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Old Salt | 13:32 Tue 25th Nov 2008 | Books & Authors
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Well, I'm now retired and have the time to see if I can write something that a publisher will think is worth printing in hope of selling.

I have made a few submissions, but so far I've only received an occasional 'ticked form reply.' I've never had any formal writer training, but I usually get a few favourable responses to my socialising sea stories.

Does anyone have any 'hands-on-knowledge' of a useful software package for 'wannabe' writers?

Until I retired, I was a company-paid technical writer and copywriter; my efforts were very sought after.

All ideas and suggestions will be gratefully received.

Living in hope of a personal writing job as no one seems interested in hiring me part time ---- and the way things seem to be going I need to come up with something to enhance my pension.

Waiting anxiously...........
Old Salt

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Good luck with your ambitions. I don't think you need any specialised software. If you are intending to write novels, or non-fiction, usually all that publishers require is the first chapter or couple of chapters, submitted on A4 size paper, in double-line spacing. It worked for me.
Suggest when you have decided what it is you want to write, that you obtain a copy of the Artists and Writer's Year Book to check which publishers are interested in what type of books or articles. When you have something prepared, it's as well to submit something to an agent to see if they are prepared to take you on as a client. In the meantime you could check out various types of magazines and periodicals, as they often pay quite well for shortish articles, or stories.
I imagine given your previous employment you should be good at proof-reading, which will cut down costs. Once again I wish you the very best of good fortune. Please let me know how you get on.
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Thanks for such a prompt and thoughtful reply Schutzenge

I must admit, I have my doubts about the claims of the suppliers of writer's software packages. I posted the question hoping someone may have used the software and is willing to share their experience.

I've been debating whether or not to purchase this year's edition of Artists and Writer's. Usually, I submit my work to publishers listed in writer's magazines or publications that I read; however, I know I must start 'widening my horizon."

Should I get 'any' positive result, I will make sure I post it under "Books and Authors."

And by the way, "Thank you very much for the subtle pep-talk."

as the ad-men used to say, "Takes a licking and keeps on ticking." See you around

Old Salt
Glad to see you are feeling so positive. By the way you don't need to purchase the Artists and Writer's Year Book, you can borrow it from the nearest Public Library.
Thank you for the lovely reply. Hope to hear one day that you are a success. Cheerio! for Now.
I seem to remember reading many years ago that of all the people who thought they 'had a book in them' only 1 in 1000 ever put pen to paper (or these days finger to keyboard). Of all those who started only 1 in 1000 ever finished and of all those who finished only 1 in 1000 ever sent off the clean, edited, proof-read, double-spaced version to a publisher.

And of those a surprisingly large number took the first rejection slip as final and tossed their endeavour in a drawer and forgot about it. Meanwhile publishers are desperate to find good books to publish!

The other advice I was given was that a good publisher, even one who rejects your work, is your first and best reader. Many of them will send back suggestions as to how your book could be improved. Most of these will involve shortening it! Authors are prone to want to keep every last syllable: publishers are usually right! Even once you get an offer to publish, editors will provide an input and make potentailly far-reaching suggestions. It's worth reading the blurb and dedications some of the 'biggest' writers add to the front/ back of their books and the number of times they thank their editors. My all-time favourite is that until her editor persuaded her otherwise, Margaret Mitchell wasn't going to give the world Scarlett O'Hara, but Poppy!

Best of luck with the new career!
Question Author
Sad but true dundurn

I recall some similar statistics. I was good at Technical Writing and Copywriting, but just don't seem to have much flare for what people want to read in creative writing.

I thought, for sure, I would be able to pick up some part time work copywriting, but not a sniff. I put together a portfolio of my well received training manuals and courses, and also a few successful new product and services marketing packages. But alas, can't even get a foot in the door.

Even before the downturn, no one seemed at all interested.

Sure is bad news for the ego.

Old Salt


You may find this site and/or the magazine useful, Old Salt. It's American but hey they know what they're doing - occasionally. Good luck!
Question Author
Well fan my britches, swedeheart

I used to be an avid subscriber and member of the Writers Digest, when I was stationed in Virginia and Washington DC.

But, the cost of the magazine got too expensive. When I retired from active duty and returned to Suffolk, I lost touch.

I have sent them an e-mail asking them to resurrect my old User ID.

Thanks for that; it sure is indeed a small world.

Starting engines
Old Salt
*fans Old Salt's britches* :-D

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