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Looking for Beta Readers

Greetings, 

I’m looking for Beta Readers for my Literary Fiction Novel, “Call Numbers”. It’s a Slice of Life Drama surrounding the staff of a library in New York City during the 90’s (1994). It’s 18 Chapters around 106k

Rating- R, Cussing, Racism, Teen Pregnancy, few incidents of violence and intimidation, Sex (male/female), Drinking
Trigger Warning: Racial and Homophobic Slurs

Blurb: Robin Walker is an Eighteen-year-old full-time college student starting at the 58th Street Branch Library. Working part-time in the afternoon through the evening, he discovers a hostile work environment with two opposing camps as they clash on various policies to serve the public. A naive and susceptible nonchalant he’s forced to take sides in the struggle of elitist versus traditionalist at the dawn of the information age.

The first three chapters can be found on the google drive link below:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FvkXl6PnhMqMnMioMl5BxOUI08F8KqnT/view?usp=sharing
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Comments

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Where is that rating from?

    What are you expecting from a Beta reader? Often that's a task done by an Editor, and later often a Proof-reader, also.

    It does not sound like my type of story, but I will take a fast look.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    Okay, in my opinion, the first page looks well-written, but I would format the lines differently, but that's just my taste. But please do get rid of the extra spacing between paragraphs and Justify it.
  • The rating is a heads up on the full novel, I know it appears to start slow in the beginning, but the drama picks up quickly. The format was based on a book template for a hardcopy look. If you'd prefer the traditional manuscript look, I can put that up as well.

    I'm look for opinions and input on the pace, the plot, the characters and other elements (show instead of tell, narrative voice tense, descriptions, etc...) a reader's standpoint.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    The rating is a heads up on the full novel,

    As far as I know they are always rated literally by age groups. YA for example.

     I know it appears to start slow in the beginning, but the drama picks up quickly.

    Very often first impressions applies to books also.

     The format was based on a book template for a hardcopy look. If you'd prefer the traditional manuscript look, I can put that up as well.

    I prefer what's normal. :)

    I'm look for opinions and input on the pace, the plot, the characters and other elements (show instead of tell, narrative voice tense, descriptions, etc...) a reader's standpoint.

    Can you explain what Show means when applied to words? 

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher
    Robin Walker is an Eighteen-year-old full-time college student starting at the 58th Street Branch Library. Working part-time in the afternoon through the evening, he discovers a hostile work environment with two opposing camps as they clash on various policies to serve the public. A naive and susceptible nonchalant he’s forced to take sides in the struggle of elitist versus traditionalist at the dawn of the information age.

    One of our regulars here, Ron, is good to point out that the blurb is the first taste of your writing the reader will ever see.

    First, should Eighteen be capitalized here? Second, in three sentences you have two leading off with a dependent clause. I would combine them and suppress the dependent clauses (they feel clunky): Robin Walker, a naive and susceptible nonchalant, is forced to take sides in the brutal world of the 58th street library, where he works part-time while attending the nearby college. This innocent side job draws him into the gang war of elitists versus traditionalists in the dawn of the information age, as they fight each other and the encroachments of technology to serve the public. 

    It still might need some work, but it's more direct, more active, less passive. The words, with perhaps a light dusting of irony, draw the reader into a maelstrom.

    Hope that helps. I'll see if I have time to check out the story proper later.
  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher
    Can you explain what Show means when applied to words?

    For the 999,999th time, it means that the descriptions and the emotions of the characters are integrated into the actions and events, producing a feeling in the reader that the narrative is easily imagined and almost familiar.

    That you do not like the metaphor does not make it a bad metaphor.
  • My Blurb is currently being re-worked, thanks for the advice. And thank you for explaining Show instead of Tell :smile:

    Here's the link for the manuscript look, hope it's easier for you to read.

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1YYBSNUUwnTO1ROZDHAlKlpI2rgEPsZwj
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    For the 999,999th time, it means that the descriptions and the emotions of the characters are integrated into the actions and events, producing a feeling in the reader that the narrative is easily imagined and almost familiar.

    That you do not like the metaphor does not make it a bad metaphor.

    I think you are exaggerating there.

