Stage I of my "Secret Project" is complete!

If you've been following what I say on the internet closely, then you may noticed that every once in a while I've mentioned a "Secret Project" that I've been working on. Well, Stage I of my "Secret Project" is complete, so I feel like it is finally time to reveal to the world what it is that has consumed so much of my free time over the last few months.

So, here it is. My "Secret Project" is to write a novel.

Now, I know what you're thinking. "Oh, another jerk who says he's going to write a book, but will never get around to it. What's Stage I? Coming up with a title?"

Nope. Stage I is writing it. That's write (pun), I've already written a novel. I've been working on it in my spare time for months, and I finally finished it tonight. Stage II is editing, and Stage III is publication. This entire process has been fun and exhilarating. And more than anything else, finishing this first full version of it is...hard to explain. I'm one step closer to fulfilling a dream I've had since high school, and failed at doing several times before (when I gave up after writing four or five pages each time).

So, going forward, I need to edit this and keep editing until it's as close to perfect as possible. I have a few friends whom I trust and respect the opinions of, and I'm going to have them read through it, both to find potential mistakes (I may be a good writer, but that doesn't mean my writing is typo free), and to judge the quality of the work. This is a novel after all. It's supposed to be entertaining.

So, some more info about what I've done. It's a science fiction novel, and the targeted audience is, well, people like me. You know, young-ish guys. Not to say other people can't enjoy it (well, maybe they can't, I can't judge it objectively since it came forth from my mind).

In terms of length, with the current formatting it's about 161 pages, but that's with the default page size on my text editor, which I'm pretty sure is not what the eventual formatting will be in the final book (I assume (ie, hope) that with smaller pages the page count will be higher). That doesn't mean that I think a novel has to meet some arbitrary length to be worth reading. If my math is correct, there are over 68,000 words in the novel. For a point of reference, JK Rowling's first novel, Harry Potter 1, has about 77,000 words in it. She was the first author I could think of to compare my work to (not that I think it'll be even a fraction as successful as the Harry Potter books).

So, that's about all I can say for now. I wish I could say more, but I'm super paranoid about people stealing my ideas, even though I'm sure most of the people here on GB are trustworthy. I just don't feel like taking the risk that someone might take my ideas and use them for some stupid fan-fiction or something, and then claim I stole the ideas from them if/when my book gets published.

I'm very excited about this. I can't adequately say in words how excited I really am. This is my chance to make a name for myself! My chance to get my ideas out to the masses in the printed form! I do expect that getting it published won't be easy, partly because I don't know the first thing about getting a book published. If anyone reading this does know something about it, I'd appreciate any advice you can give. And, of course, I will keep you fine men and women at GB up to date on the latest happenings. Hopefully if/when I do get it published I can put out some concrete details here, and maybe even give out a few free copies in some sort of contest or something. I don't know. BUT I'M SO EXCITED!

In other news, Mass Effect 3 is out, but I won't have a chance to play it until spring vacation, which is not next week, it's the week after. Yakuza Dead Souls is out next week, and I'm looking forward to playing that one too. Hopefully I'll have time to play those and edit my book over vacation.

So, comments? Anyone else out there ever publish anything? Any other aspiring authors? I'd love to hear from all of you.

Edit: I know some people are suggesting self publication through ebooks, but I'd rather not go that route because I want there to be printed copies of my book before the eventual day when paper books are no longer a thing. And thanks to everyone for the advice about literary agents.

Edit Part II: I just realized I forgot to put in an image of Nolan North. Please forgive me, Mr. North.

39 Comments
40 Comments
Posted by MooseyMcMan

If you've been following what I say on the internet closely, then you may noticed that every once in a while I've mentioned a "Secret Project" that I've been working on. Well, Stage I of my "Secret Project" is complete, so I feel like it is finally time to reveal to the world what it is that has consumed so much of my free time over the last few months.

So, here it is. My "Secret Project" is to write a novel.

Now, I know what you're thinking. "Oh, another jerk who says he's going to write a book, but will never get around to it. What's Stage I? Coming up with a title?"

Nope. Stage I is writing it. That's write (pun), I've already written a novel. I've been working on it in my spare time for months, and I finally finished it tonight. Stage II is editing, and Stage III is publication. This entire process has been fun and exhilarating. And more than anything else, finishing this first full version of it is...hard to explain. I'm one step closer to fulfilling a dream I've had since high school, and failed at doing several times before (when I gave up after writing four or five pages each time).

