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Thread: So I wrote a book - bit of help needed

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    So I wrote a book - bit of help needed

    So... after I was made redundant back in November I started writing a book. Now this book is a children's book set in a scout troop. I won't give too much away but the short version of the story is teenager gets (outrageously unfairly) into trouble at school for standing up to the school bully. Parents pull her out of scout summer camp as punishment. Her friends decide it is grossly unfair an help her stowaway anyway. Along the way they pull some outrageous stunts. Some of which are a touch dangerous, some of which are border line illegal...

    Anyway having finished it I am now looking for an agent and a publisher.

    Before that I thought it might be a good idea to bounce this off HQ and make sure I wasn't going to upset anybody or cause any problem with copyright.

    They have come back and said.... given the story line please don't use any specifc scout terms. Given what the kids get up to I have some sympathy so this post is NOT a winge about HQ. More a case of getting some ideas. I needs some replacement terms for the terms I've used. I plan on getting my scouts to help me as well. But any ideas for replacement terms for

    Beaver
    Cub
    Scout
    Explorer
    Service Crew
    Patrol
    Patrol Leader
    Assistant Patrol Leader
    Troop
    Unit
    Bronze Cross

    Probably goes without saying they shouldn't be terms used by other organisations either! eg Navigators, Pathfinders etc...

    Thanks in advance, looking forward to some ideas

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    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    re. publisher: There seems to be money to be made from self-publishing via kindle.

    you control the pricing etc - i listened to a think on R4 a while ago and the authors who self published were b happy with the control, they can drop the price of their first novel to suck people in or give away a chapter free of the second.

    That has worked on me... i pay for books from a few uk crime writers based on cheap deals that got me into them or free chapters that were good enough to make me want to carry on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by big chris View Post
    re. publisher: There seems to be money to be made from self-publishing via kindle.

    you control the pricing etc - i listened to a think on R4 a while ago and the authors who self published were b happy with the control, they can drop the price of their first novel to suck people in or give away a chapter free of the second.

    That has worked on me... i pay for books from a few uk crime writers based on cheap deals that got me into them or free chapters that were good enough to make me want to carry on.
    Thanks Chris. It's certainly something I've not ruled out. I'm planning on attempting the traditional route first of all, what with the marketing support that brings with it, but self publishing could work as well.

    Before that I just need to get past this terminology issue...

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    the obvious route is a yoof centre, biker grove style with some team leaders etc.

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    If you take it out of Scouting the equivalent to the Bronze Cross would be something like the George Medal, Queens Gallantry Medal or maybe a Humane Society award depending on the nature of what its being awarded for.

    For the rest you're going to need to invent an entire Scout like organisation and explain it (which presumably to some degree you have to do anyway assuming not everyone knows the relevance of Scouting terms).

    You might want to think in terms of Tribes - Gangs could be used but has specific criminal connotations - so Tribe Leader, Assistant Tribe Leader - think sort of urban youth type group. Or "crew" with Tribe being the replacement for Troop or Unit. Service Crew could easily just be Site Crew or Site Team or Site Staff. I guess for the section names you could try down an animal genus - so Kittens, Cats, Panthers, Tigers, Lions sort of thing - those might bring you some other Patrol type names instead "Pride of Lions" for example.

    Some thoughts anyway which might spark better ideas!
    Does anyone know what's going on?

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    Some random ideas:

    Beaver - Meerkat
    Cub - Wolf
    Scout - Bear/Pathfinder
    Explorer - Lion/Venturer
    Service Crew - Wardens
    Patrol - Den/Clan
    Patrol Leader - Den Leader
    Assistant Patrol Leader - Den Second
    Troop - Unit
    Unit - Unit
    Bronze Cross - name it after someone (eg McDougal Cross)

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    Quote Originally Posted by CambridgeSkip View Post
    So... after I was made redundant back in November I started writing a book. Now this book is a children's book set in a scout troop. I won't give too much away but the short version of the story is teenager gets (outrageously unfairly) into trouble at school for standing up to the school bully. Parents pull her out of scout summer camp as punishment. Her friends decide it is grossly unfair an help her stowaway anyway. Along the way they pull some outrageous stunts. Some of which are a touch dangerous, some of which are border line illegal...

    Anyway having finished it I am now looking for an agent and a publisher.

    Before that I thought it might be a good idea to bounce this off HQ and make sure I wasn't going to upset anybody or cause any problem with copyright.

    They have come back and said.... given the story line please don't use any specifc scout terms. Given what the kids get up to I have some sympathy so this post is NOT a winge about HQ. More a case of getting some ideas. I needs some replacement terms for the terms I've used. I plan on getting my scouts to help me as well. But any ideas for replacement terms for

    Beaver
    Cub
    Scout
    Explorer
    Service Crew
    Patrol
    Patrol Leader
    Assistant Patrol Leader
    Troop
    Unit
    Bronze Cross

    Probably goes without saying they shouldn't be terms used by other organisations either! eg Navigators, Pathfinders etc...

