Sunday, September 19, 2010

Marketing Novel Excerpts

This past week, as a writing and marketing exercise, I submitted excerpts from my novel, In Franklin's House, to five print publications. After I had selected a section from the book (approximately 3,000 words) that with minor modifications would stand alone as a short story, I checked word length requirements at the targeted magazines.
At one publication the editor wanted 1,000 words maximum, while other editors accepted 5,000 words. Beginning with the lesser figure as a goal, I first eliminated any non-essential paragraphs from the text; next deleted sentences, but mostly editing came down to slicing phrases and words that didn't advance the material. This became quite a quest: to test each word; to see if each could serve dual purposes.
After this minimalist approach--and, yes, I made the 1,000 count--I questioned if my longer version had padding; then stripped 500 words from it.
Naturally I hope that one or more of these submissions is accepted. However, I'm grateful for the revision lesson. It affirmed that although novel and short story writing don't always equate, the judicious examination of words benefits any writer.


Monti said...

Hi Beverly,

What a really interesting idea. I hope you get accepted because it is a great way to promo your book. Thank you for explaining what you did. I hope you will keep us posted on the outcome.


Sunny Frazier said...

I spoke on short story writing at a bookfest this weekend. One exercise I encourage is to take a sentence and see how many words you can remove and still have the sentence make sense. I've come up with one-word paragraphs.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I admire anyone who can write short stories. I've written about three in my lifetime. Two were published in anthologies, but I had to sweat blood to write them. One I could have written a whole novel on the idea.


Carol Crigger said...

I wrote an article on "The Big Burn" a couple years ago for an Internet site. When the page was taken down, I decided to rework the article for the 100 year anniversary, and searched out a couple different markets. Beginning with an 800-word article, I expanded it to 1500 words for one market, and decreased it to 400 for another. Now that's a challenge! Fun, though.