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Thread: Talking Back to Agents

  1. #1
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Talking Back to Agents

    Originally split from the PMA thread.

    06-09-2006, 12:54 AM
    Dave Sloane
    One of the Locals

    "You don't know what you're missing"

    I had forgotten all about my query to PMA last December, when, lo and behold, I received a nice reject telling me how they weren't interested in reviewing my novel.

    I couldn't resist sending back this e-mail: "Thank you for your reply. You don't know what you're missing."

    Believe it or not, I am not bitter, angry, etc., etc., etc.---but I am blase.

    Why I am posting this? To suggest that some of you may wish to consider a little back talk to these great divines of the publishing realm. It feels good. How can an agent know if a work is any good unless they give it a peek? And why bother getting back to me just to tell me you don't want to look at it after a six-month wait?
    Whatever.
    06-09-2006, 05:37 AM
    dragonjax
    Where's the chocolate?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave Sloane
    I couldn't resist sending back this e-mail: "Thank you for your reply. You don't know what you're missing."

    Believe it or not, I am not bitter, angry, etc., etc., etc.---but I am blase.

    Why I am posting this? To suggest that some of you may wish to consider a little back talk to these great divines of the publishing realm. It feels good. How can an agent know if a work is any good unless they
    give it a peek? And why bother getting back to me just to tell me you don't want to look at it after a six-month wait? Whatever.
    Ouch.

    Dave, I know this is a frustrating business -- believe me, been there, done that. My first novel scored me a total of more than triple-digit agent rejections.

    But "talking back" to the agents does nothing but make you look unprofessional.

    Believe it or not, an agent's first responsibility is to current clients, not to potential clients...and definitely not to authors whom they know they won't be representing. Yes, the turnaround time on queries can make authors want to hit their heads. A lot. I still have queries for representation on my third book that were never answered -- and that book has already sold in a three-book deal. I figure I'll get those rejections at one point...maybe...

    Anyway, that's my two cents.
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    06-09-2006, 07:59 AM
    Aconite
    Full sun to light shade
    Mod Squad Member

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave Sloane
    Why I am posting this? To suggest that some of you may wish to consider a little back talk to these great divines of the publishing realm. It feels good. How can an agent know if a work is any good unless they give it a peek? And why bother getting back to me just to tell me you don't want to look at it after a six-month wait?
    Whatever.
    *wince* Oh, Dave. I'm sure that seemed like a good idea at the time, but you just branded yourself as a clueless amateur instead of a professional.

    I don't use good business manners because I'm intimidated by agents or publishers. I use them because I'm an adult and because I know publishing is a business. Your response was emotion-based--"My work is so good! How dare you say my work, and by extension, I, and no good?! What would you know, anyway?"

    Well, for starters, they now know you're not experienced or professional. They know you expect unrealistic things from the publishing world. They know you'd be difficult to work with, and sensitive to perceived slights that are actually business as usual. That doesn't make you an appealing prospective client.

    How can they know they don't want to represent your work without seeing the manuscript? As one editor put it, "You don't have to drink the whole carton to know if the milk is bad." Maybe your query letter told them all they needed to know: the writing style doesn't suit; the subject matter or genre isn't one they deal with; or you made mistakes or comments in the query that let them know they were dealing with an inexperienced, touchy writer. Or maybe they're just not taking on new clients right now. Whatever the reason, you've burned your bridges with them now. That wasn't smart. I don't recommend doing that with other agents.
    __________________
    06-09-2006, 10:22 AM
    Nomad
    Charter Dawnolite
    Absolute Sage

    David,
    I understand how frustrating it gets to be rejected after a long wait when the agent or publisher in question hasn't read the work, but "talking back" doesn't do you or anyone else any good. Agents move; editors at publishing houses move, and believe me, we remember when someone has been rude to us. We're not rejecting you personally; we're rejecting your proposal because it isn't what we rep, or publish, or we know that particular topic isn't selling, or your query was poorly written and we can only imagine what the work itself is like, or you've queried the wrong agency or business for the wrong genre, or any number of other reasons. It's not personal--I repeat--it's not personal. To suggest that agents and editors view themselves as "great divines" of the publishing world is unfair. We're trying to run businesses, buy, sell, and publish good books, and make money.
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    06-09-2006, 11:14 AM
    rugcat
    One of the Locals

    I recently received the same type of form rejection response, from a forgotten query sent last November. It was not from the agent I queried, but from an intern, which makes me believe they're just clearing out their backlog.

    I think the frustration comes not from being rejected so much as the suspicion that one's query is not even seen or considered.

    Personally, I was more amused than annoyed at the seven month lag reply time on a simple query. As others have commented, sending a rude response is counterproductive at best, unprofessional at worst. But I showed them! I always send a note of thanks to those who consider a partial, for example.

    But this time, I DIDN'T EVEN ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR SEVEN MONTH OLD EMAIL RESPONSE!!
    06-09-2006, 11:19 AM
    Toni1953
    Desperately Seeking Agent

    I always send them a thank you note for at least reading the work, too. You never know when you might want to send them something else and polite is always good.
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    Toni
    06-09-2006, 12:11 PM
    Nomad
    Charter Dawnolite
    Absolute Sage

    I would venture to say that even if an intern is reading the query, it is being read before it's sent back. I know in our company, we may not write anything but a generic "thanks but no thanks" letter, but we never just toss something out without reading the query first.
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    06-09-2006, 12:28 PM
    DeadlyAccurate
    She who shoots straight

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave Sloane
    Why I am posting this? To suggest that some of you may wish to consider a little back talk to these great divines of the publishing realm. It feels good. How can an agent know if a work is any good unless they give it a peek? And why bother getting back to me just to tell me you don't want to look at it after a six-month wait? Whatever.
    Er, no. I'd rather be published at some time in the future instead.
    06-09-2006, 02:11 PM
    MidnightMuse
    Send Lawyers, Guns & Money

    Yowza! Only thing talkin' back ever got me was the back of my father's hand!

    When I get my rejections - even form replies that give me the 'impression' it wasn't even looked at - I take one evening to sit on the couch and drown my sorrows in chocolate soy milk, while telling one of the cats how that agent will rue the day someday . . . but my cat doesn't spread my secrets.

    Okay, sure, his NAME is Secret, and the other one is Rumor, but neither of us go replying back to those agents. Someday I'd LIKE to be published, and maybe even one of the rejectors-past will be the next acceptance.

    Burning bridges makes it really hard to get to the other side when the bears are chasing you.
    __________________
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    06-09-2006, 04:27 PM
    Kasey Mackenzie
    Blonde & Bookxum

    You know that scene in Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts returns to the high-end clothing boutique where the snooty clerks refuse to wait on her because they think she doesn't have enough money for their store? She hoists the full shopping bags from another high-end store where she spent thousands and thousands of dollars and reminds the clerks how they wouldn't serve her when she was in earlier. "Big mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go shopping now." Very funny scene and I'm sure emotionally satisfying for her character.

    Publishing does not work like this!

    Writers who insist on acting in similar manners to the ones described above are actually the ones making big, huge mistakes. Repeat after me...Publishing is a _business._ Rejections are not _personal._ Publishing is a _business._ Rejections are not _personal._ Make this your mantra, because if you can't develop a thick skin at this stage of the game, you're really going to have troubles later on if/when you _do_ get an agent and/or publishing deal.
    __________________
    06-10-2006, 03:00 AM
    Dave Sloane
    One of the Locals

    Oy Vey!!

    Way harsh folks. Many people here take themselves and the whole deal way too seriously. Have some fun with it and stop being so uptight. Oh, I'll admit that my flippant attitude will not help me get an agent at PMA. So what? An intern got back to me and I had the temerity to reply with a little zinger. And, I hate to be brutally honest, but no matter how great you are the chances of getting a mainstream publisher are slim and none, but most of you wouldn't dream of going P.O.D. like I did. At least I have a book that's available all over the world. Y'all better seriously consider goin' P.O.D.
    06-10-2006, 06:02 AM
    dragonjax
    Where's the chocolate?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave Sloane
    Way harsh folks. Many people here take themselves and the whole deal way too seriously. Have some fun with it and stop being so uptight. Oh, I'll admit that my flippant attitude will not help me get an agent at PMA. So what? An intern got back to me and I had the temerity to reply with a little zinger. And, I hate to be brutally honest, but no matter how great you are the chances of getting a mainstream publisher are slim and none, but most of you wouldn't dream of going P.O.D. like I did. At least I have a book that's available all over the world. Y'all better seriously consider goin' P.O.D.
    Buzz buzz, Dave. If your writing is good and marketable, your chances of geting a mainstream publisher are excellent. And there's a world of difference between being uptight and being professional.

