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Zman's avatar

Want to write a novel?

Asked by Zman (3points) April 13th, 2008

i have been wanting to write a novel for quite some time but i’m not really sure on how to go about doing it. Do i write it first then send it in to the publishing company, or do i find an agent first i’m not sure, please respond.

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7 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

You should get an agent who will help you write a proposal; a sample chapter and an outline of the concept.

LanceVance's avatar

Well, if you want to write a novel, you should plan the whole story concept and not change it during the writing of the novel. And you can’t just go about your day and write a novel; you need a clearly developed idea.

skwerl88's avatar

I was actually considering doing the same thing quite recently; I found this” quite helpful.

I also would have to disagree with Lance—you can’t be too static when writing a novel, otherwise the flow could suffer dramatically. Don’t write it in flow of conscious, but don’t keep it to a specific outline (it can dramatically impede the creative process).

scamp's avatar

It seems you’ve answered your own question! Good luck with your book.

itsnotmyfault1's avatar

you could wait until next year to start, then do NaNoWriMo

cwilbur's avatar

First-novel writers need to have a novel in hand before approaching publishers. Sample chapter plus outline works for people who have already had novels published, but there are too many people who can’t finish a book for a publisher to make any kind of deal with a first-timer unless there’s an actual concrete book on paper for them to evaluate.

Write the novel, then pick the most likely publisher, write a cover letter, and send the book. Be prepared to wait up to a year for an answer. Have 3 or 4 follow-up publishers that you can send it to when it comes back; be prepared to wait up to a year from each of them. (None of them will accept simultaneous submissions, and if two of them accept it and you have to tell one you had it submitted at multiple places, you’ve just blackballed yourself out of publishing.) If you get a publisher who’s interested, then you contact an agent to negotiate for you.

Until the book is written, there’s no point in contacting a publisher.

Until you have an acceptance, there’s no point in contacting an agent.

ljs22's avatar

I agree with cwilbur; you need to finish your novel (and—sorry, but it’s good advice—revise it at least three times) before approaching a publisher OR an agent.

However, if you would like to see your finished book released by a major New York house, you must have an agent first. There are a couple good ways to do this. You can attend writers’ workshops to meet agents in person and pitch your work. These workshops happen all over the country. You can send an e-mailed introduction + synopsis to as many agent e-mail addresses as you can get your hands on (I recommend googling for agents who are actively seeking new clients), or you can take a long view and get some short stories/articles published first to attract the attention of an agent before you finish your opus.

Oh, I should mention there are bloggers who skipped these steps just on the strength of their number of page views. But that mostly only applies to nonfiction.

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