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maxmordon
05-21-2009, 01:35 AM
Me: Hello and nice to meet you. I have written some short tales (most of them in English) tried to write a novel (Spanish) but I felt trapped and couldn't go on, so now I am working on another (Spanish)

The Writer: Hello and nice to meet you as well. What kinds of questions may I answer for you?

Me: Oh, many many things. Was it hard to you to finish your first novel? How was the process of getting the right agent? How much took you finish your novel?

The Writer: My first novel? The one I first ever wrote...15 years, but that was my choice.
It can take me 6 months to two years to write a work but more often than not takes me about 6 months to write now because I do it so often.
As for agents, I loathe them and refuse to have another one. I have had FIVE in four years and they all were a huge let down.
After I fired my last one I swore never to have one again.
The only reason you'd need an agent is if you plan to shop your manuscript to a large house publisher...and even with an agent you have about as good of a chance of them taking it (unless you know someone who works for them or you have a way in with a connection) as a snowball's chance in hell.
Basically, agents take your money and don't do anything for you. I have heard some hideous horror stories about one guy who paid $10,000 over a three year period and his agent STILL never found him a publisher.
Publishers RARELY take a chance on authors they have never heard of, which is why more and more people are going to self publishing.
After a disastrous three years with traditional publishers, I have gone back to self publishing.
I highly recommend it because unless you end up being the next Stephen King and you have a publisher that will seriously promote you, set up book signings, etc, etc, the hell you have to go through with a traditional publisher simply is not worth it.
Also, avoid writing groups, writing forums...anything like that. Those places are filled with failed writers who can't help you.
Think about it...if they were so successful, so you really think they'd have time to play on a messageboard or belong to a writing group?
I'm friends with a very famous author and she has no time for anything like that, so avoid those.
Hope those tips help you!

Me: Thank you! And it does! Would you care... to read a short story I wrote, if you have the time?

The Writer: Define short for me. Working on a manuscript for hire right now (meaning it's not mine I'm being paid to write it for someone else) and have another book to format and edit.
If it's not too long I'll take a look.

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=118694

The Writer: Nice idea, good start but it needs a LOT of work. It's formulaic which despite what big house publishers will have you believe...readers HATE. Publishers publish stuff like this, and readers read it, but only because they are forced to. Most readers prefer my style (and there are a few others like me who do the same) of writing because it is relaxed and realistic.Your story is unrealistically written. You need to relax a little when you do the second draft and make it more of a story than of an account, which is what it reads like, an account of something that already happened, like you'd read in a newspaper. Good luck with it!



Ideas?

M.R.J. Le Blanc
05-21-2009, 01:50 AM
Wow, this guy has no clue re: agents.

Agents take on new talent all the time. If they get a great story on their desk they don't really care if you've published many novels before or none. Sounds like this guy got hooked up with a lot of bad agents and is going on a lot of misinformation. Especially considering legit agents don't get paid until you get paid. I'm sure this guy means well, but I wouldn't take too much of his advice to heart. He may be a great writer, and if he's published by a legit house great for him, but he's misinformed on a lot of points. You can find better information elsewhere on this board.

veinglory
05-21-2009, 02:00 AM
Published by which press?

aadams73
05-21-2009, 02:20 AM
He's utterly full of it--horse poop and flat wrong advice.

ETA: This is no reflection on you, Max, so thank you for sharing.

blueobsidian
05-21-2009, 02:22 AM
After a disastrous three years with traditional publishers, I have gone back to self publishing.


Translation: After being an obnoxious PITA to work with and/or having no sales, publishers didn't want his next book.

brainstorm77
05-21-2009, 02:23 AM
I didn't think you had to pay an agent up front?????

scarletpeaches
05-21-2009, 02:39 AM
What a load of old cock.

M.R.J. Le Blanc
05-21-2009, 02:40 AM
I didn't think you had to pay an agent up front?????

You don't.

This guy sounds a lot like one of those writers who gets burned by bad agents, but instead of learning about the industry comes to ridiculous conclusions like these. Worse, they share them with everyone. I think that is part of the reason many writers end up so uninformed about agents and publishing, is getting advice from writers like this guy. I'm glad Max that you chose to double check it though :)

ChristineR
05-21-2009, 02:54 AM
Are there ANY known cases of self-published novels making money? Sometimes they are picked up by commercial houses, but that doesn't count. PA is free (sort of, sometimes), and Lulu is free or almost free if you can do some of the work yourself. But the best selling PA book only sold 5200 copies, and most of those were to the author. If it takes him or her six months to write a book, you'd hope he'd get at least a few thousand dollars out of it.

