Author Topic: Am I wasting my time?  (Read 1135 times)

Offline PPeterson

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Am I wasting my time?
« on: October 15, 2021, 07:01:15 PM »
This is not that kind of post.

Everything I read or watch seems to offer contradicting opinions, even from professionals in the industry. Perhaps a dialogue on the matter would help me.

I previously self-published my book back in 2014 under a pen name. It was terrible and rightfully sold less than 100 copies. Still, this is the story I wanted to tell. So! I pulled it from the market, reworked the story a bit and completely rewrote the manuscript from scratch. It's worlds better. Now I'm looking for an agent.

But I recently read that if a book was previously self-published, no matter how briefly, it is very unlikely that an agent will ever pick it up. Previously I was told that it was fine. Since it sold so few copies it would likely be insignificant to an agent or publisher.

So which is it? Am I wasting my time trying to find an agent? Are they all going to turn me down because of this knee-jerk mistake I made? I'm feeling rather discouraged.  :'(

Offline susan-louise

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Re: Am I wasting my time?
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2021, 12:36:56 AM »
I remember recently reading/commenting on your query. From what you say this novel has been completely re-written, no?  If it were me, and I  had literally ripped up the old one and started afresh, I would press ahead.  You’re not trying to market the old one, but an entirely new one. 

You may have seen this during your search for definitive answers. If not, it might offer some reassurance.

https://janeyburton.com/republishing-previously-self-published-book/

“Republishing a book is a business decision, there’s no romance about it.
You may need to take the book off the market before submitting to agents or publishers, and you may need to rewrite it substantially. You will probably need to repackage the work to show it to its best advantage and explain its untapped market potential.”

So madame appears to be a publishing consultant who also offers mini consultations of 15 minutes by skype.  I imagine the cost - which can’t be huge - would be worth the peace of mind (and no, I.m not related to her or pushing her site!!) :). Scroll down to end of her website for the details. 



« Last Edit: October 16, 2021, 07:22:02 AM by susan-louise »

Offline PPeterson

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Re: Am I wasting my time?
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2021, 08:11:38 AM »
Thanks for the response. Her article paints a pretty grim picture of my situation. It looks like the short answer is "Yes. I am wasting my time". And that kinda sucks.

It's looking like I'll wait (with very low expectations) to hear back from the agents I've queried. After that, I expect I'll be self-publishing... again. Maybe I can get enough steam behind the series to find a publisher somewhere down the road.

Offline sfallon

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Re: Am I wasting my time?
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2021, 09:59:30 AM »
I don't really have any expertise to add, but I just wanted to pop in because if it is true that you can't get traditionally after that, that's the worst. I don't see any legitimate reason why a book that sold less than 100 copies and has been substantially rewritten would be any less marketable than a book that someone kept to themselves at that stage. I'm not sure how many agents you've queried, but I wouldn't give up after just a few if I was you. Querying takes a little work, but it is free and the worst answer you can get is a no. Maybe if you lay out the details honestly there is at least someone who will give your book a chance. That's the kind of world I want to live in anyway.

Offline susan-louise

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Re: Am I wasting my time?
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2021, 10:44:11 AM »
I would certainly see what current queries you have sent out produce.  But I actually interpreted the quotation I shared earlier today more positively.

You may need to take the book off the market before submitting to agents or publishers, and you may need to rewrite it substantially. You will probably need to repackage the work to show it to its best advantage and explain its untapped market potential.

My highlight.  You have rewritten it, no?  Either way, I hope you find some clarity soon as this  must all  be profoundly frustrating and upsetting.

Offline PPeterson

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Re: Am I wasting my time?
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2021, 05:44:43 PM »
I would certainly see what current queries you have sent out produce.  But I actually interpreted the quotation I shared earlier today more positively.

You may need to take the book off the market before submitting to agents or publishers, and you may need to rewrite it substantially. You will probably need to repackage the work to show it to its best advantage and explain its untapped market potential.

My highlight.  You have rewritten it, no?  Either way, I hope you find some clarity soon as this  must all  be profoundly frustrating and upsetting.

Yes. I've rewritten it entirely; to the point that large portions of the story are even changed. So, another thought that I'm toying with is simply changing the title and pretending the original version was different book entirely. Ergo, this book was technically never published.

Offline susan-louise

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Re: Am I wasting my time?
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2021, 11:11:19 PM »
 New title and an entirely re-written work…et voilà, you have produced a new manuscript.  See what your current queries yield.  In the happy event an agent chooses to represent, you could always share this “back story” to the novel’s production. 

Offline PPeterson

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Re: Am I wasting my time?
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2021, 09:34:47 AM »
New title and an entirely re-written work…et voilà, you have produced a new manuscript.  See what your current queries yield.  In the happy event an agent chooses to represent, you could always share this “back story” to the novel’s production.

I recently thought the same thing. Too bad I already queried my top ten agents with the old title. Oh well. Onward!