Re: How do completed stories work?

#21

WasatchWind Wrote: You're certain of this? Even if what I took down was a first draft that's very different from the eventual result?

I'm going to come back to respond to other posts here later, but for now: yes.


No major publisher will touch it if it's unsolicited. Fifty Shades was both substantially changed and solicited. All self-pub successes I know of were handled as purchases of publication rights, such as Larry Correia's rags-to-riches story. They will always ask about prior publication history, and free publication is a red flag. 

Re: How do completed stories work?

#22

NovelNinja Wrote:
WasatchWind Wrote: You're certain of this? Even if what I took down was a first draft that's very different from the eventual result?

I'm going to come back to respond to other posts here later, but for now: yes.


No major publisher will touch it if it's unsolicited. Fifty Shades was both substantially changed and solicited. All self-pub successes I know of were handled as purchases of publication rights, such as Larry Correia's rags-to-riches story. They will always ask about prior publication history, and free publication is a red flag.


What should I do then? I really, really don't want to have all my hard work on this story go to naught, and I don't want to have to cut off my story for all the people that are enjoying it online. 

Re: How do completed stories work?

#23

WasatchWind Wrote:
NovelNinja Wrote:
WasatchWind Wrote: You're certain of this? Even if what I took down was a first draft that's very different from the eventual result?

I'm going to come back to respond to other posts here later, but for now: yes.


No major publisher will touch it if it's unsolicited. Fifty Shades was both substantially changed and solicited. All self-pub successes I know of were handled as purchases of publication rights, such as Larry Correia's rags-to-riches story. They will always ask about prior publication history, and free publication is a red flag.


What should I do then? I really, really don't want to have all my hard work on this story go to naught, and I don't want to have to cut off my story for all the people that are enjoying it online.

If your final story is actually, sincerely going to be very different than what you're publishing here (not just filing off the serial numbers), then it's a different story. So you don't have a problem. Write what you're writing here, and use the feedback to write your different story for publication.

Or, if you prefer, plan to self-publish instead of traditional publishing. This is a lot more work but has its own set of very appealing advantages. (I'm not going to derail going into self- vs. trad-publishing here, you can find ten million breakdowns online if it's a topic you're interested in. Which one is 'best' depends on what you specifically want out of your writing career.)

Re: How do completed stories work?

#24

Derin_Edala Wrote:
WasatchWind Wrote:
NovelNinja Wrote:
WasatchWind Wrote: You're certain of this? Even if what I took down was a first draft that's very different from the eventual result?

I'm going to come back to respond to other posts here later, but for now: yes.


No major publisher will touch it if it's unsolicited. Fifty Shades was both substantially changed and solicited. All self-pub successes I know of were handled as purchases of publication rights, such as Larry Correia's rags-to-riches story. They will always ask about prior publication history, and free publication is a red flag.


What should I do then? I really, really don't want to have all my hard work on this story go to naught, and I don't want to have to cut off my story for all the people that are enjoying it online.

If your final story is actually, sincerely going to be very different than what you're publishing here (not just filing off the serial numbers), then it's a different story. So you don't have a problem. Write what you're writing here, and use the feedback to write your different story for publication.

Or, if you prefer, plan to self-publish instead of traditional publishing. This is a lot more work but has its own set of very appealing advantages. (I'm not going to derail going into self- vs. trad-publishing here, you can find ten million breakdowns online if it's a topic you're interested in. Which one is 'best' depends on what you specifically want out of your writing career.)


Well self publishing is not something I'm interested in pursuing - it doesn't sound like it garners much success. But my story isn't going to be like a completely different one, at least I don't think so. I'm going to rewrite a bunch of stuff, add and remove chapters, etc, but some chapters may remain somewhat untouched. Do you think that's not different enough for a publisher?

I think that's a little dumb. Is the expectation for new authors to come up with drafts based only on batting it off of friends and family? No one IRL really cares much to read my stuff. 

Re: How do completed stories work?

#25

WasatchWind Wrote: Something I've noticed though is that genres that are popular in traditional publishing, notably fantasy and sci fi, don't do extremely well on web novel sites. That I think is a barrier to traditional authors getting into the space.

These sites are often the gathering place for non-traditional genres instead. The front page of scribblehub is a good example.


Every web pub site is a bit different. My impression of Royal Road genre-popularity is the following: 

Tier 1: Fantasy gamelit/isekai/reincarnation. 
Tier 2: Sci-fi gamelit/isekai, superhero gamelit. 
Tier 3: Other fantasy, other superhero. 
Tier 4: Other sci-fi. 
Tier 5: Mystery, romance, Asian historical. 
Tier 6: Other genres in English. 
Tier 7: Other genres in non-English. 

