Interesting site for unpublished fiction authors...

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Re: Interesting site for unpublished fiction authors...

Postby Jelboy » Sun Apr 17, 2011 10:53 am

Bloodsage wrote:Sorry if I seem overly negative-- My main philosophical issue is the self-publishing craze, which has littered the literary landscape with poorly executed wannabes and seriously dragged down the e-book scene..


The world wide web is littered with poor quality websites, you managed to find this one though didn't you? All selfpublished enovels need is a new form of gatekeeper, to help you find those that are good. it does not have to be a traditional publisher. It might be a search engine for enovels or a directory, etc.
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Re: Interesting site for unpublished fiction authors...

Postby LordLucan » Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:25 pm

Squiggle wrote:Trouble is, I barely have time to read the books I want to read and even less time to write the book I want to write.

If I ever actually finished it, then I'm going to try and get it properly published. There is no way I've the time, money or inclination for this type of dabbling!


What if nobody took up your novel, and the publishers never told you why? I suppose you could get feedback here or with other friends who'd read and comment on your story. However, you still couldn't be sure the things your friends pointed out was why the story wasn't taken on. This site would let you get feedback from the people actually buying it.

Again, I don't think of this as an alternative or the sole outlet of an author's stuff, just that it is a useful tool, which might earn you a little bit of money (of course not alot, but still).
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
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Re: Interesting site for unpublished fiction authors...

Postby Jelboy » Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:31 pm

is this your site, LL, or do you work for it?

Also... I signed up last week - still can't seem to do much on the site yet.
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Re: Interesting site for unpublished fiction authors...

Postby LordLucan » Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:40 pm

I don't work for them and it isn't my site. I just thought it looked cool.
Check out my debut fantasy novel from Fox Spirit Books, The Hobgoblin's Herald (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hobgoblins-Herald-R-Aston/dp/1910462047). If you've read it, please rate and review it on amazon; I'd be eternally grateful. The sequel, Eater of Names, is out in 2018, so watch this space.
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Re: Interesting site for unpublished fiction authors...

Postby Bloodsage » Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:54 pm

Jelboy wrote:
Bloodsage wrote:Sorry if I seem overly negative-- My main philosophical issue is the self-publishing craze, which has littered the literary landscape with poorly executed wannabes and seriously dragged down the e-book scene..


The world wide web is littered with poor quality websites, you managed to find this one though didn't you? All selfpublished enovels need is a new form of gatekeeper, to help you find those that are good. it does not have to be a traditional publisher. It might be a search engine for enovels or a directory, etc.


Your first sentence seems to be a non sequitur.

As for the rest, there's already a gatekeeper: publishers. The problem is when people blame the publishing industry for their own inability to write, and start looking for easy ways to get around the "obstacle" instead of learning to write better, leading to the situation I described. My point is that it's a bad thing to encourage everyone and their grandmothers to dash off novels/stories/whatever and publish on their own. It might give the wannabe authors a warm fuzzy, but it creates hell on earth for readers.

Finally, there are already plenty of search engines; not sure how you propose to engineer one that can search on quality of writing, however.
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Re: Interesting site for unpublished fiction authors...

Postby shadowhawk2008 » Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:58 pm

Ratings. Each short story, novel, novella etc is given a rating say out of 30 for three different criteria. You just search accordingly.

Within a short time, there will be enough 'quality' sites that keep popping up. And within these sites you can search for the appropriate text.
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Re: Interesting site for unpublished fiction authors...

Postby Bloodsage » Sun Apr 17, 2011 1:16 pm

Because of course there'd be no way to influence anonymous internet ratings....

The point is, how is that any better than the current system, except for people who think they can write but can't? Any such system needs to better for readers.
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Re: Interesting site for unpublished fiction authors...

Postby Eremite » Sun Apr 17, 2011 1:24 pm

One assumes/hopes that, in addition to dull numerical ratings, stories have actual reviews that can provide some glimpses as to quality. Sure, some reviews would be useless and they'd be inconsistent, but if someone, for example, pointed our appalling comma usage or overly florid lamguage you'd know to give something a miss (or not, whatebver floats your boat)...
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Re: Interesting site for unpublished fiction authors...

Postby Bloodsage » Sun Apr 17, 2011 1:44 pm

Which begs the big question: why put readers through all that by destroying any quality control mechanism? Why contribute to the vast amount of internet jetsam simply for the sake of stroking the egos of wannabe authors?

I think many people vastly overestimate the amount of untapped writing talent out there waiting to be published.

Why is this new system an improvement?
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Re: Interesting site for unpublished fiction authors...

Postby Jelboy » Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:13 pm

But there's also a lot of tat out there that publishers have published. A lot of publishers probably use eng lit graduate submission editors, which might have a different opinion of cool writing, to me. So maybe there are novels unpublished I'd have liked to read but never got the chance to see the light of day.
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Re: Interesting site for unpublished fiction authors...