    This is an agent thread, not a P.O.D. thread; if you want to discuss the merits of going P.O.D., you'll probably get a lot more traffic on the appropriate thread.
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    HELL'S BELLES by Jackie Kessler
    06-10-2006, 06:08 AM
    Aconite
    Full sun to light shade
    Mod Squad Member

    Dave, your attitude is clueless and you are seriously ignorant about publishing. A smidgen of research would have kept you from looking--and acting--like an fool. Quite a few of the people you're saying won't be published by mainstream publishers already are, silly. Want to join the ranks? Then listen to what they have to say, and get over yourself.

    You stuck your foot in your mouth. The mature thing to do would be to face up to the fact that you need to educate yourself and to do it, not to start taking potshots and defending very foolish actions.
    __________________
    06-10-2006, 10:07 AM
    James D. Macdonald
    Dawnolite Sparklecow
    Absolute Sage

    Dave, you really need to go read Slushkiller. Read the whole thing, and all the comments.
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    06-10-2006, 12:28 PM
    victoriastrauss
    Cud-chewing moo-derator
    Absolute Sage

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave Sloane
    And, I hate to be brutally honest, but no matter how great you are the chances of getting a mainstream publisher are slim and none, but most of you wouldn't dream of going P.O.D. like I did. At least I have a book that's available all over the world. Y'all better seriously consider goin' P.O.D.
    If you really believe this, why are you querying agents? Sounds like retroactive rationalization to me.

    - Victoria
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    06-10-2006, 04:53 PM
    Sharon Mock
    Freed from Oblivion

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave Sloane
    And, I hate to be brutally honest, but no matter how great you are the chances of getting a mainstream publisher are slim and none, but most of you wouldn't dream of going P.O.D. like I did. At least I have a book that's available all over the world. Y'all better seriously consider goin' P.O.D.
    Meh. The way I figure it, if my book can't find a legitimate publisher, I'm better off not getting it published. I just need to sit down and write a better book.
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    06-10-2006, 08:16 PM
    Branwyn
    At a loss for words...

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald
    Dave, you really need to go read Slushkiller. Read the whole thing, and all the comments.
    I disagree with the half page rejection being an effort to 'save the rain forest.'(my words, but that was the jist, basically the psychological impact was less damaging on smaller paper )

    If we as writers conduct ourselves in a business like manner, I think it follows that the other end of the transaction be as business like and at the very least send the rejection on a business size piece of paper.

    I actually recieved a rejection letter on the backside of a letter to a publisher for someone else's work.
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    06-11-2006, 06:46 AM
    Aconite
    Full sun to light shade
    Mod Squad Member

    Branwyn, I think the main point is that it's not personal, and it doesn't mean anything more than the rejection came on a half sheet. Writers often get caught up in "rejectomancy," trying to read more into rejections than was actually there.
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    06-11-2006, 02:06 PM
    Liam Jackson
    I banned my other me
    Mod Squad Member

    Mr. Sloan, why would I consider POD when Kelly sold the first novel I subbed to her, and Peter sold the next two?

    Note: Yes, Kelly is on a leave of absence. No, she isn't new to PMA. She began working with me on my first novel in mid-2004.

    Please don't misunderstand my reason for posting. I do, indeed, consider myself fortunate. I do not, however, believe my good fortune is an isolated event. This whole "the publishing sky is falling" attitude does get old. New authors get publishing deals everyday. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't require blood sacrifices or bribing the publishing border guards.
    __________________
    06-11-2006, 11:05 PM
    Dave Sloane
    One of the Locals

    Consider my points....

    To get such hostility, arrogance and pomposity over my innocuous postings re PMA is pathetic. And Aconite, let us all know when you hit the NYT best-seller list--you know-it-all. The fact remains that due to the vagaries of the system, no matter how good your novel is, the chances of getting picked up by a worthwhile mainstream publisher is extremely remote. Anyone who doubts this is naive or uninformed. Just check out the Writer's Guide and go through the agents listings. On average the rejection rate is 90 to 99.5 percent. Moreover, the agents seems to gloat over this. This is why P.O.D. exists. P.O.D. is a wonderful venue for those who can't waste countless hours in a (most likely) futile quest to find a publisher.
    No one has to agree with me, but get over yourselves and admit that I have made a very good point--i.e., that P.O.D. exists because it is extremely difficult to get published and that it can provide an excellent alternative for writers who want to take it to the people. By the way, Amy Fisher is published via I-Universe and Senator Lugar is published via Author House Peace to you, brothers and sisters !!
    06-11-2006, 11:30 PM
    Alan Yee
    Keeper of Flying Hellhounds

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave Sloane
    On average the rejection rate is 90 to 99.5 percent. Moreover, the agents seems to gloat over this. This is why P.O.D. exists.
    Rejection rates are meaningless. Not every story or book has the same "chances" of being accepted and published. If your book is really good, you have an excellent chance of being published. If your book is good but might be even better after it's edited, you have a larger-than-0 chance of being published. If your book isn't very good, you have 0 chances of being published.
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    06-11-2006, 11:32 PM
    Aconite
    Full sun to light shade
    Mod Squad Member

    Dave, you're full of crap.

    About 20 to 25% of the books in bookstores at any time are by first-time authors. Publishers Weekly lists deals by new authors in every fricking issue. Publishers and agents are picking up new authors all the time; they have to. Several of them are here, replying to you, trying to straighten out your distorted view of publishing. You don't like what you're hearing, so you insult those people and ignore what they have to say. Not smart.

    Why is the rejection rate so high? Because the vast, vast majority of manuscripts in the slush pile are unpublishable dreck. If you keep getting rejected, the hard and painful truth is that it's not because publishing won't give authors a break, it's because your manuscript isn't good enough to be published. Period.

    Tell me, Dave, why does an author have to be a NYT bestseller to know more than you, or be more successful? Just asking.

    If you are truly so foolish as to be both so arrogant and so unconfident of your skills at the same time, by all means, continue along the path you've chosen and sink into obscurity. You can't say you weren't warned. On the other hand, you could pull your head out of the sand, swallow your pride, and think about whether or not you might be wrong, if authors who are already where you hope to be one day are telling you that you're wrong. Your choice.
    __________________
    06-12-2006, 01:00 AM
    rugcat
    One of the Locals

    Aconite, I think you're being a bit harsh.

    Sure, there's a lot of unpublishable dreck out there making the rounds, but not all of it is bad. I've said this before; if you write a truly great book, it will find a home, but there are also plenty of mss floating around which are quite good, equally as good as many published novels, but which will never see the light of day. With the competition these days, it's not enough for a book to be merely well written or interesting - it has to be special.

    Or, you can be lucky. Your work, for whatever reasons, may appeal to a particular agent or publisher over a slew of others of the same quality, for no other reason except personal taste. There is music I like, and other music I don't particularly care for. It doesn't necessarily mean the music I don't care for is bad. (There is bad music, but that's another story.)

    It can be very discouraging when a writer feels his/her work is at least as good as what appears on the bookstore shelves, but no one will give it a chance. I personally don't see the point of railing against the book industry, and certainly don't buy into that ridiculous "conspiracy against new writers" theory that pops up occasionally, but I do understand the frustrations, and can see why someone might even consider POD.

    Not all rejected writers have written bad books, nor is it a given that if you write a good book, someone will publish it.

    I've published two books in the past, with a mainstram publisher, and am now having considerably less luck with my third, which I think is a better book. Then again, I could be wrong. I may have to write a different book.
    06-12-2006, 01:27 AM
    Dave Sloane
    One of the Locals

    My, my...

    Aconite,

    What's wrong with you? You get personal, come off like a know-it-all, I call you on it, and you go postal. I'm not about to post my resume, but I've been published, for real. I'd bet I'm also a better writer than you'll ever be. Please take a hike. I'm not replying to any more of your harangues. Feel free to rant on against me, I couldn't care less. If you do, then you'll look even more pathetic. Good luck.
    06-12-2006, 02:24 AM
    James D. Macdonald
    Dawnolite Sparklecow
    Absolute Sage

    Amy Fisher got a 30,000 copy offset advance printing and wasn't required to pay iUniverse's up-front fee. Please don't hold her up as typical.
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    II 2016: 2017:

  2. #2
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    06-12-2006, 02:51 AM
    Popeyesays
    Board fanatic

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald
    Dave, you really need to go read Slushkiller. Read the whole thing, and all the comments.
    Thank you, sir. I have re-formatted a copy of this list and stored it in my "Publishing Info" File. I plan never to be without it. I also plan never to send anything that will not get as far as #12

    Regards,

    Scott
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    06-12-2006, 05:30 AM
    dragonjax
    Where's the chocolate?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave Sloane
    No one has to agree with me, but get over yourselves and admit that I have made a very good point--i.e., that P.O.D. exists because it is extremely difficult to get published and that it can provide an excellent alternative for writers who want to take it to the people.
    Okay, moving away from PMA to respond to this...

