Winter outside a house with children in a horse-drawn sleigh

AW Amazon Store

If this site is helpful to you,
Please consider a voluntary subscription to defray ongoing expenses.


 

Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 26 to 50 of 84

Thread: This is nothing like an official FAQ

  1. #26
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    5
    Easy question. There's exactly one rule about writing contests: Can you find mentions of them in the cover copy of books published by real publishing houses? As in Booker, Pulitzer, Quill, Edgar, Prometheus, Nova, et cetera? If so, they're worth your time and trouble. If not, not.*
    (note: this is not intended to be a sarcastic self deprecating question)

    I have self-published with Lulu. Don't hate me. I'd like to now send the book to some contests to roll the dice for the potential marketing reward (that is, marketing to publishers). Is there a list of the reputable ones you allude to available and would they accept self published works?

  2. #27
    And now, back to Plodding! Duncan J Macdonald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    1,870
    Quote Originally Posted by stupendous man View Post
    (note: this is not intended to be a sarcastic self deprecating question)

    I have self-published with Lulu. Don't hate me. I'd like to now send the book to some contests to roll the dice for the potential marketing reward (that is, marketing to publishers). Is there a list of the reputable ones you allude to available and would they accept self published works?
    Google is your friend. From the Submission guidelines for the Edgar:
    Your work is professionally published or produced and is not self-published or cooperatively published.
    So, no, the Edgar is out of your reach with this work.
    R/
    Hamster #164

  3. #28
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,093
    Quote Originally Posted by stupendous man View Post
    (note: this is not intended to be a sarcastic self deprecating question)

    I have self-published with Lulu. Don't hate me. I'd like to now send the book to some contests to roll the dice for the potential marketing reward (that is, marketing to publishers). Is there a list of the reputable ones you allude to available and would they accept self published works?
    Why should I hate you for publishing with Lulu.com? They published Atlanta Nights. They employ Mur Lafferty. Also, they're an honest business.

    The only contest I know of that gets mentioned in cover copy and takes submissions from unpublished writers is Writers of the Future:
    4. The Contest is open only to those who have not had professionally published a novel or short novel, or more than one novelette, or more than three short stories, in any medium. Professional publication is deemed to be payment, and at least 5,000 copies, or 5,000 hits.
    It's only for SF or fantasy. If you've written something else, I foresee a spell of research in your future.
    Winner of the Best Drycleaner on the Block Award.

  4. #29
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    25,568
    Every publisher on the planet runs a contest every day.

    The entry fee is "submission" and the prize is "publication." Contact the individual publishers for their rules (which they call "guidelines").

  5. #30
    practical experience, FTW BarbJ's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    698
    "Every publisher on the planet runs a contest every day.

    The entry fee is "submission" and the prize is "publication." Contact the individual publishers for their rules (which they call "guidelines")."


    Uncle Jim, you are my hero.

  6. #31
    I write novels
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    In the resistance
    Posts
    4,005
    He's my hero, too.
    Last edited by eqb; 07-22-2007 at 03:14 PM.

  7. #32
    Live a little. Write a lot. Karen Junker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Bellevue, WA
    Posts
    2,719
    Quote Originally Posted by HapiSofi View Post

    The only contest I know of that gets mentioned in cover copy and takes submissions from unpublished writers is Writers of the Future:
    It's only for SF or fantasy. If you've written something else, I foresee a spell of research in your future.
    The Romance Writers of America sponsor a contest for unpublished romance writers - it's called the Golden Heart. You'll sometimes see blurbs that mention a Golden Heart win...

    Contests are pretty popular in the romance writing community - the local RWA chapters hold them as a way to raise money to put on their conferences or for other chapter expenses. They'll have published authors, agents and editors as their judges, so the feedback people get can be valuable.
    Karen Junker
    www.CascadeWriters.com
    "Spend a passionate weekend with your muse!"

  8. #33
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,093
    Q. I've been told repeatedly that Yog's Law says money always flows toward the writer, and that any deviation from this is bad, but there's this decent-seeming agent who says she'll represent me for only $400 a year.

    Why shouldn't I sign with her? I know first novels are a tough sell. She's going to be doing a lot of work for me, so why shouldn't I pay her for her time and trouble? I don't care if it's a nonstandard arrangement. I just want to get my book sold.