    Thanks in advance, looking forward to some ideas
    On the terms, you are going to be a tad stuffed finding terms that work but don't sound twee. The ones to avoid, I guess, would be Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers, but then again, I don't think there is any copyright on any of these terms - more than one organisation uses the term Explorer.

    I suspect that it will be obvious that you are referring to Scouts, so stick with Scouting references, mix and match, be an independent Scout Group - there are more than you would imagine. The terms Trrop, Unit, service crew etc., are open for anyone to use.

    Publishing, I hate to be negative, and I admire anyone who can put a book together, you have no idea how many false starts I have made, but getting a publisher to buy into your first book could be very difficult. If you self publish, you then have a garage full of books and you need to go out and sell them.

    I would advise digital publishing, it is cheap, it gets you a base readership, and you might just make a few pennies, if your work is liked and well read, it will make your second book more likely to attract a publisher.

    I have a colleague who writes books, he is on his fifth or sixth book. He took the self publishing route, because he had a niche market that he knew would buy books on his topic. And here is the biggest tip you are going to get, from a man who may write for a living but cannot type to save himself, find someone to edit your book, not a friend, someone who will pick you up on your English, and on your plotlines. Many self published books, paper or digital fail because they surprise people with English they don't expect to see, and they have flaws in their plot line, I recall reading one book, it badly needed editing, but otherwise was a good story, but... for the first quarter of the book there was a pretty major character, who then vanished without trace and never reappeared. That character's role in the book was superfluous to the story. A good editor would have sorted that.

    Good luck with the career as a writer.
    Ewan Scott

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    Quote Originally Posted by mang21 View Post
    If you take it out of Scouting the equivalent to the Bronze Cross would be something like the George Medal, Queens Gallantry Medal or maybe a Humane Society award depending on the nature of what its being awarded for.

    For the rest you're going to need to invent an entire Scout like organisation and explain it (which presumably to some degree you have to do anyway assuming not everyone knows the relevance of Scouting terms).

    You might want to think in terms of Tribes - Gangs could be used but has specific criminal connotations - so Tribe Leader, Assistant Tribe Leader - think sort of urban youth type group. Or "crew" with Tribe being the replacement for Troop or Unit. Service Crew could easily just be Site Crew or Site Team or Site Staff. I guess for the section names you could try down an animal genus - so Kittens, Cats, Panthers, Tigers, Lions sort of thing - those might bring you some other Patrol type names instead "Pride of Lions" for example.

    Some thoughts anyway which might spark better ideas!
    I quite like the tribe idea! That will make the short list.

    And yes service crew will probably just become site staff or something pretty generic.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by khoomei View Post
    Some random ideas:

    Beaver - Meerkat
    Cub - Wolf
    Scout - Bear/Pathfinder
    Explorer - Lion/Venturer
    Service Crew - Wardens
    Patrol - Den/Clan
    Patrol Leader - Den Leader
    Assistant Patrol Leader - Den Second
    Troop - Unit
    Unit - Unit
    Bronze Cross - name it after someone (eg McDougal Cross)
    I quite like the term Pathfinder, infact that it was what some German scouts are called when literally translated. It is also though quite a well established chain of church based youth groups. I'd need to look into how useable that term is. Consider it on the short list though!

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    Quote Originally Posted by CambridgeSkip View Post

    I quite like the term Pathfinder, infact that it was what some German scouts are called when literally translated. It is also though quite a well established chain of church based youth groups. I'd need to look into how useable that term is. Consider it on the short list though!
    I would avoid Pathfinder like the plague if you want to avoid being linked to anything...

    I honestly don't see any issue with using terms shared across many different associations.
    Ewan Scott

    It seems that there are a lot of Nawyecka Comanch around....





    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



    www.upperdearnevalleynavigators.org.uk

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    Senior Member CambridgeSkip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    On the terms, you are going to be a tad stuffed finding terms that work but don't sound twee. The ones to avoid, I guess, would be Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers, but then again, I don't think there is any copyright on any of these terms - more than one organisation uses the term Explorer.

    I suspect that it will be obvious that you are referring to Scouts, so stick with Scouting references, mix and match, be an independent Scout Group - there are more than you would imagine. The terms Trrop, Unit, service crew etc., are open for anyone to use.

    Publishing, I hate to be negative, and I admire anyone who can put a book together, you have no idea how many false starts I have made, but getting a publisher to buy into your first book could be very difficult. If you self publish, you then have a garage full of books and you need to go out and sell them.

    I would advise digital publishing, it is cheap, it gets you a base readership, and you might just make a few pennies, if your work is liked and well read, it will make your second book more likely to attract a publisher.

    I have a colleague who writes books, he is on his fifth or sixth book. He took the self publishing route, because he had a niche market that he knew would buy books on his topic. And here is the biggest tip you are going to get, from a man who may write for a living but cannot type to save himself, find someone to edit your book, not a friend, someone who will pick you up on your English, and on your plotlines. Many self published books, paper or digital fail because they surprise people with English they don't expect to see, and they have flaws in their plot line, I recall reading one book, it badly needed editing, but otherwise was a good story, but... for the first quarter of the book there was a pretty major character, who then vanished without trace and never reappeared. That character's role in the book was superfluous to the story. A good editor would have sorted that.

