September 9th, 2010

Stargate Monuments

More Writing Questions

toliver also said Plus I listened to a panel of editors at DragonCon and they said network, network network. They said to start commenting on different writers/editors/agents blogs, going to workshops and conferences and speaking to the people in the business. Do you think that is helpful too?

I think it's definitely helpful to read the agent blogs (and the Writer Beware blog), because that's a good way to keep in touch with what's going on in the industry, learn how publishing works, and so on. I don't think you should make comments unless you've got something to add to the discussion. If someone is making a comment on every post in a popular blog just to get attention, people might start to notice but in a bad way, if that makes sense.

I think one problem with this is that some of the vanity press/self-publishing advice sites tell people to make comments in all the posts in the publishing-related blogs and include a link to their books. This is spammy and really, really annoying, and clutters up the comments section for the readers who are trying to follow the discussion.

I don't know about the conferences. I assume they mean the publishing conferences where you can sign up and reserve a time to pitch to different editors and agents? I've never been to one of those, but I know some people think they're really helpful. (Maybe someone who's been to one can comment about it.) It doesn't work that way at regular SF/F conventions. SF/F cons are usually entertainment-oriented. There's usually some programming for aspiring writers, and people do go to them to get writing and publishing advice, but there's also a big emphasis on hanging out with friends and having fun. The editors and agents who go to them don't usually want to be pitched to, and I think it's a big mistake to try it, unless the editor or agent in question has specifically announced that it's okay.

Sallie said How long should a synopsis be? I've found tons of different answers, but there doesn't seem to be any consistency. So, for a fantasy novel, about 82,000 words, (300+ pages), how long should the finished synopsis be? Is it better to have two? A 'short' and a 'long'?

I think this depends on the guidelines of whatever agency or publisher you're sending it to. Some places want a one page synopsis, some 3-5 pages, and some under 10 pages. If they don't specify a length, I'd go for the the middle version, 3-5 pages. It can't hurt to write a few at different lengths, for practice and to have them ready if you need them.

And I'm still taking writing or publishing questions here.