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Unimportant
12-18-2009, 10:38 AM
On another thread, a publisher has said that one of their requirements before they'll sign an author is that they must be able to meet and interview the author face-to-face and be impressed by the author's personality etc.


We do mean face to face and you'll find this is not that unusual, even in traditional publishing -- particularly for non-fiction. The media is critical to marketing books and you need writers who can take proper advantage of that.

I don't know too many publishing house owners personally, but I've never run across one who wants to physically meet with authors. However, I may well have just missed the boat and be totally clueless about the reality of publishing. And since I live ten thousand miles away from nearly every publisher on the planet, the idea is daunting at best. Thankfully, no one who has ever published my work has wanted to meet me or even know what colour my eyes are, but is it likely to happen in future? Should I cross "write novel length work" and "write another non-fiction book" off my list of things to do, since there's no freaking way I could ever afford to fly around the world to meet with a small press owner?

Kalyke
12-18-2009, 11:14 AM
Why can't they talk on the phone, must they smell you? telephones, they say, are marvellous today. I can totally understand a small press wanting an up-close and personal with their author. Sometimes small presses publish only 5 books a year, so they might be putting quite a lot of an investment into each writer. On the other hand, They would give you at least a year to get it together to visit with them-- since most also have a huge backlog. If they approach you with this problem you might suggest meeting them half way. And, if no one is bringing this up to you, specifically, right now, then cross that bridge when you come to it. Don't concern your self with things that have not happened yet.

Claudia Gray
12-18-2009, 12:13 PM
I publish with a large press, and although we did end up meeting eventually, it wasn't until after I'd signed, and even that was only because I was living in NYC at the time and scheduling a lunch was pretty simple. I would be surprised if this were a standing requirement, and even presses that normally ask for it might be willing to talk on the phone instead upon hearing that you live so far away. So don't be discouraged.

Terie
12-18-2009, 12:15 PM
I've never met my publishers in person. One is 6,000 miles and an ocean away. My series was accepted via e-mail. My first phone contact was after the contract was in the mail (possibly even after it was signed and returned, but I can't remember for sure).

I've never heard of a publisher requiring personal meetings. So while the quoted pubisher might choose to insist on them, they are by no stretch of the imagination 'not that unusual'.

Amarie
12-18-2009, 05:09 PM
I read that thread and the people behind that company don't have any experience in publishing, which may be why they don't know it IS unusual to have a requirement to meet face to face. It may be the case for a writer who wants to be a self-help guru, but I can't think of any other reason. I haven't met my publisher, and don't know when or if I will. It hasn't made a difference.

ETA: Alarm bells are ringing in my head. The whole idea that they want writers who have a bunch of trunked novels is bizarre. I don't think the best way to bring out books quickly is to publish crummy manuscripts that no one else would take. (I have more than one of those trunked myself.)

the addster
12-18-2009, 07:39 PM
Depending on the size of the publisher, I suppose, I think a face to face is even kind of rare for folks who will be promoting their books through conferences and other personal appearances. I have heard of proposals from, and tapes or DVDs of past presentations or media appearances being requested, but that's it. They can tell if you are presentable without meeting you.

Richard White
12-18-2009, 10:08 PM
Which thread did this come up in?

Phaeal
12-18-2009, 10:19 PM
If the publishers want to meet the author, it could be a good sign: They mean to push his work through the media and want to see what kind of impression he might make.

Amarie
12-18-2009, 10:19 PM
It's here: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=165414

DeleyanLee
12-18-2009, 10:22 PM
My only warning bell is: if they're making this a requirement and it's not feasible for whatever reason, I have to wonder what else they're going to require of me that's going to unpleasantly interrupt my life?

My feeling is that their attention should be geared at marketing my fiction. in general only the really big-budget authors deal with personal appearances and a small press is, by design, unable to handle that sort of thing.

That kind of requirement would ensure I'd never submit there.

Jamesaritchie
12-18-2009, 11:31 PM
That's dumber than a potted plant. I wouldn't give that publisher a piece of used toilet paper, let alone anything I wrote.

Richard White
12-19-2009, 12:26 AM
I've never been asked to meet my publisher (although I have talked to one of them on the phone before but that was to settle a small matter of getting a paycheck).

I consider it pretty lucky that I've met two of my editors and that's because both of them were at conventions I happened to be attending . . . and I don't live that far from NY. There's just no reason to meet them in person when e-mail and phone covered everything we needed.

(We won't even go into that company's lack of experience, their veiled threats ("you can wait until we're established, but our slush pile will be much bigger"), their weasel-wording in response to direct questions . . . No, I think James is right here.)

Swordswoman
12-19-2009, 12:42 AM
That's dumber than a potted plant. I wouldn't give that publisher a piece of used toilet paper, let alone anything I wrote.

Seriously, though, in the UK this is pretty usual - at least with the big publishers. I've never heard of it being a deal-breaker if it doesn't happen, but it's generally considered a wise move on the part of both author and publisher if they're looking to build a serious, long-term career relationship to at least meet up first.

I like it. My agent likes it too, as it gives us a chance to meet several publishers, have a relaxed chat over lunch and see if you like what they have in mind for your book. A purely money-orientated agent wouldn't care so much, they'd want you to go with the best offer, but a good long-term career agent will want to make sure you're happy with the publisher's view of your work.

The marketing angle is important too. These days, the writer who thinks their job is over when they've written the book is a rare and soon-to-be-extinct animal. If I were a publisher, I'd want to make sure I didn't have a dribbling maniac on my hands, or someone who can't string two words together at a social event, or someone whose political views are so extreme and offensive they should never be let near a blog or a live interview. The best way to find out those things is a personal meeting, preferably over a meal or some other relaxing social occasion.

However, I can see this is a lot easier in the UK, because it's tiny. Everyone in the country can travel to London. The US is a different matter, and I'd guess publishers and writers need to be a lot more flexible. However, when it comes to marketing, distance can't be a barrier. Another of my agent's writers flew over from Mauritius specifically to promote her book - and this is considered usual.

So, no. I can quite see why this could pose a lot of practical problems in the US, and I'm sure most publishers would be prepared to waive the meeting on those grounds, but I don't think a desire for it is intrinsically wrong in itself. I like to meet people I plan to do business with - don't you?

Louise

Izz
12-19-2009, 12:52 AM
Seriously, though, in the UK this is pretty usual - at least with the big publishers. I know of plenty of authors published with big houses in the UK who've never met with their publishers face to face.


These days, the writer who thinks their job is over when they've written the book is a rare and soon-to-be-extinct animal.And the day that happens we'll be well on our way back to the nineteenth century, where only the rich or those sponsored by the rich could hope to write and earn money from it.

katiemac
12-19-2009, 12:56 AM
I understand where the practice would be nice, especially so you get to meet who's potentially working on your book and vice versa, but in the end I'd rather the money for my plane ticket--even it's just a couple hundred bucks--goes back into the marketing budget for promoting my book.

Swordswoman
12-19-2009, 01:05 AM
I know of plenty of authors published with big houses in the UK who've never met their publishers face to face.

Really? I say that not to doubt you, but just because I personally haven't met any. My agent did say this was a relatively recent development, though - probably coinciding with the need to use the author more in marketing.

Maybe (says she hopefully) Phael is right, and it's more to do with the kind of book deal or the sort of push a publisher plans to give the book. I'd love to believe that (obviously :D) though I have to say I know small to midlist writers who've also all met their publishers. It's a subject that comes up a lot, because people at the SofA are always wanting to know what particular publishers are like in person. Publishers may not realize it, but we are vetting them every bit as much as the other way round...

Louise

Emily Winslow
12-19-2009, 01:08 AM
I don't live that far from NY. There's just no reason to meet them in person when e-mail and phone covered everything we needed.


I agree that the *requirement* of a face-to-face meeting is odd, and that their secretiveness in general doesn't bode well.

On the side topic of meeting one's editor, by choice, after beginning a publishing relationship, however, I feel differently from you, Richard.