    I admit that I am not schooled in everything that POD provides for the writer, because I am getting published by a mainstream publisher. So I have a few questions for you, Dave. Specifically, the big question I have has to do with your assertion that POD is a great way to bring one's book "to the people." If I am confusing POD with vanity, please let me know.

    - Does a POD printer distribute your work, or are you responsible for it?
    - Does a POD printer promote and publicize your work, or are you responsible for it?
    - Does a book printed as a POD get stocked in physical bookstores -- either chains or independents -- or is it limited to online bookstores?
    - Does a POD book get the same review attention as a traditionally published book?
    - Where does the POD book get warehoused?
    - Does the author have to pay anything to get his or her book printed on demand?

    By the way, I do agree with you that it is extremely difficult to get published by traditional publishers. That doesn't mean it's impossible -- far from it. But it does require a good deal of work and, very likely, time on the author's part.
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    06-12-2006, 06:47 AM
    Aconite
    Full sun to light shade
    Mod Squad Member

    Get this straight right now, Dave: You, or any other member, do not get to tell anyone to go away on this board. If you don't like the discussion, you can leave. You do not get to tell anyone else to do so.

    The rest of your post, I won't bother replying to.
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    06-12-2006, 06:58 AM
    Aconite
    Full sun to light shade
    Mod Squad Member

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rugcat
    Sure, there's a lot of unpublishable dreck out there making the rounds, but not all of it is bad.
    No, not all of it is bad. I didn't say it was all bad; I said the vast, vast majority of it was unpublishable dreck, which it is. A tiny percentage of it is fabulous and instantly snapped up; a small percentage is good but just doesn't grab an agent or publisher for some reason. But when people quote the rejection rate, they do so as if every manuscript has an equal chance of being taken on, and that's not the case. Most manuscripts in the slush pile have absolutely no chance of ever being published. A publishable manuscript isn't competing with them. It's competing with the small number of other publishable manuscripts in the pile.
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    06-12-2006, 07:17 AM
    Tilly
    Board fanatic

    Dave, the reason you're getting smacked down for repeating the lies and nonsense you've heard elsewhere, is because this forum doesn't just have highly experienced, multi-published authors reading and posting. It also has new writers who are learning how the publishing industry works. Some new authors end up going down routes that are utterly unsuitable for them, their writing, and what they hope to achieve, because they don't understand new writers are picked up by the large publishing houses, and that every writer who is not new now was once.

    This board helps people make informed decisions about what's best for them and their work. Some may well decide that for this particular work, POD or self-publishing is the way to go. Hopefully, they're not making that decision because they've believed a lot of nonsense about the publishing industry.
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    06-12-2006, 08:43 AM
    James D. Macdonald
    Dawnolite Sparklecow
    Absolute Sage

    And all of this is getting remarkably far afield from the Peter Miller Agency.

    Dave, when an agent passes on your work replying with a "zinger" isn't a new idea, nor is it clever, nor is it helpful.
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    06-12-2006, 09:35 AM
    maestrowork
    recruiting fresh firemen
    Mod Squad Member

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave Sloane
    I couldn't resist sending back this e-mail: "Thank you for your reply. You don't know what you're missing."
    If that makes you feel better, but don't expect to work with PMA in the future. They remember.
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    06-12-2006, 10:54 AM
    priceless1
    Board fanatic

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave Sloane
    P.O.D. exists because it is extremely difficult to get published and that it can provide an excellent alternative for writers who want to take it to the people.
    No, this is not true. P.O.D. exists because the people who run these companies are on a shoestring budget and can't afford to do print runs. Since their budget is tight, their editing departments can be inferior, they invariably have no marketing whatsoever and rely on their authors to play salesman and distributor. This forces authors to purchase their own books (often at inflated prices) so they can haul them to signings or sell them out of the trunk of their cars, creating a case of money flowing to the publisher, not the author.

    Why are the prices inflated? Because P.O.D. books cost more to print per unit than a print run and are only printed when there's an actual order. This can create huge problems for the author who's trying to set up signing events. I've heard horror stories about books barely making it to the venue in time, or not at all. The P.O.D. publisher isn't out anything because the author bought those books. So whether they arrived in time or not, the author still has to buy the books. The publisher wins, the author loses.

    Right, wrong or indifferent, the big reviewers won't touch P.O.D. books because of the general stigma surrounding these types of productions. P.O.D. books are almost never considered by the corporate chain buyers for purchase and distribution, and stores won't normally buy them for their shelves. If an author is truly inspired to get their books into the hands of readers, as you argue, then P.O.D. is definitely not a smart choice.

    And PMA, most assuredly, would never sell a book to a P.O.D. company.
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    06-12-2006, 12:17 PM
    dragonjax
    Where's the chocolate?

    Priceless1, thanks for answering my questions.
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    HELL'S BELLES by Jackie Kessler
    06-12-2006, 06:12 PM
    Popeyesays
    Board fanatic

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Aconite
    No, not all of it is bad. I didn't say it was all bad; I said the vast, vast majority of it was unpublishable dreck, which it is. A tiny percentage of it is fabulous and instantly snapped up; a small percentage is good but just doesn't grab an agent or publisher for some reason. But when people quote the rejection rate, they do so as if every manuscript has an equal chance of being taken on, and that's not the case. Most manuscripts in the slush pile have absolutely no chance of ever being published. A publishable manuscript isn't competing with them. It's competing with the small number of other publishable manuscripts in the pile.
    I recently had the experience with a small press of being one of five manuscripts they considered for two publishing slots. Mine didn't make it, but it had far better than no chance at all. It in fact had a 40% chance of being published. My bad luck is somebody else's good luck. I ain't quitting though.

    Regards,
    Scott
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    06-12-2006, 06:27 PM
    Sonny Palermo
    One of the Locals

    You're feelin good about yourself cuz ya dumped on an intern?

    You don't even see it, do ya?
    06-12-2006, 06:43 PM
    Alan Yee
    Keeper of Flying Hellhounds

    I feel disappointed that this discussion is moving away from PMA, but I must say much of my knowledge about this comes from Slushkiller. The author, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, a senior editor at Tor, is very qualifiied to say what she wrote. Tor is one of the few science fiction/fantasy publishers that accepts unagented authors, so she has seen books that could fit under each of those categories. Category #7 is about the farthest I can go without feeling unsure about my stories.

    Just because your book is only receiving form rejections, it DOES NOT mean that you will never be published. Writers who submit stories and books are at a wide range of levels in their careers. Many of those stories and books are early efforts, which may account for the high frequency of unpublishable dreck. If you continue to work on your craft and write BETTER short stories and novels, you just might get published.

    POD only works under certain circumstances. It is not the right thing for everybody. Me, personally, my goals are never have to resort to POD because I have higher expectations for myself and want to have a long successful writing career, not necessarily full-time, but a career nonetheless. I will probably print a book with Lulu sometime soon, only because the book is not intended for legitimate publication since I'm writing it for fun and know that no reputable publisher would ever publish it. But if it's fiction that you actually want to sell for actual money and want it to be shelved in hundreds of bookstores that aren't local to you, you probably want to find an agent who's made verifiable sales to major publishers.

    If Liam Jackson, one of our own, sold three books to PMA Literary & Film Management, while someone else is furious that they were rejected, it all points to the legitimacy of the agency. Congratulations, Liam. I wish you continued success.

    Getting published isn't supposed to be easy. If it was indeed easy, then everyone in America would indeed be Published and would have no need to run to PublishAmerica. If it was easy to get published, there would be no significance to being published.

    I strongly do not recommend responding to rejections, unless it's to say "Thank you for taking the time and energy to consider Myrtle the Manuscript for your house. I'm sorry that it didn't fulfill your needs at this time, but I appreciate the effort it took to read and respond to my submission" or "Thank you for your insightful comments on my novel. While I'm genuinely disappointed that you had to turn it down, I am very grateful that you felt it was worthy for you to comment on, and will definitely remember your name when I start submitting my second novel. I appreciate your generosity and the time and energy it took to respond to my submission personally and in articulate detail." If you fire off an angry e-mail at the agent or editor, they will definitely remember your name and will not want to deal with any further submissions from you. Rejections are just a fact of life in trying to get published. Just keep working on your craft and continue submitting, and see it how it goes.

