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CNmoon
02-05-2010, 08:47 PM
A dog eat dog world. I've been researching the biz and am searching for a Literary Agent but a feeling of dispair consistently arises. Agents only looking for safe bets, people unwilling to read anything they think would be unprofitable, and the many many scam artist around.

I wonder, how is it when you get pass this little annoyance of finding a publisher? Doors open up when you make a name for yourself but does it ever lose that feeling of being treated like a talented whore?

The law I see around here is "Money flows to the writer" but I wonder what that is worth? I've read of people re-editing their manuscripts several times for it to sell but does that mean they were never satisfied with their work to begin with? Priorities, priorities, priorities; maybe they just needed the money or had a point to prove. I just wonder what was lost?

Going over what I've written here, it comes off as whiny and bleak. I suppose that is the nature of business. "Money flows to the writer because agents and publishers need a writer to sell."

I don't know, maybe I just needed to let out some of the haze. Eh, I'll sweat it out eventually.

"There's no such thing as the real world, its just a lie you've got to rise above."
John Mayer

scarletpeaches
02-05-2010, 08:49 PM
In answer to your thread title question: no.

Kudos on the John Mayer quote. I love that guy so hard.

Bubastes
02-05-2010, 08:58 PM
Thanks for echoing what I've been thinking. And for the John Mayer quote. I've been feeling so discouraged lately.

Wayne K
02-05-2010, 09:24 PM
If I research anything long enough, I'll find a reason not to try.

Chris P
02-05-2010, 09:35 PM
If I research anything long enough, I'll find a reason not to try.

Agreed. "Analysis paralysis" is threatening to kill me, and at some point I'm just going to have to take my best shot and get querying again (once my revisions are done). Anyone who makes it will point to a number of "rules" they broke in the process, either deliberately or innocently. If all of the rules were absolutes, nobody would get published anywhere.

WildScribe
02-05-2010, 09:54 PM
The law I see around here is "Money flows to the writer" but I wonder what that is worth? I've read of people re-editing their manuscripts several times for it to sell but does that mean they were never satisfied with their work to begin with? Priorities, priorities, priorities; maybe they just needed the money or had a point to prove. I just wonder what was lost?


What was lost is generally unnecessary verbiage. In other words, editors wants cuts for a reason, and most of the time that reason is to make your book better. Not worse.

The Otter
02-05-2010, 11:50 PM
Getting published is very difficult, yes. That's why the two most important qualities for writers to have are persistence and a love of their craft. We work our butts off and pour countless hours of thought and effort into our projects for comparatively meager monetary rewards (unless you're Stephen King or Stephanie Meyers, but most of us aren't.)

That's not just writing though, that's the arts in general. There are plenty of easier ways to make money or get recognition, if that's your goal. If you don't love to write or NEED to write (and I need to write, I'd go insane if I didn't), then there's absolutely no reason to be doing it.

PoppysInARow
02-06-2010, 07:59 AM
Yeah, there are a lot of scam artists out there, like Publish America. Yeah, sometimes you need to edit endlessly, scraping books and starting all over again befre you find something worth subbing. Yeah, sometimes we get kicked in the teeth a few times.

But that's the nature of the business.

People come with this pre-concienved notion that writing a bok is easy. Publishing is easy. A lot of people think it's just write the book, do a spell check nd you'll be rolling in doe.

It's hard. A lot of people give up because it's so hard, and they're the ones who never get published. And if you always look on the dark side of publishing, you'll get discouraged and quit. But that's life, every business, every aspect of life comes with a dark side. In canada there's something like 38% divorce rate. Does that mean you shouldn't get married just because there's a little over 1/3 chance you might get divorced?

There are nasty things about publishing, but there are great things about it as well. No need to let it get you down.

BigWords
02-06-2010, 10:58 PM
A lot of people think it's just write the book, do a spell check nd you'll be rolling in doe.

Sentences which mention spell-checking and yet contain a typo make me smile. :)

MarthaT
02-16-2010, 07:10 PM
It certainly is hard at times, but with a positive attitude and hard work, the hard times are easily overcome!

E. S. Lark
02-17-2010, 02:26 AM
You ever heard of the saying "You must love yourself before being loved?" (something along the lines of that anyway.) Same things goes for writing. You must have confidence in your own work if you plan on being picked up by an agent. if you are excited about your work and know your craft, you will be asked for a partial or a full, but you need to keep trying until you do.

