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Margarita Skies
01-18-2010, 07:24 PM
Hello.


I am new here. I just started posting last night. This is a great place. I was wondering if someone will give me a list of good publishers that don't require authors to be represented by agents because it's hard for me to find an agent that doesn't require up-front fees. I have tried CreateSpace and LuLu, but I deleted my books from Lulu and as of Createspace I've considered not approving my proofs so that the book is not released yet. Does that seem like a good idea?


Please give me some good advice because I don't know what to do.
God bless
Magali.

Saskatoonistan
01-18-2010, 07:34 PM
Snowbooks (http://snowbooks.com) is an award winning independent publisher in the UK with an open submission policy (http://snowbooks.com/submissions.html) and they don't require agents. You probably know already, Lulu and Create Space are self-publishing, right?

Perks
01-18-2010, 07:36 PM
Almost no reputable agents charge fees. They are paid with a percentage of your advance and royalties.

For fiction, the current standard order of operations goes something like this:

-write a book
-rewrite the book
-edit the hell out of the book
-have some highly literate someones read the book for you and recommend changes
-edit the book at least one more time
-query an agent who represents the type of book you wrote (you'll probably have to lather, rinse, repeat on this step at least several times, but maybe not if you're very good, very well-researched, and very lucky)
-agent agrees to take you on
-the agent shops the book to publishers
-publisher offers contract
-heaven and nature sings
-publisher pays agent, who takes probably fifteen percent and passes the rest on to you.

Some publishing houses will accept submissions without an agent.

What have you written? That will be vital in directing you toward any specific agent or publisher.

James D. Macdonald
01-18-2010, 07:36 PM
1) What's your genre?

2) Any agent who wants a fee is a scammer.

3) Go to a bookstore. Find books similar to yours. Get the guidelines for those those publishers. If the publisher's guidelines say they require agented submissions, find out who represented those books you found in the bookstore, get those agents' guidelines, and follow them to the letter.

4) Write another book.

5) Starting with Lulu or CreateSpace isn't a good idea.

Margarita Skies
01-18-2010, 07:48 PM
Thanks to everyone that replied. I've already changed the status of my books 2 of them in CreateSpace to Incomplete so those are going nowhere. I will follow your advice. My genre is fiction and I would classify it as drama.


Love
Magali.

gothicangel
01-18-2010, 08:04 PM
4) Write another book.

5) Starting with Lulu or CreateSpace isn't a good idea.

This.

Any book already published with an ISBN is pretty worthless to agents and editors as you can't offer them First Publication Rights.

Write another book, make it even better and go buy a copy of W&A Yearbook.

katiemac
01-18-2010, 09:31 PM
Thanks to everyone that replied. I've already changed the status of my books 2 of them in CreateSpace to Incomplete so those are going nowhere. I will follow your advice. My genre is fiction and I would classify it as drama.


Love
Magali.

Drama is more of a movie genre than a book genre. When you go back to pitch editors (or agents), you'll probably want to find a genre more standard within the publishing genre.

Ms Behaving
01-18-2010, 11:07 PM
This.

Any book already published with an ISBN is pretty worthless to agents and editors as you can't offer them First Publication Rights.

What is an ISBN? Are blogs considered an ISBN?

CaroGirl
01-18-2010, 11:23 PM
What is an ISBN? Are blogs considered an ISBN?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Standard_Book_Number

No. Blogs do not have an ISBN.

gothicangel
01-18-2010, 11:24 PM
An ISBN is the number you find printed above the barcode on the back of the book. It's impossible to sell a book through retail without an ISBN.

It's a sales thing, nothing to do with blogs.

Margarita Skies
01-19-2010, 06:34 AM
Ok, this is stupid, but the two books that I previously put on Create Space I might as well put them back on again and use word-of-mouth to promote them and then finish my other manuscripts and not give them to anyone 'til I find a good agent. Luckily for me, this has only happened with 2 books. Putting them back up on that site and having them on Amazon and then doing a little promotion on them, I think, is better than just having them lying around in my computer without any exposure after I worked so hard on them. Each book is over 450 pages, in 8.5 x 11 form. Go figure. Can't just throw that away.


Thanks to everyone though. I will follow your advice on my new books.
Love
Magali.

analias
01-19-2010, 06:47 AM
Can't just throw that away.

It's just possible (okay likely) that I don't know how this works but... if they were never sold/published couldn't you pull them down and submit them to actual publishers and agents? That's not "just throw[ing] them away" that's taking a different road. Or did they not get caught soon enough and you've already lost first publish rights?

