Writing & Publishing Questions Batch #1

Thanks for all the great questions!!! Let’s get to it!

You asked: When your first book was published, was it by a small, independent company or one of the larger, well-known ones? If a publisher rejects you, should you send the same manuscript back to them a year later, or assume that they’re not interested?

My first published book was a quiet picture book about a girl in Kenya called Ndito Runs. It was published by Henry Holt in 1996 and has been out of print for several years. (It was later translated into Xhosa, Zulu, Africaans, and Lesotho for publication in South Africa. That was very cool.) Henry Holt is one of the major publishers. My first piece of published writing for children was a short story in Highlights Magazine. That was a real thrill because I had been such a fan of the magazine as a kid.

If a publisher rejects you, then please do not send the manuscript back a year later. They are dealing with too many manuscripts as it is. Send your story somewhere else and get to work on a new one. I have plenty of manuscripts that were rejected. Why? Because they weren’t good enough to be published. I thought they were, but the publishers didn’t and that’s all that matters. It hurts, it sucks, and it’s part of being a writer. Write something new.

You asked: Does it have an effect on your work if you watch tv shows or movies? A big obstacle for me is that my characters seem to be too much like characters from my favorite tv show. (Let’s not bother guessing which one.) How do you avoid creating something that seems more like fanfiction than original work?

I don’t watch many movies or television shows (except for sports) so I’m not the best person to answer this question. Maybe you could experiment with taking two weeks off from your normal television watching and use that time for writing instead. By the end of two weeks, I bet you’ll see a difference. If you do this, let me know how it turns out.

Thanks to the LiveJournal Spotlight this week, we’ve had many more blog readers. Hail and welcome to the Forest! I hope you come back!

For those of you who are new to the blog, feel free to follow me on Twitter. My name there is halseanderson. This will explain what Twitter is if you don’t know.

I didn’t get the 10 pages I had hoped for yesterday, but I found a way to tighten up the second half of the book, so it was a day well spent. Am going back to it right now. (Feel free to keep those writing and publishing questions coming!)


10 Replies to “Writing & Publishing Questions Batch #1”

  1. i really want an answer so i am repeating my question. depending on how you are doing this i thought it could be potential easier and actually considered in the next round. you had a lot to choose from!

    btw, i’ve added you to my twitter! i’m msdragonfly1

    to be a writer that is. what kind of educational background do you have and do you think it prepared you to be a writer. what other things helped you be a better writer?

  2. I have a writing question, if you get a chance to answer it. If not, that’s okay too. 🙂

    I wrote a YA contemporary fantasy based on a Native American legend, but it also references a few Christian ideas (the protagonist goes to church, reads the Bible, and believes in God). The Christian themes are not the main focus of the story, but a friend of mine suggested I should send it to Christian publishers (or try to meet Christian agents and editors at a local writer’s conference). How do I know whether to try the Christian market? I respect Christian literature… but I wonder if that market would limit my audience. I just want my story to be available and accessible to all readers, whether they read Christian fiction or not. But perhaps I have a better chance of selling the book in the Christian market?

    Sorry for the rambling. 🙂 Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time!

  3. Thanks for giving your honest answers to some publishing questions. It’s nice to know that even someone as brilliant as you has some writing that won’t see the light of day. It makes it easier to accept that some of my novels likely fall into that category too 🙂

  4. Hi! Sorry for the sudden add. The reason I did because I want to write fiction novels someday and I need honest advice from an established author (like mentoring). This is the first time I heard about you but I’ll be happy to read your novels 🙂

    Congrats for the LJ Spotlight!

  5. I have a question, if you ever make another post like this.
    When you’re working, how do you measure progress?
    I’ve set a personal daily goal of 2000 words a day (1000 before lunch, 1000 after dinner) and try not to type less than that many a day.
    I know other authors just spend X hours on the computer and are happy with whatever comes out.
    DO you have a recommendation?

  6. Length of stories?

    Several times I’ve seen publishers asking for short stories, novels etc:
    But trying to find out what number of words they mean can be difficult. What is your view of the various lengths?

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