After about a month, I have now incorporated another round of beta reader feedback. I have to have some mechanism of motivating me to make progress, and forcing myself to have others read it at a modest expense is just the right motivation to make good progress.
Here are a list of things that have occurred to me recently.
- First, Brandon Sanderson has said that he tried going the agent route and sent 19 queries and had one response, and that person ended up being his agent. so my record of zero out of four is in a little bit different perspective after that.
- Second, apparently the modern approach toward indie / self publishing is that if you can afford to self-fund your editing and proofing and multiple drafts, and even illustrations, you may be better off self-publishing than if you try to incessantly solicit agents to get into the traditional publishing path. A side benefit of this approach is that in the course of hiring editors and readers, I come across people who are agents or acquisition editors at small publishing houses. So, one day, if there is space on someone’s docket, and I feel like it’s a good fit, I might get picked up that way.
- Third, I am discovering that I am most efficient when I produce about 150 words in a given “mini-sitting”. I don’t have the time nor the energy to devote hours upon hours to writing new segments, so I content myself with making small progress in meaningful chunks. My goal is to add about 20,000 words to the current draft and bring it up to about 90,000, and that would take about five more weeks if I can turn out an average of three 150-word chunks per day. At that point I will solicit more beta readers, and see how they feel about the entire revised draft.
- Fourth, on that note, I am realizing that my original book was incomplete. I stopped at a point where many readers feel that the story is not complete (and not necessarily in that good, can’t-wait-until-the-next-installment way), especially those who are veteran fantasy consumers. For many of them, the story is about halfway done and some of the endings felt abrupt and forced and not fully developed. The proliferation of basic questions tells me that I did not elaborate things as well as I might have, and most of that is pointing toward the fact that even some of the interesting elements of the story and the setting and the characters are “not there yet”. So, that’s where the roughly 20,000 additional words comes from. It might end up being more than that. But before I solicit beta readers again, the 20,000 mark is a good target.