Wayne K
01-19-2010, 06:49 AM
1) What's your genre?

2) Any agent who wants a fee is a scammer.

3) Go to a bookstore. Find books similar to yours. Get the guidelines for those those publishers. If the publisher's guidelines say they require agented submissions, find out who represented those books you found in the bookstore, get those agents' guidelines, and follow them to the letter.

4) Write another book.

5) Starting with Lulu or CreateSpace isn't a good idea.
I'd do this if I wuz you.

Ms Behaving
01-20-2010, 06:23 AM
Thanks for your help CaroGirl and gothicangel
I have trouble deciphering some of the acronyms people use in their posts.
I am always going to the The Absolute Write Dictionary (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21648) in FAQ's.

James D. Macdonald
01-20-2010, 09:20 PM
The number one reason anyone buys a book is that they read and enjoyed something else by the same author.

The converse is also true. Making anything that isn't publishable available just in order to Have It Out There risks having someone read it, discover that it's ... not very good ... and never again reading anything that you write.

How do you know if your work is publishable? Find someone who's willing to give you money up front to publish it.

Libbie
01-20-2010, 10:56 PM
James has it right (as well he should -- he's a career writer and he knows what he's talking about.)

Most writers finish a few novels before they write one that's really worth selling. The first are practice. Valuable, but just a warm-up for The Real Deal.

You can and should throw your fledgling efforts away -- or at least throw them in your sock drawer until you've learned more of the craft. Then you can go back and revise them, and turn them into novels you can sell to real publishers.

It sounds like you have a lot to learn about the publishing industry. Don't be discouraged! We all start out knowing nothing about it, and learning any new skill or niche is fun! You've come to a good place to get sound, realistic advice on the industry.

CaroGirl
01-20-2010, 10:59 PM
Thanks for your help CaroGirl and gothicangel
I have trouble deciphering some of the acronyms people use in their posts.
I am always going to the The Absolute Write Dictionary (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21648) in FAQ's.
No problem, Ms B. Stick around and you'll learn the lingo in no time! :)

kangolNcurlz
01-21-2010, 04:55 AM
The converse is also true. Making anything that isn't publishable available just in order to Have It Out There risks having someone read it, discover that it's ... not very good ... and never again reading anything that you write.

Oh, so true.

Margarita Skies
01-23-2010, 12:21 AM
Last night I spent the whole night thinking about how to reply to your comments without offending you because I don't intend to do that at all. You are very nice people. However, I must tell you that some of these comments have made me feel that I can't write. You said something about my work not being publishable. Well, I don't think that's true because everyone who has ever read anything I've written says that it's great. Again I don't mean to offend you because I love you all but that's how I feel.


Thank you for everything, though.
Love
Magali Fuentes.

IceCreamEmpress
01-23-2010, 12:27 AM
You said something about my work not being publishable.

Nobody said that. They said that nobody knows for sure if their work is publishable until it's actually selected for publication--and that work which has already been self-published is only incredibly rarely selected for commercial republication.

As for finding an agent who doesn't charge fees, look at AgentQuery.com and QueryTracker.net, as well as the "Bewares and Background Checks" subforum here. There are literally hundreds of legitimate agents in the US, none of whom charge their clients fees.

Chasing the Horizon
01-23-2010, 01:04 AM
No-one here is trying to say your work isn't good. How could we know, since we haven't read it? I really don't understand why you wouldn't want to try to get an agent as your first step towards publishing, though. A lot of agents do queries by e-mail now, which is completely free, and those who still insist on paper queries only cost you the price of a stamp (if an agent is asking for any money beyond this, RUN, do not walk, away). A lot of the biggest and best publishers no longer accept unagented submissions, so working without an agent shrinks your possibilities considerably. Yes, agents do charge a percentage fee of your advance and royalties, but would you rather have 100% of nothing or 80-85% of a great publishing deal?

Most good agents will also work with you to get your book as good as it can possibly be for the publisher. They have an intimate knowledge of the market and of what each publisher is looking for, and are thus able to recommend changes from a place of knowledge that no writer, beta reader, or freelance editor can hope to match. This alone may make the difference between a publisher accepting or rejecting your book.