    A. The reason you shouldn't sign up with this agent is that he or she won't get your book sold. There aren't many clear-cut lines of division in publishing, but this one comes close: Agents who charge their authors for their services make almost no sales. Agents who regularly make sales don't charge their authors for their services.

    Real agents have a very strong motive for not taking on authors whose books aren't saleable: it's hard enough selling books that are of marketable quality. If they take on a book that's not up to snuff, and try to do an honest job of agenting it, they'll either make pennies per hour, or they'll work their hearts out and have nothing to show for it but a long string of disappointments.

    The more marginal the book, the more work to sell it, and the less the return on the effort. An agent who has to charge fees to stay in business is working the wrong end of that curve.

    Does that mean that if they're the only ones who'll take on your book, it's necessarily marginal or unpublishable? Sorry, but the answer is probably yes. If you're absolutely certain your book is saleable, keep sending it out to real agents. If you're right, one of them will eventually take it. If they don't take it, and you're still certain it's saleable, send it out yourself.
    Last edited by HapiSofi; 01-22-2010 at 11:33 AM.
    Winner of the Best Drycleaner on the Block Award.

  9. #34
    Don't Ever Quit ChessSafari's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Ithaca, NY
    Posts
    158
    I've been living on this site for about a week now, and have tried to devour as much knowledge as possible.

    This particular thread gets my "vote" for most useful on AbsoluteWrite.com.

    Thanks for the enormous generosity of time, HapiSofi (and others), putting these FAQs together.

  10. #35
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,093
    Q. I'm trying to sell my projected six-volume fantasy series --

    A. No.

    Q. What?

    A. No, you aren't. You're trying to sell the first volume of it.

    Q. It has to be read as a series. Book one is mostly setup.

    A. If book one isn't a satisfactory reading experience in its own right, nobody cares what happens later in the series.* The formula is "cool stuff now, more cool stuff later," not "cool stuff at some point in the future, vast expanses of stodge now."

    Q. If the editor can't be bothered --

    A. The editor's primary duty is to the readers, not to you.

    _____________
    *Yog's pithy version: "You won't sell a series until you sell book one. And you won't sell book one if the climax is in volume six."
    Last edited by HapiSofi; 01-13-2009 at 11:49 PM.
    Winner of the Best Drycleaner on the Block Award.

  11. #36
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin SebastianW's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    11
    Extremely good and educational thread. Two thumbs up .

  12. #37
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,093
    Thank you, Sebastian.

    Does everyone understand that it's all right to ask questions?
    Winner of the Best Drycleaner on the Block Award.

  13. #38
    Inconsistent AWer dragonmedley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Toronto, Ontario
    Posts
    134
    Quote Originally Posted by HapiSofi View Post
    Does everyone understand that it's all right to ask questions?
    Every question I could think of is already here, including some I never thought about.

    Thank you so much for this thread!!!
    Si tu n'es pas une lumière, tu dois réfléchir.

  14. #39
    Nefarious Ghost Fan AnneMarble's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    2,901
    Quote Originally Posted by HapiSofi View Post
    QQ. It has to be read as a series. Book one is mostly setup.

    A. If book one isn't a satisfactory reading experience in its own right, nobody cares what happens later in the series.* The formula is "cool stuff now, more cool stuff later," not "cool stuff at some point in the future, vast expanses of stodge now."


    Quoted for wisdom.
    THE Official FreakTM
    That's not me in my avatar. That's Papa Emeritus II and the Nameless Ghouls of Ghost
    -- AARlist2, my romance reader discussion group
    Dubbed "Cool Thread Starter Girl" by JeanneTGC

  15. #40
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,093
    Q. Is it true that the publishing industry is on the verge of collapse?

    A. Yes, perpetually.

    A. Probably not.

    Publishing is a marginal industry that's vulnerable to external changes, and is therefore always mutating. This state of affairs has prevailed for centuries. I don't know whether the rumors that publishing is on the verge of collapse go back that far, but I wouldn't be surprised. I've certainly been hearing them the entire time I've worked in the industry.

    Note: this does not guarantee that publishing won't someday collapse. It just means you should take such rumors with a big ol' grain of salt.
    Last edited by HapiSofi; 02-05-2010 at 08:37 AM.
    Winner of the Best Drycleaner on the Block Award.

  16. #41
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,093
    Q. Do I need to start a weblog to promote my work?