    I say all this as an unpublished writer, but I am quite confident with myself that I will get published someday, whether it be next month or in twenty years. It will just take time, energy, persistence, determination, and the strength to never give up. Seek advice from published writers, join a critique group like the Critters Online Workshop where I am a member to get feedback on your writing and how to improve it, learn about the business of writing and how publishing REALLY works, read Writer Beware and Preditors & Editors from start to finish, and read Victoria's articles on how to find a good agent with a verifiable list of major sales to break into the (reputable) agents-only markets. Do whatever it takes to make yourself more informed and knowledgable about how this is supposed to work. Even read the blogs of (reputable) agents like Jennifer Jackson and Miss Snark (although she's pseudonymous, her blogs provide useful information on how agenting works, her preferences as an agent, and how to not make yourself look like a nitwit when you submit queries to them) to see how a real agent does her job.

    All of those things I said in the above paragraph have been extremely benefitial for me. They have made me more aware of how everything is supposed to work than if I had just attempted to get published as a clueless newbie without knowing even the basics. It's very difficult, and can at times be depressing on your journey towards publication, but it pays off in the end and can lead to a rewarding writing career. I wish you much luck, Dave, and hope we can meet each other one day up high in the realm of writers who've written books/stories that people genuinely want to read and buy and like. I look forward to that day. Meanwhile, you can stay at AW and interact so everyone gets to know each other, if you want to. This really is a great place to be a member of, and we seriously don't care whether you're published or unpublished as long as you follow the Golden Rule: Respect Your Fellow Writers.

    P.S. I do not suggest calling out Aconite. She's experienced, she knows what she's saying, and is repected in our community. Follow her shining example if you want to be respected as well. We love it when new members turn out to helpful, informative people on AW. I personally look forward to things like that. I hope you will stay and see that this isn't a bad place at all to be.
    __________________
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    06-13-2006, 12:36 AM
    Dave Sloane
    One of the Locals

    In response to your questions...

    So I have a few questions for you, Dave. Specifically, the big question I have has to do with your assertion that POD is a great way to bring one's book "to the people." If I am confusing POD with vanity, please let me know.

    - Does a POD printer distribute your work, or are you responsible for it?
    - Does a POD printer promote and publicize your work, or are you responsible for it?
    - Does a book printed as a POD get stocked in physical bookstores -- either chains or independents -- or is it limited to online bookstores?
    - Does a POD book get the same review attention as a traditionally published book?
    - Where does the POD book get warehoused?
    - Does the author have to pay anything to get his or her book printed on demand?
    Yes, Dragonjax, you have confused P.O.D. with vanity. Vanity is a total joke, as I'm sure most will agree. Of course, many may say P.O.D. is also a joke, but even those folks would mostly agree that P.O.D. is preferable to vanity any day of the week. You can find out more about vanity elsewhere. Now, to answer your questions:

    As far as I know P.O.D. publishers do not distribute your book or get your book stocked in bookstores--however, I believe that Author House may have some fee based program where this is an option.

    There is no such thing as warehousing with P.O.D. which is one of its major advantages. (PRINT ON DEMAND--DEMAND BEING THE OPERATIVE WORD.)

    You should check with the P.O.D. publishers to see what they can offer you regarding book marketing and promotion. Personally, I prefer to spend my money on ads in newspapers. etc., geared toward my audience, rather than pay them to market/promote it.

    You don't pay anything to get your books printed. Someone orders your book from Amazon or some other site, they send it out, and at the end of the quarter you are informed of the number sold and you get your
    royalty check. At least this is how Author House works. You pick your royalty percentage as a part of the contract agreement.

    In general, I don't see how most P.O.D. books would ever get the same review attention of traditionally published books. If you live in a small or medium sized town or city, the local papers may be very interested in reviewing it because you are a local author.

    Finally, at least with P.O.D. you have total control over the editing and proofreading. This means that your artistic integrity will not be compromised.

    Bottom line is that for around 1-2K you have a book, physically indistinguishable from traditionally published books.

    Obviously, it is usually preferable to be signed by a mainstream publisher, but P.O.D. is a viable alternative.

    Why not get the info packages from several P.O.D. publishers and see what they have to offer?

    Happy to respond to your post.

    Sloane
    06-13-2006, 02:08 AM
    Aconite
    Full sun to light shade
    Mod Squad Member

    dragonjax, many--probably most--POD publishers are vanity publishers. AuthorHouse is definitely a vanity press; no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
    __________________
    06-13-2006, 02:30 AM
    Dave Sloane
    One of the Locals

    Dragonjax, do your own research. You'll find out that Vanity publishing is an entirely different entity than P.O.D. With Vanity publishers like the old Vantage Press you basically just pay them to print up a bunch of books. P.O.D. PUBLISHING IS NOT VANITY PUBLISHING, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU MAY HEAR TO THE CONTRARY!! AUTHOR HOUSE IS NOT A VANITY PUBLISHER, AND THAT'S A FACT!!
    06-13-2006, 02:44 AM
    Aconite
    Full sun to light shade
    Mod Squad Member

    A vanity press can be POD just as easily as it can be offset; more easily, in fact. They are not mutually exclusive terms. Many vanity presses are POD, many POD publishers are vanity publishers.

    By all means, dragonjax, do your own research. I won't even tell you to ignore certain findings and just believe what I tell you even if your research turns up different information. The Index at the top of the page lists the existing threads on AuthorHouse; I believe Writer Beware has quite a lot of info on them, too.
    __________________
    06-13-2006, 04:07 AM
    Tilly
    Board fanatic

    Waylander, I'm keeping things crossed for you, good luck

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave Sloane
    P.O.D. PUBLISHING IS NOT VANITY PUBLISHING, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU MAY HEAR TO THE CONTRARY!! AUTHOR HOUSE IS NOT A VANITY PUBLISHER, AND THAT'S A FACT!!
    Author House is a vanity publisher. Its authors pay to be published. That's the vanity press model. Whether or not it uses digital technology is irrelevant.
    __________________
    2006 Rejection Pledge 10/20 1 short story acceptance
    06-13-2006, 07:00 AM
    dragonjax
    Where's the chocolate?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave Sloane
    Dragonjax, do your own research.
    Actually, I'm getting published at a mainstream publisher, so I don't need to go the P.O.D. route. I was just asking questions because I know little about P.O.D., which you were strongly encouraging authors to try. Before I comment on something, I try to get a fuller picture. Thank you, Dave and Aconite, for your input.

    Based on the information you and priceless1 have given, P.O.D. may be a viable solution for some authors and situations; I, personally, choose to go by Yog's Rule: Money flows toward the author. Paying upwards of $2,000 for producing a book that has no editorial, proofreading, warehousing, promotion or distribution is not a viable option for me. (Speaking just for myself, of course.)

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by waylander
    PMA just responded to my e-mail query with a request for my first 4 chapters and synopsis.
    Fabulous news, waylander! Good luck to you. Which agent at PMA, if I may ask?
    __________________
    HELL'S BELLES by Jackie Kessler
    06-13-2006, 07:49 AM
    MadScientistMatt
    Empirical Storm Trooper

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave Sloane
    Dragonjax, do your own research. You'll find out that Vanity publishing is an entirely different entity than P.O.D. With Vanity publishers like the old Vantage Press you basically just pay them to print up a bunch of books. P.O.D. PUBLISHING IS NOT VANITY PUBLISHING, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU MAY HEAR TO THE CONTRARY!! AUTHOR HOUSE IS NOT A VANITY PUBLISHER, AND THAT'S A FACT!!
    You stated that you paid them somewhere between $1,000-2,000, correct?

    That is the usual test in the writing community about vanity publishing: if you pay somebody to take care of all the work of publishing your book, whether they charge you directly or resort to more creative means, you are using a vanity press. Vanity presses also tend to further differ from normal publishing by publishing anything submitted rather than selecting the best and most marketable works. Author House is a pay-to-publish company with no selection, and that makes them vanity in the eyes of your fellow authors, not to mention agents and editors at commercial publishing houses.