I've had the opportunity to get to know my agent and my editor personally over the past 2 years. Spending time with them, getting to know their tones of voice and body language (and they mine), telling jokes, brainstorming...all this has added a background to our mainly phone-and-email relationship that I find tremendously helpful.

Is it needed? No. Is it helpful? In my opinion, yes, yes, yes. (And fun too.)

Of course, this isn't an option everyone has. But for those who can get themselves in the same place as their agent or editor, I think it's worth it, to support the building of a long term relationship.

Swordswoman
12-19-2009, 01:19 AM
And the day that happens we'll be well on our way back to the nineteenth century, where only the rich or those sponsored by the rich could hope to write and earn money from it.

From Jonathan Fields in Wednesday's Huffington Post...



Yes, I get that most authors just want to write and cringe at the thoughtof platform building or marketing. I want to live in 3,000 square foot photo loft in the West Village for $600 a month. Doesn't mean I can. The world is changing in a profound way. Publishers are struggling to find their place in the new book economy and will very likely have to endure huge, painful change.


I don't get your concerns about money and rich authors though. It doesn't cost much to blog or build an online platform, or to give a radio interview. Also, if your publisher's a good one, they're the ones paying. All that's required of the author is her time. Why should you need to be rich for that?

Yes, I can see this means those with bigger (and richer) publishing houses will be able to promote their authors better, but what's so new about that? Those books on the table in the front of the store - how do you think they got there? Placement costs money, and it always has. I'm not saying that's right, simply a fact.

If that's 19th century to you, then I'm afraid it's already here.



Louise

Richard White
12-19-2009, 01:25 AM
Emily,

I think you missed my point.

Meeting with the editor? Yeah, I can see something to be gained from that. Learning what an editor is interested in and their foibles/quirks can be useful, especially when you're selling directly to them (don't have an agent at the moment - but that's because I'm mostly writing media tie-in which is work for hire anyway).

I've been published with/through Berekely, Simon and Schuester and Big Finish, LTD. What would I gain by meeting these publishers? Berkeley and S&S are huge publishers with hundreds/thousands of authors. The publisher won't know me from squat.

Big Finish, LTD is located somewhere in England. All I needed was to be sure the editor knew where to send my short story and to ensure they had the right mailing address for the check. Given the amount of money I got paid for that story, there was no way in heck I'd have flown there to meet them if it was a requirement to getting the Dr. Who gig.

Agent? Yeah, I'd like to meet mine (if I ever get one).

Editor? I can see some value added there.

Publisher? Nope. Not seeing it.

Izz
12-19-2009, 01:39 AM
If that's 19th century to you, then I'm afraid it's already here.You've missed my point entirely, Louise, but i didn't provide any context so i can understand why.

However, i don't have the time, inclination or energy to argue/animatedly discuss this with you right now. So the derail will not continue :)

Swordswoman
12-19-2009, 01:48 AM
Editor? I can see some value added there.
Publisher? Nope. Not seeing it.

Ah! I wonder if we're just looking at a language barrier here - maybe a UK/US thing, or a short story/novel difference. For me, my editor is my publisher, and I'd guess the same to be true of Emily.

And Emily - I totally agree with your points about the advantages. I think I'd be scared of my editor if I hadn't met him, but now I'm familiar with his dry sense of humour it's not a problem.

Louise

Emily Winslow
12-19-2009, 01:49 AM
Emily,

Agent? Yeah, I'd like to meet mine (if I ever get one).

Editor? I can see some value added there.

Publisher? Nope. Not seeing it.

Ah. In my situation, I see my editor as the representative of my publisher, so I just read them as equivalent. I can see that your situation is different.

I meant only to respond to your point that you live close to NY, yet have never had to urge to meet [what I took to be your editor]. For most writers who live near, travel near or can get near the location of their editors, I would recommend a visit.

ETA--Louise, we posted at the same time. Just want to add, my editor is hilarious. Glad you have a funny editor too :-)

IceCreamEmpress
12-19-2009, 06:15 AM
I think meeting one's editor is great if at all possible. Meeting the person who's doing publicity for your book is a real plus.

Meeting other people from one's publisher? I think I met someone from sales once for about ten seconds.

Of course, when I was working in textbooks, they'd give a party at Christmas and you'd get to meet the division head and the sales folks and the business staff and whoever. But that was a bit different.

Chasing the Horizon
12-19-2009, 09:51 AM
Well, I'd be willing to meet with my agent or editor in person, assuming they were in New York City, because I live within easy driving distance. If I didn't live within easy driving distance of New York, then obviously I wouldn't be able to meet them, unless they paid my travel expenses.

I really don't understand what would be accomplished in person that couldn't be accomplished just as well over the phone, though.

Jamesaritchie
12-19-2009, 08:58 PM
I'll be sure to let Penguin know that...

Seriously, though, in the UK this is pretty usual - at least with the big publishers. I've never heard of it being a deal-breaker if an author fails to impress at meeting, but it's generally considered a wise move on the part of both author and publisher if they're looking to build a serious, long-term career relationship to at least meet up first.

I like it. My agent likes it too, as it gives us a chance to meet several publishers, have a relaxed chat over lunch and see if you like what they have in mind for your book. A purely money-orientated agent wouldn't care so much, they'd want you to go with the best offer, but a good long-term career agent will want to make sure you're happy with the publisher's view of your work.

The marketing angle is important too. These days, the writer who thinks their job is over when they've written the book is a rare and soon-to-be-extinct animal. If I were a publisher, I'd want to make sure I didn't have a dribbling maniac on my hands, or someone who can't string two words together at a social event, or someone whose political views are so extreme and offensive they should never be let near a blog or a live interview. The best way to find out those things is a personal meeting, preferably over a meal or some other relaxing social occasion.

However, I can see this is a lot easier in the UK, because it's tiny. Everyone in the country can travel to London. The US is a different matter, and I'd guess publishers and writers need to be a lot more flexible. However, when it comes to marketing, distance can't be a barrier. Another of my agent's writers flew over from Mauritius specifically to promote her book - and this is considered usual.

So, no. I can quite see why this could pose a lot of practical problems in the US, and I'm sure most publishers would be prepared to waive the meeting on those grounds, but I don't think a desire for it is intrinsically wrong in itself. I like to meet people I plan to do business with - don't you?

Louise

I don't care who the publisher is, Penguin or any other. That's a moronic requirement, and no publisher I've been around makes such a demand. Nor should they. It's stupid beyond words, and I wouldn't work with anyone who thinks for a second that a book won't sell just as well without such a meeting.

Nothing is as overrated as marketing and promotion. Both are pretty much menaingless until and unless you have a book that already has strong legs, and books get strong legs on their own, not because the publisher meets the writer.

firedrake
12-19-2009, 09:15 PM
Nothing is as overrated as marketing and promotion. Both are pretty much menaingless until and unless you have a book that already has strong legs, and books get strong legs on their own, not because the publisher meets the writer.

So, tell me. How do you intend to market your books if and when you get published?

A lot of agents, judging from their blogs, beg to differ. If an author wants their book to sell, they've got some legwork to do. You can't sit on your arse and rely on your golden words to make you a fortune, let alone generate half-decent sales.

Still, I guess you know best.

*shrugs*

CheshireCat
12-20-2009, 01:12 AM
So, tell me. How do you intend to market your books if and when you get published?

A lot of agents, judging from their blogs, beg to differ. If an author wants their book to sell, they've got some legwork to do. You can't sit on your arse and rely on your golden words to make you a fortune, let alone generate half-decent sales.

Still, I guess you know best.

*shrugs*

James can answer for himself, obviously.

For myself, I've never marketed my books; that's the publisher's job.

And I get better than half-decent sales, thank you.

Going back to the point of the thread, I never met one of my editors until I had been published for years. And in recent years, I've worked with several editors I never met. Didn't affect the working relationship. :Shrug:

I don't believe any publisher should make an author's appearance, manners, or political beliefs a basis for acceptance or rejection. The book is all that matters, that and the ability of the author to turn in other strong books on a regular basis.

