Contemplating My Novel


Well, I have finished my novel, and in between job applications, phone interviews, and the daily routine of life, I’ve been trying to figure out next steps for the book.

I did wind up getting some feedback from friends and family on the book.  It was mostly positive, though there were two significant complaints: it was way over the head of some people, and it was simply too, well I suppose the best word would be visceral, for many others.

I knew the first issue would be a concern – there is a lot of reference to mathematical concepts (such as an invented time scale to manage events in Hell) but that’s not really necessary to understanding the plot.  Anyone interested in actually understanding Hellish Time, for instance, would find it satisfactorily complete, but anyone who wants to ignore it completely certaily may, without any hindrance to understanding or enjoying the story.

Another related concern is that the plot itself is a little complex, referring to internal politics and corporate organizational assumptions which just are not described for outsiders.  It is true, I haven’t fleshed it out with some basic descriptory for the uninitiated, but I’m really waiting for a reason to do so.

I was hoping that the people I sent the book to would have had more constructive comments.  My brother, for example, is an avid reader and a pretty smart person, but in the end gave me little I could use.  Another friend, a published writer, promised he would give me the type of feedback I would need, but in the end never got past the first chapter, and I didn’t have the desire to press the issue.

In the end, I’ve sent the book to about 20 or 30 people, and have not gotten the kind of constructive feedback I’m looking for.  I suppose that’s why writer’s groups exist, but I was hoping to bypass that route.  Instead I looked into self-publishing – in the days of the Internet, it is easier and cheaper to self-publish a book, which means a) it is becoming more commonplace, b) it is becoming more acceptable, and c) it is getting harder to distinguish (for the average person) from the “real thing”.

I’m not quite ready to take that step yet – I have started on a second book which should prove more satisfying to those who complained about the two major issues mentioned above, and may decide to self-publish that one.  But I have one more opportunity before I do.

A family member is somewhere between a friend and an acquaintance of a top-end literary agent.  Although the agent usually handles non-fiction, she has agreed, through my family member, to read my manuscript.  I’ve sent it off to her and am excited to see any feedback she might give me.  It might take a couple of months before she’s able to read it and get back to me, but I have plenty of time. 

In the meantime, I’ll be working on my second novel.  Stay tuned!

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Comments
One Response to “Contemplating My Novel”
  1. Doug says:

    I never did hear back from the literary agent. I followed her Web site’s instructions on submitting a manuscript, and despite my lack of a great “query letter” I was fairly confident she would follow through and read the thing. My only thought is that my unusual submission, despite a personal note to the agent who has many people working for her, simply got thrown into a pile titled “unsolicited”, or deemed inappropriate for the business due to its fictional nature.

    As you can see, I have since self-published the novel, Hell Incorporated, which is available for purchase in both paperback and e-book media. I have recently returned to that second novel after a long hiatus, and have high hopes for that as well.

    Doug 1/5/11

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