    Sure, vanity POD is an improvement over old-fashioned vanity publishing, with lower prices and more opportunities to sell the books, but it's still vanity publishing. It's like the difference between a blacksmith shop and eMachineShop.com - the latter is simply adding Internet technology and computer controlled production equipment to an older business model.
    __________________
    Matthew Cramer
    06-13-2006, 12:10 PM
    Kasey Mackenzie
    Blonde & Bookxum

    vanity publishing
    noun
    1. Publication by the author at their own expense.
    Seems pretty straightforward to me. =)

    (Found this specific definition at allwords.com but the same basic definition was at plenty of other websites.)
    __________________
    06-13-2006, 02:50 PM
    Popeyesays
    Board fanatic

    I have a copy of the Author House costs chart in front of me. I do not remember why I have it, but I did get a package in the mail last month. The costs are as of March 2erd this year.
    A standard trade paperback with color cover from stock art is $698.00
    If you want the book to be returnable the charge is $699.00 )I guess this gets back their costs if every one of the books is returned, plus a $1.00 to tip the Fed Ex man?)
    Electronic distribution (only with the standard tradeback deal) is $100.00. Copy editing is $.0015/word. If one bought the whole shebang of features and service it would top $6,000.00

    Now, that IS vanity publishing by any stretch of the imagination.

    Regards,
    Scott
    __________________
    06-13-2006, 03:10 PM
    maestrowork
    recruiting fresh firemen
    Mod Squad Member

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave Sloane
    Dragonjax, do your own research. You'll find out that Vanity publishing is an entirely different entity than P.O.D. With Vanity publishers like the old Vantage Press you basically just pay them to print up a bunch of books. P.O.D. PUBLISHING IS NOT VANITY PUBLISHING, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU MAY HEAR TO THE CONTRARY!! AUTHOR HOUSE IS NOT A VANITY PUBLISHER, AND THAT'S A FACT!!
    Do you pay them to get published? Do they offer free editorial services? Does money flow to their authors? Do you own your ISBNs?

    If your answers are "no" then Author House is vanity.

    #1 rule in publishing:

    MONEY ALWAYS FLOWS TOWARD THE WRITER.
    __________________
    06-13-2006, 03:18 PM
    maestrowork
    recruiting fresh firemen
    Mod Squad Member

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave Sloane
    As far as I know P.O.D. publishers do not distribute your book or get your book stocked in bookstores--however, I believe that Author House may have some fee based program where this is an option.
    There is no such option. Getting your books listed in Ingram is not the same as getting it distributed, let alone stocked in book stores. You might be able to convince individual independents to special order a few books -- consignment, etc. But in general, every store managers I have talked to (including indies) verified that they WILL NOT stock the book if:

    a) it is not returnable
    b) it doesn't offer at least 40-50% discounts
    c) it isn't available through wholesalers like Ingram or Baker & Taylor or distributors
    and to a lesser degree:
    d) it hasn't been reviewed by trade journals (reviews by friends and family on their blogs don't count)

    It doesn't matter how good your book is -- if it fails these tests, they won't get in the stores.

    As far as I know, Author House books are not returnable, and they don't offer substantial discounts to stores, and you would be hard-pressed to get an industry review. The programs you mentioned get you listed in Ingram or some wholesaler, but that alone would not get your books in stores.
    __________________
    06-13-2006, 04:29 PM
    Sonny Palermo
    One of the Locals

    "I ran into Cindy Crawford at a club last week, and asked her to come home with me. She rejected me, but now I think she's ugly anyway."

    Oh yeah, I forgot to add - "and you should think so, too."

    PS - M-work, I enjoy your posts, always knowledgeable and informative, not to mention well written, but I think they make too much sense to hit home in this situation.
    But I respect your tact and patience, and that you care enough to take time to try and help . . .
    06-13-2006, 04:58 PM
    CaoPaux
    Mostly Harmless

    http://www.slushpile.net/index.php/2...ished-authors/
    __________________
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    06-13-2006, 05:14 PM
    aadams73
    Rebel without a clue

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave Sloane
    I had forgotten all about my query to PMA last December, when, lo and behold, I received a nice reject telling me how they weren't interested in reviewing my novel. I couldn't resist sending back this e-mail: "Thank you for your reply. You don't know what you're missing."
    Believe it or not, I am not bitter, angry, etc., etc., etc.---but I am blase.
    That's really unprofessional. Consider the fact that perhaps your work isn't quite up to scratch just yet.
    06-13-2006, 05:19 PM
    the1dsquared
    Benefactor Member

    You know, this thread is the reason I missed AW sooo much during the tribulation. To all of you good, persistent folks who haven't let up and won't settle for less than the truth, well done. A lot of new writers are going to read this and it will help steer them away from the likes of Author House, PA and the others. Damn you guys make me proud to just hang around this site!
    06-13-2006, 05:28 PM
    writeorwrong
    Face the "Muse"... Ick.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rugcat
    It can be very discouraging when a writer feels his/her work is at least as good as what appears on the bookstore shelves, but no one will give it a chance. I personally don't see the point of railing against the book industry, and certainly don't buy into that ridiculous "conspiracy against new writers" theory that pops up occasionally, but I do understand the frustrations, and can see why someone might even consider POD.
    The operative word being "feels". A writer may feel her work is at least as good, but that means diddly if the agents she pitches it to doesn't. These people are paid for their jobs for a reason. Odds are they have a better idea of what is good/marketable/crapworthy than I do.

    If an agent with respectable credentials rejects my work, I'm not going to say, "You don't know jack, I'll do it myself, neener neener." I trust that they know what they're doing, and I will have to take a closer look at what I'm doing. But a lotof POD published writers have that attitude, and their unwillingness to accept criticism and learn their craft shows in their work. Just one reason why some booksellers won't carry POD books. The bias happens for a reason.

    Quote:
    Not all rejected writers have written bad books, nor is it a given that if you write a good book, someone will publish it.
    True. But if you truly are good, wouldn't you rather be published by someone who's going to pick up the tab, if for no other reason? I'm not so vain that I want to see my name in print no matter how it gets there. If I'm any good, I have to trust the system that has worked for countless others. I don't think the odds are that insurmountable.

    Several years ago, before I knew how intimidated I should be by agents I queried four with my novel, and got two requests for a full. It didn't get picked up, but I continue to be encouraged by their rejections .
    06-13-2006, 05:28 PM
    SC Harrison
    Captain Obvious

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by maestrowork
    Getting your books listed in Ingram is not the same as getting it distributed, let alone stocked in book stores.
    I was under the impression having my book listed by Ingrams would make it much easier to get it shelved in actual stores, but it means next to nothing. The same applies to Amazon and other online listings. The author has to put a great deal of effort into each and every sale, by pointing people in the direction of where they can buy the book. Fancy POD technology is useless if there is no Demand. This is how (and why) authors end up as salespeople, because they're the only ones who even know the book exists, and they're the only ones who really care if it sells. For the people who try to rationalize the differences between traditional vanity publishers and pay-me-later-when-you-figure-out-it's-the-only-way, you have my sympathy. I can tell you about the frustration, heartache and possible financial burden you are about to embrace, but you probably won't believe me until you experience it yourself.
    __________________
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    06-13-2006, 05:29 PM
    priceless1
    Board fanatic

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave Sloane
    There is no such thing as warehousing with P.O.D. which is one of its major advantages. (PRINT ON DEMAND--DEMAND BEING THE OPERATIVE WORD.)
    How is this an advantage? The idea is to make books available for ordering. If the books aren't warehoused, they can't be ordered other than what the author is forced to bring to an event.

    Quote:
    Personally, I prefer to spend my money on ads in newspapers. etc., geared toward my audience, rather than pay them to market/promote it.
    No, no, no. Advertising is a money dump. Advertising is only advantageous when the publisher is trying to brand a title in a particular niche magazine or branding their company. Ads don't equal sales and should never, never, never, be done by the author.

    Quote:
    Finally, at least with P.O.D. you have total control over the editing and proofreading. This means that your artistic integrity will not be compromised.
    Self editing ALWAYS compromises a work. Every author needs the backing of good developmental and copy editing to insure the viability of the work. A good editing department never interferes with the author's voice or artistic integrity. It would be suicidal to do that. After all, isn't this why the publisher bought the rights in the first place?

    Quote:
    Bottom line is that for around 1-2K you have a book, physically indistinguishable from traditionally published books.
    An author should never pay huge money like this. Or any money at all. The books are very distinguishable from a commercial press. It shows up in the cover design, story development and copy editing. Most importantly, it shows up when an author goes into a store begging for a signing event and they're told no.

    PMA knows this,and that's why good agents such as Peter Miller would never entertain selling his clients short in this manner. Look at it this way - if you want it fast, you'll pay the price in more ways than one.
    __________________
    www.behlerpublications.com
    06-13-2006, 07:17 PM
    rugcat
    One of the Locals

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by writeorwrong

    True. But if you truly are good, wouldn't you rather be published by someone who's going to pick up the tab, if for no other reason? I'm not so vain that I want to see my name in print no matter how it gets there. If I'm any good, I have to trust the system that has worked for countless others. I don't think the odds are that insurmountable.
    Absolutely. I personally would never consider POD. I was just saying that I can understand the frustration that some writers experience.

