Hi all.

You couldn't make it up



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I'm a newbie here (thanks for the tip on how to post!). I've written one novel which is in a drawer after many rejections, it needs much more work; and I've finished another novel which after many drafts I finally feel it's ready to be submitted to agents. I've sent it out to one and got a fast, short and very polite rejection. I'm trying not to get dispirited!

The people in my writing group really like it and though I value their opinion, we are all amateurs.

I would just love the chance to run it past an agent or an editor who could give me some proper feedback- the topic is publishable or not, keep going or give to be honest it's not really a goer. There are ways to get such feedback but it would cost £500, and even then they might be too polite to say that I should ditch it!

What are people's experiences at this stage? Has anyone gone for a small independent publisher that accepts unsolicited manuscripts instead of trying to get an agent?

Any tips appreciated!
Hello and welcome!

Once you've been here a while you can post in The Houses and hopefully receive some useful feedback from many different people, all of whom have been at the writing game a long time.

From a personal perspective I think the first novel is often best left in a drawer. I remember when I'd finished my first full length manuscript and was convinced it was a bestseller and agents would be queuing up to get their hands on it! Now, with many years and hundreds of thousands more words under my belt, I occasionally look back on it and shake my head with thinly veiled embarrassment. Possibly all the errors a new writer could make lie within its covers and for that I like it - but I'm no longer under the illusion that it cuts any mustard.

Hemingway famously said that a writer's apprenticeship is a million words. How far down that route are you?
Hello :) Well, you're doing the work, Inez, for sure. I'm looking into independent publishers and agents, both.
Welcome! One rejection is a tragedy. A hundred is a trifle. You're in good company here with your rejections--don't be discouraged. A rejection means you're writing and finishing stories and bravely sending them out into the world! That itself is a huge accomplishment.
Welcome! As others have said, rejection is part of the game. I have my own ritual to deal with it: I keep every letter and print every email and pin them above my desk. It reminds me of the work done, the books finished, and I take them as steps towards success. We get motivations where we can ;)
Has anyone gone for a small independent publisher that accepts unsolicited manuscripts instead of trying to get an agent?

Hi Ines and welcome.

You're certainly in the right place to obtain feedback on your work. Also, once the houses become visible to you you will learn a huge amount by doing critiques for other people.

Regarding the small publisher route, it is a very viable one. Many are open to unagented submissions and also many of the larger publishing houses run open submissions periods so it's worth keeping an eye out for those.

Once word of advice though, not all small publishers are created equal. Some are excellent and will have excellent editors and cover artists and will get your book onto the bookstore shelves, or, if an e-publisher will have a marketing strategy in place for you both to work together to promote your book. Beware of those who push out loads of titles and expect the author to do all the marketing, and if anyone asks you to pay them run, very fast. But do your research and ask loads of questions and you'll be fine.

Looking forward to seeing your around. What sort of stuff do you write? Me? I write thrillers that may or may not be semi-autobiographical - that would be telling :)
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You couldn't make it up