The Astral Pulse

The Astral Library => Welcome to Writers Corner! => Topic started by: Robert Bruce on June 24, 2003, 03:30:03

Title: Thank you Robert
Post by: Robert Bruce on June 24, 2003, 03:30:03
G'day Timeless!

First, an appology.  I kind of accidentally deleted the other topic in Astral Chat.... groan.  I posted a couple of extensive posts and then a friend turned up and distracted me while I was trying to fix the formatting on the outline article, and I pushed the wrong button and 'poof!' the topic was gone forever, lost in the astral realm of good intentions.

To get published these days is very difficult.  Most writers can paper a wall in rejection slips before they get seriously published. And unfortunately, 99.99% of writers give up long before this happens.

I got a rejection slip once, but only because the publisher was swamped on books they had to produce.  I sold the book the very next try.

What you need is a plan.  Many fine books are rejected simply because the author is unknown, and it would thus be difficult to market their books.  Because of this, tis advisable to seek to become known beforehand.  This is best done by writing and placing articles and short stories, and by winning awards. This is a kind of invisible apprenticeship.

Added to this, the writing discipline must of course be gained. This is the force that drives one back to one's keyboard every day.

As for the outline method, I'll repost it soon as I fix the formatting, which is crucial.

But its fine to use other methods, as long as they are clear and easy to understand at a glance. For fiction, it can be better to include a mini synopsis for each chapter.

Yes, I think the E book idea is good. Writers can also do same on and etc.  

As for agents, hmmm, yes, there are loads of flakey ones around that are more interested in taking your money than marketing your books. Most of those that charge a monthly fee are suspect.  The most a 'real' agent will do is ask for a reading fee, to cover their time reading an ms and deciding if they will take it up and etc. After this, a real agent will wear all costs as this is part of what they do for their eventual percentage.

More later........

Take care, Robert.

Title: Thank you Robert
Post by: jilola on June 24, 2003, 11:03:49
Also, I know of a person who took a roundabout way to getting published.
He wrote a book, a collection of short stories actually, and published a small run of it out of his own pocket. He even sold some of them.
The point wasn't selling the lot but creating an entry in his resume. That servered two goals, one being that he can now claim he's been published and the other that he's demostrated his passion for getting his works out in the public. The latter is especially good because it shows that you're willing to work to get the stuff out.

I don't know how well that would work elsewhere but for him it opened some important doors.

2cents & L&L

Title: Thank you Robert
Post by: Adrian on June 24, 2003, 16:36:27
Greetings everyone,

It is a well known fact that many, many of the most famous authors were rejected time and again.

I believe even J. K. Rowling was rejected by the first seven publishers she approached. Bloomsbury Childrens Books are certainly reaping their rewards for recognising Harry Potter in the UK [:)] The USA publishers are Scholastic, but they might have taken the books on in retrospect after the UK success. J. K. Rowling says in her interview, that the USA advance was enough to put a deposit on a house, and that was quite something!

Here is the link again - this interview is very inspirational!

With best regards,


Title: Thank you Robert
Post by: Links Shadow on June 24, 2003, 23:47:01
timeless, if you don't mind me asking what is your book or whatever it is your writing about?

Links Shadow

Title: Thank you Robert
Post by: Robert Bruce on June 25, 2003, 05:45:35
G'day Folks!

To become a writer is to become incapable of doing anything else.

Yes, a new topic on 'agents' is a good idea.

If a temporary copyright agency costs more than a few dollars I'd think twice about it. Every man and his dog is trying to make a buck out of new writers.  And it is well known that new writers are overprotective of their work. Theft of intellectual property, especially fiction ideas, is actually quite rare.

Yes, E books are a good way to go and they have huge potential for the future.

Supply on demand publishing is also good. I know a couple of writers who have been successful in this arena.

Every country and state has some kind of government agency who's mission is to promote local writers. These should be the first port of call for any new writer.

Anyone who plans to tackle a novel is well advised to master the short story format first. Short stories are also quite easy to sell, magazines and etc, as are articles. If you look at it, a novel is just a collection of very closely related short stories, so the skills are needed.

What you read while you write will affect what and how you write. So be careful what you read.

Write 'something' every day, even if its only a few lines. This keeps the 'writing process' ticking over so the ideas keep coming.

The self publishing idea to gain kudos is not too bad if you have nothing to put in your resume'. But any serious publisher will see through this very quickly. Giving away your work is another idea, eg, write stuff to give away on the net. Everything should of course contain a copyright notice, but doing this will get a lot of people to read your work. This is what I did, even though I had no plans on becoming a writer, which was an accident.

We are hoping to start a monthly newsletter soon and may be open to accepting short stories and articles for this, should anyone feel like submitting for this platform when its functional.

We'll also have an e book store. Authors can sell their work there, and also give stuff away like books, feature articles and short stories, etc.

Frank Herbert, author of the 'Dune' saga, was rejected 'hundreds' of times because it was too 'weird'.  Then one day Frank 'accidentally' sent his ms to a publisher of auto workshop manuals. The editor, who happened to be a sci fi buff, liked it so much he changed directions and published what was to become a great best seller.