Being published is hard because everyone has a story to tell. If it were easy, the markets would be flooded with books that would likely never get read. There are a few resources I use when looking for agents, but this one is my favorite. When you are ready, browse around and check the individual sites for their specific guidelines.

http://querytracker.net/

Here, have an AW index:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=792

shaldna
02-18-2010, 09:00 PM
yes. it is.

that's why so many writers are hardened alcoholics.

:)

FOTSGreg
02-24-2010, 02:12 AM
Writing is a hard, difficult, confusing, and dirty business to try to break into. It's more difficult than getting a job that requires an extensive state and federal background check and a prior top secret and Q-level clearance.

Getting a book published has lower chances than you obtaining that top secret or Q-level clearance.

There are fewer people in the US earning their entire living off of their books than there are needed to man a professional baseball team.

Don't quit your day job.

But ask yourself - if you found your dream job tomorrow, doing something other than writing, could you stop writing?

If the answer is yes, then you need to go after that dream job and forget about this writing dream. It's just a dream.

Writing has to be an obsession, not a means to an end. Writing has to be as much a part of your life as eating and drinking and even breathing. You have to view writing as both your "other" job and your real life.

For example I work at WalMart to mark time and earn enough money to keep a roof over my head and pay my bills.

I write because I can and I'm good at it, but also because it's my life.

WalMart wants my life to be "the Store", but it's not even close. My stories and my writing are my life and nothing else even comes close.

Wayne K
02-24-2010, 02:16 AM
Well, what do you wanna hear, man? Do you wanna hear that sometimes I think about eatin' a bullet? Huh? Well, I do! I even got a special bullet for the occasion with a hollow point, look! Make sure it blows the back of my goddamned head out and do the job right! Every single day I wake up and I think of a reason not to do it! Every single day! You know why I don't do it? This is gonna make you laugh! You know why I don't do it? Writing! Doin' the job! Now that's the reason!

Captcha
02-24-2010, 05:43 AM
Well, what do you wanna hear, man? Do you wanna hear that sometimes I think about eatin' a bullet? Huh? Well, I do! I even got a special bullet for the occasion with a hollow point, look! Make sure it blows the back of my goddamned head out and do the job right! Every single day I wake up and I think of a reason not to do it! Every single day! You know why I don't do it? This is gonna make you laugh! You know why I don't do it? Writing! Doin' the job! Now that's the reason!


Damn, I know I recognize it...

Lethal Weapon?

kaitie
02-24-2010, 02:54 PM
Lethal Weapon! Just watched this again a few weeks ago. :)

sheadakota
02-24-2010, 03:17 PM
Crazy Mel- gotta love the guy and all that hair

(remember the HUGE cell phones in the movie- make me crack up every time I see it)

Wayne K
02-24-2010, 05:16 PM
That's the first time someone guessed it.

lucidzfl
02-24-2010, 10:04 PM
yes. it is.

that's why so many writers are hardened alcoholics.

:)

http://www.wpclipart.com/sign_language/thumbs_up.png

James D. Macdonald
02-24-2010, 11:45 PM
There are fewer people in the US earning their entire living off of their books than there are needed to man a professional baseball team.


Not 100% true. There are, what, 30 guys on a baseball team? I can name many more writers living off their writing just off the top of my head.

That there are more people earning their living as professional athletes, counting all sports, than there are people earning their living from writing books, that I might believe.

IceCreamEmpress
02-25-2010, 12:34 AM
There are fewer people in the US earning their entire living off of their books than there are needed to man a professional baseball team.

Nonsense. I personally know more than 30 people in the US who earn 100% of their income from writing right this minute.

And that's people I know well enough to call on the phone--it doesn't include Stephen King and Stephenie Meyer and Dan Brown and Jodi Picoult and Nora Roberts and Debbie Macomber and James Patterson and Tom Clancy and Michael Chabon and Laurell K. Hamilton and Charlaine Harris and John Grisham and Janet Evanovich and Nicholas Sparks and Danielle Steel and Jennifer Crusie and Michael Connelly and Linda Lael Miller and Peter Straub and Jackie Collins and Dean Koontz and John Irving and Anne Tyler and Anita Shreve and Jan Karon and Stuart Woods and Patricia Cornwell and Tess Gerritsen and Larry McMurtry and other staples of the best-seller list.

And that's just adult fiction. I could give you another 30 best-selling non-fiction writers who have no other day job, and another 30 best-selling writers for young adults and kids who have no other day job.

Your numbers are way off.

Ken
02-25-2010, 01:03 AM
Going over what I've written here, it comes off as whiny and bleak.