So, going forward, I need to edit this and keep editing until it's as close to perfect as possible. I have a few friends whom I trust and respect the opinions of, and I'm going to have them read through it, both to find potential mistakes (I may be a good writer, but that doesn't mean my writing is typo free), and to judge the quality of the work. This is a novel after all. It's supposed to be entertaining.

So, some more info about what I've done. It's a science fiction novel, and the targeted audience is, well, people like me. You know, young-ish guys. Not to say other people can't enjoy it (well, maybe they can't, I can't judge it objectively since it came forth from my mind).

In terms of length, with the current formatting it's about 161 pages, but that's with the default page size on my text editor, which I'm pretty sure is not what the eventual formatting will be in the final book (I assume (ie, hope) that with smaller pages the page count will be higher). That doesn't mean that I think a novel has to meet some arbitrary length to be worth reading. If my math is correct, there are over 68,000 words in the novel. For a point of reference, JK Rowling's first novel, Harry Potter 1, has about 77,000 words in it. She was the first author I could think of to compare my work to (not that I think it'll be even a fraction as successful as the Harry Potter books).

So, that's about all I can say for now. I wish I could say more, but I'm super paranoid about people stealing my ideas, even though I'm sure most of the people here on GB are trustworthy. I just don't feel like taking the risk that someone might take my ideas and use them for some stupid fan-fiction or something, and then claim I stole the ideas from them if/when my book gets published.

I'm very excited about this. I can't adequately say in words how excited I really am. This is my chance to make a name for myself! My chance to get my ideas out to the masses in the printed form! I do expect that getting it published won't be easy, partly because I don't know the first thing about getting a book published. If anyone reading this does know something about it, I'd appreciate any advice you can give. And, of course, I will keep you fine men and women at GB up to date on the latest happenings. Hopefully if/when I do get it published I can put out some concrete details here, and maybe even give out a few free copies in some sort of contest or something. I don't know. BUT I'M SO EXCITED!

In other news, Mass Effect 3 is out, but I won't have a chance to play it until spring vacation, which is not next week, it's the week after. Yakuza Dead Souls is out next week, and I'm looking forward to playing that one too. Hopefully I'll have time to play those and edit my book over vacation.

So, comments? Anyone else out there ever publish anything? Any other aspiring authors? I'd love to hear from all of you.

Edit: I know some people are suggesting self publication through ebooks, but I'd rather not go that route because I want there to be printed copies of my book before the eventual day when paper books are no longer a thing. And thanks to everyone for the advice about literary agents.

Edit Part II: I just realized I forgot to put in an image of Nolan North. Please forgive me, Mr. North.

Posted by Claude

I was in a local writers group and we self published 500 books. We did it mostly to see what the experience would be like. I wish you the best in your endeavor. From what I understand, it's hard to get another party to publish your work. Here's a scan of our front cover and a sample of one my poems.
 

Posted by Gizmo

What's this book about then?

@Claude: Reminds me of Joy Division for some reason. Bleakness fascinates me.

Posted by GunslingerPanda

That's awesome. Gratz, and good luck with the rest of the process. I'm one of the "another jerk who says he's going to write a book, but will never get around to it" group so I'm a little envious.

Also I think the dawn of the eBook format has made it quite easy to self-publish now. I think it's just a matter of uploading it to Amazon or something now, and you'll reap the profits.

Posted by MikeGosot

Your novel needs a robot that screams " 'MERICA!". Aaaaand... I wish the best for you duder!

Posted by Claude
@Gizmo: I was pretty bleak back then. I was also listening to a lot of Joy Division, The Cure and so on.
Posted by Chop

I'm not sure how the logistics work, but you should look into self-publishing it as an e-book.

Posted by drag

Basically ... getting published is the hardest bit unless you catch a break early on. And if not the hardest, definitely the most time consuming as you wait for months for replies from strangers who have little interest. I would overlap stages II & III to some extent, as soon as you're edited the first three chapters (standard submission guidelines) into a shape you're happy with. Most publishers won't talk to you without an agent.

All this is assuming you are going for traditional publishing, I suppose. Self is another thing entirely with less of the waiting in exchange for considerably less potential for attention / legitimacy / popularity / whatever you might 'want' out of it besides having your story in your hand as something that is book-shaped.

Posted by MikeGosot
@Claude said:
@Gizmo: I was pretty bleak back then. I was also listening to a lot of Joy Division, The Cure and so on.
What was your age whenyou wrote that poem? Wow, that question is weird.
Posted by ShadowConqueror

Some things: 1. don't self publish unless you want no one to read your book; 2. get an editor; 3. get a literary agent. Easier said than done, but it's much harder to get your stuff published without a (professional) editor and an agent.

