Ray Harper
Ray Harper - Writing
I wrote a plan for a science fiction story which was just a paragraph outlining the main story. This was before the time of personal computers so this book was handwritten! The first draft was almost all of the final work. It was revised once by hand, crossing out and scribbling between the lines. Then I typed it out adding a few minor changes as I went producing 219 pages of A4, about 87000 words. You won't be doing this! Writing in the evenings and at weekends, the book took about two and a half years to complete.

I looked at a copy of the "Writers' and Artists' Yearbook" from the library. I found publishers and agents who dealt with science fiction and selected five. This book, published annually, remains a source to find agents who might be suitable for your work.

I photocopied five copies and posted them to the publishers/agents with an accompanying letter.

I received one 'no thanks' and one letter from an agent suggesting there needed to be more characterisation and three copies disappeared into black holes.

I knew that it had taken many famous authors numerous attempts, certainly up to twenty, before their first book was accepted for publication. However, photocopying and posting the book was expensive and working fulltime with young children left little time for further efforts. I decided to wait until I retired before attempting the process again.

In the meantime I wrote outlines for other stories as they came into my head. Never loose your ideas - write them down.

I have converted the book into wordprocessor files by scanning the typed pages with OCR software (Optical Character Recognition), revised the story a little and published it as an e-book.