    There is absolutely no reason to use the word Show. It's a contradiction. It's simply descriptive writing (or even verbalising.) That's all that needs to be said, in order not to confuse people who have no idea what Show means when it comes to words. This is a site often used by new writers.

    Obviously you will not agree.

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher
    Okay, 999,998th. So sue me.

    But you can't say we haven't explained it, and since you're the only one who doesn't get it, perhaps in the future you can simply say, "Ditto" so that we done have to keep explaining something you refuse to understand.
  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher
    Producing headphones from his lining pocket, Robin pressed ‘Play’ on his walkman which had his current favorite album “Midnight Marauders” by A Tribe Called Quest in it and rested the speakers to his ears as the track “Steve Biko” played. After arriving at 23rd and Park Avenue, he descended the steps underground, deposited a token in the turnstile and boarded the departing uptown train just as the doors were closing.

    There were only a handful of stops from 23rd to 59th street.

    So, I read this far, and I have a few comments already.

    Ahead of that, so far there's decent characterization, though, see below; English is good and the story seems to have a purpose -- it's going somewhere, not just hanging around by the card catalog. So far, you're well ahead of the curve, and while it's rough, there's nothing critically wrong. What follows is about making "pretty good" into "not bad at all."

    1. Call Numbers. Good title. I get it, Library Nerds like me will get it, and the General Public will be able to deal with it. It works.

    2. SLOW DOWN!

    3. That first sentence above has forty words in it. 40. Four-Oh. So let's play a little game: Suppose that you're reading this out loud, and you're trying to say that sentence in one breath while making it sound natural. Good Luck. And that tells you something else: By the time you get to "Steve Biko" you've forgotten "Producing headphones...Robin pressed 'Play.' " You're too busy thinking that you need to breathe! your lungs are aching; the world is turning blue; you feel like you weigh a ton...

    Let the people breathe, Man! You're gonna have bookstores (and Libraries!) full of asphyxiated readers, because you didn't give them anywhere to breathe!

    Seriously, break that into three sentences, at least. Producing headphones (BTW, leading dependent clauses are the devil's power tools) from .... Walkman. Full Stop. It had his current ... in it. Full Stop. He rested the earbuds in his ears ... played. Problem solved. No readers turning blue and collapsing across the reference desk.

    Backing up, 2. SLOW DOWN. -- so here's what I mean by that... You're pretty heavily laced with exposition here. Frank is getting a slice, arguing with the pizza-monger, loitering, and finally wolfing his slice, all in about two paragraphs. Okay, it felt like two. Oh, wait, it's ROBIN, not Frank. See, that part sped by so fast I had trouble getting who was who. Robin's the librarian; Frank's the Pizza-monger.

    BTW, thanks for not naming the librarian Marion. I'd have Robert Preston singing in my brain all day if you had done that.

    So, a dialog bit like that, where you're introducing two characters, giving them a bit of tension, ranting about the world gone mad... That's a good page, page and a half, just by itself. Give Frank some reaction to this -- the tacturn Pizza chef just shook his head and spun another pie in the air -- Or maybe he grunts in response to the Guliani question.

    Dialog needs to feel like people are having a real conversation. When you read it, it needs to feel like the VCR is on Normal speed, not fast forward.

    Take that next sentence -- another leading dependent clause, "After arriving at blah blah blah." Look, a dependent clause, leading off in a sentence, well, it's a little clunky. You can do it once in a while, maybe even twice in a while, but to paraphrase the immortal words of Miyamoto Mushashi, "Never three times in a while." (_Book of Five Rings_, badly misquoted).
     
    Okay, side note: 29 words in that sentence about Mushashi. See how you lost what you were thinking by the time you got to the citation? That's my point. But I did provide commas for breathing.

    Next point -- I have no idea where the station at 29th and 2nd is, or whatever the address was. About eight million people understand that reference -- ten or twelve at the outside -- which means that five billion, nine-hundred eighty-eight million of us have no idea. Unless it's a really famous station -- Penn Station, Wall Street, Flatbush, Central Park West --  that just means "A certain train station" to the rest of us.

    So, is the name of the station important to the story? Or should it be, "He hustled down the steps into the subway station and caught the A train Northbound?" Because, as written, he does four things in one sentence. He arrives. He descends. He deposits. He boards. We can take some of those for granted. If he's there, he arrived. If he boards, he deposited (because you didn't say he jumped the turnstile).