Now, if you've written something nonfiction and have a platform, and intend to go out there and market your book at seminars and whatnot, personal charisma is obviously important.

But for fiction, it's the book that counts.

Emily Winslow
12-20-2009, 01:21 AM
I don't believe any publisher should make an author's appearance, manners, or political beliefs a basis for acceptance or rejection. The book is all that matters, that and the ability of the author to turn in other strong books on a regular basis.

Now, if you've written something nonfiction and have a platform, and intend to go out there and market your book at seminars and whatnot, personal charisma is obviously important.

But for fiction, it's the book that counts.

I absolutely agree with this.

Just want to clarify that the argument isn't only between "meet your publisher as a condition of signing" and "never ever meet your publisher; what's the point?"

I know the original prompt to this thread was a publisher requiring a personal meeting. I think some of the recent comments though (certainly mine) were that some authors have found it beneficial to meet personally, after committing, when possible.

I feel we better understand one another, and have more openness with one another, for having met. I recommend it, if you can reasonably make it happen.

willietheshakes
12-20-2009, 02:21 AM
Besides, if you don't meet your publisher or editor, how can they buy you lunch?

scarletpeaches
12-20-2009, 02:27 AM
So, tell me. How do you intend to market your books if and when you get published?

A lot of agents, judging from their blogs, beg to differ. If an author wants their book to sell, they've got some legwork to do. You can't sit on your arse and rely on your golden words to make you a fortune, let alone generate half-decent sales.

Still, I guess you know best.

*shrugs*Lori's never met any of her editors and she's doing all right.

And the only authors I know who have met their agents have only done so because they happened to live near London.

katiemac
12-20-2009, 02:30 AM
So, tell me. How do you intend to market your books if and when you get published?

A lot of agents, judging from their blogs, beg to differ. If an author wants their book to sell, they've got some legwork to do. You can't sit on your arse and rely on your golden words to make you a fortune, let alone generate half-decent sales.

Still, I guess you know best.

*shrugs*

Books can get notice on their own, so I agree with James to a point that a strong book can have success.

But only to a point. Harry Potter would have never seen the success rate it has without a lot of help from marketing and promotion.

firedrake
12-20-2009, 02:31 AM
Perhaps I should have made my point a bit better.

I wasn't commenting on meeting publishers as much as I was on the marketing aspect. I wouldn't expect to meet either agent or publisher, if i was ever to find myself in the position of having a book to market.

I do think that a writer should market their books, whether it's by word of mouth, posting on forums like AW, promoting the book on their blogs, whatever.

Unimportant
12-20-2009, 02:32 AM
I think it'd be great to have the opportunity to meet one's editor/publisher.

I can understand that, if a press is planning to do a lot of marketing via video interviews, documentaries, and book events -- as Uprising Media Group says they are -- they would place a lot of importance on an author's looks, voice, presentation, charisma, and ability to travel. And to vet their authors, they want to meet them face-to-face and make sure the authors can present themselves credibly before they contract these authors' books.

My original query was whether this is the norm. The quote from their post is: "We do mean face to face and you'll find this is not that unusual, even in traditional publishing -- particularly for non-fiction. The media is critical to marketing books and you need writers who can take proper advantage of that."

Are most publishers now using media that require live presentations by authors as a critical marketing strategy?

scarletpeaches
12-20-2009, 02:37 AM
Perhaps I should have made my point a bit better.

I wasn't commenting on meeting publishers as much as I was on the marketing aspect. I wouldn't expect to meet either agent or publisher, if i was ever to find myself in the position of having a book to market.

I do think that a writer should market their books, whether it's by word of mouth, posting on forums like AW, promoting the book on their blogs, whatever.Well we have a part to play, sure, but it's mostly up to the publisher - that's why they have a marketing department.

The author's only one person, after all.

katiemac
12-20-2009, 02:38 AM
Are most publishers now using media that require live presentations by authors as a critical marketing strategy?

Well, there's always been the event side ... Book signings and interviews and things like that. The more you can do with a client, the better. For example, don't just set up a book signing, but make it more like an event/party. And if your author can't be sociable at an event, that limits options.

But that does require some extra money, anyway, unlike the advent of social media which can sometimes reach more people and is essentially free. And it's difficult to get TV appearances or fill event space if the author isn't already on his or her way to success, but who knows. Creativity on the marketing side is definitely a plus.

scarletpeaches
12-20-2009, 02:39 AM
I think it'd be great to have the opportunity to meet one's editor/publisher.

I can understand that, if a press is planning to do a lot of marketing via video interviews, documentaries, and book events -- as Uprising Media Group says they are -- they would place a lot of importance on an author's looks, voice, presentation, charisma, and ability to travel. And to vet their authors, they want to meet them face-to-face and make sure the authors can present themselves credibly before they contract these authors' books.

My original query was whether this is the norm. The quote from their post is: "We do mean face to face and you'll find this is not that unusual, even in traditional publishing -- particularly for non-fiction. The media is critical to marketing books and you need writers who can take proper advantage of that."

Are most publishers now using media that require live presentations by authors as a critical marketing strategy?It's definitely not the norm. Such a 'strategy' sticks out like a sore thumb.

The words "you'll find this is not that unusual, even in traditional publishing" screams amateur.

It sometimes happens, but it's definitely not essential to marketing a book.

katiemac
12-20-2009, 02:39 AM
Well we have a part to play, sure, but it's mostly up to the publisher - that's why they have a marketing department.

The author's only one person, after all.

They have a marketing department, sure, but their time is also split on multiple projects. Not saying a writer's isn't, of course, but the less you (general 'you') sit back and take active part in marketing your book, the better. There are many, many things an author can do without the marketing department.

katiemac
12-20-2009, 02:50 AM
If a publisher has it as a requirement to meet an author because they plan on live interactions as the focus of marketing--be that radio interviews, local events, TV appearances--then I would ask them for a list of their successfully pitched interviews and appearances; or, if those are not available, then a detailed list of the kind of resources, connections and strategies they have to make these live interactions happen.

Emily Winslow
12-20-2009, 02:57 AM
My original query was whether this is the norm. The quote from their post is: "We do mean face to face and you'll find this is not that unusual, even in traditional publishing -- particularly for non-fiction. The media is critical to marketing books and you need writers who can take proper advantage of that."


No, not the norm, not for fiction. (Don't know about non-fic.)

BenPanced
12-20-2009, 03:53 AM
Okay. I understand submitting to a publisher or agent is part of the audition process but I'm supposed to meet a potential publisher for them to decide if I'm photogenic enough or witty enough or eruditer than the next guy and then they'll make up their minds if they want to publish my book? Something's wrong with that. Are other publishers going to make it a requirement I send my 8x10 glossy headshot with a full resume and measurements printed on the back next? Should I begin to worry that my beard's too shaggy or my hair's too long and grey or I'm too fat to be an author? Maybe I should have some extra dental work done to fix that small snaggletooth. Perhaps I'll ask my eye doctor for contact lenses instead of glasses next spring when I see him. I know! I'll tone down the sarcasm a notch or 80.

uprising
12-20-2009, 10:45 PM
I have to say that we're very surprised at how fixated people have become on this in-person thing, particularly Unimportant. Marketing is absolutely essential to launch a new writer, and even more so for a small independent press that the mainstream reviewers and big media organization are unlikely to take seriously without a track record.

A key element of book marketing is getting well known book review publications and bloggers to review them. Because we're small, new and nobody's heard of us, we can't count on that happening. We fully expect the New York Times to be just as dismissive and condescending as many of you have been. We would be too in their position, perhaps even in yours. That means we need an alternate strategy, one that isn't is subject to as many gatekeepers looking down their noses at us. One element of this strategy is viral video marketing and rich mobile editions - which can be successfully hyped in the much more accessible technology press. We're not looking for beauty queens, just people who are interesting, smart and convey that in interviews without it appearing fake or forced. There's no reason for people to get all worried that we're looking for head shots and snow white teeth, but if you're not willing to help us market your work, why should we market it at all?