Posted by NegativeCero

Good for you, duder. It's really cool that you have a goal and are sticking to it. Hope to read it some day.

Posted by Dagbiker

Put it for sale on the nook. any asshole can do that it seems.

Posted by Claude
@MikeGosot: I was 28 or 29. The book was published when I was 30. I'm 47 now.
Posted by MikeGosot
@Claude said:
@MikeGosot: I was 28 or 29. The book was published when I was 30. I'm 47 now.
That's pretty awesome. I'm 16, and the closest i've ever got to writing a book was a short story i wrote about a man that kills his wife. I was watching too much Twilight Zone, and reading too much about serial killers.
Posted by Mento

Good luck, duder, hope you find a way to get it out there.

Meanwhile, I too am writing a novel. It's about a futuristic amusement park where dinosaurs are brought to life through advanced cloning techniques. I call it "Mento and the Cloneasaurus".

Moderator
Posted by MooseyMcMan

@Mento said:

Good luck, duder, hope you find a way to get it out there.

Meanwhile, I too am writing a novel. It's about a futuristic amusement park where dinosaurs are brought to life through advanced cloning techniques. I call it "Mento and the Cloneasaurus".

Not only has that book been written, but the Simpsons made that exact...No, you must be referencing that. Nice obscure reference. And thanks.

Posted by llamaegg

All the luck to you man! I'll tip my hat to anyone who's willing to bring another book into this world!

Be sure to keep us updated and I'll be sure to grab a copy!

Posted by Sinclose

Best of luck to you for getting this published! I tried doing a similar thing before myself, but I couldn't follow through with it. Here's to hoping your book gets published sooner rather than later!

Posted by Vegetable_Side_Dish
@MooseyMcMan said: 

 I want there to be printed copies of my book before the eventual day when paper books are no longer a thing. 

You sir, are a classy individual. All the right people know the value of a printed book over that silly e-book nonsense.  
I don't know much about the business, but my uncle is published, and he always complains that it's just about the hardest damn thing to do. So good luck. 
Posted by dankempster

Congrats on finishing the first draft of your novel duder. I can empathise completely - I'm also working on a novel, and the first draft manuscript is about half-finished at this point, further than I've ever gotten with such a project before as, like you, I've had a tendency to drop them after a chapter or two. I wish you the best of luck in hunting down an agent who's willing to represent you, and hope to see your book in published form some time.

I don't know if something similar exists in the US, but here in the UK there's a book called The Writers' & Artists' Yearbook. There's a new edition released every year and it's jam-packed with useful stuff like advice for editing and re-writing, tips on how to format your manuscript before sending it off to publishers, and a phone directory-style list of publishing houses along with what genres they specialise in and how to get in contact with them. If a US equivalent exists, I'd recommend picking it up. My copies have proven both interesting and indispensable over the years.

Posted by Jimbo

GLHB(ook)

Posted by Masha2932

Congratulations and good luck.

I'm not a marketing man, but it would be cool if you and your friends started some online hype for your book at this early stage. Call it 'Project Moose'(from your username) or something that ties-in to the book. That way you when you tweet or write about your progress you can always end with the project moose hash tag.

To begin I'd suggest that you at least release a bit of info on your book regularly. You won't be able to get some attention without people learning about what your book is about. Even one sentence blurbs can be helpful. As your friends are editing your work ask them to identify the things that make your world interesting and you can use that as a marketing tool e.g.

MooseyMcMan twitter: 'Jurassic park meets the fast and the furious' #project moose

You know stuff like that might be useful.

People pick up on weird things online and with a bit of luck and some hard work who knows. Again I'm not an expert or anything but just try it.

P.S.

If you do this and you get published please credit me in the special thanks section ;-)

Posted by Tireyo

Let us know how it goes.

Edited by James_Giant_Peach

Congrats dude, incidentally I've been writing a novel for some time now, I tend to write in fits and starts and so have only managed about 30,000 words over the past 6 months, but I'd love to get it finished by the end of the year. Editing will be fun but tough, I wish you a lot of luck with that bit because I'm already dreading the day I re-read through mine and have to change so much of it.

Publishing can be both tricky and simple, it really depends. My father got a book published on his first attempt, just contacted the right people I guess, and a friend of his is also a published author, with several books on progressive rock out there in stores today. I'll see if I can find out any info that would help you in the publishing stage. Good luck!

Posted by MooseyMcMan

@Masha2932: Yeah, I've definitely been intending on doing some online hyping, just not yet. I feel like I should at least be in talks with a publisher or literary agent or something before I go hyping it up. Or maybe not, I dunno.