Also, there's only one "traditional publisher" and that's PublishAmerica. It's a term they made up to refer to themselves.

maxmordon
05-21-2009, 02:55 AM
She's the only other person on another forum I visit quite a lot interested on writing, but something fishy was with her advice and I knew it, just wanted to know your opinions.

blueobsidian
05-21-2009, 02:59 AM
Think about it...if they were so successful, so you really think they'd have time to play on a messageboard or belong to a writing group?
I'm friends with a very famous author and she has no time for anything like that, so avoid those.


The more I think about this, the more comments I have. I hate when people seem to believe that having a successful career means negating all other aspects of your life. Just because someone works a 9 to 5 job doesn't mean that they have to sacrifice friends, family and relaxation. Why should anyone have to work 24 hours a day?

I would not be surprised if you told us that this woman was published through PA.

JimmyB27
05-21-2009, 03:00 AM
I love the argument that publishers never take on new authors. Presumably they did once, otherwise, where did all the current ones come from? And what happens when they all die or retire?

ChaosTitan
05-21-2009, 03:05 AM
She's the only other person on another forum I visit quite a lot interested on writing, but something fishy was with her advice and I knew it, just wanted to know your opinions.

Good on you, then, for coming here, Max. Her advice re: agents is ill-informed, and it seems to come from bitterness over having been taken in by a few scam agents.


I love the argument that publishers never take on new authors.

Yeah, me too. :rolleyes:

JamieFord
05-21-2009, 03:10 AM
Publishers RARELY take a chance on authors they have never heard of, which is why more and more people are going to self publishing.

I beg to differ.

brainstorm77
05-21-2009, 03:18 AM
I beg to differ.

BTW Jamie I was reading a magazine at work the other night (forget the name) and your book was listed as one of ten must reads of the year :)

Clair Dickson
05-21-2009, 03:50 AM
Originally Posted by maxmordon http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=3607429#post3607429)
Think about it...if they were so successful, so you really think they'd have time to play on a messageboard or belong to a writing group?
I'm friends with a very famous author and she has no time for anything like that, so avoid those.

The more I think about this, the more comments I have. I hate when people seem to believe that having a successful career means negating all other aspects of your life. Just because someone works a 9 to 5 job doesn't mean that they have to sacrifice friends, family and relaxation. Why should anyone have to work 24 hours a day?



Yeah-- I have a big problem with this, too. No one works 24/7. People leave work and go home. These agents who blog, etc, are doing so to HELP people. Because they like working with writers.

This is just a disgusting sentiment, that agents who blog, etc are no good. Grrrrr.

As for the rest... some people are going to have trouble getting their works sold commercially. That's just a fact of life. Not every story is going to be a hit with readers, and since publishing is a business, the publishers wants something they can make money selling. They may be wrong, but since they make their living picking books to sell and thus pay their paychecks, I'll defer to their judgment. (To a point. Small presses are an option to me if the big presses don't think they can make enough money off me. I can't fault them their opinion. They may be write that while I may sell books, I may not sell enough to be commercially viable.)

M.R.J. Le Blanc
05-21-2009, 04:06 AM
I think the only people who could be considered successes with self-publishing are those who have a specific niche, who know their target audience and can reach them on their own. But as to something equal to any publishing house be they big or small, the answer is likely no. Every self-published book I've heard of only saw those big numbers after getting picked up by a house. Not before.

happywritermom
05-21-2009, 04:53 AM
Total self-absorbed wacko. I very much doubt he "fired" agents. I'm guessing they dumped him.
Wow.

KTC
05-21-2009, 04:58 AM
Also, avoid writing groups, writing forums...anything like that. Those places are filled with failed writers who can't help you.
Think about it...if they were so successful, so you really think they'd have time to play on a messageboard or belong to a writing group?
I'm friends with a very famous author and she has no time for anything like that, so avoid those.
Hope those tips help you!


I think your author has H.U.S. (head up ass).