    Again, let me be clear; you're not WRONG in the way you did it. It's just that it can be better. Shorter sentences, skip things that can be assumed, slow the pace on the things you describe. Give us a little fat with the meat here, because frankly, the fat rendering is what gives the flavor.

    I'm mentioning these specific sentences as typical examples: Too many dependent clauses; too fast a pace; too many words in a single sentence. Work on clarity, not style. Visualize the scene, and tell the story at its own pace. Don't be in a rush to dump words on the page.

    Now, with that said, for a rough draft, it's not bad. There's a lot to work with, and I do want to read more (later). It's not compelling, but with some work it could be. So take those points, think them over, and give the story a fresh review. I'll comment on more later.
  • Thanks Skoob, you sound like just the type of person I would want reading this to help me make it better. I hope you consider reading the full manuscript one day.  :)
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    Frankly, I have having qualms about taking the trouble to read the sample chapters given the example of the author's writing I see in the description that began this thread.

    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    Well, OK. I took a look at the sample...and could not get past the first couple of paragraphs. Any critique would have to be sentence by sentence, literally, so my best advice to you would be to engage an objective editor.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    But you can't say we haven't explained it,

    I can.

     and since you're the only one who doesn't get it,

    Or the only one who does not see the reason for the use of the contradictory word, 'Show.' But there's so few new people posting in the forums, and even less asking for comments on their writing, that there's hardly any one to ask you what it means. It's only relatively recently that the word has even been used in the forums. A newly learned term perhaps?

     perhaps in the future you can simply say, "Ditto" so that we done have to keep explaining something you refuse to understand.

    And perhaps you should learn to read? I know full well what you mean, when you say what you mean, but I keep saying it's a contradictory term. A word used out of context just to be 'clever.'

    It is in fact how most famous writers write and always have done, and they have never termed it 'Show.' Perhaps few of them have bothered with How to Write courses?

    This is what it is (from just one example on line that says the same as me (don't use a term that few people understand)) >>  https://www.scribendi.com/advice/how_to_avoid_telling_writing_in_fiction.en.html

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    Well, OK. I took a look at the sample...and could not get past the first couple of paragraphs. Any critique would have to be sentence by sentence, literally, so my best advice to you would be to engage an objective editor.

    I fully agree. Perhaps there should be a How to Write and an Editorial section of the forum?

  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher

    Well, OK. I took a look at the sample...and could not get past the first couple of paragraphs. Any critique would have to be sentence by sentence, literally, so my best advice to you would be to engage an objective editor.

    I fully agree. Perhaps there should be a How to Write and an Editorial section of the forum?


    If you'll recall, I did a thread like that, and invited the rest of you to add tips and tricks. I'm not sure if it migrated to the new forum.
  • Skoob_ymSkoob_ym Teacher

    Okay, I moved farther down and further in. The writing improves as Augustus and Heywood have their conference, but here, too, the story needs to be told with a slower pace. The actions and the exposition need to be better integrated. Augustus' blowup at Heywood probably makes more sense if we see know the history of these two men, or the models from whom they are drawn, but as written we find Augustus blowing up for no apparent reason. There needs to be a more delicate treatment of the tension between the two.

    For example, instead of having Augustus blow up about the two suggested movies not fitting the theme of parodies, perhaps he might simply stare in disbelief, ask if Heywood is kidding, and then try to slowly explain that the movies are not parodies, building to a boil over a paragraph later. In a story, anyone can explode a bomb. But making the fuse simmer and sputter for two or three paragraphs; now that's an artform.

    A lusty look grew across his face. He looked over and saw
    a surprised glance from his long-time confidant. He blushed and stammered, “Um, provided she’s not corrupted by Yi, of course.” he chuckled.

    As he finished resting the jacket on his broad shoulders and dusted his
    sleeves, Zelda rose from her desk and moved to open the door, “Oh, I’m sure the young lady won’t be able to resist your dashing good looks and irresistible charm!” she exclaimed while stepping out the office.

    “Touché,” he replied, thinking to himself, for someone in her early seventies the gray fox may be sharper than she portrays herself to be.