One of the posters made a reference to small publishers and their desire to meet authors due to the investment and risk. That's basically where we are. We're tiny, and when you factor in the costs associated with publishing in general and particularly with producing video content, we'd just feel a little nervous spending that kind of money on someone we didn't know and trust -- in the same sense that you wouldn't want someone you didn't trust to publish your work. Not surprisingly, most of our first titles have come from people we already knew or authors a few degrees of separation from those people -- people who can vouch for their talent, work ethic and sanity. In other words, from referrals. I defy anyone to say this is unusual in traditional publishing.

Major publishers don't put the same emphasis on personality as we do, but because we don't have the same access to the usual PR channels that they do, we have to adapt. And I wouldn't draw any conclusions by what we mean by personality. We don't mean Ryan Seacrest and by the time we get to that stage, we're pretty optimistic. We're just trying to make sure you've got a modicum of professionalism and aren't a crazy cat lady. Most publishers have some mechanism for filtering out the crazy and uncooperative. We just made the mistake of being honest and open about ours.

The author's personality becomes far less important once the author is well known. By then the work speaks for itself. In the beginning, however, you have to work a little harder to stand out from the other unknowns. Unlike many independent publishers, we simply created a strategy for dealing with the problem instead of hoping we get lucky knocking on the front door.

Medievalist
12-20-2009, 11:30 PM
QFT: bolding mine




That's dumber than a potted plant. I wouldn't give that publisher a piece of used toilet paper, let alone anything I wrote.

Medievalist
12-20-2009, 11:32 PM
I have to say that we're very surprised at the level of vitriol on here. Most of us are astonished at the busy-body factor alone. If we aren't welcome on AW, we're happy to leave.

This isn't vitriol; this isn't even approaching vitriol.

It is, however, a board with a very large number of people with experience in publishing--and the idea of a face-to-face meeting as a requisite is beyond bizarre.

It suggests a number of things--first among them, total absolute cluelessness, and complete absence of familiarity with publishing.

Medievalist
12-20-2009, 11:37 PM
I have to say that we're very surprised at how fixated people have become on this in-person thing, particularly Unimportant. Marketing is absolutely essential to launch a new writer, and even more so for a small independent press that the mainstream reviewers and big media organization are unlikely to take seriously until they establish a track record.

This is patently false. It is so very naive and unprofessional an assertion that I'm more than a little astonished.


A key element of book marketing is getting well known book review publications and bloggers to review them.

Also false. It's dead easy for a legitimate publisher with a legitimate book to get reviewed. The obsession with NYT review is daft in the extreme; they don't even review one percent of the books in any given genre in a year.

Reviews are nice; getting them is super--but the thing a publisher should focus on is getting books in the book store.

The job of a publisher is to sell the book, not the author.

katiemac
12-20-2009, 11:47 PM
I have to say that we're very surprised at the level of vitriol on here. Most of us are astonished at the busy-body factor alone. If we aren't welcome on AW, we're happy to leave.

And despite the fact the question was initially raised in another thread regarding your company, many of us are not in this thread to discuss your company specifically.

Instead, we are discussing in general a requirement that your company happens to hold.

I understand a company's need to adapt strategies when it is without access to the normal PR tactics and channels. Yet as someone in the marketing and publicity industry, I would still advise interested authors to question what PR and marketing tactics a company would be using and how they will accomplish what they advertise. The author gets to interview the company just as much as the company may want to interview the author. That's not vitriol or even a little surprising.

I suggest authors check out the marketing and PR departments of any publisher they are interested in, large or small. But I must say that I am intrigued where the money for the travel comes from; as I said upthread, the cost of a plane ticket can go a long way in marketing and publicity, especially if you are not starting with much.

Unimportant
12-21-2009, 12:01 AM
I have to say that we're very surprised at how fixated people have become on this in-person thing, particularly Unimportant.
Why? If this requirement is now, as you say, de rigeur in publishing, then IMO it's quite unsurprising that people like myself who live ten thousand miles away from NYC will be particularly interested in its ramifications.

Hence this thread, which isn't about Uprising, but is about current marketing strategies used by publishers, and how those marketing strategies might affect people who live on the arse end of the planet.

uprising
12-21-2009, 12:18 AM
It's dead easy for a legitimate publisher with a legitimate book to get reviewed. The obsession with NYT review is daft in the extreme; they don't even review one percent of the books in any given genre in a year.

Although Lisa expressed it in an unnecessarily insulting way, she's right. But the key word here is legitimate. Who's legitimate? The publishing industry, more than any other -- including television and film -- is obsessed with the definition of legitimacy. Let's take membership in the SFWA as an example. You haven't sold a legitimate book unless the publisher is on a predefined list. That's a pretty clear cut example of the game being rigged against startups. Many reviewing publications have a similar list of "legitimate" publishers. I think dropping this barrier would invite in all the self-published crazies, so I understand why it's necessary. I'm just saying there is a barrier and it has a concrete impact on PR and marketing strategies, particularly until our name gets on those lists.

I'd be interested in the definition of legitimacy as you see it, and how many independent publishers actually meet that criteria. That issue is probably OT for this thread, though.

scarletpeaches
12-21-2009, 12:21 AM
I'd be interested to know how you explain all those writers who've never met their agents, publishers or editors and yet still managed to build a career - and get reviews.

katiemac
12-21-2009, 12:25 AM
I'd be interested to know how you explain all those writers who've never met their agents, publishers or editors and yet still managed to build a career - and get reviews.

I'm not trying to put words in uprising's mouth, but I do not believe uprising is saying meeting the editors is the only way to build a career. Instead, because of uprising's current status in the industry, they are making it a requirement to meet their potential authors because of the investment they will need to make to push an author's book.

And for what it's worth, uprising, I was not wary of your company because of this face-to-face requirement, even though it is obviously not an industry standard like you have said.

I am instead wary of your company because you are referring to your targeted clientele as condescending and dismissive.


We fully expect the New York Times to be just as dismissive and condescending as many of you have been.

uprising
12-21-2009, 12:28 AM
I am instead wary of your company because you are referring to your targeted clientele as condescending and dismissive.

We never said you were our target clientele. If writers and people in the industry were the only people who read books, Dan Brown wouldn't be rich.

I think a more interesting discussion might be whether or not you're actually dismissive and condescending.

katiemac
12-21-2009, 12:32 AM
Writers are not your targeted clientele?

By clientele I meant those whose books you are trying to publish, not to whom you are selling those books.

uprising
12-21-2009, 12:37 AM
Writers are not your targeted clientele?

Not really. If writers were our target clientele, we'd publish books about writing. Writers may overlap with our target market, but not in a way that's statistically significant.

As for your caveat, we're not desperate for material -- just open to it. And I'd venture there are a great many writers who've read our posts and found that our assertions have resonated with them. We're getting plenty of queries. And those we've offended probably wouldn't be good fit for us anyway. We can't be all things to all writers anymore than we can be all things to all readers.

katiemac
12-21-2009, 12:40 AM
I'm officially confused.

If you aren't publishing books by writers, who are your authors?

uprising
12-21-2009, 12:45 AM
As for your caveat, we're not desperate for material -- just open to it. And I'd venture there are a great many writers who've read our posts and found that our assertions have resonated with them. We're getting plenty of queries. And those we've offended probably wouldn't be good fit for us anyway. We can't be all things to all writers anymore than we can be all things to all readers.

You probably missed the edit. Requoted here.

katiemac
12-21-2009, 12:56 AM
That's fine you are getting queries. Like I said, I was not against Uprising's face-to-face policy.

But I am still surprised by and wary of an upcoming publishing company who would call a group of writers on an open forum condescending and dismissive--even if the writers may have "deserved" it, which I certainly don't agree is the case here.

