To my readers–if I have any.

The sections I’ve been posting from my latest book, “Withholding,” have for the most part not been edited yet, and they do not appear in the order they do in the book. Also, portions of the book which could pile unwanted trouble onto my head, have been largely censored.

The book is enormous. If we go by the formula that a typical adult-sized book has 250 words per printed page, this behemoth would run over 928 printed pages. Obviously, I need to cut it. Though the book covers events from 1980 to the present day, the second half of it is taken up by events of the last eleven years, when my financial, career, and personal problems spun out of control, and I descended into serious mental illness.

I post these excerpts mostly to give my site needed content, as the events of my current life don’t make for very interesting reading.


8 thoughts on “To my readers–if I have any.

      • I hear you on that and I feel the same, but what have you learned about other options?

        I was thinking of trying to find a publishing agent to see if I could get some help and advice, but I decided to search through information and sites like this to see what kind of information I can gather on my own and from others with the same passion to hopefully figure out what I wanted my next step to be, because I don’t mind sharing the profit with those who help but I do don’t plan on paying few thousand to print myself, nor and I planning to self print online and hope for someone to pick it up when I don’t even know where that route leads.

        Another idea is to take one of my more exiting books of less conted and publishing online just to get recognized before I drop the gems and my masterpiece, but even still I would like to know if that is an idea worth pushing for, so again I would need to talk to an agent or gather information from others sho have published or are already past the faze of where my mind is on the matter.

        Any thoughts and ideas?

      • My experience is that agents are just as difficult to secure as publishers. They are all inundated with material. Many prospective writers are put off by how difficult the process is and go the self-publishing route. Indeed, the majority of the people you meet in writing groups seem interested only in self-publishing.

        While I’d love to get money for writing, getting paid for my books is not my main goal, nor is seeing my name in print. That said, I want someone to pay me for my work, rather than me paying them–even if the money I make is only enough to buy myself a celebratory dinner for one. It’s not important for me to “play author,” or at least, not so important that I would pretend to be one. I want to acceptance of the publishing/literary establishment, or I’ll just keep my work more or less to myself.

        A lot of people would suggest you look first at writing groups, but I’ve not had much luck with that route. Again, many are sold only on the self-publishing thing, and others only write as a hobby, and aren’t serious about getting published. I don’t have patience for non-professionals.

        If I would tell you anything it’s to shake the bushes. Look for writing groups, Meet-Up groups, seminars, writing conferences, websites, etc. Everything all at once.

      • sorry for the late reply, i have been away for a week. thank you for the great sound advice, it was more helpful than you can imagine. im actually taking an online course to help with such things, and i was advised to trying the writing groups and things you mentoined, actually that is how i arrived here on wordpress. i agree and think similar to most of what you stated, and the self publishing thing is not for me because writing is my passion and profession. i cant just accept the self publishing route with the gems i have written, some agent or publisher will eventually see that and invest in my works, i know they will and have faith in my work because of the things that get published everyday. until that happens i will keep writing and searching because im not ready to publish yet, but i will be soon God willing. i just want to be ready with the preparation before im ready to actually publish, so im gathering info and setting up a few books, including my master piece, so that when i do take off it will be a constant climb.

        the shaking of bushes is a good idea, and i will give that a try with much effort to learn more about my next step.

        what type of steps have you taken to getting published or recognized by an agent? and what type of feedback have you gotten?

      • I wrote a response to you, but just as I was finishing the site acted up and everything was lost.
        Read over your manuscript many times, looking for errors of spelling, punctuation, grammar, problems with spacing and lines, etc. Get friends to do likewise. Even then, you’ll be surprised how many errors can still slip past several pairs of eyes. Don’t submit any manuscript that isn’t absolutely perfect.

        Go to your neighborhood Barnes and Noble and spend a few hours pouring over the reference books in the writing section, especially the annual “Writer’s Market.” Each agency will list its specialty (travel, mysteries, non-fiction). Don’t send them something they don’t normally represent. Some agencies will only take on clients referred by their existing clients.

        Do what the agency says. If it asks only for a sample chapter, don’t send the whole book. If they want a completed book, don’t tell them you have five chapters written and the rest sketched out. Don’t waste their time. One agency I completely avoided wanted a complete plan for marketing the book, including plans for the ads. That was beyond my abilities.

        There are other guides to tell you how to write a cover letter and pitch. I’m lousy at anything promotional, so maybe that’s one reason I didn’t scare up much agency interest.

        I was foolish enough in 2006–the one time I sought out agents–to send out a book I thought was finished but which really needed more work. It was a blessing in disguise it was turned down, because the work I’ve done on it since has greatly improved it, though I’ve still not gotten it where I want it to be.