There will be some sort of hype train though. I assure you.

Also, now the image of dinosaurs driving cars is forever in my mind. I may have to use that at some point.

Posted by Little_Socrates

Congratulations! Doing the math for paperbacks (250 words per page, roughly) you're looking at about 262 pages. Let us all know if you're releasing a sample set or if it's getting published, as I'd like to give it a shot.

Posted by MooseyMcMan

@Little_Socrates: I didn't realize the difference between my formatting and actual book formatting was that much. And yes, updates will happen whenever there is something to be updated. Unfortunately this last weekend I didn't get anything done because of a combination of excitement about finishing and surprise/moderate depression (not really) at finding out how hard it is to get a book published (because I just figured that since there were so many books out there it was relatively easy), so there's nothing new yet.

Also, thanks for your support. To everyone who's responded. I promise that once this is a little further down the road, I will do something special for the Bombadeers out there.

Posted by Little_Socrates

@MooseyMcMan: Hey, don't worry about giving us updates often! I think Stephen King wrote this in his book "On Writing", but it's considered good to take about six weeks away from your novel. Maybe write a short story, or a fragment of another book. Move your mind off your project so that, when you return to your novel, you can do so with somewhat refreshed eyes. I'd pull the exact quote, but I don't have the book, so I'll quote someone else quoting it.

“If you’ve never done it before, you’ll find reading your book over after a six-week layoff to be a strange, often exhilarating experience,” writes King. “For me, the most glaring errors I find on the re-read have to do with character motivation (related to character development but not the same).”
Posted by MooseyMcMan

@Little_Socrates: As always, Mr. King makes some good points. Six weeks is a long time though, especially when I always have that feeling in the back of my mind that I should be doing something to try to improve it. And while King has the luxury of being a famous author and can take however long as he wants to write his stuff, I'm just starting out, and I want to hit the iron while it's hot. While I still have the passion and drive that I do right now.

Also, part of it (and this is the absolute best case scenario possible) is that I want to try to get the book out sometime during the summer, because if (and this is a gigantic if) the book is successful (which I define as selling well enough that I become well known enough that people want to read another book written by me), then I want it to get out there at some point before I graduate from college. I still have another year after this one, but the clock is ticking, and I want to get this done.

Obviously all that stuff is probably a little unrealistic, but if you're going to dream, you might as well dream big, right?

Posted by Little_Socrates

@MooseyMcMan: I actually think it's specifically your urge to improve things that he's trying to quell some. If you start "improving" out of a desire to improve instead of a desire born from the novel's needs, there's a big chance you'll start answering questions based on your in-head logic rather than the language and logic of the novel itself. It's the sort of writing that Hideo Kojima and George Lucas get caught up in sometimes, where there are logical explanations for actions that are never really explained within the work itself. Distancing yourself from the novel is what you would need to be the book's proper editor; while having a bunch of outside editors is also good, being able to edit your own work will also allow you to improve your writing in the future. Also, Mr. King has deadlines he's ostensibly supposed to meet based on publisher expectation, but perhaps at this point he is so famous that he can ignore those too.

It's not that unrealistic a goal to get another book published; when you get your first book published, that's enough to prove that you have completed a work someone was willing to publish, right? Advertising and success may not come as quickly as you might hope, but I would wager the second book would be an easier thing to get into people's hands.

Posted by Simplexity

Be honest, is this just a 162 page Deadly Premonition fanfic?

Posted by MooseyMcMan

@Simplexity said:

Be honest, is this just a 162 page Deadly Premonition fanfic?

No. That's not until I get into my third or fourth book. (Not really).

@Little_Socrates: More good points! I think what I'll probably do is give what I have a quick read-through in the next couple of days in search for obvious typos and grammatical problems, but wait a bit before seeing if I need to make any sort of changes beyond that.

Posted by Little_Socrates

@MooseyMcMan said:

@Simplexity said:

Be honest, is this just a 162 page Deadly Premonition fanfic?

No. That's not until I get into my third or fourth book. (Not really).

I'll be co-authoring that one, too, given the opportunity. In it, York will go back in time to make Spy Fiction the dominant stealth action game in order to slow down agent of the Red Seed Hideo Kojima!

Posted by destruktive

Good luck dude :)

Posted by Bourbon_Warrior

So whats it about and why should I care?

Posted by MooseyMcMan

@Little_Socrates said:

@MooseyMcMan said:

@Simplexity said:

Be honest, is this just a 162 page Deadly Premonition fanfic?