It's about professionalism. Writers should be able to question a publisher just as much as the publisher has the right to question writers. A publisher should have the patience to answer a writer's questions without also bringing in negativity. That's interpersonal communication, and it's marketing and publicity 101.

That's all I have to add.

IceCreamEmpress
12-21-2009, 01:02 AM
If face-to-face meetings with editors are indeed de rigueur in the publishing industry, the folks at Random House, The Free Press, The New Press, and Graywolf seem not to have gotten the memo as far as I can tell.

uprising
12-21-2009, 01:13 AM
I'd be interested to know how you explain all those writers who've never met their agents, publishers or editors and yet still managed to build a career - and get reviews.

We're not saying our way is the only way to do it - or even a common way. It's just that our experience is geared more toward this particular style of promotion. We're just leveraging our strengths. I see nothing wrong with a writer, editor and publicist getting together to talk strategy and get acquainted. Perhaps if we concede the point that not every publisher does this -- the apparent definition of 'not that unusual' on this forum -- much of this discussion will dissipate.

This is just our way of exploiting the opportunities we see. We aren't big enough for this to constitute a trend toward anything. We want a little face time if it can be reasonably done, but that doesn't amount to a shift in standard industry practice, because, as many posters have so eagerly pointed out, we're apparently clueless amateurs and wouldn't know standard industry practice if it hit us in the face. Never mind that relentlessly clinging to doing things the way they've always been done is precisely the kind of arrogance and complacency that's created the opportunity, but you take my point.

What we think will be a trend -- and is already a trend -- is an emphasis on viral marketing and social networking to launch new writers. Whether sit downs and videos are part of that is a function of how such a strategy is implemented.

If we absolutely love a novel, will we refuse it simply because the writer can't reasonably meet with us? Of course not. It just makes our job harder and raises the costs because sooner or later, we'll have to fly a crew over there to shoot the interviews. (Probably a just a producer with locally sourced crew and equipment but you get the idea.)

Reviews will come as the snowball gathers mass and the word gets out. Seeding that process is where we focus much of our energy.

scarletpeaches
12-21-2009, 01:17 AM
We're not saying our way is the only way to do it - or even a common way.Really?
We do mean face to face and you'll find this is not that unusual, even in traditional publishing -- particularly for non-fiction.

eqb
12-21-2009, 01:27 AM
If face-to-face meetings with editors are indeed de rigueur in the publishing industry, the folks at Random House, The Free Press, The New Press, and Graywolf seem not to have gotten the memo as far as I can tell.

Nor have folks at Tor or Viking (an imprint of Penguin, btw).

My editor at Viking *did* ask for a phone call before she signed me, but not a face-to-face meeting.

uprising
12-21-2009, 01:50 AM
I don't get your concerns about money and rich authors though. It doesn't cost much to blog or build an online platform, or to give a radio interview. Also, if your publisher's a good one, they're the ones paying.

To clarify, Swordswoman is correct. We won't ask anyone to come see us on their own dime. We'd be the ones paying.

Izz
12-21-2009, 01:58 AM
To clarify, Swordswoman is correct. We won't ask anyone to come see us on their own dime. We'd be the ones paying.You also don't need a face to face meeting with anyone to discuss building an online platform or how to do a radio interview.

AryaT92
12-21-2009, 02:07 AM
I can see why publishers would want a face-to-face but I can't believe that it is necessary or even that common for them to ask.. Especially for anything but non-fiction / memoirs..

Emily Winslow
12-21-2009, 02:35 AM
[/I]

To clarify, Swordswoman is correct. We won't ask anyone to come see us on their own dime. We'd be the ones paying.

This is a very important piece of info that should be highlighted wherever you mention the face-to-face requirement.

I think it's the cost to the author that is of the largest (though not only) concern. Inviting someone for a meeting, rather than "requiring" it (implying it's the author's responsibility), is a significant difference.

I do have a question about practicality: when would you begin to discuss the writer's location? For example, if you think a writer has a project that's a good fit and you want to meet them, would you first inquire as to their location and investigate travel options before inviting them?

It would seem wise to do so--getting surprised by a multi-thousand dollar plane ticket from someplace far wouldn't make good business sense. But, on the other hand, comparing a writer whose cost is an 80 dollar Amtrak ticket to one who has to be flown in for hundreds or thousands...I can't help but think that would influence who you're willing to consider.

So, I'm pleased that you see this is as the company's burden, not the author's. But I have concern that it will make the quality bar higher for those whose travel would cost more, and if so that should be made plain. Or geographic limitations (for example, "continental United States" or whatever) be stated up front.

Medievalist
12-21-2009, 02:42 AM
I can see why publishers would want a face-to-face but I can't believe that it is necessary or even that common for them to ask.. Especially for anything but non-fiction / memoirs..

It isn't usual, at all. In fact for even an editor to meet an author face to face isn't standard.

When editors and authors do meet, more often than not, it happens at a conference or convention.

I can think of two best selling authors whose primary editors for twenty years or more have never met them. That's off the top of my head.

Even university presses have more editors who have never met their authors than not. Odds are higher that they will meet in genre fiction, especially for SF/F and romance, because there are so very many conventions and major conferences.

eqb
12-21-2009, 02:53 AM
I can see why publishers would want a face-to-face but I can't believe that it is necessary or even that common for them to ask.. Especially for anything but non-fiction / memoirs..

It's not usual, and a publisher that states it's common practice is a publisher I'd want to avoid.

Slushie
12-21-2009, 03:02 AM
I have to say that we're very surprised at how fixated people have become on this in-person thing, particularly Unimportant. Marketing is absolutely essential to launch a new writer, and even more so for a small independent press that the mainstream reviewers and big media organization are unlikely to take seriously without a track record.

A key element of book marketing is getting well known book review publications and bloggers to review them. Because we're small, new and nobody's heard of us, we can't count on that happening. We fully expect the New York Times to be just as dismissive and condescending as many of you have been. We would be too in their position, perhaps even in yours. That means we need an alternate strategy, one that isn't is subject to as many gatekeepers looking down their noses at us. One element of this strategy is viral video marketing and rich mobile editions - which can be successfully hyped in the much more accessible technology press. We're not looking for beauty queens, just people who are interesting, smart and convey that in interviews without it appearing fake or forced. There's no reason for people to get all worried that we're looking for head shots and snow white teeth, but if you're not willing to help us market your work, why should we market it at all?

Hi uprising,

What specific personality traits are you looking for in one of these interviews? What does interesting mean? This seems incredibly arbitrary and could end up potentially dismissing a high-grossing book because the author didn't have the 'right' personality.

As a reader, I don't care about the author's personality, or what a reviewer thinks of the author's personality; if their work is good, it's good, regardless of how uninteresting the person behind the words may be.

And I assume you would want to market a book because you see commercial value in it. I doubt there are many authors who would refuse to be cooperative in helping to market their own product. We have a vested interest in seeing our work be successful, and I think most of us would do whatever it takes to reach that end. Sure, there are uncooperative people out there, but they would be in the minute minority and I don't see the justification for dropping the money on a plane ticket when it could be better spent on marketing.


Major publishers don't put the same emphasis on personality as we do, but because we don't have the same access to the usual PR channels that they do, we have to adapt. And I wouldn't draw any conclusions by what we mean by personality. We don't mean Ryan Seacrest and by the time we get to that stage, we're pretty optimistic. We're just trying to make sure you've got a modicum of professionalism and aren't a crazy cat lady. Most publishers have some mechanism for filtering out the crazy and uncooperative. We just made the mistake of being honest and open about ours.

Yes, professionalism is important for the author, as well as the publisher.

What mechanism do other publishers use for filtering out these crazy cat ladies?

Most of us here are wary of broad statement declaring something is industry standard when it has been proven it is not. There are a lot of uninitiated writers on this board; we look out for each other and make sure correct information is given so others are not led in a potentially career-harming direction. :)

Medievalist
12-21-2009, 03:11 AM
We're just trying to make sure you've got a modicum of professionalism and aren't a crazy cat lady. Most publishers have some mechanism for filtering out the crazy and uncooperative.