    Okay, we're seeing better characterization by this point, and the "camera" is drawing in. We see Augustus having real thoughts, and we see subtle response from the old lady. The reader can begin to relate to the story. This is how the dialog should be in the pizza parlor, up at the top. Not perfect, but a step in the right direction.

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    If you'll recall, I did a thread like that, and invited the rest of you to add tips and tricks. I'm not sure if it migrated to the new forum.

    No, I do not recall that. I did not bother much with the last incarnation of the forum because it was a mess, and even often would not function, and many other people stopped using it too, and never returned.

  • Greetings all, it's been a while since I posted here but I have taken the advice posted here, had a thorough edit done and updated the reading sample.  It's still three pages, but I've properly formatted and tweaked for an improved look to the reader's eyes (No more extra spacing). I'd like some new opinions if anyone is willing to give a fresh new look.  The link in the original post is valid and here it is again

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FvkXl6PnhMqMnMioMl5BxOUI08F8KqnT/view?usp=sharing

    I hope it's an improvement and someone will consider Beta Reading the full manuscript.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius

    There's still extra spaces. It would be easier to make comments line by line if it was pasted in to here.

    BTW, 'Beta' is normally only applied to software and devices.  :) In this instance it's called a 'Draft.'

  • Okay mister format-nazi, I'll humor you and post the three chapters in the universal manuscript format for reading by agents and publishers (Which I wager you are neither) it's open for comments in google drive for anyone with this link. The look I had before was close to ebook form so it would be easier on the eyes but this should be sufficient for you.

    Line by line critique away...

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1648HPPg0B0ehiOr04G3jDvmRZKi6mKZ8/view?usp=sharing
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    edited September 2

    February 1994 delete 

    “I tell ya, Frank,” Robin Walker said, “the world's going to hell in a handbasket.”

    Frank's Pizza, located east of 23rd Street and Lexington, was the favorite place for the students attending Baruch College to spend a dollar twenty-five for a slice. The place was small and only occasionally crowded. It was the Tuesday after President’s Day, and there was a clock overhead that said eleven in the morning [a digital clock I presume] Robin was reading a copy of the Daily News while nibbling on a slice of plain cheese pizza

    He hated pizza toppings. Why mess with perfection by putting something on top of something? was his favorite explanation for his preference. He had finished his morning classes and was not due [at his job?] at the 58th Street Branch Library for another three hours. Frank noticed the student was feeling very opinionated this morning. [this is a sudden change in viewpoint that switches back to Robin in the next sentence. Better to say “Robin was feeling opinionated this morning.”]

    “I mean, it's 1994. We got six more years till the new millennium [well, technically seven but I won’t quibble] and God only knows if we're ready! We got terrorists trying to blow up the World Trade Center, shootings on the train out in Long Island, and the first and only Black mayor of New York City getting the boot after one term.” Robin looked up and nodded toward the flour[-]faced Italian behind the register. “You voted for Giuliani, didn't you, Frank?” he asked. 

    “That's none of your business!” Frank grunted.

    Robin took that as a confirmation that his observations had not been appreciated.

    “Hey, man, you've been reading that paper more than eating your slice!” 

    Robin ignored Frank's remark and continued reading the day's “Jump Start” comic strip. 

    “This isn't a library I hope you know!” Frank continued [you were last referring to Robin] trying  to catch the young man's attention. [this seems to be an odd comment. What does Frank care? You suggested that the place wasn’t crowded so it wouldn’t be as though there were customers waiting for the seat]  Robin finished reading and chuckled at the joke from the last panel or it could have been from the sense of irony in the comic strip. “I know!” [delete he bellowed.“It ain’t a library because I work for one, chump!” The obese, balding man blinked hard while scratching his head, unsure what to make of the response. Robin knew a cue to leave when he saw one. [Frank’s response seems a little tepid to be taken as a cue for Robin to leave]

    The stocky eighteen-year-old sighed, then reached down and lifted his book bag over his shoulder as he stood up to leave. The newspaper he had been reading remained where he had been sitting as he made his way out to the sidewalk. Frank called out behind him “Hey! Hey! You left your paper!” Robin turned back at the door, a mischievous smirk growing across his face. “It's not mine,” he replied. “Recycle it! Save the planet! We only got one Earth, Frank!”