    A. No.

    If you're an unpublished writer, do not expect blogging to get you published. Put your effort into submitting finished manuscripts to publishers.

    Moving on to published writers --

    Some authors already have weblogs. They'd be bloggers whether or not they were doing other writing. That's fine. It's their natural behavior. Sometimes their blogs benefit other areas of their writing careers. Sometimes they don't.

    But if blogging isn't something you'd be doing anyway, you should not feel obliged to start. It's a low-yield activity that eats up work time. If you don't naturally have bloggy things to say, the strain and lifelessness will show, and the entries intended to promote your writing will not be camouflaged by the wilting vegetation around them. Apply your reader mind: do you find it attractive when other writers do that? I can't imagine you do. You should assume that other readers won't find it attractive either.

    Also, bear in mind that a lackluster weblog that only nets you a couple of hundred irregular readers can still get you into trouble. If you inadvertently say something that makes you sound bad in an amusingly quotable way, and a few of your readers mention it in their Live Journals while linking to your site, other LJs and weblogs can pick up the story. It can spread. If you're really unlucky, it can become your top-linked Google result.

    Weblogs require maintenance. If you allow comments, which you probably should if want your weblog to have any life of its own, you will at minimum get comment spam. This must be cleaned out promptly and regularly.

    You can also find your comment threads invaded by combative trolls, not-very-bright literary theorists, resentful unpublished writers, drive-by creeps and vandals, and other timewasters. It's entirely within your rights to delete their more obnoxious comments, and ban them from your site if they don't get the message and start behaving. If they complain, tell them that "freedom of speech" means they're free to start their own website, and the sooner they do so the happier you'll be.

    Having some web presence is nevertheless a good idea. Put together a simple static website where you can post your bibliography, pictures of your covers, your author photo, a small selection of your best review quotes, announcements of forthcoming books and/or public appearances, information on how to contact you for interviews, and (if you feel like it) some interesting longish excerpts from your books.

    Keep it short. Keep it simple. Do not have it play mood music.
    Winner of the Best Drycleaner on the Block Award.

  17. #42
    banned as an incurable tosspot
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    170
    Quote Originally Posted by rugcat View Post
    My agent was an editor for many years before she switched over to agenting. She joined a reputable agency and after a few years, had considerable success. (And managed to sell my book)

    But if I had been around when she first set out, I wouldn't have found much of a footprint or track record. Would it have been wise then to wait until she had proved herself? Could she have sold the book without the track record she eventually established? What if I had been unable to find representation with an agent with a solid track record? (It's not easy, you know.) Would taking a chance on this "new" agent have been a mistake? Better to have no agent at all?

    I have no agenda here. These are actual questions.

    I actually had the nerve to turn down an offer from an agent I didn't care for, after querying fruitlessly for six months and having no prospects on the horizon. In the end it was clearly a good decision, but it could have just as easily turned out badly for me.

    What think you?
    I'm having an interesting time with this recently. I'm a former freelance writer and editor who has moved laterally into working as an agent. My "agent" footprint is small (I represent two illustrators and haven't taken on any writers yet) but my writer and editor footprint is large.

    I've been doing a bit of SEO stuff to move my name around on the ye olde interwebs and it has had an unfortunate result: my writer/editor footprint is slowly vanishing. Results for books with me as editor used to be on the first page of Google. Now they are waaaaay back.

    I definitely think you should avoid any agent who has never worked in or around publishing in any capacity.

  18. #43
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,093
    I think you should definitely avoid any agent named Mathew Ferguson. Run a search and read the AW discussion of him.
    Winner of the Best Drycleaner on the Block Award.

  19. #44
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    25,568
    The cooking questions have gone here.

  20. #45
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,093
    Q. Can I build a writing career by self-publishing and self-promoting my work? I've just read sixty-seven online articles (fifty-three of them by M. J. Rose) that say self-publishing is the hot new thing.

    A. There's about a book's worth of stuff I could say on this subject. If you want to read the full-length version of that book, you can compile it yourself out of the comments I've posted at AW. Meanwhile, the shorter version:

    If by "career" you mean "a long-term day job that pays part of all of the bills," the answer is no.