Postby Bloodsage » Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:09 pm

You're confusing taste with quality. Not the same thing.
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Re: Interesting site for unpublished fiction authors...

Postby Jelboy » Mon Apr 18, 2011 7:45 am

Many immensely popular novels were rejected by lots of publishers and agents before finally getting published. How many novels might have been very popular to the broad public of readers (whose opinion you consider subjective taste as compared to submission editors whose opinion you consider objective quality) but were rejected by all the publishers/agents they were sent to and so we've never had the chance to read them?

How many Tolkiens, Stephen Kings, Grishams, Rowlings, etc never saw print?
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Re: Interesting site for unpublished fiction authors...

Postby Pipitán » Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:28 am

I'm with Bloodsage in that the publishing industry is a very good thing in terms of quality control.

Using some very rare examples of when eventual best sellers haven't been picked up first time (Rowling and William Golding being the two examples I can remember), doesn't discredit the entire industry. How many hundreds of thousands of actual bad novels have they correctly disregarded as crap, and how many thousands of novels have they nurtured into being great? This seems like a bit of a silly argument to me. Imagine if, instead of combing through them for stories of very high standard, BL just published all of the 700 or so submissions they get every year. How nightmarish would it be to have to trawl through volumes and volumes of door-stopper anthologies to find that one good one in all the rubbish (or even if not rubbish, just not quite there yet stuff). Also, if it wasn't really quite hard to get properly published, and you could just self-publish your novel with the click of a button after the first draft, I doubt writers would be pushing themselves and trying to improve as much as they do to get published.

That said, of course in regards to the website that was originally the point of the thread, it seems like a fine idea for getting writers to be able to improve their work before then trying to get published properly.
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Re: Interesting site for unpublished fiction authors...

Postby Jelboy » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:53 am

I'm not saying the publishing industry hasn't got an existing (even major) role to play in the future. And I have said in earlier posts the self-publishing industry will need to evolve some sort of quality control system.

But there are authors that struggled to be published before becoming very popular (I believe Grisham is such a case).

Also, there is Amanda Hocking who couldn't get published by the traditional publishing industry, and so self-published and is now a millionaire because a lot of teenagers find her novels great.

There are a growing band of self-publishers that earn hundreds or thousands a month from their novels, which the traditional industry wouldn't publish.

The existing traditional publishing industry is not infallible.

I'm still personally going the rounds with my novel, with traditional agents, and haven't hit the publishers yet. But I'm considering self-publishing if I get nowhere.

I've had some good comments from agents so far, and one asked for my entire manuscript to read off the back of the 3 chapter submission. According to stats that meant she found my submission in the top 5% of those sent to her. If she'd thought it in the top 1-2% she'd have taken me on.

I guess anything from 50 to 90% of submissions sent to agents/publishers would not be of much interest outside of the writers own circle of friends and family. The top 1% are a cert for agents and publishers. That leaves a gray area maybe 3% to 50% (probably about 10%) of submissions that readers might buy in reasonable numbers if self published at competitive prices - but publishers would consider too risky for their profit line.

Therefore, I think there is a big future in self-published enovels.
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Re: Interesting site for unpublished fiction authors...

Postby Remerez » Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:52 pm

Jelboy wrote:But there are authors that struggled to be published before becoming very popular (I believe Grisham is such a case).

Which is indicative of what, exactly? There are all manner of mitigating factors which may force a publisher to reject a manuscript, not just quality. Publishers may already have similar novels to what you're submitting. They might currently be looking for something specific. Personal preference, over-saturated markets, simple bad luck, and so on and so on.

That a novel is deserving of publication is not a guarantee that it will ever be. Sometimes that's just the way it goes.

The existing traditional publishing industry is not infallible.

Of course not, it's run by people ;)

Also, there is Amanda Hocking who couldn't get published by the traditional publishing industry, and so self-published and is now a millionaire because a lot of teenagers find her novels great.

I may have missed something, but it seems to me that the examples of successful self-publishing all seem to share the common factor of self-publishing being a last resort which, in itself, speaks volumes. At the moment I wouldn’t consider self-publication a viable alternative to the traditional means of publication. Aside from anything else, you have to overcome the massive stigma that's still attached to it.

Having said that, I see no reason to completely dismiss self-publication. As has been stated numerous times already, the potential for success is undeniably there. However, there are always exceptions to prove a rule and I would strenuously advise avoidance unless all other avenues have been exhausted.

That said, consider the source :)
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Re: Interesting site for unpublished fiction authors...

Postby Jelboy » Mon Apr 18, 2011 5:53 pm

Remerez wrote:
Jelboy wrote:But there are authors that struggled to be published before becoming very popular (I believe Grisham is such a case).

Which is indicative of what, exactly?


