Dang, it always feels so awkward asking that, but I’m struggling to make progress with the second half of the book and I was staring at a list of literary agents the other day thinking: ‘no one’s going to represent this’.

That’s not to say I don’t think it’s any good. What became the first chapter did get published in Spinetingler and it is very much the story I wanted to write… but whether that’s enough to make it a book people would want to read is a whole different matter.

It’s probably best described as supernatural noir and was originally envisaged as a TV show – the five chapters I have completed are equivalent to series one of two. Calling it quirky might be an understatement, so I’m sure it won’t appeal to everyone.

But is it too quirky for agents? Too uncommercial for publishers? I don't know, so that's why I'm hoping for some feedback. Of course, if it’s not suitable for print publishing, I could always serialise it on my blog, where literary standards are non-existent, so even bad news isn’t all that bad.

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I would LOVE to read it! But I'm not someone with an expert opinion--just one who loves to read.
Great! I don't think Ning messaging allows attachments, but if you send me an email address I'll get a copy to you.
Well, you KNOW I would love to - so how come it's not already in my inbox? Hmmmmmmm?
I thought I'd sent it you! Honest!

Though if I did that will be the version that ends a scene halfway through a sentence. Oops.

I shall send you an updated copy forthwith.
Hi Louisa, I'm grateful for whatever opinions I can get. If you message me your email I will gladly send you a copy. Unfortunately, I'll be out in Australia visiting my brother when Bouchercon takes place, but I would like to make it over for one of the conventions next year.
One tip a literary agent passed along is to befriend a reputable bookseller and have them take a look at your manuscript. Their endorsement will carry a lot of weight if you include it with your query letter when you are at that stage.
Yes, evil as it may be, successful networking probably does increase the chance of getting an agent or making a sale. I was going to say I know Russel, who works in a branch of Waterstones, but I don't think he counts as reputable.
If you don't have enough readers yet, i would love to.
The more, the merrier. Message me an email address and I'll get a copy over to you.
I understand what you're going through, Vincent. You get to a certain point in the manuscript and you start doubting and second-guessing yourself, wondering if you're wasting time, wondering if you should ditch this project and start on something new. I've done it myself. What I've learned, though, is that only you can be the judge as to whether this is something you should be writing or not. If it's something you feel as though you have to write, then finish it. Looking for feedback before a manuscript is finished has always been counterproductive, in my experience. You end up chasing your tail and--worst-case scenario--never finishing the thing anyway.

If you're in love with the project, then finish it. If the doubts are overwhelming, shelve it for a while and then maybe come back to it with a fresh perspective. Reader opinions at this point will only slow you down.

My two cents.
Thanks, Jude, though the struggles I've had with this particular book have been down to torturous plotting more than anything. While I've never been confident it'd appeal to publishers, I've have always been sure I'd finish it (this is my fifth novel and none of the others have had a sniff of interest from agents or publishers, so I don't let that worry me too much). And with my current glacial rate of writing, I don't think I could actually go much slower.

I think the fact I find feedback helpful early on is because I do so much of my plotting in advance. Part of that comes from writing screenplays, but I fear most of it comes from my day job of computer programming, where most of the work is done at the design stage (or at least should be), mock-ups and prototypes are used to gauge the response of users early on and the actual writing of code is a relatively simple job at the end. When I finally pass a finished piece of development to users for testing, I don't expect to have to make any changes beyond minor tweaks, if any (which, fortunately, is usually the case).

That's not say that users will like the end result (to be fair, anyone who actually likes a financial report is a bit weird), but the important thing is that it does what was intended. Rightly or wrongly, I take the same approach to writing. A reader might not like my story, but that's okay provided they're disliking the comic thriller I intended to write, rather than the literary thriller I inadvertantly wrote instead.

Not that I think I could write something literary, advertantly or otherwise.
I can't seem to send you a mail (yes, it's most likely very easy to do). Would you mail me and then i can reply?


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