    At five-foot-ten, Robin’s tall strides [a stride cannot be tall. “Long” would be a better choice] on the Manhattan sidewalk maneuvered him through the vast crowd as he headed from Lexington to Park Avenue South and the subway station for the number 6 train. He wore a solid black wool parka over a gray pullover short-sleeved polo shirt along with blue acid-wash jeans. [this description seems to come out of the blue]

    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Okay, now we're getting somewhere, Thank you, Ron. This is what I need, this helps. I'd like to make this easier for you to read and offer insight with a proper format, would you be interested in reading the entire manuscript? If you're busy, I'm willing to wait, as long as time can be set aside down the line.  I need guidance, I would appreciate it very much, any help you can.
  • I honestly wish I could, especially since I think you are a writer of some skill and talent. Unfortunately, I write (and illustrate) professionally and simply have too many projects of my own to undertake what would really be a time-consuming task. However, there are a number of very experienced, very qualified people here who may be able to help you. But (and this is a big consideration), because doing a thorough job on a complete MS is in fact a time-consuming chore it may be difficult to find someone who would be willing to do this gratis. But, as I said, some of the others here may have advice or suggestions regarding that.

    Let me ask a question I put to many new authors here: why are you—as I assume—pursuing self-publishing as a first option?
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • I like the freedom that comes with it, I've been querying for agents but I believe the project is a hard sell due to the unconventional premise, but it won't stop me from putting it out. I also believe if I do find a publisher, the creative control will be taken from me, turning the work into something it's not.

    Well, thanks for your help, I'll apply your suggestions and keep looking for help.
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    edited September 2
    Losing creative control over a book is an old wives’ tale. That doesn’t happen in professional, traditional publishing. Do you feel as though you lost creative control over your book by asking me (or anyone else here) to vet your MS? An editor would do the same thing I did with your first page: they would go over your book carefully, looking for sense, characterization, etc. All of the things that would make your book as good as it can be. And they would not touch a single word of it. You would get it back just as you got back the page or two I commented on, with all of the suggested changes indicated. But it is up to you to implement them. It’s not the editor’s job to rewrite or correct your book.* You may make the changes as indicated, you may find an entirely different way to accomplish the same thing, or you may even disagree. But I would always recommend never taking an editor’s suggestions lightly: remember that they A. have a lot of experience in doing what they do and B., as I already said, have exactly the same goal you do: making your book the best it can be.

    Examples of the sorts of things that might come up are characterization, dialog and description, the order of some events, adding additional information...or pruning where there is too much, etc., etc. But, always, these will be things that don’t change your book into something it’s not—they just make it better. Remember always that the editor reads your book as your intended audience would, something that it is difficult or impossible for the author to do effectively. 

    The most important thing is that the editorial process is objective.

    When a publisher accepts your book, they do so because they liked what they saw, not because they want something entirely different. And if there were to be any questions about substantial changes, you would know about that before a contract is signed. And you would have a chance to talk about them and, if any changes were to be made, you would be the one to make them.

    There are always horror stories, but these are by far the exception rather than the rule. I have had something like 50 books published by companies ranging from Berkeley/Ace to Smithsonian Books and have never had an unpleasant experience.

    =======
    *There would actually be two different editors. One would be in charge of the book generally, it’s overall content, etc. The copy editor would be the one going through your book with a fine-toothed comb, looking at grammar, spelling, syntax, consistency, etc.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • I've actually had the manuscript copyedited already for a decent amount of money, but grammar is different from plot structure. I really need a reader's perspective and help from someone who's written before.

    My fears with the publishing industry have been from horror stories I've heard. I don't want my book put on a shelf for a year or longer waiting for the "ideal time to release".

    I'm open to edits and a few changes here and there but Beta Readers are the number one priority right now before I purchase my ISBNs and get a cover designer (I have a placeholder cover, but I know I need something more eye-catching.)
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    edited September 2
    I've actually had the manuscript copyedited already for a decent amount of money, but grammar is different from plot structure. I really need a reader's perspective and help from someone who's written before.

    My fears with the publishing industry have been from horror stories I've heard. I don't want my book put on a shelf for a year or longer waiting for the "ideal time to release".