    There's nothing illegitimate about self-publishing. If you're publishing poetry, or your grandfather's WWI memoirs and sketchbooks, or a catalogue of antique Victorian glass epergnes, it's probably the right way to go. It'll get your work printed and bound. What it won't do is get your book onto brick-and-mortar bookstore shelves, or persuade strangers to read your fiction. Being available on Amazon is not enough. To make those things happen, you need a publishing company that has a real distribution deal and a real sales force.

    You may have heard a piece of pseudo-logic that goes like this: "These days, publishers don't have the resources or the desire to promote books that aren't by bestselling authors or celebrities. Smaller authors have to do their own promotion. Therefore, since you're going to have to do your own promotion anyway, you might as well self-publish and keep more of the revenue."

    It's hogwash. I don't care who said it or where you read it. It's still hogwash. Publishers do too promote smaller books. More to the point, they promote them in ways you can't duplicate no matter how hard you try. Nothing you can do on your own can take the place of a real distribution system and a trained sales force.

    A word about promo: The ads you see for bestsellers are there to inform readers who already know they want the book that it's now available in stores. Books about celebrities are a special case: the public may not already know it wants to read that particular book, but it already knows it wants to read about that person. Buying comparable ads for smaller books would be a waste of money. Think about it: how many books by authors you've never read before do you buy because you see ads for them? Zero or close to it, right? Publishers know that. Their sales and promotion efforts for smaller books gets used in places where it will actually do some good.

    Some sad truths:

    • Most author self-promotion is wasted effort, especially if it's in support of a self-published book.
    • Most authors who self-promote do what they do because they can do it, not because it's what's needful or effectual to sell their book.
    • A press release not accompanied by a copy of the book is useless.
    • A book that looks like it's self-published is unlikely to get picked for a review.
    • If you can write good cover copy, you should be making money doing it. Good copywriters are rare. If you can't write good copy, your book is going to be handicapped from the start and stay handicapped thereafter.
    • The major review venues won't review your book if they don't get an advance copy months before the publication date.
    • You can't get chain bookstore placement by talking to your local branches.
    • Most bookstores won't take your books if your publisher doesn't take returns.
    • Getting your book onto mass-market racks is such an expert and arcane process that I'm not even going to try to explain it.
    • "Leveraging social media to sell your book" is wishful thinking. Do you spend time hanging out on social media sites? If so, how much of that time is spent talking about books you haven't read by authors you haven't previously heard of? And if you do get into such conversations, how often do they lead you to buy books? Whatever your answer, assume the general public is even less likely to buy books on that basis.
    • Your friends' five-star Amazon reviews of your book are less convincing than you imagine.
    • Even if lightning strikes, you get stupendously good word of mouth, and everyone who reads your book tells all their friends they have to have to read it too, your book will not develop serious sales traction. POD and short-run vanity presses are not set up to produce and ship books in the quantities and at the speed required.
    • All the effort you put into selling your unsaleable book will be time taken away from writing a better one.

    Really short version: if what an individual author can do were enough to sell a book, conventional publishers wouldn't be doing all that other stuff.

    Here's another problem that people have only recently started to talk about. Readers are unbelievably sensitive to the semiotics of cover illustration and design. If you don't get it right, most of them won't touch your book. In fact, they're so sensitive that if a conventional publisher gets things a little bit wrong on a book by an established author, readers may not touch that book, either.

    Readers are even more sensitive to books that remind them of past disappointments, and many of them have learned to spot a self-published POD title from fifty yards away. Since so many POD books are major crapfests -- don't look at me like that; you've thought the same yourself -- many readers now refuse to touch any POD books, period. You can't get past that. You don't control the color saturation on the cover, the thin, scruffy lamination, or the inexpertly kerned type. Your book will be held to account for the sins of every bad self-published book that reader has encountered.

    It's not fair, and there's no help for it. We are all at the mercy of the readers.

    Now for the numbers. Your best single source is this article by Victoria Strauss on POD sales statistics. Read the whole thing. It'll only take you a fraction of the time you'd otherwise spend sitting around trying not to look desperate at a single low-yield book signing. There are also a couple of interesting discussions of Victoria's article at How Publishing Really Works, on POD sales statistics in general and iUniverse sales statistics.

    Upshot: Most POD titles sell fewer than 200 copies total, most of them to family and friends. I strongly suspect that many self-published authors spend more money on useless "promotion" than they ever earn from sales.