No. That's not until I get into my third or fourth book. (Not really).

I'll be co-authoring that one, too, given the opportunity. In it, York will go back in time to make Spy Fiction the dominant stealth action game in order to slow down agent of the Red Seed Hideo Kojima!

Yes. I approve this.

Posted by NakAttack

@MooseyMcMan said:

@Little_Socrates said:

@MooseyMcMan said:

@Simplexity said:

Be honest, is this just a 162 page Deadly Premonition fanfic?

No. That's not until I get into my third or fourth book. (Not really).

I'll be co-authoring that one, too, given the opportunity. In it, York will go back in time to make Spy Fiction the dominant stealth action game in order to slow down agent of the Red Seed Hideo Kojima!

Yes. I approve this.

I'll only approve if his love interest is a snorlax.

Edited by DeeGee

@MooseyMcMan said:

@Little_Socrates: As always, Mr. King makes some good points. Six weeks is a long time though, especially when I always have that feeling in the back of my mind that I should be doing something to try to improve it. And while King has the luxury of being a famous author and can take however long as he wants to write his stuff, I'm just starting out, and I want to hit the iron while it's hot. While I still have the passion and drive that I do right now.

Also, part of it (and this is the absolute best case scenario possible) is that I want to try to get the book out sometime during the summer, because if (and this is a gigantic if) the book is successful (which I define as selling well enough that I become well known enough that people want to read another book written by me), then I want it to get out there at some point before I graduate from college. I still have another year after this one, but the clock is ticking, and I want to get this done.

Obviously all that stuff is probably a little unrealistic, but if you're going to dream, you might as well dream big, right?

I'm currently doing a degree in creative writing, so I'm just going to offer some stuff that is being drilled into me right now. Part of my degree includes ineracting with publishers, so I've heard this advice quoted a few times by various different people. Hopefully I don't come off sounding like some snob who knows everything, this is just what I'm being taught by authors and publishers who've been there before =P

Listen to here. I know you want to keep going at it and rush this thing out, but you don't want to let blind ambition actually hamper your chances here. Six weeks is not a long time, in the grand scheme of things. Right now you are too emotionally attached to what you have written. Really, it's the opposite of what you've said. Unlike Mr. King, you are not a famous writer with all sorts of demands. You have time. Plenty of it. I can't stress enough how much you should leave this project alone, so that you can come back with objective eyes instead of subjective.

As for getting the book published in the summer, well, that's just not going to hapen. Publishing takes time. There's all sorts of things that need to happen first, such as bringing your novel around to the house style AKA copy-editing. Standard rules that everybook they publish must conform to. Plus there's the aforementioned hype train. Edit: Infact, I'm not gonna say it won't happen. It's just unlikely, but who knows? My experiance tells me that going from no publisher to on shelves in four months isn't likely, but anythings possible these days.

Congratualitons though, you've done the hardest part, man. It's a hell of a thing to write a novel, it takes dedication and patience. I can't underestimate the importance of dreaming big and being ambitious, but make sure you keep at least one foot one the ground. There's no need to rush this thing about before college. Take some time off. When you come back to it, you'll be able to prune down the superflous aspects that you couldn't notice before.

Posted by Gabriel

Good on ya, be ready for an editor to gut your book though, you may have to go through several rewrites.

Edited by MooseyMcMan

@DeeGee: @Little_Socrates: Yeah, you guys are right. I got all caught up in the moment of "finishing" this thing I had spent the last few months working on, and didn't fully realize what it takes to get something published.

And you're totally right about not rushing it. In the end run it's better to get the best possible book out there, even if it does take a little more time (or a lot more, depending on one's point of view). Not having enough patience is an issue I have with a lot of thing, so it's something I need to work on.

And I want to thank you duders once more. Before I posted this blog I knew almost nothing about publishing a novel, but you guys have been a great help, and I'm hopeful that the final product will be all the better for it. I'll make sure to thank "All the Duders who supported me at Giant Bomb" in the book.

The next few months will certainly be interesting. I'm still going to keep looking into literary agents and publishers, even if I don't end up sending them anything for a couple months.

EDIT: Now that I think about it, I've actually already kinda been doing that. I started working on this thing in October last year (coming up with ideas and whatnot), and was writing it on and off through December, and got about 2/5 of the way through it. But then I took off about a month during winter break and I didn't do anything aside from jot down a few vague ideas I had for the rest of the book. So what I'm saying is I'll definitely be taking a break. Not sure if it'll be the six weeks prescribed by King, but it'll be a while. Besides, I should probably be spending more time on my schoolwork.