    I'm sure the great majority of rejected mss are indeed "not up to snuff." I don't believe that hundreds of talented writers are being rejected every day by clueless agents. My guess is that those writers who do believe this are themselves not particularly talented or self aware. But I also think that to assume as a default position that a rejection, or even multiple rejections, means that the writer must somehow be lacking in skill and simply needs to improve his/her craft in order to succeed is also unwarranted.

    "For years I subscribed to the popular myth that talent will out sooner or later; that all people with genuine ability in a particular field will ultimately achieve success in that field. I'll tell you, you'd be better off believing in the tooth fairy."
    --Lawrence Block "Telling Lies For Fun & Profit"

    All any of us can do is continue writing, try to produce the best work we're capable of, keep sending it out there, and never give up.
    06-13-2006, 08:22 PM
    Aconite
    Full sun to light shade
    Mod Squad Member

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rugcat
    But I also think that to assume as a default position that a rejection, or even multiple rejections, means that the writer must somehow be lacking in skill and simply needs to improve his/her craft in order to succeed is also unwarranted.
    But rejection is a sign that you need to improve. The goal is to have a MS that's so good agents and publishers can't resist it, not a manuscript that finally squeaks by one of many agents or publishers. You may get published, eventually, with the squeaker, but the rejections are telling you that it's not as great as you'd like it to be.

    As Uncle Jim puts it, "Rejection is nature's way of telling you to write a better book."
    __________________
    06-13-2006, 08:31 PM
    James D. Macdonald
    Dawnolite Sparklecow
    Absolute Sage

    Please, folks, do not write just one book and spend the rest of your life trying to sell that one.
    __________________
    06-13-2006, 08:57 PM
    Alan Yee
    Keeper of Flying Hellhounds

    Oh yes, you should probably be writing your second book while you try to sell your first book. You should probably stop submitting the first book after you acquire a large number of rejections. If you've been submitting the same first book for twenty years and have gotten nothing but form rejections, it's probably time to lock it in the desk drawer and start submitting your second book. It's very likely that after twenty years you might have a third or fourth or fifth, etc. novel. If not, submit the second book, start working on your third (or fourth or fifth) novel. It depends on how fast you are at writing novels.

    Maybe the meaning of rejection is different with short stories. With short stories, rejection usually means "This does not fit our magazine's needs at this time." Like, it may be a good story, but it might not work for Asimov's, though it could for F&SF. Maybe it's different with novels. I guess it's because people actually BUY the novel with one story in it, rather than just buying the magazine with 5 or 6 stories in it.
    __________________
    06-13-2006, 10:34 PM
    Dave Sloane
    One of the Locals

    Anyone who cares to, can see how P.O.D publishing differs from Vanity publishing by checking out the Vantage Press website and then the Author House website. We can play with semantics forever, the point is that Vanity publishing is quite a bit different from P.O.D. This doesn't mean that anyone has to appreciate the concept of P.O.D., but it's simply incorrect to insist that Vanity (vis-a-vis outfits like Vantage) is the same as P.O.D.
    06-13-2006, 10:48 PM
    James D. Macdonald
    Dawnolite Sparklecow
    Absolute Sage

    Digital printing is a technology.

    Offset printing is a technology.

    Vanity publishing is a business model which can use any printing technology.

    POD is a business model which can use any printing technology.

    A vanity press can use the POD business model. Currently many vanity presses are POD, and many of them use digital printing, but there's no necessary correlation.

    See http://www.sff.net/people/doylemacdonald/publishing.htm for more on these terms.

    There is no doubt that AuthorHouse is a vanity press. That they use digital printing in order to print on demand is incidental.

    The simple questions are: Did you pay to get published, and do you own the ISBN?
    __________________
    06-13-2006, 11:34 PM
    Dave Sloane
    One of the Locals

    Sorry, but there is a big difference between Vanity publishers like Vantage and P.O.D. publishers like Author House. Why not check out their websites and see for yourself? Because a writer pays to get published does not negate the significant differences. Once again, we can play the semantics game, but old-fashioned vanity publishing is not the same thing as P.O.D.
    06-14-2006, 12:04 AM
    Popeyesays
    Board fanatic

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave Sloane
    Sorry, but there is a big difference between Vanity publishers like Vantage and P.O.D. publishers like Author House. Why not check out their websites and see for yourself? Because a writer pays to get published does not negate the significant differences. Once again, we can play the semantics game, but old-fashioned vanity publishing is not the same thing as P.O.D.
    Unfortunately, that's exactly what it is. Self-publishing may be different because you take care of all the publishing hassles yourself, but a vanity publisher gives a particular service -- it contracts with the author to print his book. A vanity house does not really publish at all, they just print. They print to allow some access to distributors, but the fact is that your book won't reach any bookshelves that you did not go there and arrange for them to be placed.

    I have all the latest Author House Stuff in front of me. They sent me a package, I'm not sure why. But all those costs add up. If you buy everything but editing you pay about 7,000 dollars. How long will it take to get that back in royalties?

    That's the big deception.

    Regards,
    Scott
    __________________
    06-14-2006, 12:10 AM
    rugcat
    One of the Locals

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Aconite
    The goal is to have a MS that's so good agents and publishers can't resist it, not a manuscript that finally squeaks by one of many agents or publishers.
    We all strive to write a brilliant, compelling, irresistable novel. There aren't that many of them out there.

    But again, you're taking it as a given that if a MS is rejected, it's because it's inferior work, even if it manages to "squeak by." I'm perfectly willing to concede that is usually the case; I'm just saying it's not always the case.

    And yes, I take agent opinions seriously. I've done some fairly extensive revisions based on feedback I've received from professionals I respect.
    06-14-2006, 12:38 AM
    blackbird
    Board fanatic

    It seems that your real beef with PMA was the seven-month wait, only to then receive a rejection. Having been a client of this agency for some time, I know that there have been some major turnovers in the last few months, with some associates leaving and new ones coming in. This alone can create problems which may lead to delayed or slower-than-normal responses. I, myself, have had to learn to be much more patient during this and to have faith that my agent is doing the best she can, given what is no doubt a huge backlog right now. Also, it depends on if your query was sent via email or snail mail. The guidelines posted on their website clearly state that snail mail queries may take up to six months for a response, and that electronic queries are preferred.

    I have queries to agents that were sent out over two years ago and have never heard back from. After about six months without word, you can reasonably expect that the answer is no, regardless of whether they give you the courtesy of making it official. At least PMA had the courtesy to acknowledge your query, even if it took some time. Many agents/agencies don't bother at all.
    06-14-2006, 03:41 AM
    James D. Macdonald
    Dawnolite Sparklecow
    Absolute Sage

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave Sloane
    Why not check out their websites and see for yourself? Because a writer pays to get published does not negate the significant differences.
    Come on, Dave. AuthorHouse is a vanity. You pay to get published, and they own the ISBN. I'm afraid that you're still not getting it. I'm very familiar with AuthorHouse, and their website. I'm also familiar with Vantage. And Dorrance. And Trafford. And Infinity. And Booksurge. And PublishAmerica. And Xlibris. And iUniverse. And dozens more.

    Vanity presses all, regardless of whether they use digital printing to print on demand.

    Don't believe me. Write down your goals and expectations for your book. Revisit that list a year from now and see how you did.
    __________________
    06-14-2006, 07:50 AM
    Aconite
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    Hey, Dave, here's a suggestion for you.

    Go to Amazon. Search by author, "James D. Macdonald."

    Look at the results.

    Ask yourself, "Who knows more about publishing: me, or this guy?"

    Repeat with "Victoria Strauss," "Ann Crispin," and the names of others in this thread who've contradicted you.

    Let that sink in. Then act accordingly.
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    06-14-2006, 07:59 AM
    Tilly
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave Sloane
    Sorry, but there is a big difference between Vanity publishers like Vantage and P.O.D. publishers like Author House. Why not check out their websites and see for yourself? Because a writer pays to get published does not negate the significant differences. Once again, we can play the semantics game, but old-fashioned vanity publishing is not the same thing as P.O.D.
    I'm not sure what definition you're using for vanity press. Perhaps that will clear things up.

    The definition that we're using, and the only definition I've come across, is that the author pays a publisher to produce their books.

    Sometimes that fee is payed up front, sometimes a surcharge is added to the price of each book.
    Sometimes the vanity press uses offset technology, but many use digital technology.
    Some charge a lot, some charge less.

    You pick any two companies of any type and you'll find differences in how they work. But the business model of Author House (authors paying to be published) is identical to that of Vantage or Dorrance. If you publish with Author House, you're vanity published.