Publishers who attempt to filter out the "crazy and uncooperative" are not doing themselves favors, in terms of fiction and poetry in particular.

Let's just look at the dead authors, shall we?

Ezra Pound
Ernest Hemmingway
Charles Dickens
James Joyce
Getrude Stein
Fitzgerald
John Ruskin

Look at the antics of people like Anne Rice, or L. K. Hamilton or or or . . .

The book is what publishers sell; not the author. The book.

bettielee
12-21-2009, 03:18 AM
I just want to say, I only have one cat, I'm very cooperative, and I'm crazy as a loon.

Unimportant
12-21-2009, 03:21 AM
I'm a crazy cat lady, too, so it looks like their filtering system is working well.

scarletpeaches
12-21-2009, 03:25 AM
Crazy cat ladies make for publicity, which is what I thought this publisher wanted.

uprising
12-21-2009, 03:29 AM
This has certainly touched a nerve and we're sorry about that. We're also sorry that we responded to ad hominem attacks with ad hominem attacks in some cases. Perhaps things would have been simpler if we'd clarified from the beginning that we don't expect authors to pay for their own travel and all we're really looking for in a meeting is to make sure authors can handle the public speaking and video interviews we'll need for marketing. We have no grooming regulations or maximum beard length. We sure like George R. R. Martin's beard, we can tell you that.

Remember the root of all this was a question about who we are. Our response was essentially "by the time it matters, you'll have met us." We didn't intend to spin everyone off on rants about in person meetings. We still argue that blanket statements like "nobody does this ever and anyone who says otherwise is a rank amateur" are groundless and have been refuted by some other posters. Whether we should do it, whether it's the kind of thing you as a writer would be willing to submit to, whether marketing driven by personality is necessary and in which genres is another matter entirely. We think a mountain has been made out of a molehill here and perhaps that's our own fault, but it's true nonetheless.

I think we've responded as much to the issues raised here we can. As Unimportant pointed out, the topic isn't really Uprising. We'll have to let some of the other criticism leveled at us go unanswered from here on out, leaving everyone to ponder the broader questions without us.

Anyway, thanks for allowing us to participate in the discussion. We'll leave you to it.

Slushie
12-21-2009, 03:43 AM
uprising, if you haven't flounced yet, I would like some insight into what your standards for professionalism in an author are. I think your and my idea of this term is different. This is not a criticism; I'm just looking for clarification. :)

eqb
12-21-2009, 03:44 AM
We're also sorry that we responded to ad hominem attacks with ad hominem attacks in some cases.

Just to be clear, I saw no ad hominem attacks on you on AW.

CheshireCat
12-21-2009, 03:45 AM
I think it'd be great to have the opportunity to meet one's editor/publisher.

I can understand that, if a press is planning to do a lot of marketing via video interviews, documentaries, and book events -- as Uprising Media Group says they are -- they would place a lot of importance on an author's looks, voice, presentation, charisma, and ability to travel. And to vet their authors, they want to meet them face-to-face and make sure the authors can present themselves credibly before they contract these authors' books.

My original query was whether this is the norm. The quote from their post is: "We do mean face to face and you'll find this is not that unusual, even in traditional publishing -- particularly for non-fiction. The media is critical to marketing books and you need writers who can take proper advantage of that."

Are most publishers now using media that require live presentations by authors as a critical marketing strategy?

No.


I have to say that we're very surprised at how fixated people have become on this in-person thing, particularly Unimportant. Marketing is absolutely essential to launch a new writer, and even more so for a small independent press that the mainstream reviewers and big media organization are unlikely to take seriously without a track record.

You market the book; marketing an author is extremely rare and mostly confined to celebrities. And in this day of book videos and YouTube, it really doesn't cost all that much to get a video "interview" or whatever done. Mostly, though, writers aren't all that good at selling either themselves or their work directly to a target audience. Just not in our skill set.

Which is one of many reasons why very successful publishers don't market books that way.

Yes, times are changing. Writers? Not so much. What we do is very individual, independent, and solitary -- and you'd better learn to respect that if you mean to have pleasant working relationships with creatures like us.

Just sayin'.


A key element of book marketing is getting well known book review publications and bloggers to review them. Because we're small, new and nobody's heard of us, we can't count on that happening.

Um ... what? Reviewers (especially bloggers) pretty much review what they receive. And if you think a review in the NYT or such helps sales, all I can say is that it really doesn't, not usually.


We fully expect the New York Times to be just as dismissive and condescending as many of you have been. We would be too in their position, perhaps even in yours. That means we need an alternate strategy, one that isn't is subject to as many gatekeepers looking down their noses at us.

Gatekeepers? That really, really sounds like the spiel I hear often from rejected writers. That and the "fact" that those of us who're published are jealous of the genius of those struggling to make that first sale.


One element of this strategy is viral video marketing and rich mobile editions - which can be successfully hyped in the much more accessible technology press.

Rich mobile editions? What the hell are those? You know, it really sounds like you're talking about book trailers and video interviews which, I hate to tell you, have been around a while. So far, they don't seem to be driving sales.


We're not looking for beauty queens, just people who are interesting, smart and convey that in interviews without it appearing fake or forced. There's no reason for people to get all worried that we're looking for head shots and snow white teeth, but if you're not willing to help us market your work, why should we market it at all?

See, that's where you sound really defensive. You market the book because you believe it will be successful. If you don't believe that, nothing the author does is going to help you sell copies.

Writers are not video-ready personalities. We just aren't. And the creative energy and time it requires for us to hand you a strong book doesn't leave a lot of "sparkling" left over for self-promotion.

"Getting the author involved" might sound good in theory but, really, we tend to be introspective homebodies with an acute dislike of being in the spotlight. We want our work on display. Not ourselves. There are a few exceptions, of course, but not many.


One of the posters made a reference to small publishers and their desire to meet authors due to the investment and risk. That's basically where we are. We're tiny, and when you factor in the costs associated with publishing in general and particularly with producing video content, we'd just feel a little nervous spending that kind of money on someone we didn't know and trust -- in the same sense that you wouldn't want someone you didn't trust to publish your work. Not surprisingly, most of our first titles have come from people we already knew or authors a few degrees of separation from those people -- people who can vouch for their talent, work ethic and sanity. In other words, from referrals. I defy anyone to say this is unusual in traditional publishing.

You are so off the mark there it isn't even funny. RH publishes about 3,000 titles every year; do you really think all those authors came to them from referrals? I can answer that. No. I know a LOT of published authors, and not a single one signed with their house through any kind of referral. Most have agents, who put their work in front of editors at the houses. Some are agentless and did it the hard way. But you sure as hell don't have to "know someone" at major publishers to sell them a book.

Really, can we put that Writer's Urban Myth to rest once and for all?


Major publishers don't put the same emphasis on personality as we do, but because we don't have the same access to the usual PR channels that they do, we have to adapt. And I wouldn't draw any conclusions by what we mean by personality. We don't mean Ryan Seacrest and by the time we get to that stage, we're pretty optimistic. We're just trying to make sure you've got a modicum of professionalism and aren't a crazy cat lady.

I resemble that remark. (Note avatar.) Seriously, just what makes you think that most writers with a saleable manuscript would NOT have a "modicum" of professionalism? Most of us have worked our asses off by that stage, and tend to have more than a modicum of professionalism.


Most publishers have some mechanism for filtering out the crazy and uncooperative. We just made the mistake of being honest and open about ours.

I can't believe you're saying that. I really can't.


The author's personality becomes far less important once the author is well known. By then the work speaks for itself. In the beginning, however, you have to work a little harder to stand out from the other unknowns. Unlike many independent publishers, we simply created a strategy for dealing with the problem instead of hoping we get lucky knocking on the front door.

No, a strong book gets you noticed. A good cover. A fantastic title. Backing by a publisher so your book is on endcaps and ladders and the front tables at B&N. The personality of the author (excepting some celebrities and other non-traditional-"writers") does not.