There are some large publishers who still accept unagented submissions (at least, several of my target publishers did last time I checked, which was a while ago), but they have massive slush piles which usually result in response times of 8 months or more, and accept extremely few of the unagented submissions they receive. Taking all this into consideration, I can't see why directly querying a large publisher would be anything but a last resort.

gothicangel
01-23-2010, 02:10 AM
Last night I spent the whole night thinking about how to reply to your comments without offending you because I don't intend to do that at all. You are very nice people. However, I must tell you that some of these comments have made me feel that I can't write. You said something about my work not being publishable. Well, I don't think that's true because everyone who has ever read anything I've written says that it's great. Again I don't mean to offend you because I love you all but that's how I feel.


Thank you for everything, though.
Love
Magali Fuentes.

There isn't a day when I have thoughts that I can't write and the work isn't publishable. Now I've been writing for 10 years with poetry, articles and essays published. It's the novel that has eluded me.

If you're having doubts about whether your good enough, that's great. It means you care and you'll work hard to improve - just like I did. What is worrying is when new writers think they can produce a bestseller in draft one and don't think they have anything to learn.

Margarita Skies
01-23-2010, 03:18 AM
There isn't a day when I have thoughts that I can't write and the work isn't publishable. Now I've been writing for 10 years with poetry, articles and essays published. It's the novel that has eluded me.

If you're having doubts about whether your good enough, that's great. It means you care and you'll work hard to improve - just like I did. What is worrying is when new writers think they can produce a bestseller in draft one and don't think they have anything to learn.


No, I am not having doubts about whether or not my work is publishable. If I had doubts, I wouldn't show it to anyone. I would keep it in my computer, but I have showed other people and they've said that they liked it. That's how I know that I am not a bad writer, otherwise I would've quit writing a long time ago, but I've actually been encouraged to keep writing. I will take your advice on my other books that I haven't published yet... Luckily for me I've only published 2 of my books, and not all the books I have... but I thank you for your feedback. I thank all of you and I love all of you and respect you. I always will. If any of my comments have offended any of you, my sincere apologies.


Love
Magali.

Margarita Skies
01-23-2010, 03:20 AM
One more reply, I know I'm not the next Danielle Steel or the next Stephenie Meyer, but I don't think I'm the worst writer in the world, either, and thinking that I am a good writer, which I do because other people have told me so, many people... does not mean that I don't care about the quality of my writing and that I'm not willing to improve, so with all due respect I completely disagree on that comment.


Thanks and have a great night.
Love,
Magali.

M.R.J. Le Blanc
01-23-2010, 04:09 AM
Magali, what people are trying to say is that you could potentially be shooting yourself in the foot by attempting to promote your two stories this way. If they're not avaliable yet those stories could be sold in the future. That's not wasting them, that's making sure they DON'T get wasted! Once a story has an ISBN and is out there that's it. You wouldn't be able to sell that in the future unless you did end up being the next Steel or Meyer, because publishers are seldom interested in second publishing rights. It has nothing to do with whether the story's good or not. The folks here speak in generalities, so please don't take too much offense :) It all comes in the interest of giving a new writer like yourself the best possible chance to see success in your writing career. Thinking that self-publishing books will help a writing career is a big myth, one that's a little too propagated on the internet. Being unpublished is far better than being self-published ;)

megan_d
01-23-2010, 07:10 AM
You're not going to have much fun in the publishing industry if you react so strongly to even the vaguest suggestion that your work might not be great.

HapiSofi
01-23-2010, 09:21 AM
Last night I spent the whole night thinking about how to reply to your comments without offending you because I don't intend to do that at all. You are very nice people. However, I must tell you that some of these comments have made me feel that I can't write. You said something about my work not being publishable.Careful reading is good practice for good writing. So is critical thinking -- as in, why would we be saying that about your writing when none of us have read it?Well, I don't think that's true because everyone who has ever read anything I've written says that it's great.That was very nice of them.

Linda Adams
01-23-2010, 04:56 PM
Last night I spent the whole night thinking about how to reply to your comments without offending you because I don't intend to do that at all. You are very nice people. However, I must tell you that some of these comments have made me feel that I can't write. You said something about my work not being publishable. Well, I don't think that's true because everyone who has ever read anything I've written says that it's great. Again I don't mean to offend you because I love you all but that's how I feel.



That was me (bolded) when I was writing my first novel, which I did not finish. I was surprised when a writer friend said that the main character was unlikable. Then I looked at and realized--gulp--it was true. I finished a second book with a cowriter and was very pleased and proud of it. We thought it was hot stuff and started submitting it to agents. Sixty rejections later, we landed in a critique group.