    You said vanity publishing was a joke. I don't think it is. Most of the people I've encountered who have gone to vanity publishers do seem to have done so because of a lack knowledge about the publishing industry, and it doesn't seem to be a good fit given the nature of their work and their writing goals. They believe many of the myths you've repeated.

    But I have a friend who wrote her memoirs, didn't want to go to a printer (not sure why, but I respect she probably had her reasons) and published them through a local vanity press. She was okay with making a loss, and was aware beforehand that would very probably be the case. Her assessment was that, given the nature of that specific work, she wouldn't get a commercial publisher interested, and she was probably right. She also has a good local market that she can reach pretty easily.

    For that work she made, as far as I can tell, an informed decision that was right for her. I don't think that's a joke. I may have gone about it a different way, but I respect that she made the right decision for her.
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    06-14-2006, 08:12 AM
    LeslieB
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    Dave, forget the difference between Author House and Vantage. Compare Author House and Random House and tell me that they are the same.

    Seeing my name on the cover of a book? Nice.

    Seeing my name on the Pay To line of a check? Better.
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    06-14-2006, 09:35 AM
    stormie
    A Calm Person

    Dave, in response to your original post on this thread (I just happened upon it) a six month wait for a rejection is nothing in this business. I've had rejections that come a year later.

    What to do? Study the craft of writing. Read as much as you can on writing. Rewrite and revise your work. Aim high. It is possible to get a reputable--and good--agent.

    And yeah, never burn bridges in this profession.
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    stormie
    06-14-2006, 10:19 AM
    Sonny Palermo
    One of the Locals

    Sloane, you only went there AFTER getting rejected.
    'Nuff said.

    Your posts in defense are now beyond ridiculous.

    But where you really give yourself away is when you suggest others try venting, too (misery loves company, eh Dave?) as if everyone is so small that sending a snide e-mail would make them feel better/bigger.

    Quit while you're (a) behind.
    06-14-2006, 03:26 PM
    Kasey Mackenzie
    Blonde & Bookxum

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave Sloane
    Anyone who cares to, can see how P.O.D publishing differs from Vanity publishing by checking out the Vantage Press website and then the Author House website. We can play with semantics forever, the point is that Vanity publishing is quite a bit different from P.O.D. This doesn't mean that anyone has to appreciate the concept of P.O.D., but it's simply incorrect to insist that Vanity (vis-a-vis outfits like Vantage) is the same as P.O.D.
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave Sloane
    Sorry, but there is a big difference between Vanity publishers like Vantage and P.O.D. publishers like Author House. Why not check out their websites and see for yourself? Because a writer pays to get published does not negate the significant differences. Once again, we can play the semantics game, but old-fashioned vanity publishing is not the same thing as P.O.D.
    Repeating basically the same thing over and over doesn't make it any more true than it was (or wasn't) the first time. It starts to sound like advertising more than actually trying to make a real point.
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    06-15-2006, 03:02 PM
    MagsnMads
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    I like to take the reply to an agent to the other extreme.

    I have written four books that I'd like to see published someday. So, when I get rejected for one by email, I reply with a "Thanks for your time" and mention if they are ever interested in seeing something else I wrote, I would be glad to send them a query. I've gotten a few nibbles this way, including an agent I am sending some samples to right now.
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    06-15-2006, 06:54 PM
    Alan Yee
    Keeper of Flying Hellhounds

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MagsnMads
    I like to take the reply to an agent to the other extreme.

    I have written four books that I'd like to see published someday. So, when I get rejected for one by email, I reply with a "Thanks for your time" and mention if they are ever interested in seeing something else I wrote, I would be glad to send them a query. I've gotten a few nibbles this way, including an agent I am sending some samples to right now.
    Exactly. You know when I said that you should only respond to rejections with thank yous, I was serious. I took that advice from Slushkiller (written by a senior editor at Tor who has experience in this area). The examples I wrote of thank yous to rejections are a very close paraphrasing of Teresa's examples in Slushkiller.

    While I'm at it, if any unpublished authors reading this have not read Slushkiller yet, please do so. It breaks down the different types and reasons for rejection. You can probably find it on Google. While you're at it, read the monstrous comments thread. I believe comments are still being added to it once in a while. There's some from 2006, if I'm not mistaken (the blog was posted in 2004, I think).
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    06-15-2006, 08:17 PM
    Patricia
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    You know, I may be labeled a "wimp for this -- but so be it. I believe that respect to office or title is correct in some arenas. Example, office of the president, pulpit, editors, agents, and so on. We may not always agree with their policies or decisions. But you can bet that we will be remembered when the time is right for our respect, rather than our harsh tones.

    At last checkpoint, I still have all the friends that I've made here at AW because I respect their positions, opinions, and ranks of authority. It works for me in every area of my life.

    I do believe that an agent or editor will remember name by association of those snarky replies they receive. I know I would. And it just may lose one a chance to be published.

    My 2 cents.

    Now I'm going to go write.
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  4. #4
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Eureka! (This was all of page 4.)
    06-15-2006, 08:42 PM
    HapiSofi
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    At one of the places I've worked, a really scathing denunciation of a rejection might get posted on the bulletin board if it was funny enough, and stay up there for a week or so until everyone got bored with it. If the letter was flat-out crazy in some unusually entertaining way, it might go into the big three-ring binder where the junior staff had for years been accumulating memorable slush. Nobody'd think much about it beyond that. Rejected was forgotten.
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  5. #5
    On a wing and a prayer aruna's Avatar
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    Why I am posting this? To suggest that some of you may wish to consider a little back talk to these great divines of the publishing realm.
    Arguably one of the worst pieces of advice I've read on AW in the year I've been here.
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  6. #6
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    "Y'all better seriously consider goin' P.O.D." runs a close second.

  7. #7
    haz a shiny new book cover Christine N.'s Avatar
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    Hey, ya know, this a great idea...

    Now, hear me out. Go ahead, write that scathing letter. Tell them they don't know what they're missing, that they just passed up the Next Great Thing, that they'll rue the day. Use curse words, do it up. Write it on paper, NOT in an e-mail. Get it all out, put all your feelings into the letter.

    Then burn it. Make a big ceremony out of it. Heck, burn the rejection letter too.

    You'll feel much better and the agent/editor/whoever will be none the wiser.
    Christine

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  8. #8
    Mostly Ignored spike's Avatar
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    06-09-2006, 12:54 AM
    Dave Sloane
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    "You don't know what you're missing"

    I had forgotten all about my query to PMA last December, when, lo and behold, I received a nice reject telling me how they weren't interested in reviewing my novel.

    I couldn't resist sending back this e-mail: "Thank you for your reply. You don't know what you're missing."

    Believe it or not, I am not bitter, angry, etc., etc., etc.---but I am blase.

    Why I am posting this? To suggest that some of you may wish to consider a little back talk to these great divines of the publishing realm. It feels good. How can an agent know if a work is any good unless they give it a peek? And why bother getting back to me just to tell me you don't want to look at it after a six-month wait?
    Whatever.
    And somewhere...a bridge is burning.

    I've met two agents at writing conferences. Both said that they will reject people when they seem crazy regardless of the quality of the writing.

    I could be wrong, but within the context of their other comments, crazy seems to be a euphanism for pain-in-the-*ss or just plain rude.
    I should be writing. Now. I mean it.

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  9. #9
    Fear the Death Ray maestrowork's Avatar
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    I am ALL for Dave Sloane to write that scathing letter, and go with AuthorHouse.

    Let PMA focus on the real, serious, professional writers.

    I didn't want to work. It was as simple as that. I distrusted work, disliked it. I thought it was a very bad thing that the human race had unfortunately invented for itself.
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  10. #10
    Fear the Death Ray maestrowork's Avatar
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    Just for yucks, I went to AuthorHouse's website, and I learned:

    - the author pays for everything from copy editing to publicity, etc.
    - the only program that might help get the books into stores is the "Returnable" program, for which the author has to pay extra, and renew annually
    - the author has to pay for marketing/publicity separately
    - there's no mention of distribution or discounts

    Everything has a price tag on it. If that doesn't say "vanity" I don't know what does...

    I also checked out some of their "featured books" -- the quality is rather disappointing, everything from cover design to editorial. Some are not even readable. No disrespect to the authors, but these books could use at least a half dozen edits, not to mention developmental revisions.
    Last edited by maestrowork; 07-08-2006 at 07:12 PM.