        I cannot presume to know what agents want right now. Several years ago an agent flatly told someone I know that vampire books were dead, and he was obviously proven wrong. You never can tell. But with the economy so bad right now, and print media being in such a flux from all the online developments, nobody knows what the next few years will hold, so I’m guessing agents are playing it conservative and looking only for sure things, even more than they did in the past. So you might want to study current reading trends. You might get an idea from in-person and online book groups.

        As for feedback, I really didn’t get any.

      • i hate when that happens, but it does show your persistent determination to see a task through once you’ve started.

        i have to start by saying that this is the most informative response of beneficial words i have received from since i have been inquiring about the next step of my plans. im not trying to ‘toot your horn’ but i can really see how these points of advice would be very beneficial, and i will definitely practice what you have said God willing, and i really hope your work get the recognition that im sure it deserves.

        i always reread my books and try to edit, but because of that last like in the first paragraph of your reply, i think i will have to look at paying someone to professionally edit it for a fee, but i was wondering if there are any copy rights that i should look into before i even do that step, just so i feel more comfortable with handing my master piece over to a complete stranger to edit?

        the Barnes and nobles is a step that would never have crossed my mind had you not mentioned it, and it seem like one of the most beneficial things in your reply, according to how i like to work alone, but i guess you totally understand that also being a writer.

        the marketing plan thing would catch me off guard, and i think that is where an agent would come in handy, because ill write the book, but its someone else’s job to market it, especially after i have been doing all this leg work trying to market myself. i totally know how you feel there, because i would have no idea where to begin, but it may be another stone to look under.

        this cover letter and pitch you mentioned, that is in the Barnes and nobles also?

        i hope you dont mind i save this mail for future references, it is full of gold that taking notes wont do justice to, unless i take them on one by one as i reread this reply again and again to elaborate on some of the advice’s you mentioned.

        thank you so much for this, it has more benefit than you may know, and i do respect advice, opinion and experience in the matter. i hope this is not too much of a burden, and if you can think of anything else, or even find something worth sharing i am always grateful for the advice and help; and if you have not become published when i make it, you will be the first person i contact for a recommendation to have your works published. patience and persistence my friend, thank you so much more than words can express.

      • Other objections I have to self-publishing are that self-published books don’t normally get reviewed. They don’t appear in publications like “Publisher’s Weekly,” “The New York Times Book Review,” etc. This means they are under the radar of all library acquisition departments, so the books will not be bought by libraries, or seen or read by the library-going public after they’ve gone out of print. They will also not be acquired by buyers for bookstores unless the author goes personally to each store and convinces the buyer to stock it. Some self-published writers are getting around this by strictly selling their works online as e-books, but e-books are still such a new thing we need to wait a few years and see where the trends go there.

        Generally, as far as publishing goes, I’m sitting on everything right now. Only one of my three books is ready for publication, and it would only be of regional interest. It’s a humorous history of Austin, Texas–a collection of my local history newspaper columns from a few years back. Because it is of only regional interest, I will only seek out small regional presses for it when I get around to trying to sell it. Frankly, I think will be easier to get that one published than the other two books, for which I’m seeking a larger press and a broader reading audience.

        Also, I want to see what happens with the economy and the publishing world. I’m in no great hurry, and I can use the time while I’m waiting to improve and polish my books.

        As for marketing, I don’t mind doing readings, signings, interviews, and such, but setting up that sort of thing is not my area of expertise. Many self-published writers basically sell one book at a time, convincing each individual customer to buy. That’s fine if you can do that, but I’m no salesman.

        Books on preparing books for submission to agents and publishers are available at B&N. I mentioned B&N rather than the library, only because the books at the former are more likely to be the most up-to-date. And, just as in a library, you can sit there for hours and study and read the material without being expected to pay for it. They also carry writing magazines, which, I confess, I’ve not looked at all that much, though I have about six here at home.

        Also, from what I’ve read, it is best to get an agent and let her try to pitch your book to a publisher, rather than try to approach a publisher on your own. A lot of agencies and publishers won’t accept unsolicited manuscripts, but the “Writer’s Guide” should spell out the policy of each firm.

        Again, research the trends. A friend who works for “The New York Times,” who was trying a few years ago to get his travel book published (and amazingly, it hasn’t been yet), told me, “Write a dog book. All the agents in New York asked me if I could write a dog book.” I guess because of the success of books like “Marley & Me” they were really hot. You just have to keep your finger on the pulse of the culture and see what people are into–ideally before the trend gets too hot.

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