WasatchWind Wrote: Well self publishing is not something I'm interested in pursuing - it doesn't sound like it garners much success. But my story isn't going to be like a completely different one, at least I don't think so. I'm going to rewrite a bunch of stuff, add and remove chapters, etc, but some chapters may remain somewhat untouched. Do you think that's not different enough for a publisher?

I think that's a little dumb. Is the expectation for new authors to come up with drafts based only on batting it off of friends and family? No one IRL really cares much to read my stuff.

Whether it's dumb or not, it's reality. If you really want to test it, then query publishers directly before you commit. Ask them if they'd even consider such a situation. Odds are good that you won't even get a response. (We editors are jerks like that. Actually, I'm in the minority of editors who always respond to queries even if it's to reject. There's a long explanation of why I do it that way, but I won't relate it here. I think it's in a post in my Ask the Editor thread.)

I believe my intro thread had a bit where I related the situation in more detail, but the gist of it is that any fantasy novel is unlikely to be picked up by any agent, and the big publishers only deal with agents. The largest publisher that I know doesn't primarily deal with agents is Baen, and their slush pile is (last I heard from the acquisitions editor over there) on almost a year and a half delay before they get back to you. There's just a lot of volume, which is precisely why the big publishers go with agents instead. However, fantasy and science fiction are subject to a lot of restrictions at the big publishers. Again, I went into more detail in my intro thread back in January (the thread turned into an Ask the Editor, which is why I created the current version; I really need to go and create an index or something), but it comes down to people in charge not really staying in touch with their audience. 

These days, 99% of even "could be traditionally published" SF&F authors are better off self-publishing, or at the very minimum going with a small press. A lot of people out there (especially those high up in the big presses) don't realize just how much publishing has changed in the last twenty-five years. There have been three major shifts in publishing in that time, four if you count something that actually hit SF&F almost ten years before it really affected the other genres, namely home computers -- and if you don't know how that could have been a massive change for the publishing industry, then you've never tried to write or edit on a typewriter. The big publishers have tried to keep up, but there's a lot of inertia and they can't keep up with demand without some massive changes. Twenty-five years ago, self-publishing was the last resort of the desperate. Today, it's the norm for SF&F unless you've got a hook into someone in authority -- and even then, I know authors who still self-publish on the side because they get a bigger cut on books that the publishers wouldn't put much marketing effort behind. 

All of the small presses I know personally are well and truly swamped with demand, so I can't point you to anyone in particular in that regard. And remember, I'm here because I'm looking into the web publishing model precisely because I think this will be the next big shift -- especially now that Amazon is trying to break into the web novel format. Don't look at this method as a dead end. 


Re: How do completed stories work?

#26

NovelNinja Wrote: All of the small presses I know personally are well and truly swamped with demand, so I can't point you to anyone in particular in that regard. And remember, I'm here because I'm looking into the web publishing model precisely because I think this will be the next big shift -- especially now that Amazon is trying to break into the web novel format. Don't look at this method as a dead end.


I've just heard a lot of people saying that they tried Amazon, thinking it was the way to go, failed miserably, and stopped writing. In my own thoughts on publishing, many would try for Tor for fantasy, but I'm not sure if my work is the kind of thing they'd be into. My work isn't some YA stuff - but it doesn't feel particularly like adult fantasy either. Maybe that is simply my own self loathing, thinking my work is not interesting to adults.

I've thought a bit about looking at a smaller press here where I'm from - Shadow Mountain, and their nationwide distributor, Simon and Schuster - but they're focus in fantasy is on middlegrade and YA, so it would mean I'd need to tone down my story, which I'm not sure I could do.

Gosh this honestly just feels kind of crappy. I don't know what to do. I can't just hang all my readers on here out to dry, but I don't want to doom a future in traditional publishing by deleting one of my best manuscripts. I don't have any idea how to even start with that, and was planning on doing it years from now. I don't have connections, don't know how to make them, or get much advice. I was assuming I should wait until I actually have something to show before bothering them.

It just kind of feels pointless now to be honest. My readers on here are the only thing that is keeping me writing, and all my investigation in monetizing through web novels seems pointless for the kind of stuff I'm writing.

I was never planning on becoming a full time professional author, but I at least wanted to publish a few things. Now am just kind of not sure what the point is in trying at this anymore.

Re: How do completed stories work?

