Thursday, February 12, 2009

Discovery Showcase for Self- and Unpublished Novels

Please note!
This blog, and the Discovery Showcase program, is no longer active.

Ever since our discussion a few weeks about about self-published authors, I've been trying to think of a way to support self-published and unpublished novelists in a manner that won't be overwhelming for me. And I think I've come up with something.

I have decided to declare Saturday as Discovery Showcase Day. Each week, on Saturday, I will post the first chapter of an unpublished or self-published novel. I will not vet or edit these excerpts in any way, other than to assure that any published novels are indeed self-published. This will be your chance to get your work before over three thousand weekly readers.

I do have a few rules:
  • Must be fantasy, science fiction or supernatural horror. This includes all subgenres and Christian speculative fiction.
  • Must be the first chapter of a novel-length work. This is not a market for short stories, because I cannot pay you. This is a way to promote or get feedback on your novel.
  • Only unpublished or self-published novels. I cannot take the time to deal with any potential problems with publishers. If you want me to look at your small press novel for a regular Debut Showcase, please send me a query.
  • If an agent is shopping your novel, please don't enter it. If you enter and are later lucky enough to snag an agent, you will have the opportunity to withdraw your entry.
  • You may only have one work in the queue at a time. Make sure it's your best!
  • Make sure the work is as good as you can possibly make it.
  • If the post contains profanity, please say so just after the blurb (detailed below).
  • 2000 word limit on the excerpt (not counting blurb and everything else). If your chapter is longer than 2000 words, send me your opening scenes.
  • No erotica--even if it is speculative.
After the end of each post, I'll add a few boilerplate lines about how many entries are in the queue, the titles of the next few works, and how new readers can get their work in the queue.

I will not respond to any of the entries until you are next in the queue. At that time, I'll send you an email letting you know that it's your turn, and I will ask that you reply with an agreement for me to post your work. This may seem redundant, but I will not post anyone's work without explicit permission. I will let you know how to do that in my email to you. This also will be your chance to make any changes to your entry, so don't send any updates in the meantime. If you need to withdraw the work, this will be the time to do so.

If you don't reply to my email, I will skip your work. This is because I want to be absolutely sure you really want the work online before I put it up.

In order to get a conversation going about your work, I will offer my reaction to the excerpt. If I have a critique, I will say so, but I am a skilled critiquer, and I won't be harsh. Make sure you are open to feedback before you enter. The feedback from others may be harsh. I don't moderate comments here, but my commenters seem to be a nice crowd. I will delete comments that seem abusive to me, but that will be after they have gone live because again, I don't moderate comments.

Have I used enough bold here? I just want to make sure you are ready for any negative feedback you might get. I don't think it will be all bad, but I also don't think I have to warn anyone about positive feedback. :)

Great! How do I send my chapter?

Format your excerpt like this:
  • Title and Short blurb, 200 words or less.
  • Your byline ("by Joe Writer")
  • Genre and any applicable subgenre.
  • Profanity warnings, if applicable.
  • Excerpt, 2000 words or less.
  • Your publisher, for self-published novels. If you created your own publishing company to publish your book, this is perfectly fine, but please say so. Otherwise, I'll end up wasting time researching your publisher.
  • Link where one can purchase or download the novel, if available.
  • Cover image, if you have one. I will place the image alongside the text, just like I do for a Debut Showcase.
The title of your email must be "Discovery Showcase - " followed by the title of your novel. I'm going to have Gmail sort these entries into a folder, so please get this right. Otherwise, I may miss your entry.

Please follow the instructions! I tried to construct this program so it is something that I have time for. Any entry that falls out of these guidelines will be discarded without notice.

Send your entries to tia dot nevitt at gmail dot com.

Thank you in advance!


ediFanoB said...


So let's wait and see what we will get on Saturday.

Kimber Li said...

Wow, that's extremely generous!

However, I'm concerned you're going to be deluged. Here's another idea-

Post the title, blurb, cover art, and a link to the chapter or book on-line, or where they can order a copy. Faster and takes up a lot less space on this blog. Just a suggestion.

SparklingBlue said...

Wow! I just might consider offering "Gemsinger" to the program once I finish ironing out the worldbuilding

Neil Richard said...

Is it okay to love you and hate you at the same time? I love the idea. I think it will give some aspiring writers a chance to put themselves out there.

But I hate that I'm going to have to read all of these entries. Every week! Like I don't have enough to read already....

Tia Nevitt said...

TK, that's why I capped it at 2000 words. To go easy on you.

Kimber, I do expect an influx. But as I said in the post, I'm only going to work on one post at a time, one week at a time. Most people are terrible at writing blurbs. Patrick Rothfuss said he couldn't write a query letter to save his life. This will allow the writing to speak for itself.

If the waiting list gets to be insane, I will cut it off there, because it would be ridiculous to have people waiting for a year or so before their post goes up.

Todd Newton said...

This is extremely exciting! That's all I'm going to say for now. I will be submitting, you can be sure of that, but it probably won't be for over a month since I haven't "flipped the switch" yet (still need to finish the cover and complete my last pass on the MS) for The Ninth Avatar

Again, thanks for doing this. I'm excited to see whether it combats or contributes to the self-publishing stigma.

Janet said...

Fun idea. Make sure you put a permanent link to the guidelines in the sidebar. (Sorry if you already have; in that case I missed it.)

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Very cool, Tia. VERY cool.

Tia Nevitt said...

Janet, I'll have the guidelines on the sidebar and at the bottom of every Discovery Showcase post.

I'm glad the idea is so well-received! Now we just need our first victim . . . er, participant!

David Constantine said...

That's very cool indeed.

Tia Nevitt said...

Thank you, David!!

Deborah Blake said...

Does this include paranormal romance?

Tia Nevitt said...

I don't see any reason why not. I think of paranormal romance as an equal blend of fantasy and romance. which works for me!

Tia Nevitt said...

No takers yet!

Anonymous said...

Excellent! I know what I'm reading on Saturday :).

Thanks for taking the time to organize this.

Tia Nevitt said...

Cool! Imagine how many people haven't spoken up.

Todd Newton said...

Any submissions yet?

Tia Nevitt said...

Unfortunately, I can't check my email from work. None as of this morning.

Ken said...

does it have to be a complete novel?

Tia Nevitt said...

Cheetaur, I'll never know if it isn't, now will I? ;) I do ask that you make it as polished as you can possibly make it. Read it aloud to catch those annoying little errors; get others to read it and give you feedback. That sort of thing.

Tia Nevitt said...

And we have an entry! (If we hadn't had one, I was going to put the first chapter up from my trunk novel, which I have no intention of trying to publish. Ever. I may still do that on a slow week, just for laughs.)

Harry Markov said...

Well here is a motivation to start editing... You are doing something unimaginable and I think people will worship you for showcasing their work. I will soon be one of them.

Anonymous said...

Holy cow, what an awesome idea! I don't know if I should send mine in just yet, though....I should probably get closer to the end of my final revisions before then. But now I've got great motivation to get moving on those revisions!

But I'll certainly spead the word about this, to be sure.

Heather Massey said...

Very generous of you, Tia! I'll link to this in my next link round up.

Barbara Martin said...

I think this is a wonderful idea, and I may just put my first unpublished 2,000 words in. Do you want everything in the body of the email?

Heather Massey said...

[...]Fantasy Debut is starting a new feature for unpublished and self-published authors called Discovery Showcase[...]