Steven King started as a writer of mainstream fiction, unpublished for many years. He became friendly with a publisher and send in some of his work. The publisher liked the work, but it did not quite fit his list, so he asked for more. This went on for some time and eventually King ran out of ms's. The publisher once again asked for more and, having nothing else, sent in a rough ms of a story he had been working on for fun. Horror was just his hobby.  He sent in the ms for 'Christine' .... and the rest is history.

Take care, Robert.

Title: Thank you Robert
Post by: PeacefulWarrior on June 26, 2003, 05:28:39
The monthy newsletter and the chance to have short stories and ebooks put online sounds great.  I have short story I have been working on for sometime and although I am usually tentative about having my work out in the open, I think it's time that I do.

Title: Thank you Robert
Post by: Robert Bruce on June 28, 2003, 02:33:51
G'day Folks!

Yes, everything you have written that has been published in any way should be added to your kudo list. You will find you can do quite a bit in presenting such stuff 'creatively', so it goes from droll to interesting.

Your work as a technical writer means you can say you have a background in technical writing, etc, which is another good point.

Its all in 'how' you write this.

Technical writing and fiction writing are not that dissimilar. Writing is writing and once you become a writer you can write 'anything'.

Have you ever heard of the 'million word rule'?  This was coined at a sci fi convention (James Tiptree Jrn, I think), and its fairly accurate. The rule is that you have to write one million words for publication before you can write one publishable word. When I signed my first contract I went back through my files and did a rough count and, yup, I was just over the 1mil word count.

Becoming a writer involves programming the mind with words and a certain level of communication ability. Its all about that flow of words and turn of phrase that a writer has. Its also about kick starting the subconscious mind and creative ability, eg, the muse.

My first article, 500 words, which I wrote about 1991/2, took me 5 months to get right. But its been downhill ever since. At first you struggle with how to say a thing just right, but after awhile it just comes to you much easier, and the more you write the easier it comes.

You get better at writing the more you do it. Its kinda like karate. I have had a lot of practice.  These days, my first draft is almost publishable quality.

There are also a lot of devices you need to learn. You'll find out about these as you devour writers books.

Brevity is the heart and soul of written language. Its all about stimulating the illusion in the reader's mind.

For example, if I gave you 10 minutes exactly to describe an African sunset as tightly and briefly as possible, what would you have at the end of it?

Some of you may like to take this challenge, and I'll comment on all that are posted.

Two books I recommend are"

The Art and Craft of Novel Writing (Author?)
Reader Over My Shoulder (Author?)

The last may read (over your shoulder) instead. This is a pretty old book but its unique in its advice, eg, how to help readers by writing better, by following 40 rules. These rules should be committed to memory.

I lent these out ages ago, but, books are never lent but lost...

I also recommend that aspiring authors use everything they write for training.  One thing that helped me was email. I do a 'lot' of email, and for years have used this for training. When you do email, write the best you can and then give it a quick edit. Don't use contractions and net lingo and etc. Write your best. Every word you write adds up and helps program your brain, for that flow of words and turn of phrase you ultimately seek.

Yes, insecurity is a strange thing, as are fear of success, fear of failure, etc. But as you say, if you really think about it, taking an outline and spending a couple of years hammering it out into novel form is a bit far fetched. Theft does happen, but its rare.

Never get caught without a pen and paper, even during sleep. Ideas come at the strangest time.

Take care, Robert.

ps, I'll drop in from time to time but I'm under deadline with 8 weeks till submission. We're in the advanced states, but revising a 600 page ms takes time, so I better get back to work.

Title: Thank you Robert
Post by: Links Shadow on June 29, 2003, 17:24:37
What is this inter-library loan that I keep hearing about?

Title: Thank you Robert
Post by: Robert Bruce on July 05, 2003, 07:16:46
G'day Folks!

I'm still trying to track down my copy of 'Reader Over Your Shoulder' or is it 'my shoulder'. This is an old book written by a couple of American English professors, invaluable.

Amongst other things, this contains a list of 40 rules for good writing. These should be memorized by all serious writers, they are that good.

If anyone gets hold of this, maybe they would like to type out the rules and send them to us so we can put them in the articles section of the forum.

Take care, Robert.

We're making good time with the new ms, MAP. My coauthor and I are sweating blood sweat and tears into the ms, but we are confident of making it, and will probably finish an hour before its due:)

Title: Thank you Robert
Post by: timeless on June 23, 2003, 03:27:17
Dear Robert,

Thank you for the valuable information, effort and opportunity you are providing.  The e-book offer is...WOW!  A wonderful goal to work towards. Many will be encouraged by this.  

Writing is an exercise in rejection and humilty.  It takes guts to step into this arena.  However, it also offers a deep connection with self.  I enjoy self exploration even when difficult. This will help pull me through...along with my pig headed determination[;)].  

My story insisted on being told.  The struggle is to cut and polish my diamond in the rough.  

I will put together the information you requested and in the form you prefer A.S.A.P. (once you repost it here). I read your recommendations but need to print them out to get it right.  Making an outline in this way is a good exercise but also by having a variety of outline styles I am more likely to be able to submit precisely what the agent or editor desires.  This will help when I attend the writer's conference in October.

Oh! And no way you're getting me to ask what's a piecost [pie cost].[:P] Hmmm! An intellects humour[8)] I see.  Watch myself I will [too bad you cannot hear my Yoda impersonation.[^]]  

Deepest Respects,