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How much to post?
Charles Shell
Posted: Monday, May 16, 2011 11:34 PM
Joined: 4/28/2011
Posts: 5

Hello.  I've written six novels and several thousand words of a seventh.  I've been seeking reviews from friends and off of critters.org, but on critters I've only ever posted a single short story at a time or one or two chapters.  I can upload my entire novels on here but I fear it will intimidate folks not to read/review.  What do you folks think?  Post the first few chapters or throw the whole things up there?
ME Chick
Posted: Sunday, May 22, 2011 6:58 AM
Joined: 5/8/2011
Posts: 13

If I'm providing a crit, I prefer a chapter, two at the most. This allows me to provide some specifics and hopefully give you more of what you're looking for. A longer read results in more generalized commentary with fewer specifics. Of course, that might be what you prefer.

The other factor is time. I can find an hour or two, or three, to do some critique work. But find time to read an entire novel and then write something useful on it? That can be difficult, and, in reality, would probably keep me from starting the project at all.

Hope this helps.
Barbara C Johnson
Posted: Thursday, June 9, 2011 5:38 PM
Joined: 4/26/2011
Posts: 3

Authors have the humungous burden of mailing QUERY letters to agents, agents, and agents. I might be an author trying to sell a book, but I also have other tasks on my plate. I simply cannot take the time daily to spend writing agents and publishers.

Given that it is 2011 and technology is sophisticated, I have chosen to put my QUERY letter on a website.

On the website, I put not only my HOOK, MINI-SYNOPSIS, and BIO, but also a few responses I received from a reader (fascinating!) and three sample chapters.

I am hoping the website will save me hourssssss of time.

What do you think of this idea?

L R Waterbury
Posted: Friday, June 10, 2011 4:29 PM
Joined: 4/28/2011
Posts: 60

@Barbara I think your question is better suited for its own discussion thread.

As for the original question, post as much as you want. I know some people like to review short uploads, but I prefer them longer. If I can't read the whole thing, then I'll tell you how far I got before writing my critique. Hopefully, your work will be so engaging that I WANT to read the whole thing.

I just find it very difficult to critique short uploads. There just isn't enough meat on the bone for me to be sure I like the taste like the taste of the animal or even be sure what kind of animal it is. Sure, I can tell you where to put your commas--that sounded sort of obscene--but that really isn't what this site is for. That's why editors exist. And, sure, I can tell you whether the first chapter hooked me, etc., but that short excerpt (unless you write really, really long chapters) probably wont tell me a whole lot about pacing or characterization or dialogue or even where the story is going and how you're going to get there.

This is why I prefer a longer upload. Upwards of 10,000 words is just my cup of tea. I can really say something then about your work and not just about what I'm guessing your work will be about. And let's face it, often the first chapter is the best thing about the whole book. It's where the spark of imagination got lit in the first place and where the little muse monster in your brain forced you to write something down. But when the muse monster dies ('cause sometimes they have the life-span of a fruit fly) and the spark gets rained on, well, that's when I find out just how good of a writer you are. That's usually chapter 2, but it can be further on.

In other--much fewer words--more is better. People who don't want to read so much, can stop wherever they like and critique. People who do want to read a lot, can keep going to their heart's content.
Tara Kollas
Posted: Saturday, June 11, 2011 11:11 PM
Joined: 3/12/2011
Posts: 19

I'm also debating whether to post more. The comments and feedback I've received have been incredibly helpful. The MS I've started to post is complete, and I'm just finishing up a revise and resubmit for an agent (I should be doing that right now, actually, instead of playing around here).

I think L R Waterbury is dead on when it comes to longer pieces. I've read some, whether it's in a workshop setting or a book I picked up at Barnes and Noble, where the first chapter is fantastic because it's been written and rewritten to the point where it's agent ready. But the rest falls apart. The opposite side of the coin is where someone's starting in the wrong place. The first chapter may be lovely and give the reader fantastic details about the MC, but there's no action, and the real conflict starts a few chapters in. I've been absolutely guilty of this.

