Thursday, September 13, 2012

Orla's Code Gets a Makeover!

Where were we? Oh yes, I was getting rejected. But finally some of my rejections came with some positive feedback. 'A good story but not quite there' / 'Writes very well but pace a bit fast'

It was about this time I decided the way for me to go is the way of the e-book. At 42,000 words, Orla's Code is considered a novella, though its word-count and the time frame it spans are longer than usual for the style. Novellas are not generally considered commercially viable by agents and publishers. This is because they cost the same to print as full-length novels but have to be priced lower thus making them less profitable. Another reason is, novellas are not as popular as novels, tending to have a niche market. But in the digital world, the book length does not matter as much and production is cheaper. Publishers who have started to get involved in e-publishing are obviously changing with the industry; they might be looking outside the usual formula too.

Also, at this time, I realised that my perspective on the story was shot. A year after completing it I still couldn't read it with fresh eyes. But, I felt I should address the issues brought in the feedback, before the next round of submissions. 

So, I decided to have Orla's Code professionally edited. I had no problem chosing the editor. I had been to a talk about self-publishing company, Silverwood Books about a year before and was impressed with what they had to say. With many years experience in the industry and a genuine approach, I felt they were about helping a writer to produce and market quality work. I remembered also they provided services like proof-reading, editing, formatting etc. I got in contact straight away. 

A few weeks later and we were off. The editing experience has been invaluable. The feedback, done with Word comments covered everything from punctuation to character inconsistencies to suggestions around visual descriptions. Now, when I read the finished work I can see how it flows more smoothly as a whole story. I also received a lot of advice along the way about writing for the reader and the industry in general. As a result, it has given me a lot more confidence, was a great learning experience and was also fun!

On to the next step: Now that Orla's Code is as polished as I can make it, I have submitted the first page to WEbook and Jottify for, hopefully, some positive feedback. If you're not familiar with these sites, they have come up in the age of digital publishing. Both allow you to submit samples of your work and rate others. Both have a community, friendly feel and their role is to connect writers as well as provide a platform, an alternative way to get work out there. My impression, so far, is that Jottify is the easier one to use, although WEbook charges for submission. But then, WEbook exposes rated work to agents. For this reason it is also more strict about the rules of submission. You can only submit the first 250 (or so) words, so the first page. There is also a restrictive limit on the 'blurb' that accompanies it. Jottify allows you to add as much or as little as you like and you can add a picture to accompany the work, which is pleasing to those of us who slaved away on a visualisation (look to your left). So far, on Jottify I have received 14 views and 1 like. I've also been 'gifted' an ink pot - this is cool, but I don't fully understand its power yet. 

While I am getting around Jottify and WEbook, adding some reviews and comments of my own, I shall be thinking about my next round of submissions. Stay tuned...

The first chapter of Orla's Code is also here on my site.


  1. Hi Fiona - it's lovely to meet you here in the blogosphere - good luck with Orla's Code, which sounds fabulous. I've only ever heard good things about Silverwood Books so you are in good hands there. Please let me know when your novella is available to download.

    Janice xx

    1. Hi Janice
      Nice to meet you too. Thanks for the encouraging words. I will certainly let you know about Orla's Code.

  2. Hi Fiona!

    Thank you for commenting on my blog.

    First off, Yay! I'm a big supporter of ebooks and I totally agree that you should go that route, especially for novellas (and short stories).

    Also, I've read the first page of Orla's Code. And I'm sorry, I don't think I'm the target audience for your story. I prefer to read scifi, fantasy, horror, etc...

    But I'll support you on your writing journey and I hope you'll sell a million copies!


  3. Those two sites sound interesting. Back in 2008 when i was writing HEAVN CAN WAIT I put the first few cheers up in the chick lit group of WriteWords and found the feedback invaluable.

  4. Thanks for the comment, Cally. I'll check out WriteWords.

  5. I can never look at my work with totally fresh eyes either. Good luck with your submissions.

  6. Hello Fiona - thank you for following my blog. Think I bookmarked you on Jottify - if not I'll go back and have a look. I finished My name is Luca in August and since then have been looking around for somewhere else to get constructive criticism - plan to try Authonomy which is a Harper Collins site for new and published authors and is free. Wasn't sure though if there was any restriction on having a story on more than one site - suspect there isn't. I'll let you know how I get on.

  7. Hi Herbie
    It will be interesting to see how you find Authonomy. I'm thinking of leaving WEBooks shortly but I really enjoy Jottify - I think the site is much better organised and is more friendly.