writer’s block doesn’t exist. It’s not exactly that I’m going to do that…

Everyone who blogs about writing should discuss writer’s block sooner or later. Sometimes I blog about writing, so I’ve decided this includes me.

I’ve avoided writing about writer’s block until now because I haven’t known what to say, but today I sat down to write a blog post and drew a blank, so voila!

(Okay there was the post about solutions to fantasy writer’s block, but that doesn’t count.)

If you head to certain parts of the web, you’ll see writers arguing about whether writer’s block exists at all. The arguments tend to go something like this:

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A rant about the glorious agony of revising

If this post had a point I’d state it here. It doesn’t. It’s just me ranting about the revision I’m working on. But don’t worry, I love revising.

If you’ve been following the saga of my revision (on my blog, in my monthly updates, on Twitter, or through a psychic connection) you’ll know I shared my sixth draft with my wonderful critique partner, Anna Kaling.

She gave me great suggestions about how I could cut length (my draft is 156k and I want it down to 120k) and make the story more compelling.

This was the first time I’d shared a complete(ish) novel of mine with anyone. It was scary and thrilling.

Since getting Anna’s feedback I’ve been through a number of stages.

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Excitement and dealing with feedback

My awesome critique partner gave me a pile of suggestions for how I might shorten my manuscript. Here’s my plan for dealing with them.

If you get my monthly digest, you might know that I recently finished the fifth draft of my work in progress (WIP) and enlisted the help of my wonderful critique partner, Anna Kaling, to figure out how to cut 40k words.

Anna got back to me at 3am this morning, and all I could do before work was read her email in a whirlwind of excitement. (Don’t you hate it when real life gets in the way of writing?)

She had some very encouraging things to say, and she suggested some characters and plot threads that she found less than essential to the story.

I was thrilled by her reaction. Then her suggested excisions sank in.

But everything needs to be there!

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Should you write for money or for art?

In the nether-reaches of the internet, shadowy figures argue whether authors who write for money are sellouts. These are their opinions.

If you push aside enough cobwebs, wander down enough dank corridors, and tiptoe through enough iron-bound doors you might find yourself in the nether-reaches of the web where shadowy figures debate the question of whether writing should be about money or art.

I confess I have no strong views on this matter, but that’s not an interesting way to approach a question, so for the purposes of this post let’s pretend I have all the strong views.

In case your socks got too wet and your candle burned out before you reached this nether-web, here are some of the arguments that may or may not be bandied about.

Against art: Writing only thinking about yourself is self-indulgent.

Against money: Trying to write what you think readers want is the best way to produce vanilla, derivative stories.

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