I have these books

I wrote some books I'm very fond of but they'll never get published. What do I do with these things?

One got lots of enthusiastic rejections and won prizes in unpubbed contests. If I'd just change this bit, I could get it published. But that bit would make the whole story different and no, thanks.**
Do I put it online for free? Do I toss it out? Do I ask Rob if he'll publish it? I did that with another book I like, but a few years later, I'm not sure it was ready for prime time, but maybe it never would be. And maybe it shouldn't be because some things work better in a rough state.

Also... If it's not worth working on because it won't make money, does that mean it should go in the scrap heap? Do I suck it up and toss 'em? I mean, damn, I don't want my name associated with less than perfect work, right? [joke alert. The previous sentence was supposed to be funny]

Writers==what do you do with books that might never make it but you're fond of and hate to toss? There's something glitchy about them that makes them unfit for NYC, and they are so unlike your usual voice you don't want to put them out with your usual name with epublisher. I have a couple that'll never see the light of day and thank God for that! But then there are these others . . . And damn, I have quite a few of those.
Oh well.
**It's not that I think my writing is Just Perfect, it's that sometimes rewriting seems impossible for a particular book. Easier to start over with a new mind.


  1. If they're truly good I wouldn't throw them away. Is there a time limit on submissions? Could you resubmit a novel five years later? Nobody is going to remember it.

    Failing that, I might consider posting them online, but only if you are good with having your name on them. It would be a waste of time and resources if you posted them under a pseudonym.

    If you don't want your name on them, I suppose you could try to get them published under another name. I'd only do that, though, if it seemed likely that you'd make money on them. Otherwise, why do it? Only do things that will advance the brand.

    Oh, and that are fun.

  2. If any of them are the Book of Your Heart, do yourself a favor and destroy all copies of it. Immediately.

    If the story idea is solid but the execution sucks, I'd put it away in an idea file for future rewrite. If the story idea sucks, trash it.

    If the story idea and execution are solid but currently unmarketable, I'd shelve them for a couple of years (I could not get anyone to buy my first three Darkyn novels back in '98. Now? I can't write them fast enough.)

    I never make story mistakes or loudy work into freebies. You always want to show readers your best work, even when you're giving it away.

  3. You know how I feel. I heart free books. And since I am just rolling in dough and book contracts, you should follow my advice. [joke alert. The previous sentence was supposed to be funny].

    Srsly. Don't give anything away if you aren't 100% committed to giving it away. If you wrote those stories intending to make money from them, then keep them until you can make them pay for their room and board--because if you give them away, you'll regret it. If however, you have a story that you really like, and you think other people might really like it, and it might inspire those readers to think well of your past and future work, then, by all means, give...(and put me on the mailing list, ok?)

  4. I think a couple really are good, dean, better than stuff I have out there. A couple are never going to work and lynn knows it too but is too nice to say so.

    And...I like loudy better than lousy. Noisy-bad..hey, that's a good kenning. (A kid is studying Beowulf and recently informed me that the only thing the AngloSaxons gave us are kennings and alliteration)

    Bettie? Excuse me. Your freebie is too damned good. People should pay for the privilege of reading it. In fact, people should be vetted to make sure they're good enough to buy it.

  5. The loudy books are the ones I write for hire, and cannot upon penalty of death reveal are my work. Until after I die and my huge indy expose is published, anyway. :)

    You have to fail to learn. There's no other way. I don't believe in the magical writer who gets it right every time they put pen to paper. And anytime you would like to see the thirty-some trunk, unmarketable, and wretched first draft novels sitting and gathering dust in my "Someday, rewrite" closet, just come on over.

    I have to go comment on the RWA meeting post now. Wicked, wicked Miss Kate . . .

  6. Anonymous8:26 AM

    PBW said it better than I can.

    HOWEVER, I've got this really great contemporary that everyone is passing on. Maybe my book and your book should get together and have coffee, see if sparks fly....

    -Tracy MacNish

  7. Yeah, what PBW said.

    Although I'm betting they ALL aren't loudy. I'm betting I'd LOVE some of these books. And free PDF files make me smile. This would be a huge, honkin' HINT.

  8. Knowing exactly one of the books you're probably thinking of 'cause I got to read it, I'd say, if you don't think it's saleable, use it for promo for free. It's really a great book, y'all. I liked it very much, but because it was a first person, stream of consciousness monologue type thing, I can see where it would be a hard sell.

    But damn, I read it all in one sitting. I couldn't stop. And I wouldn't want people to miss out on this just because it doesn't "fit" anywhere. Put it up on your blog in segments as Bettie did with Ember, and I think you'll get the audience this story richly deserves. You could even put a disclaimer that it's not like your regular writing style, that it's an experimental piece.

    I'm wrestling with an older story of mine I was going to have Bam use for The Serial, but re-reading it, I've decided it requires way too much editing and I sure as hell wouldn't want it to represent me in the shape it's in now. Plus, I'd hate to follow Ember! Yikes!


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