Alex Beadon Challenge Day 4 : Frequently asked questions.

Hi everyone,

Today I am going to share some common questions that I came across while I was in the process of writing my first book. If you have any other questions that you would like the answer to please let me know and I’ll see what I can do about providing you with an answer.

1. What are the different point of views (POVs) that can be used?

There are three main POVs that you can write in when it comes to writing your book.

– Third person omniscient

This is when you write the story from the POV of of a narrator who knows all the thoughts and feelings of all of the characters and he can move from one character POV to another. This is known as head hopping, as you can constantly move from one characters mind to another characters mind. I hear this isn’t the favourite form of writing for editors, as they believe it distract the reader and breaks their connection with the characters.
I suppose there are examples of good head hopping and bad head hopping, but I cant think of any of the latter. In general it’s never bothered me when the POV changes from time to time.
I think a rule to follow here if you want to write in 3rd person omniscient is not to change the POV too rapidly and definitely not mid sentence. At least leave it to a new paragraph or scene even, when you want to change.

– Third person limited

I think this is the most common form of POV and this is when you write the story from the POV of one character. Throughout the story you are limited to their thoughts and feelings. So although you are interacting with and describing the other characters, you wouldn’t normally describe how they feel unless it was in the way our main character perceives them.

– First person

Similar to third person limited, but this time you are actually telling the story from a first person POV. Rather than saying he or she as you would in 3rd person, you would use I. I do enjoy this form of story telling as it really brings people into the story as if they are experiencing themselves.

– There is another type of POV which is Second person (you), however I don’t think this is a popular type of narration and is only really used in certain types of literature. I don’t know any examples of this type of literature except for those interactive mysteries we used to get when we were kids. (Anyone remember them?)

 2. Which POV is the best?
I don’t think there is a hard rule to this, it really depends on the type of story that you’re writing and the type of connection you are trying to build with your audience

I think first person can create a very intimate relationship with the protagonist as your reader is directly experiencing what the protagonist is. But this can also work well in third person limited.
Third person omniscient would probably build the weakest relationship to any one character, but its a great way to tell a complex story And bring your reader right into the middle of the action.

3. How will I know when my story is ready to publish?

The first thing I would advise you to do is to get your story beta read. You can do this  by simply sharing it amongst friends and family and getting their opinions on any plot holes or mistakes. If you prefer a professional critique you can send it to somebody to read and even edit for grammar/ spelling or whatever else is needed. This can be a bit of an investment depending on the size of your story.

4. Is self publishing or traditional publishing better?
I suppose both have their pros and cons.
With self publishing the main pro is that you are in full control of the content of your story and will generally be receiving all of the profits. The biggest con with self publishing is that you will be responsible for all the marketing and audience building for you book.
This, however, is the greatest pro of traditional publishing. Whoever chooses to publish your book wants it to sell just as much as you do, maybe even more (they’ve already invested money in its printing and storing) so you don’t have to do much in the way of marketing. Once a publisher accepts your work you will normally be paid an upfront fee and then once sales reach a certain point (enough sales have been made to pay the publisher back for their initial advance) you will normally receive a fee per book sold.
I think the biggest con is that it can be a long process before being accepted by a publisher.

5. How do I go about traditional publishing?

Well, there are actually 3 ways you can do this.
– Buy a publishing firm and then simply get your book published. Definitely the easiest way if you have a few million to spare. Assuming you don’t though, there’s still hope.

– Contact the editors for publishing offices yourself and see if they will accept your book for publishing. This can be along and tedious process, and I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have done thorough research into what’s involved. Agents know how to deal with editors and will take care of all the negotiations for you. If you do decide to do this alone, be careful!

– Find an agent who will accept the task of getting your book published.  Finding an agent can be a pretty long task too, but once they accept you they’ll do all the hard work of finding a publisher for you. The great thing about agents is that you don’t pay anything upfront, they’ll take their commission (normally 15%) when a publisher accepts you. The only problem here is that as they don’t take payment, they’ll only accept work they think is worth the risk for them. So make sure you refine your idea and polish your manuscript as best you can before sending it off to an agent.

6. How do I get an agent?

Its basically a case of finding agents who deal with your genre of work and asking them if they would accept yours. Normally you would need to send them a cover letter, a synopsis of the book, and the first few chapters. If they enjoy what you’ve sent so far they will contact you for more information. For more information on finding an agent visit The Writer Workshop.

I hope this has helped with any initial questions that you may have. If you have any more feel free to contact me.

Thanks for stopping by.
Liz.

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