This might be the case in some cases...but it is bad advice, IMHO. When I first joined my local writing group I was unpublished. 1 week after joining, I was published in a national newspaper. 6 years after joining, I have dozens and dozens of articles published...because I joined the writing circle. I have made dozens of contacts...networked with national writers. I have manuscripts placed both with agents and publishers...because of the contacts I have made through my local writing circle.

ETA: Not to mention the connections I have made here at AW. Connections that have resulted in publications.

We all take different paths to success or failure. To ask somebody else what path they took is find...to try to take that path, or ignore another path because they suggest that it isn't the right path...this attitude could be suicide. Make your own path.

KTC
05-21-2009, 05:00 AM
Published by which press?


I would like to know the answer to this question too. I would really like to know.

KTC
05-21-2009, 05:00 AM
I didn't think you had to pay an agent up front?????

YOU ABSOLUTELY DO NOT DO THAT. ABSOLUTELY NOT!

scarletpeaches
05-21-2009, 05:04 AM
YOU ABSOLUTELY DO NOT DO THAT. ABSOLUTELY NOT!

LISTEN TO KEVIN.

The 'writer' in the OP is talking SHITE.

COMPLETE UNADULTERATED SHITE.

So yeah. Apologies for the swears but this is too important for politeness I think.

brainstorm77
05-21-2009, 05:04 AM
YOU ABSOLUTELY DO NOT DO THAT. ABSOLUTELY NOT!
Oh I know :) I was being a bit sarcastic :tongue

KTC
05-21-2009, 05:06 AM
LISTEN TO KEVIN.

The 'writer' in the OP is talking SHITE.

COMPLETE UNADULTERATED SHITE.

So yeah. Apologies for the swears but this is too important for politeness I think.


It really is too important for politeness. People reading this have to be aware of how wrong the advice is. It is easy to be led down the garden path when your dreams SEEM to be coming true. People need to know the truth.

brainstorm77
05-21-2009, 05:09 AM
It really is too important for politeness. People reading this have to be aware of how wrong the advice is. It is easy to be led down the garden path when your dreams SEEM to be coming true. People need to know the truth.

I agree! Hence why PA still exists. Thanks god when I did stumble across PA's website years ago I sensed all wasn't what it appeared to be and with a quick net search learned the facts.

Sage
05-21-2009, 05:14 AM
This sounds very much like the author of a blog post I read the other month. Had horrible sales for three literary novels published through real publishers and was going off on a tangent about agents being responsible for the downfall of literature.

ChaosTitan
05-21-2009, 05:49 AM
This sounds very much like the author of a blog post I read the other month. Had horrible sales for three literary novels published through real publishers and was going off on a tangent about agents being responsible for the downfall of literature.

Interesting that they blamed agents, when it sounds like readers weren't responding to the material.

I mean, bad sales are obviously the fault of the agent! :rolleyes: /sarcasm

Cyia
05-21-2009, 06:05 AM
I'd like to know who she thinks is putting a literary gun to people's heads and making them read formulaic fiction when they'd really rather read her pieces.:rolleyes: I guess it's the same guy who makes people watch CSI and Law and Order when they'd really rather sit back and enjoy a 5 hour art film in Finnish.

Matera the Mad
05-21-2009, 06:09 AM
"Something fishy" -- lolz, Max, she's a can of tuna. :D

eforest
05-21-2009, 09:26 PM
<COMPLETE UNADULTERATED SHITE.> I think it's Shat.
:)

Nivarion
05-21-2009, 11:22 PM
I'd like to know who she thinks is putting a literary gun to people's heads and making them read formulaic fiction when they'd really rather read her pieces.:rolleyes: I guess it's the same guy who makes people watch CSI and Law and Order when they'd really rather sit back and enjoy a 5 hour art film in Finnish.


Hey, quit making fun of my job. Geesh. (More sarcasm about a job that doesn't exist)

Although, sometimes those finnish art shows do have some cool stuff in them. Just not worht 5 hours of my life.

veinglory
05-21-2009, 11:39 PM
Translation: After being an obnoxious PITA to work with and/or having no sales, publishers didn't want his next book.

I suspect the real translation is: after not being able to get commercially published at all, he self-published. I really doubt his previous experience was with Random House et al.