Although Lisa expressed it in an unnecessarily insulting way, she's right. But the key word here is legitimate. Who's legitimate? The publishing industry, more than any other -- including television and film -- is obsessed with the definition of legitimacy. Let's take membership in the SFWA as an example. You haven't sold a legitimate book unless the publisher is on a predefined list. That's a pretty clear cut example of the game being rigged against startups.

No, that's an examble of a writer's group trying to protect writers from "publishers" who don't pay royalties or advances and otherwise take advantage of writers.


Many reviewing publications have a similar list of "legitimate" publishers. I think dropping this barrier would invite in all the self-published crazies, so I understand why it's necessary. I'm just saying there is a barrier and it has a concrete impact on PR and marketing strategies, particularly until our name gets on those lists.

I'd be interested in the definition of legitimacy as you see it, and how many independent publishers actually meet that criteria. That issue is probably OT for this thread, though.

Lots of indie publishers meet the criteria of "legitimacy." The ones who pay authors fairly and actually work to get their books into the hands of readers.


I'd be interested to know how you explain all those writers who've never met their agents, publishers or editors and yet still managed to build a career - and get reviews.

Yeah, I'd be interested in that too.


We're not saying our way is the only way to do it - or even a common way. It's just that our experience is geared more toward this particular style of promotion. We're just leveraging our strengths. I see nothing wrong with a writer, editor and publicist getting together to talk strategy and get acquainted. Perhaps if we concede the point that not every publisher does this -- the apparent definition of 'not that unusual' on this forum -- much of this discussion will dissipate.

This is just our way of exploiting the opportunities we see. We aren't big enough for this to constitute a trend toward anything. We want a little face time if it can be reasonably done, but that doesn't amount to a shift in standard industry practice, because, as many posters have so eagerly pointed out, we're apparently clueless amateurs and wouldn't know standard industry practice if it hit us in the face. Never mind that relentlessly clinging to doing things the way they've always been done is precisely the kind of arrogance and complacency that's created the opportunity, but you take my point.

Yeah, when you start throwing around words like arrogant and complacent you tend to alienate those of us still treading the mostly traditional paths in publishing.

Especially when, bottom line, what you're saying -- and apparently expecting of "your" authors -- is that we not only have to create the book (Which, you know, takes considerable time, energy, creativity, and talent.) but then we have to help you figure out ways to sell it. Using us and our talents and faces and whatnot.

Gee, thanks a bunch.


What we think will be a trend -- and is already a trend -- is an emphasis on viral marketing and social networking to launch new writers. Whether sit downs and videos are part of that is a function of how such a strategy is implemented.

Huh. Let's see ... FaceBook. Twitter. YouTube. MySpace. Websites. Viral marketing. Social networking.

Are your ideas supposed to be new? Seriously?


If we absolutely love a novel, will we refuse it simply because the writer can't reasonably meet with us? Of course not. It just makes our job harder and raises the costs because sooner or later, we'll have to fly a crew over there to shoot the interviews. (Probably a just a producer with locally sourced crew and equipment but you get the idea.)

As I noted earlier, getting an interview with an author recorded isn't all that technically challenging, or even particularly expensive with today's technology

And you're going to do what, exactly, with said interview?


Reviews will come as the snowball gathers mass and the word gets out. Seeding that process is where we focus much of our energy.

Again. Good books get reviewed. Good packages get noticed.

:Shrug:

Still not sure what new ideas you bring to the table.

Medievalist
12-21-2009, 03:57 AM
We're also sorry that we responded to ad hominem attacks with ad hominem attacks in some cases.

Please do report any posts that you feel were "ad hominem attacks."

Claudia Gray
12-21-2009, 04:21 AM
Just one more published author (with HarperCollins) saying that no meeting was required in my case, and no "referral" through personal friends accompanied my submission. Nor have I heard that from any of the authors I've met/toured with, or from the editors I've gotten to know at my own house and others. Uprising is allowed to set its own rules, of course, but I would take any suggestion that this is common with a grain of salt. As well as the suggestion that nobody else in publishing has heard of websites, book trailers, facebook, etc.

Amarie
12-21-2009, 05:08 AM
Crazy cat lady here. No referrels, no meetings either. Didn't matter.

If this company is going to rely on an internet strategy, why is their website a 'do it in a hour' basic place holder? Perhaps they need to work out their business plan a bit better before asking for submissions.

Toothpaste
12-21-2009, 05:56 AM
Having just shot a scene today for a fellow author's book trailer for her work due out in Jan, I'd say word has got round that youtube is a good venue for publicising books. As to this unique video interview idea . . . check out Harper Collins. They set up just such a thing for their YA authors - they're filmed in a studio in New York.

At any rate, my point is, I don't take issue with a publisher wanting to meet an author, that's a publisher's choice, and it is quite nice to meet people face to face. What's a little bit more troubling about the remarks made in this thread is that they think the idea that somehow using video online is an innovation, and that current publishers aren't aware of its usefulness. This speaks to me of a great ignorance of the industry at present, that combined with the many misconceptions CC highlighted, leads me to wonder what else within the scope of publishing these people are ignorant about.

Not saying they aren't reputable, but I'd ask a lot of questions before signing a contract.

Emily Winslow
12-21-2009, 12:46 PM
Thanks for replying, Uprising.



Remember the root of all this was a question about who we are. Our response was essentially "by the time it matters, you'll have met us."


This is awkward for me. If someone wants me to fly across the country for a meeting, I need to know who they are FIRST. (And the things I need to know--before I query actually--can all be communicated in writing, preferably on your website: your past experiences and credits.



We still argue that blanket statements like "nobody does this ever and anyone who says otherwise is a rank amateur" are groundless and have been refuted by some other posters.

Not by me.

This isn't a thread about your company. It was inspired by your meeting requirement, but isn't about your meeting requirement only. I mentioned the value I got from meeting my editor, AFTER the contract was signed and work was in progress, and NOT so that we could judge each other. It was simply an extension of our working relationship which I found pleasant and valuable, but not for the purposes you suggest.

Thanks for sticking around to answer questions and clarify things. I appreciate it.

Old Hack
12-21-2009, 01:10 PM
Uprising, I worked as an editor for a while but never demanded a meeting with a writer before I issued a contract. It's useful, it's nice, and it's interesting to meet up, sure: but it's not necessary and in many cases it's just not possible: consider all those foreign rights sales which are made.

If you want to go ahead with this, then I do think it would be wise for you to spell out on your site that you're going to pay for the meetings--some authors just aren't going to be able to fund such a visit themselves, and probably won't want to submit to you under those circumstances.

Eirin
12-21-2009, 06:37 PM
Also, using "crazy cat lady" as a term for the undesirable wasn't the cleverest of moves either. Writers and cats - they kinda go together.

Honestly, don't they know anything

:tongue

Momento Mori
12-21-2009, 07:15 PM
Uprising:
We're a startup publisher founded by veteran software engineers, television producers and online marketing experts focused on developing new fiction and select non-fiction, primarily for digital distribution.

Do any of your founding members have experience in publishing?


Uprising:
Our first set of titles will be released in Summer of 2010.

Your website says Spring 2010. You might want to change that.


Uprising:
Unlike traditional publishers, we also give our authors a much higher percentage of gross sales.

A higher percentage gross of sales that might not happen is no incentive.


Uprising:
We are interested in books stuck in the blind spots of traditional publishing: cross-genre novels, etc. We're especially interested in series that cater to a technically savvy readership such as fantasy and science fiction. We will consider most fiction genres other than horror or erotica and within other genres we have a general aversion to sexually explicit material. We'll consider non-fiction memoir and biography, especially if it's funny. We also have a special place in our heart for political fiction. We're looking for strong literary characteristics in all submissions regardless of genre -- we're not looking for pulp genre novels.

You're spreading yourself thinly, especially if you don't have any established presence or credibility within those genres that you can build from.