#28

cmr Wrote: It might not apply - or it might. If you haven't already, maybe check out this recent thread https://www.royalroad.com/forums/thread/109312



People keep on bringing up Amazon - that is not what I'm looking at. I am wondering first and foremost if I will be rejected just because my crappy probably quite different first draft was online at one point - and are these publishers also scouring the internet to see if I've messed this up? 

I just feel really distraught right now. I had no idea my will to write could just dissolve so quickly. I can't write without any kind of support system, and the presence of that support system makes it so that my writing will never have a chance of being published. 

I have no idea how to navigate this craziness, and I'm not even sure if I want to keep going at this point. It feels like I've wasted all this time I've spent building up a presence on these writing sites. 

I still feel very little confidence in my story itself. 

Re: How do completed stories work?

#29

WasatchWind Wrote: People keep on bringing up Amazon - that is not what I'm looking at. I am wondering first and foremost if I will be rejected just because my crappy probably quite different first draft was online at one point - and are these publishers also scouring the internet to see if I've messed this up? 

I just feel really distraught right now. I had no idea my will to write could just dissolve so quickly. I can't write without any kind of support system, and the presence of that support system makes it so that my writing will never have a chance of being published. 

I have no idea how to navigate this craziness, and I'm not even sure if I want to keep going at this point. It feels like I've wasted all this time I've spent building up a presence on these writing sites. 

I still feel very little confidence in my story itself.



Self publishing is a truly viable option. Sure, you might not sell well, but if you get a good cover, find good editors to work with, and pay for marketing you should do decently well. (Paying for ads is truly one of the biggest things in my opinion.) 

Also, I suggest switching your mindset toward writing. Write for yourself to tell the story you want to tell. Sharing it with the world is your reward (even one dedicated reader is a worthy reader), and any money made when you one day self-publish is a bonus. 

Final point, you can't be discouraged if your first book doesn't sell that well when you self publish. The more books you self-publish, the more exposure you get and the more your books will sell. Many of us that read self published authors go back and read their backlog as well. ( I will admit that when I am browsing Amazon's self published section, the better the cover, the more interested I am. I am a sucker for beautifully drawn covers and I will buy a book just to have the pretty cover art sometimes.) I say this all as a person who reads a lot of self published science and fiction work. I rarely buy trad published novels anymore. Self-published is much cheaper to buy, and many of the authors are very good. I can recommend a few very successful self published authors if you want some motivation. :D 

Re: How do completed stories work?

#31

cmr Wrote: I'd expect that the trad publishers's stance is at least partly legal. There are so many sites to post fiction on the net. No one can be sure that what they've posted hasn't been ripped off. The risk of someone coming out of the blue claiming prior publishing rights - or even copyright infringement, plagiarism... 
Even a frivolous lawsuit is a threat to the bottom line and companies trying to stay in business aren't willing to stick their necks out.
Anehalia a makes some good points, but if the long-term goal is trad, one option might be to freely post a story that you don't intend to publish and use what you learn from that one to apply to the one you want to take to a publisher.



I just have the one question still - all the stuff about self publishing people are saying aside, I want to know - will having just the basic, unedited first draft online, then taking it down prevent me from ever selling it?

If that's the case, I need to get it off right now. But I would really like to at least finish the first draft on here if I can. My readers on these sites are what keeps me going. I didn't enjoy writing much at all when it was just me alone, hating my work. 

I really only have this novel and a sci fi novel right now, and I don't want to toss either into the dumpster. I already published a fan novel of a zelda game, and that I saw as being okay to just have on these sites, as it could never be published or monetized. 

But I have a hard time coming up with a lot of ideas. It usually takes me years. I'm just not confident that I can create an epic fantasy novel, let alone the trilogy I aspire to create from it, without a whole lot of input.

Re: How do completed stories work?

#33

cmr Wrote: It might be a case of where the line is drawn re: monetization. If you aren't trying to find patrons or asking for donations, if you make it plain that you're just drafting a story, not marketing one, then taking it down at some point might be okay - but this is just my uninformed guess work. A writer's critiquing circle might be another option.



Well... that does give me a bit of comfort. I am not sure how that would hold up. It feels a bit like seeing a YouTube upload of copyrighted work and going "No copyright infringement intended."

The thing I wonder though is who I'd really be writing that in for. I wouldn't be taking the draft down after I get a publishing deal, but the second I start shopping it around.

My question about all this is if the publisher really will know. I would prefer to not have to obscure that it was published online, but would someone in the industry really find my story on here, read it, then remember it after I've taken it down even though it's quite different and the title has changed?

I dunno. 

I feel that I've bugged the editor that was in this thread and that they any more attempts at asking for advice will just be - "your story is already never going to be accepted by a publisher."