Eight writers. We all strutted in thinking we had best sellers. That, even if the critique group did find something wrong, it would be a minor issue. Then, as the group made the rounds of every one's first couple of chapters, we all discovered there were major issues in all of our books. Some of them the others spotted. Others we spotted in someone else's and realized it was in ours.

There's a huge learning curve to writing a novel, and a whole lot of moving parts. It's very different from writing a book that all my friends say is great to writing a book where people will pay $25 to read. Add to that some statistics: Agents reject 95% of all submissions. It's not easy to break in, so a novel's got to be good enough to buy.

Unimportant
01-29-2010, 12:37 AM
One more reply, I know I'm not the next Danielle Steel or the next Stephenie Meyer, but I don't think I'm the worst writer in the world, either, and thinking that I am a good writer, which I do because other people have told me so, many people... does not mean that I don't care about the quality of my writing and that I'm not willing to improve, so with all due respect I completely disagree on that comment.

Magali, it's great that you care about your writing and want to keep improving. That really is crucial.

It's hard for any of us to be self critical of our own writing. It's also hard for friends and family to tell us if they don't like our work because they don't want to hurt our feelings or argue with us. There are so many meanings of the word "good", but in fiction writing what it really comes down to is "are there thousands of total strangers out there who are willing to pay to read my stories?" And the only way to find that out is to see if an editor or publisher is willing to buy the story and then sell it to those thousands of readers.

Most editors buy novels through literary agents; indeed, quite a few large commercial presses won't consider books that are submitted by authors themselves, and instead limit submissions only to literary agents. So most authors are represented by literary agents. It costs nothing (but postage) to submit your work to literary agents. If you go to http://www.aaronline.org/ you'll find a whole slew of literary agents who you can query to see if they'd be interested in reading your manuscript.

There are also a lot of smaller presses, like Snowbooks (as someone mentioned above) who don't require submissions to come through literary agents, so you can also query them directly.

Publishers can't publish every book that gets submitted to them. As always, it's a question of supply and demand. They publish enough to fill the demand. For each book they publish, they have to turn down a hundred or even a thousand other manuscripts. So "good" sometimes isn't "good enough". Your book is competing with thousands of others, so it has to be better than all those others in order to make a publisher decide to select it.

This is a long winded explanation for why some of us here are saying "maybe your book isn't good enough". None of us can know whether it is or not. We haven't read it. And even if we did read it, really, that wouldn't mean much; the only way we can know if it's good enough is if a publisher selects it for publication. It's how each of us finds out how good our work is: when agents, editors, and publishers say Yes, or No.

Pretty much every author I've run across has said "I'm a good writer". But we know that on average only one out of every thousand or so writers are good enough to get their books contracted by large commercial presses, and only one out of every hundred or so writers are good enough to get their books contracted by the smaller presses. So 99% of the time, authors are wrong about the quality of their own writing.

Monkey
02-01-2010, 10:59 PM
Magali,

Would people spend their time and energy giving you advice on how to get published if they didn't think your work was good enough--or at the very least, wasn't going to be good enough at some point in the future?

The responses you've gotten so far have, to my eyes, treated you as a serious writer with all the right skills to make it to the big time. I see that in you, too--with one small exception.

You need to brace yourself, emotionally, for the natural pitfalls involved with being a writer. Learn to distance yourself from your writing. In the query process, your work might be rejected over and over--maybe the agent won't be looking for any more fantasy, or maybe they will have just accepted something similar to what you wrote...maybe your story just won't "click" with them. There are many reasons for rejection, and many of them don't mean you can't find representation elsewhere.

Once you land an agent, or even if you skip an agent, you will likely be required, at some point, to make revisions. Agents, editors, and publishers have to be brutally honest about what they want from you...and it can feel very personal. It's not.

Then, once you're published, there WILL be people who think your book sucks. Name any book, Harry Potter, Twilight, The Holy Bible, and there are people who think that the writing is crap and they can't stand the plot. Some of the people who don't like your work may like you very much. And they might like your next novel just fine.

Step back, take a breather, and look at your novels with fresh eyes. If they're good enough to be published for cash, then get out there and make some money! And a name for yourself, while you're at it. If they aren't good enough YET, then make them good enough--or treat them as practice for your next, bigger and better book.

Alternatively, if you want to publish them through Createspace or whatever, no one here can stop you. Go for it, follow your muse, and all that. Just be aware of the pitfalls inherent in that route and choose it with open eyes. Then, if publication is your aim, write another book and re-read the responses you've gotten in this thread.

Best of luck, no matter your choices. And stick with it.