Uprising:
We don't want to talk about who we are as individuals because it would more than likely invite further scrutiny of who we are as individuals -- which would more than likely hurt our feelings and I know the nice people on AW don't want that. What you want to know is whether or not we're for real and whether or not we're scam artists.

Who you are as individuals is perfectly pertinent information to request, given that you're making a series of representations about your business. If I was investing money in your business, then I'd want to know your background and experience to delivery on your business plan and investing my book with you is in no way different to that.


Uprising:
To address that issue, all our contracts have rights reversion clauses if we shut our doors or fail to sell a negotiable number of copies or reach a certain revenue target. So, if you sign with us and we can't sell your book or we go out of business, rights will revert back to you.

Realitistically, the big problem with start-ups like yours is bankruptcy and on a bankruptcy, the liquidator/administrator will keep hold of all the assets, i.e. including publication rights, to try and maximise the return for creditors. Your contract might say that authors will get their rights back if you go bust but in practice, they may well find that they get nothing.


Uprising:
The development of viral videos, mini-documentaries about a book's subject matter, video interviews with the writer are absolutely crucial to our marketing strategy and as extra content for rich mobile editions.

According to your research, how many book buyers buy a book on the strength of an internet video or interview?


Uprising:
Jeff Bezos (the CEO of Amazon) recently told his employees that Amazon has sold 48 Kindle editions for every 100 print editions sold this holiday season. (Someone told us this in the elevator at Amazon, so consider the source.)

What source? You spoke to someone at an elevator at Amazon. You could have been speaking to a cleaner for all I know. What Bezos tells his employees and what he tells the market are two different things and me, I trust what he goes public about.


Uprising:
Although we do not release books on hardcover (we think the $25 price point turns too many people away and makes it difficult to launch new authors), all books will be released on trade paperback.

Are you publishing by POD or are you doing print-runs? If it's the former, you're going to find it difficult to get books into stores, if the latter then you're increasing your storage costs and taking a bigger risk that your strategy doesn't work.


Uprising:
Let's take membership in the SFWA as an example. You haven't sold a legitimate book unless the publisher is on a predefined list. That's a pretty clear cut example of the game being rigged against startups. Many reviewing publications have a similar list of "legitimate" publishers. I think dropping this barrier would invite in all the self-published crazies, so I understand why it's necessary. I'm just saying there is a barrier and it has a concrete impact on PR and marketing strategies, particularly until our name gets on those lists.

Not at all. SFWA is an organsation for authors, not publishers - like CWA and RWA - it exists to protect published authors. Once you establish yourself, you can apply for membership.


Uprising:
If writers were our target clientele, we'd publish books about writing. Writers may overlap with our target market, but not in a way that's statistically significant.

That seems to be a very foolish statement to make in an on-line forum, populated with web-savvy people who are in an excellent position to participate in or work against whatever web-based viral campaign you try to set up. I'll certainly bear your comments in mind should I see anyone advertising your company or your books in any of the communities I frequent.


Uprising:
Never mind that relentlessly clinging to doing things the way they've always been done is precisely the kind of arrogance and complacency that's created the opportunity, but you take my point.

It's only an opportunity if you're still here in 2 years time to talk about how you were able to make it work for you. At the moment, it's a gamble.


Uprising:
What we think will be a trend -- and is already a trend -- is an emphasis on viral marketing and social networking to launch new writers.

Except that you cannot control viral marketing or social networking - all you can do is put something out there and hope that enough people talk about it for it to catch fire. Then you need to have something in place so that people can readily and easily buy the book once people are talking about it. Do you have distribution in place so that people can walk into a store and connect the book on the shelf with the book that people are talking about, or are you operating an order-only distribution policy (because if it's the latter, you'll find that people will lose interest at the idea of having to wait for something).

MM

Eirin
12-21-2009, 08:02 PM
I remain unconvinced of the value of extensive author involvment in marketing; I have no belief whatsoever in branding and selling the author as a means to sell books. As a reader, I'm interested in the book. A good book-trailer might entice me to check out an excerpt; a video-interview with the author wouldn't interest me at all. YMMV.

As a reader, I don't use all the "brave new internet-world" gimmicks that's supposedly The New Way To Sell Everything. I subscribe to newsletters from publishers I trust, I follow review-blogs that have shown themselves to share my taste in books and also maintain interesting communities, and I have all the authors whose work I might be interested in buying on Google Alert.

I don't hang out on YouTube in order to catch interview-snippets wih authors, most viral marketing annoys me, and astro-turfing really pisses me off.

If I read a book that moves me in some way, I might be interested in reading an interview where the author talks about her motivation for writing that specific book, but unless the author is a friend , I have no particular interest in her as a person.

Sometimes I even find myself curiously annoyed when my favorite authors waste their time doing promotion rather than spend their time writing new books for me to read ;)

Momento Mori
12-21-2009, 08:44 PM
Eirin:
I have no belief whatsoever in branding and selling the author as a means to sell books. As a reader, I'm interested in the book. A good book-trailer might entice me to check out an excerpt; a video-interview with the author wouldn't interest me at all.

I agree with this. I will buy books on the recommendations of friends/reviewers I trust or having browsed the contents on the shelves of my local book store, but I don't go out looking for promotional material for books that I haven't already heard of.

In fact, I don't tend to check out interviews etc unless I've already read the book, enjoyed it and want to know more about the author.

MM

BenPanced
12-21-2009, 08:50 PM
Except that you cannot control viral marketing or social networking - all you can do is put something out there and hope that enough people talk about it for it to catch fire. Then you need to have something in place so that people can readily and easily buy the book once people are talking about it. Do you have distribution in place so that people can walk into a store and connect the book on the shelf with the book that people are talking about, or are you operating an order-only distribution policy (because if it's the latter, you'll find that people will lose interest at the idea of having to wait for something).
This.

I'm on a couple social networking and video sharing sites. I have some keywords I look for on the video sites, and occasionally check some of the links friends post on the networking. If you (generic you) don't post something within those parameters I look in, how am I going to know you exist?

icerose
12-21-2009, 09:00 PM
Do any of your founding members have experience in publishing? <snipped>


I don't think you'll get an answer to your questions any time soon, they have officially flounced in the background thread. It seems like it'll be a check in next year and see where they're standing sort of deal.

Eirin
12-21-2009, 09:27 PM
Losing their temper and flouncing ... tsk tsk. Do we need a face-to-face interview to gauge the level of professionalism?

What's that word, again? Rhymes with virony.

Eirin
12-21-2009, 09:52 PM
If you (generic you) don't post something within those parameters I look in, how am I going to know you exist?


Precisely.

This isn't a new problem, though. Achieving visibility has always been the trick for selling anything. I think much of the reasoning behind the "authors must promote-promote-promote" meme is because now they can.

Before the internet equalized public access in many ways, the publishers were the ones with the means to perform meaningful marketing and promotion. With the internet, everybody and their grandmothers can put themselves out there, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the marketing/promotional strategies most likely to work have changed in any significant way.

Nor does it mean that it's a good idea to rely on writers, rather than marketing professionals, to market and sell books. Being a great salesperson requires knowledge of the industry and a specific set of skills. It's not an entry level position, or something one does in one's spare time.

stormie
12-21-2009, 10:20 PM
After reading the original thread in the paying markets section, all I can think is: Harper Lee (To Kill A Mockingbird) would never have been published if she had to submit to being videotaped to see if she had the wherewithall to sell her book.

Great books will sell on their own merits. An author can help it along, but it's compelling writing that counts first and foremost.

Slushie
12-22-2009, 01:20 AM
Dragging this out even further: I wouldn't trust a company to market my product if they can't effectively and articulately market themselves; that's the core of my issue with all this. Actions carry more weight than words and a lot can be read by what is implied.

I doubt uprising will log in again, but I'd bet they're lurking and hopefully this thread has provided them with some constructive insight. I hope they are successful, and their success comes from improving the careers of writers; a reality check might be in order for that to happen, though.