Old Hack
05-22-2009, 12:23 AM
Oh, come on, Veinglory, you're being a bit unfair. He might have worked in the post-room.

KTC
05-22-2009, 12:28 AM
Oh, come on, Veinglory, you're being a bit unfair. He might have worked in the post-room.

He...or was it a she?...might be postmortem too. Possibly maybe?

maxmordon
05-22-2009, 03:21 AM
He...or was it a she?...might be postmortem too. Possibly maybe?

It was a she.

dgiharris
05-22-2009, 03:41 AM
The Writer: ...Also, avoid writing groups, writing forums...anything like that. Those places are filled with failed writers who can't help you.
Think about it...if they were so successful, so you really think they'd have time to play on a messageboard or belong to a writing group?...

Just wanted to comment on this.

ALL professions have places/avenues where their respective professionals can come together, evaluate their progress, offer guidance and advice, network, review each others abilities and works, etc. etc.

World class boxers have sparring partners and friends in the industry, coaches, etc.

Entreprenuers often belong to clubs, professional associations, etc where they intermix

Every profession has some form of "Conference" where professional PAY MONEY to meet each other, co-mingle, network, evaluate their profession, see the latest advances, etc

In short, this person's advice in this regard is complete bullshi. Now, are their successful people who DO NOT network or belong to clubs/groups? Sure. But those people are usually in the minority.

Mel...

ChristineR
05-22-2009, 04:09 AM
The "only failed writers post on message boards" line is another one thrown out by vanity publishers and fee-charging agents. Obviously if vanity publishing and paying agent fees is a sign of success, we'd all be able to be successful.

ChaosTitan
05-22-2009, 05:31 PM
The "only failed writers post on message boards" line is another one thrown out by vanity publishers and fee-charging agents. Obviously if vanity publishing and paying agent fees is a sign of success, we'd all be able to be successful.

Which is even more hilarious, because some of those vanity (PA, for example) pubs have their own message boards. :rolleyes:

icerose
05-22-2009, 05:34 PM
This really sounds like a very ill-informed writer who has only fallen in with scams and has never learned what the real industry is like.

RickN
05-22-2009, 06:34 PM
Most readers prefer my style (and there are a few others like me who do the same) of writing because it is relaxed and realistic.

I'd love to compare her style with that of some recent popular novels. Since her style is preferred, then her books must be flying off the....well, not bookstore shelves, since they're not found there.

I love the idea that there's some vast conspiracy to keep this 'preferred by most' style from being published in order to preserve the formulaic style we're being forced to read now. 'Preferred by most' means bestseller -- and NO publisher wants one of those.

Cybernaught
05-23-2009, 08:58 PM
Everyone should write like this author, relaxed and realistic. Remember, that's what publishers and readers want. Relaxed and realistic. :D

Gillhoughly
05-24-2009, 12:18 AM
"Published" doesn't make one "Professional."

That writer is an idiot.

Not for self-publishing, but for ignorance of the whole publishing process and in particular an abysmal ignorance of the writer/agent relationship.

Agent Hunt 101 - NEVER pay a fee. Agents get their cut after they sell your works.

Some twit squandered 10 grand on a fee-paying agent? What's their next goal, winning a Darwin Award?

Agents don't DO anything? :roll:

In the last 11 years mine sold my books to three major publishing houses in the US, arranged several anthology deals, and re-sold my books to German, Spanish, Italian, Romanian, and French publishers, getting me an advance for each book from each house. The French sale alone got me the down payment on my home.

I'm not saying that was a LOT of money, but ALL of it was more than I'd have made without her expertise and contacts. Without her I'd have had to get a real job!

I write words; she sells them. I put words in good order; she keeps track of the checks coming in. It's a great symbiotic relationship. I steer people her way. She's sharp, honest, really good at her job, and even gets along with me--which ain't easy.

The only thing that "writer" can teach you is what not to do.

James D. Macdonald
05-24-2009, 01:12 AM
I have heard some hideous horror stories about one guy who paid $10,000 over a three year period and his agent STILL never found him a publisher.

That "agent" was a scammer.

Someone who can't tell an agent from a scammer might not be your best source of information.