    I'm open to edits and a few changes here and there but Beta Readers are the number one priority right now before I purchase my ISBNs and get a cover designer (I have a placeholder cover, but I know I need something more eye-catching.)
    You probably shouldn’t base your publishing decisions on anecdotal stories.

    It would be pretty unusual to have a book shelved for even one year. Books are normally released seasonally—for many if not most, this would be spring or fall; the latter, of course, in order to take advantage of Christmas sales. So there would never be a good reason to postpone the release of a book more than six months. (Some types of books do better at different times of the year, which would also affect release dates. For instance, a book with a lot of art in it might be considered a good Christmas release.)

    There are enormous advantages to traditional publishing which makes it worth pursuing. You discovered one of these already when you paid out of your own pocket to have your book copy-edited (a task, by the way, in the reverse order of the way things should work: there is really not much point in getting a MS copy-edited until the editing process is complete and the MS finished).

    An author being published by a traditional publisher gets the services of a professional, experienced editor, an equally qualified copy editor, designers, cover artists, marketing experts, advertising and distribution. And all of this does not, ever, cost the author a single penny. In fact, through the non-refundable advance he receives, the author is paid for the privilege of having their book published. The publisher assumes all the expenses and all the risks.





    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Well, I'm still querying, but agents are so fickle and picky with what they're looking for, they rarely go out on a limb on a new author unless the work is mainstream. They want Fantasy, Scifi, Erotica, YA, and MG. I'm trying to make a presence and get noticed among writing communities, but I know I will eventually self-publish.
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    edited September 2
    One comment and a suggestion or three...

    The comment is that finding an agent can be more difficult than finding a publisher. The simple reason is that an agent (or even an agency) can only take on a very limited number of authors. For this reason, they need to be extremely selective, usually much more so than a publisher.

    The suggestions...

    While many publishers will not consider unsolicited (i.e., unagented) submissions, this is by no means a universal rule. Some of the smallest publishers will only look at agented work, while some of the very largest publishers will happily consider MSS arriving out of the blue. It just depends on the individual publisher.

    The thing to do is to find out which is which. And to do that, the best thing you can do is to lay your hands on the most recent edition of Writer’s Market. This can often be found in the reference section of public libraries. It can also be ordered online and, I think, there is also an online version you can subscribe to.

    Writer’s Market lists many hundreds of publishers, all cross-indexed by the subjects they publish. This makes it easy to zero in on just those publishers who might be most interested in your book. Each entry includes, among a great many other details, contact information, subject interests (so you don’t wind up submitting an erotic LGBTQ vampire novel to a publisher of Christian romances) and—very important—submission guidelines (which need to be followed to the letter!). All of this information, which comes directly from the publishers themselves, is absolutely accurate and reliable.

    One thing you will discover is which publishers will accept unsolicited submissions and which will not. This can save you an awful lot of trouble. For one thing, you might first try those publishers who will look at unsolicited submissions before searching out an agent.

    Writer’s Market also publishes a similar guide to literary agents and agencies, again enabling you to zero in on those most likely to be interested in your book. And, as with the other guide, the information is both accurate and reliable. You will find nothing but legitimate agencies listed.

    PS
    By the way, just in case you may have heard otherwise, publishers are not solely interested in whatever the current generic best-seller is. It might seem that they focus on famous authors and celebrities, but it is publishing books like those that enables them to afford to take chances on new authors and new ideas. Not too many years ago I went through the current catalogs of a dozen major publishers. Anywhere from 10% to more than 25% of the new titles were by first-time authors, many of their books being highly original, experimental or off the grid in some way. Some of these quickly hit the remainder tables...but sometimes the publisher’s gamble pays off... https://www.stylist.co.uk/books/25-sensational-debut-novels/124932

    As I have said more than once, every best-selling author had to have had a first book.

    One thing you have to seriously consider is that in becoming a self-publisher you take on all the roles of a publisher: editor, copy editor, proofreader, art director and head of marketing and advertising...among many others. Unless you have experience in all of these jobs you either just have to muddle  through the best you can or pay for these services out of your own pocket. Keeping in mind all the while that your book has to be of at least equal quality to a traditionally published one. There is also the issue of time: you could devote every moment to producing, promoting and marketing your book...or you could be using the time to create your next one.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
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