:o

If there are various people who were on the verge of giving up trying to get published, but succeeded 'with their last grenade' so to speak (and succeeded at all levels), the laws of probability would suggest that there are also those who did give up that could have gone on to have various amounts of happy readers - if someone had bothered to publish them.

Remerez wrote:
Also, there is Amanda Hocking who couldn't get published by the traditional publishing industry, and so self-published and is now a millionaire because a lot of teenagers find her novels great.

I may have missed something, but it seems to me that the examples of successful self-publishing all seem to share the common factor of self-publishing being a last resort which, in itself, speaks volumes.


Amanda Hocking's novel doesn't cut the mustard taking the traditional approach, but by self-publishing she becomes a best seller and a millionaire. Umm..... duh... yeah - that does speak volumes to me. :lol: :roll:

At the moment the traditional publishing industry is the preferred route, agreed, mostly because of its ability to market a novel, and its reputation. But, there are a growing number of people who find it works for them to self-publish. Being able to undercut the prices of traditional publishers, and being able to take a huge royalty of the novel price compared to traditional royalties are huge advantages in themselves.

Enovels in general are on the rise. Traditional bookshops in general are struggling. Self publishers and non traditional enovel publishers in particular are on the rise with their in sales on Amazon. It remains to be seen whether the traditional publishing industry will respond by marketing their enovels at a cheaper price, or stay unchanged in the belief their niche is safe. Possibly selfpublished enovels are a fad that will blow over, possibly they're the mammals chewing at the Saurian redbricks. Actually its hard to predict exactly where the novel market will be in 5 years time (and my own opinion varies). If my life depended on it I'd guess that cheap range enovels will be a strong feature in 5 years.


Remerez wrote: At the moment I wouldn’t consider self-publication a viable alternative to the traditional means of publication. Aside from anything else, you have to overcome the massive stigma that's still attached to it.


If you write, you're perfectly entitled to take whatever approach to sell your fiction that suits you - if you end up getting published by BL or TOR or BAEN, after being taken on by DavidHigham or ChristopherLittle - well, good for you and maybe I'll buy the novel. ;)

If you don't quite make that far, and decide to leave your manuscript in the drawer... well that's your choice.

The stigma of self-publishing is dropping, probably because there's a difference between paying some publisher a grand to publish 50 copies of a paperback, compared to getting a pal to make a good cover, a few pals to hard edit/critique your novel - and then publish it for free on amazon. It's far less of a pratfall if you fail.
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Re: Interesting site for unpublished fiction authors...

Postby Bloodsage » Mon Apr 18, 2011 6:53 pm

So there are a few examples of good writers who struggled to find publishers, and a few who've hit it big through self-publishing. That logically proves nothing. The real question is what percentage of people self-publishing through e-books have that potential. It's a vanishingly small percentage. So what is the overall value of flooding the market with uncontrolled, unvetted, er, stuff, on the off chance that somewhere, buried in the muck, will be that one story worth reading that might not otherwise have been published?
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Re: Interesting site for unpublished fiction authors...

Postby LordLucan » Mon Apr 18, 2011 7:11 pm

Bloodsage wrote: on the off chance that somewhere, buried in the muck, will be that one story worth reading that might not otherwise have been published


There needs to be another reason in addition to this one?

Some people are willing to sift through 'muck'. Nobody is saying that this should replace or become the norm for publishing. I just think people shouldn't have to discard submission which failed to be published in the mainstream fashion. The founder of the website seems to think self-published ebooks are a growing market (and I suppose those of us who are going to try out this experiment shall find out soon enough). Also, the sample provided on the website would give an indication of the quality of the author I'd assume. One doesn't have to buy a story one thinks will be dreadful.

Writing should be successful through customers liking your story and being willing to pay for it. That should be the principle I think, and mainstream publishers will always be the primary arbiters of such material.
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Re: Interesting site for unpublished fiction authors...

Postby Bloodsage » Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:30 pm

I think the fundamental difference is I'm the only one approaching this situation as a reader. From that perspective, it's a nightmare. Sure, if one is an aspiring writer, I can see the appeal...although, to be brutally honest I'd have to point out that the vast majority of rejections aren't, "Wow! What a great story! Too bad it's not what the market wanted right now."

That's the point I'm not sure is getting across: for every worthwhile story self-published, there will be hundreds of, shall we say, questionable quality. It's already there on Amazon & iBooks: it's hard to find new material because all the self-published tripe is clogging the system.

Like I said earlier, I've nothing against this site as a way for aspiring writers to hone their craft. Maybe having to pay will make people be a bit more serious about critiques. It's the idea that flooding the market with drivel is somehow a good thing just because it allows people to claim, "Look! I'm published!" and there might, maybe, somewhere, be a decent story that otherwise wouldn't have made the cut. As a reader, I'm not sure either of those is a) my problem or b) a good thing. :D
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