    I didn't want to work. It was as simple as that. I distrusted work, disliked it. I thought it was a very bad thing that the human race had unfortunately invented for itself.
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  11. #11
    Working In A Coal Mine... Sonarbabe's Avatar
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    06-09-2006, 12:54 AM
    Dave Sloane
    One of the Locals

    "You don't know what you're missing"

    I had forgotten all about my query to PMA last December, when, lo and behold, I received a nice reject telling me how they weren't interested in reviewing my novel.

    I couldn't resist sending back this e-mail: "Thank you for your reply. You don't know what you're missing."

    Believe it or not, I am not bitter, angry, etc., etc., etc.---but I am blase.

    Why I am posting this? To suggest that some of you may wish to consider a little back talk to these great divines of the publishing realm. It feels good. How can an agent know if a work is any good unless they give it a peek? And why bother getting back to me just to tell me you don't want to look at it after a six-month wait?
    Whatever.
    Oh. My. God. It took me 2 days to read through this thread and to wipe off all the water that I spewed onto my keyboard, (y'all really should put a beverage warning to this thread) but this has got to be the WORST trite I have ever heard!

    Want to know what the best revenge is to an agent that rejects you? Write a better book and resubmit. If they reject that one, write an even better book and submit that one. Why do I suggest that? Because that is exactly what I did. I queried this one agent 3 times with 3 different novels (each getting better--I think) and now, with this third one, she's asked for the first 100 pages and synopsis. This doesn't mean she'll ask for a full, but it's certainly a start.
    The only reason for being a professional writer is that you can't help it. ~ Leo Rosten


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  12. #12
    Still Here! Alan Yee's Avatar
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    Wow. I think my responses to him were too long and too dense for him to read. Such a shame that I wasted the time writing those responses.

    (Whoa, Sonarbabe and I have the same avatar. And we posted right next to each other. It's too confusing to have two Vin Diesels in Bewares and Background Check. )

  13. #13
    Working In A Coal Mine... Sonarbabe's Avatar
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    Ah, but you post more than I do, so your Vin Diesel has more experience in the ways of AW than mine. Or some wise annecdote like that. I dunno, I think I got that out of a fortune cookie once.
    The only reason for being a professional writer is that you can't help it. ~ Leo Rosten


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  14. #14
    Will write for chocolate FloVoyager's Avatar
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    "You don't know what you're missing"
    *chuckles* Well, you can probably scratch that one off your list of potentials.

    I know it's hard, believe me I do, but try to stay objective about rejections. Try not to take it personally. It's not personal, to them. It's business.

    Just keep writing, and keep submitting, and be polite and professional about it. You can't go wrong that way.

  15. #15
    Still Here! Alan Yee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonarbabe
    Ah, but you post more than I do, so your Vin Diesel has more experience in the ways of AW than mine. Or some wise annecdote like that. I dunno, I think I got that out of a fortune cookie once.
    It would only be really confusing if we both posted in NEPAT all the time.

  16. #16
    Working In A Coal Mine... Sonarbabe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Yee
    It would only be really confusing if we both posted in NEPAT all the time.
    Nah, if I tried to keep up with that thread, I would never get any writing done! As it is, I feel the urge to seek a 12 step program for this one.
    The only reason for being a professional writer is that you can't help it. ~ Leo Rosten


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  17. #17
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Lydia Manx's Avatar
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    Great thread. Very interesting takes.

    On the talking back. Wow, I always found folks remember bitter people in the negative. I wouldn't dump on someone who didn't care for my work, just figure it wasn't the right time and place for that piece. I don't see why you would personalize a business arrangement.

    Took me a while to get through the entire thread but there were some excellent posts. Vanity press or Authors House seem to be money tossed into a well. Is there a large enough bucket at the bottom? I know some folks who have been mainstreamed published and later went onto vanity because they had small needs and wanted their work available. They broke even so their money wasn't wasted.

    *shrugs*

  18. #18
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spike
    I've met two agents at writing conferences. Both said that they will reject people when they seem crazy regardless of the quality of the writing.

    I could be wrong, but within the context of their other comments, crazy seems to be a euphemism for pain-in-the-*ss or just plain rude.
    Crazy usually means crazy, though over the short haul that can be hard to distinguish from being naturally rude or a pain in the wazoo. Basically, what you don't want to do is read as someone who isn't in control of their emotions or behavior.
    Winner of the Best Drycleaner on the Block Award.

  19. #19
    No Time For Chitchat, Kemosabe. badducky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christine N.
    Hey, ya know, this a great idea...

    Now, hear me out. Go ahead, write that scathing letter. Tell them they don't know what they're missing, that they just passed up the Next Great Thing, that they'll rue the day. Use curse words, do it up. Write it on paper, NOT in an e-mail. Get it all out, put all your feelings into the letter.

    Then burn it. Make a big ceremony out of it. Heck, burn the rejection letter too.

    You'll feel much better and the agent/editor/whoever will be none the wiser.
    Actually, don't burn those rejections, because at tax-time, you want to show it to the IRS man if you get audited. Even if you haven't made much money at all, this year, you can prove that you are running a small business out of your house. A money-losing business, but a business nonetheless.

    Advice I got from a Euless, based Author of Westerns, who got it from his tax-guru when he started his (now very successful) career.

  20. #20
    Now departed. Rest in peace, Scott, from all of us at AW Requiescat In Pace Popeyesays's Avatar
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    <No, this is not true. P.O.D. exists because the people who run these companies are on a shoestring budget and can't afford to do print runs. Since their budget is tight, their editing departments can be inferior, they invariably have no marketing whatsoever and rely on their authors to play salesman and distributor. This forces authors to purchase their own books (often at inflated prices) so they can haul them to signings or sell them out of the trunk of their cars, creating a case of money flowing to the publisher, not the author.

    Why are the prices inflated? Because P.O.D. books cost more to print per unit than a print run and are only printed when there's an actual order. This can create huge problems for the author who's trying to set up signing events. I've heard horror stories about books barely making it to the venue in time, or not at all. The P.O.D. publisher isn't out anything because the author bought those books. So whether they arrived in time or not, the author still has to buy the books. The publisher wins, the author loses.

    Right, wrong or indifferent, the big reviewers won't touch P.O.D. books because of the general stigma surrounding these types of productions. P.O.D. books are almost never considered by the corporate chain buyers for purchase and distribution, and stores won't normally buy them for their shelves. If an author is truly inspired to get their books into the hands of readers, as you argue, then P.O.D. is definitely not a smart choice.>

    Then there are publisher's like Ellora's Cave who are breaking that boundary regularly. Their P.O.D. books are printed in batches, discounted, returnable and regularly on the shelves at Barnes and Noble, B. Dalton, Border's Waldenbooks, and Indie bookstores everywhere. They started out as a niche e-publisher, went on to POD, then PODing in quantity to get theri books on shelves at a competitive rate.

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  21. #21
    No Time For Chitchat, Kemosabe. badducky's Avatar
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    To my knowledge, Ellora's Cave is the ONLY reputable P.O.D. company like that, and the only P.O.D. company acknowledged by professional associations.

    And, they have editors, and marketing staff, and all the bells and whistles that any reputable publisher should have. To my knowledge, they don't charge authors for these extra services, either.

  22. #22
    2 WIP? A glutton for punishment astonwest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by badducky
    Actually, don't burn those rejections, because at tax-time, you want to show it to the IRS man if you get audited. Even if you haven't made much money at all, this year, you can prove that you are running a small business out of your house. A money-losing business, but a business nonetheless.
    I'm not an accountant or a tax attorney, but last I knew, you could only count a loss for so many years (2 consecutive out of 5 sounds familiar) before the IRS considered your money-losing business a hobby...but that could just be in certain circumstances.

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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Popeyesays
    Then there are publisher's like Ellora's Cave who are breaking that boundary regularly. Their P.O.D. books are printed in batches, discounted, returnable and regularly on the shelves at Barnes and Noble, B. Dalton, Border's Waldenbooks, and Indie bookstores everywhere. They started out as a niche e-publisher, went on to POD, then PODing in quantity to get theri books on shelves at a competitive rate.
    If they're doing print runs, offering competitive discounts and making their books returnable, then the only thing POD about them is the digital printing. They would appear to be working under a different business model and not the type that I described earlier.

  24. #24
    Grumpy writer and editor Absolute Sage Gillhoughly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by badducky
    To my knowledge, Ellora's Cave is the ONLY reputable P.O.D. company like that, and the only P.O.D. company acknowledged by professional associations.
    Indeed! They're the only e & POD publisher I would ever consider sending MY gnarly nookie tales!

    I met the ladies running the company and they are a great bunch, highly enthusiastic, and hey--they have to just love the work!

  25. #25
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Digital printing is just another form of short-run printing. POD is a business model, not a technology.

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