    While you're looking at those articles about sales figures, keep an eye on these publishing outfits' ratios of total number of authors to total number of titles published. What that tells you is roughly how many of their authors only published one book with them. Answer: most of them.

    Even if you reject every other argument about self-publishing, this one inconvenient fact still remains: there's a terrible attrition rate among self-published authors. A substantial majority of them stop trying to publish their work after the first book. Why? We don't know for sure. It could be cynicism, discouragement, exhaustion, loss of self-confidence, or just the fact that they're out trying fruitlessly to sell their first book instead of writing the next one. All we know for sure is that they quit trying.

    I defy you to call that a career.
    Last edited by HapiSofi; 02-05-2010 at 08:39 AM.
    Winner of the Best Drycleaner on the Block Award.

  21. #46
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,093
    Q. Is it worth it to get reviews from sites you pay?

    A.
    No, absolutely not. It can only do you harm.

    At minimum, if you're lucky and the reader doesn't recognize the source you're quoting from, it will still make you look like you're hanging out at the low end of the market: a review from AcmeReviews.net was all you could get, and you were desperate enough to use it. It's better to have no review quotes than to give readers an impression like that.

    And that's the minimum. The effect is far worse if they recognize the source of your review: "You paid for it? Eeeeeeeeeeeuw!" A disaster.

    This is closely related to the principle that says that if you've been making low-money low-prestige sales to bottom-end magazines for the last ten years, and you think you've written your breakout story or novel, don't list all those publications in your cover letter. Pick out your three best sales from the last 18-24 months and just list those.

    If the reader doesn't know much about you, you could be anything, including wonderful. But once you make yourself look like a desperate bottom-feeder, it's hard to convince them that you're anything else. You do have to tell people something about yourself. But if what you're telling them is more disheartening than blank paper, you should seriously consider leaving it out.

    Second principle: Readers are most impressed if your quotes come from authors or periodicals they know and respect. If they've never heard of them, they're less impressed. If the source sounds penny-ante or irrelevant, or like it's trying too hard, the quote has negative credibility.

    Third: Never lie. If you're caught, it's a fact no one will ever forget about you.

    Fourth: If some piece of promotion wouldn't persuade you to buy a book, don't assume it will persuade anyone else.

    You know what actually helps? Good story copy. Tell the readers what kind of book this is, and what kind of things happen in it. Zero in on concrete, specific, illuminating details. Keep it short. Don't sound pushy. It's a lot like writing poetry.
    Last edited by HapiSofi; 04-17-2010 at 06:30 PM.
    Winner of the Best Drycleaner on the Block Award.

  22. #47
    Typing away 1 word at a time erica_henry's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Posts
    1,941
    I just wanted to say thank you so much for this thread. I have really enjoyed reading your Q & As and have learned much. Thanks.
    I've joined Twitter

    My website is up and running




    My Not-So-Normal Life - YA Paranormal Romance - TRUNKED FOR NOW

    Freak - YA dystopian with a supernatural element. - completed at 72K - Time for revisions.

  23. #48
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    6

    Thumbs up is there any one who is not a scammer??

    thanks for the info . this is an up hill battle all the way . i have over 17 stories ready to do something with and i feel at a dead end or ready to be fed to the lions thanks norm

  24. #49
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    25,568
    Norm, this isn't really the thread for it, but: Do you have short stories or novels? Where you go from here will differ based on your answer.

    If you're willing to go off-site (though you will see some familiar folks), try How To Get Published. That's more or less a condensation of portions of my massive thread, Learn Writing With Uncle Jim.

    In general: Every single book that you see physically on the shelves at a doors-and-windows bookstore was published by a real publisher. Every single agent who represented all those books is a real agent. Every single magazine that you see on the news stand is a real market.

    The thing about scammers is, they take your money but that's as far as your book or story goes. It never gets into commercial channels where the readers can find and buy it. Despite heroic efforts on the part of the author. And that's just sad.

  25. #50
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    6

    maybe there is a god bet he 's not a publisher.

    these rules for publishing are many and do not favor the newbees of this world . i guess i need much help i mostly need a rep.agent if there is enough of them to go around . i have written 14 short stories and 1 love story 3 sci-fi the 14 are children's storys there adventure stories with horses with all this done and ready as well as the ones rattling around in myhead i really am serious about my craft?? ihope it'smore than that we will see i guess . thanks fo the info so far norm

Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Custom Search