    Good luck with the career as a writer.
    Cheers Ewan

    Certainly I am going into this with my eyes open. I'm fully aware how hard it is to get published and that most published writers make next to nothing out of it. So I have no plans to give up the day job!

    In terms of the editing I have had two extra pairs of eyes going over it. Neither of who have pulled any punches and I have had to correct and add things. For example towards the end it is quite essential that one of the characters is completely skint. Yet I'd gone three quarters of the book without any suggestion of it at all. It needed some changes making reference to clothes being a bit faded, bike falling to bits etc. Otherwise it would have come out of nowhere.

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    Mmm...

    Currently have a couple of books self-published.

    In terms of, ummm, terminology... Not quite sure how will be able to change it and not detract too much from a major plot device. I'm not entirely sure what TSA could do about you using scouty terms... Personally, I'd change what I could, but it's going to be obvious what it's about... For mine, I just didn't ask.(It's a travelogue based on an Explorer trip. The only people I ran it past were the yp and parents.)

    My book is non-fiction, but TSA were never going endorse it anyway so...

    I self-published, if you have any specific questions, I have a fair bit of experience - with Amazon and its marketing, Smashwords and the process in general. In terms of proofing and editing, it's probably not enough to have people looking over your shoulder. A decent editor will know specific pitfalls and other things to look for - I got a very long report about repeated words, themes, plagiarism and all sorts of other stuff - they have software apparently. The worst thing you can do is not get it proofed and edited - that's mostly why it's so hard to get anywhere with agents and publishers - they have so much dross to deal with.

    I also read a lot of ebooks, (loads, two sometimes three a week). It's frustrating to get a book with a great blurb which is poorly executed, not edited and proofed. Its a waste of time, of opportunity and it clogs up the the entire system of eBooks - it basically puts folks of trying non-established writers, which is bad for all of us.

    I have my first reading and Q&A for Scottish Book Week in November. Apparently, this is the way to go, so we'll see what goes on with that...

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    Mmm...

    Currently have a couple of books self-published.

    In terms of, ummm, terminology... Not quite sure how will be able to change it and not detract too much from a major plot device. I'm not entirely sure what TSA could do about you using scouty terms... Personally, I'd change what I could, but it's going to be obvious what it's about... For mine, I just didn't ask.(It's a travelogue based on an Explorer trip. The only people I ran it past were the yp and parents.)

    My book is non-fiction, but TSA were never going endorse it anyway so...

    I self-published, if you have any specific questions, I have a fair bit of experience - with Amazon and its marketing, Smashwords and the process in general. In terms of proofing and editing, it's probably not enough to have people looking over your shoulder. A decent editor will know specific pitfalls and other things to look for - I got a very long report about repeated words, themes, plagiarism and all sorts of other stuff - they have software apparently. The worst thing you can do is not get it proofed and edited - that's mostly why it's so hard to get anywhere with agents and publishers - they have so much dross to deal with.

    I also read a lot of ebooks, (loads, two sometimes three a week). It's frustrating to get a book with a great blurb which is poorly executed, not edited and proofed. Its a waste of time, of opportunity and it clogs up the the entire system of eBooks - it basically puts folks of trying non-established writers, which is bad for all of us.

    I have my first reading and Q&A for Scottish Book Week in November. Apparently, this is the way to go, so we'll see what goes on with that...
    In terms of the terminology it's fine if it's clear what it's really about. That's kind of the point. I'd like it to be see through but TSA want it changed enough that they can wash their hands of it during the bit where one character hacks into his uncle's email account or they hide someone in the luggage hold of a coach (both essential to the plot).

    Re editing - to be clear I'm not intending that to replace a proper editor. This has been a process of making sure potential howlers are stamped on before it gets to that first pair of eyes on the publishing side with the proper editing to come later.

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    What I found with the Scouting aspect was...

    In terms of publishers/agents. They'll ask who it's aimed at, what is the audience. I struggled a bit with this. I didn't want to write a book about a scout trip because that limited me to a Scouting audience. But, that's not actually a bad idea when you look at that audience group. I actually looked at census data to see what the numbers would be like...

    I think, if you make it about Scouts, (and this may sound mercenary), publishers want to know if people will buy it. In the few submissions I made, I mentioned how many explorers and leaders there were nationally and internationally, but also pushed the notion that TSA wouldn't endorse it (it has some swear words in it) - but that this was actually a selling point.

    TSA not approving, may not be a bad thing.

    In terms of editing, publishing and agents... Have a look at www.writersandartists.co.uk/listings, I think it cost me 25 for access to their listings, but they're all up to date and fairly extensive.

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    Off topic but yesterday I had to look up what a Bronze Cross was - this morning I was watching one being awarded on our local BBC news! (Cave rescue chap who is a Cub Leader in Bristol)
    Does anyone know what's going on?

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    What about contacting one of the other Scout organisations like Baden Powell or BBS or any of the breakaway Scout organisations.

    You would probably find one who would let you use their names,if only to spite TSA.

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