CloudyDay
05-24-2009, 01:39 AM
I once took a writing course. I have to admit that I thought the class and the teacher were horrible. I won't mention the man's name because he is still a midlist author. His advice was to write a book similiar to something on the best seller list. He also recommended getting ideas from the news and crafting your stories from that. He didn't believe the general population enjoyed fresh ideas. He also thought it was important to craft a book that would make a good movie because people didn't read.

The class met for something like 8 weeks. I went to 2 or 3 classes. All I got from the class was that some writers are very bitter. If they say they love helping new authors then spend their time complaining, move on. This person made most of his money "helping" new authors then complaining that he wasn't making enough money writing.

BTW-I just Googled him. He's still charging to help new authors. His classes where I live have ended.

Chumplet
05-24-2009, 01:50 AM
I kinda feel sorry for that author. I've been part of this group for oh, three years or so? and witnessed more than a handful of success stories. The protagonists of those success stories still participate in this forum, and regularly blog. They offer advice, encouragement and a big dose of chuckles. I love 'em all.

You give, you get, you succeed and you give some more. Good words to live by.

Cathy C
05-24-2009, 02:08 AM
Are there ANY known cases of self-published novels making money?

I know of only ONE. M.J. Rose self-published her first novel, LIP SERVICE, the old fashioned way--back before there were many subsidy publishers. She WAS the publisher. Hired the artist, paid the printer, etc. She sold about 3K+ by herself before it picked up steam and eventually she sold to a major house. Here's a link (http://www.go-publish-yourself.com/community/interview-rosem.php)to an interview telling why she doesn't think self-pubbing is an author's best idea.

maxmordon
12-23-2009, 06:52 AM
Update: Recently discovered that this author's "press" is actually Lulu. Sorry for taking a minute of your time.

Tedium
12-23-2009, 11:21 AM
Well, now I'm depressed. I thought this was going to be a happy-go-lucky thread about humorous advice given to us by published authors. I had an awesome story to tell and everything. *Sigh*

Cheer up though, Max. They have some smart cookies on this site who won't lead you astray like that crazy lady tried to do.

Bartholomew
12-23-2009, 03:52 PM
BTW Jamie I was reading a magazine at work the other night (forget the name) and your book was listed as one of ten must reads of the year :)

Cuz it's a damn good read.

swvaughn
12-23-2009, 05:29 PM
I beg to differ.

Me three. :D

This "advice" is full of scary. I'm published and busy, but if I wasn't published commercially, it would be true that I wouldn't have time to "play" on writers' forums and message boards.

I'd be too busy promoting (and not writing, and probably not selling).

Agents don't take your money. And if they do, they're not agents.

Carry on, Max. :)

Sevvy
12-23-2009, 06:35 PM
I once took a writing course. I have to admit that I thought the class and the teacher were horrible. I won't mention the man's name because he is still a midlist author. His advice was to write a book similiar to something on the best seller list. He also recommended getting ideas from the news and crafting your stories from that. He didn't believe the general population enjoyed fresh ideas. He also thought it was important to craft a book that would make a good movie because people didn't read.

The class met for something like 8 weeks. I went to 2 or 3 classes. All I got from the class was that some writers are very bitter. If they say they love helping new authors then spend their time complaining, move on. This person made most of his money "helping" new authors then complaining that he wasn't making enough money writing.

BTW-I just Googled him. He's still charging to help new authors. His classes where I live have ended.

That's really sad, as I've had nothing but good times in my writing classes, and got loads of very helpful advice. I'm sorry you wasted your money on this guy.

As for the "real writers don't hang out on forums"...didn't the OP say they knew this writer through a forum?

But...let's be honest with ourselves...how many of us should be writing right now instead of checking this forum for the fifth (okay, twentieth) time today? ^_~

Bartholomew
12-24-2009, 10:24 AM
Update: Recently discovered that this author's "press" is actually Lulu. Sorry for taking a minute of your time.

Ouch.

blacbird
12-24-2009, 01:11 PM
This thread needs to die. Really. The "author" is a complete troll.

caw

ChaosTitan
12-24-2009, 06:53 PM
As for the "real writers don't hang out on forums"...

We don't? :(

Tasmin21
12-24-2009, 07:03 PM
We don't? :(

Crap, Chaos, we gotta find a new place to hang out now. :(

Sevvy
12-24-2009, 08:56 PM
We don't? :(

Her words, not mine! ^__^