I guess what I'm trying to say, is if I start to read something with the intent of providing useful feedback, I'd rather have more than less. If I reach a point where I can't continue, I'd let the author know why I stopped (whether it's because of the writing, or because of time constraints). And if I love it, I want to read the whole thing.
Jay Greenstein
Posted: Thursday, September 1, 2011 5:56 PM
A couple of things to remember:

Many publishers feel that if the entire thing, or even a significant piece appears online it’s already published. And if they like the sample you sent they’ll probably look to see if it’s available online.

Another, and to me the most important thing, is that an agent will pretty much look at the same things you do when choosing a book. They’ll open it to page one and start reading. Their rule is that as soon as they see what they view as a screw-up they stop—one strike and you’re out. And the vast majority of submissions never get read past the end of page one. So if they get to page three, or even page five and find themselves still wanting to see more, you win—at least so far as them asking to see the manuscript. If not, you wasted the time to type the rest. My point is that they’re making that decision based on the writing, not the plot. And the writing is a constant through the book. It’s you, and how you tell a story.

So, if an editor/agent can tell if the writing is adequate in five pages, need you post more to get advice on how to improve your writing?

In my view, if you can convince the one reading your query to ask for more, you can probably handle plot without anyone’s help.

GD Deckard
Posted: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 1:07 PM

Based on what I've read here, I'm deleting all but the first 5 chapters of my book. However, the question doesn't seem to be settled. I'd appreciate reading more comments on this matter.

How much should we upload onto Book Country?

Posted: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 1:41 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 224

I have been known to post entire projects to Book Country. I don't mind tackling full projects on Book Country, either.

First, only connections can read the full thing. Normal members can only read 30k. Non-members can only read 5k. It doesn't count as published.

The more you have, the better an agent can get a feel for you as a writer. The more you have up, the more than the ninja-penguins can read. The more they can read, the better your chances are of getting scouted.

That said, do what you're comfortable with.

When I critique a full piece, I read until the moment I lose interest in the story and I critique what I read up until that point. This is the information that is most important to a writer, in my opinion. It takes more time, but anything worth doing is worth doing well.

Angela Martello
Posted: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 5:50 PM
Joined: 8/21/2011
Posts: 394

The questions as to whether a not a full book was considered as published had popped up when I first loaded the full draft of one of my books. The folks from Book Country had assured me that it is not considered published here and that any work on this site is considered a work in progress.

And RJ is right - only a member's connections can read the entire work.

Personally, I would like to get feedback on the work as a whole, especially since the books I've been posting so far are part 1 and half of part 2 of a trilogy. It's important to me to know if the each work is a satisfying read on its own and if the parts work with each other. So that would require broader feedback from a brave soul willing to read through the complete work. Of course, I also welcome feedback from those readers who tackle a chapter or two and point out more detailed issues. Any feedback is worth reviewing.

I'm willing to read a couple of chapters or a longer, more complete work and provide both types of feedback. To be honest, I wish I had more time to devote to reviewing. I have such a long list of books I'm following and I'm sure there are many, many, many others on this site that are worth checking out.

So, basically, I guess there is no right or wrong answer to the question about how much to post on this site. I guess it's more about how much of your work you're willing to put out there and what type of feedback you're looking for.

Danielle Bowers
Posted: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 6:04 PM
Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 280

I post most or all of my manuscripts on Book Country and only approve connections to people I've interacted with on the site.  Getting feedback on the first few chapters over and over is great if you only want to write a few chapters.  Some of the best feedback I've gotten has been from readers who started reading and didn't stop until the end.

The way I see it is, we're all new writers here to hone our craft or established writers looking for feedback. When an agent or publisher looking for new blood comes onto the site, I like for them to open one of my books and SEE that there is 80k words and a complete book.  Even if they can't read past 30k they'll know that the manuscript is well on its way to being completed, if not finished.

Maybe it's just me, but I like to put a lot up to show that I'm serious about writing a story from beginning to end.

Posted: Sunday, November 24, 2013 2:29 PM
Charles: Post the first few chapters. If the fish are biting, throw in the rest, hook, line and sinker. If you can't make a connection after several chapters, it will never happen. As with any book unable to grab a reviewer's interest, having to wade through its entirety while popping a package of No-Doze will not bode well for your future submissions.

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