... perhaps a bit, but don't let that bother you. We ALL are like that some days, though of course we do our best to hide that from others. Kudos for your honesty. I don't agree with most of what you've said, but I can appreciate where you're coming from on an emotional level. Keep at it and stay strong and you'll have your day, yet :-)

straightshooter
03-23-2010, 07:47 PM
Actually what I really needed - was to read some of this. I've been writing for 8 years (yeah - just a tick on the universal author clock) and finally got to send the MS to Petter Miller and androids. I was so hopeful, even though the part of my brain that deals in reason said save the happy feet dance. After 5 months of requiring exclusivity, it passed their preliminary read - but on 2nd sweep ( after careful review of the fiction market ....blah blah blah.) I spent 5 days licking my wounds and found the courage the call for some real feed-back. I was informed that 'they don't do that.' "But you had my MS for 5 months and it would be so helpful for me to know where I need to improve..." "Sorry - we're really busy" - couldn't hang up fast enough. I thanked her for her time. It wasn't what I was thinking.
The book is very democratic (very anti republican) - "A cycle of Greed" - fiction based on the health care crisis. Anyone know a far left agent or publisher I could query?
Beyond this immense disappointment - I plan to go off and write something very commercial. Just - please don't make me write the tired 'guy gets murdered and we spend the next 400 pages trying to figure out who killed him. Wow - how original (but that one theme monopolizes 95% of the thriller/suspense shelves in any book store. I think that is what you were talking about. Can anyone say lobotomy?
Any feedback here would be greatly appreciated.
Jill

CaoPaux
03-23-2010, 08:48 PM
Oh, dear. One of the cardinal rules when dealing with agents is Don't Call. I suggest reading through the Ask the Agent and Ask the Editor forums to get a feel for how they work and how you should proceed.

shakeysix
03-23-2010, 08:54 PM
from time to time i manage to give something away but i've never sold anything to anybody. still i'm very upbeat about the whole bleeping mess and am actually considering quitting my day job to write full time. --s6

FOTSGreg
03-24-2010, 03:09 AM
Uncle Jim and IceCreamEmpress, Sorry, hyperbolae does not become me.

I did see that written out somewhere though so I'm just repeating something someone else said (I know, check your sources).

I'll just off and drool on myself now.

:)

Ibelong
03-24-2010, 03:38 AM
Yeah, there are a lot of scam artists out there, like Publish America. Yeah, sometimes you need to edit endlessly, scraping books and starting all over again befre you find something worth subbing. Yeah, sometimes we get kicked in the teeth a few times.

But that's the nature of the business.


And this isn't just THIS business but ANY business.

BBWalter
03-24-2010, 08:40 AM
Rejection after rejection you have to know you and your writing are good, worht taking seriously as a writer/project. Clothes don't make the man, but clothes certainly make the man noticeable. The same is said of confidence. Keep plugging and forget the days that you feel like you aren't good enough; they are the nemesis of being a writer.

B

scope
03-24-2010, 10:26 PM
I love to write and can't see myself ever stopping, whatever may be. I've been doing this exclusively for a good number of years and fortunately I've been published numerous times. I tell you this because I can look back on the past 30-35 years with perspective. Unquestionably, conditions within the industry today are infinitely harder, more difficult-however you want to describe them-than ever before. On many other threads we've discussed the horrors the economic climate has wrought upon so many aspects of the industry, and that's undeniable. What has also been mentioned, but I think too meekly, is that far more unpublished people are writing books than at any time in the past. I think that's great and I hope it continues, but I don't think we should bury our heads in the sand and believe that everything is wonderful, because it's not, especially for the unpublished. Indeed, lets all keep writing, but lets do so with the realization that getting an agent and/or getting published is more difficult than its ever been. Today, more than ever before, agents and/or publishers receive way more manuscripts than any publisher will print in a cycle (1-2 years). The industry is always looking for the next great book in a genre, that's understandable. Unfortunately they are poorly staffed to review the increasing amount of queries, submissions, partials, fulls, synopsis', proposals, sent them.

Others may feel differently and even site the rise of ebooks, self-publishing, blogs, etc. Any thoughts?

Sassy3421
03-25-2010, 02:16 AM
when I'm querying agents, I wake up everyday thinking this could be the day...well it hasn't happened yet. But like the rest of you guys, I keep writing. It's something I need to do. and I'm sure some of you will get it when I say (even though I'm not published) writing is not my hobby, it's my life.

Topaz044
03-25-2010, 08:11 AM
Just speaking personally, it was considerably more easier to get published than to get an actual agent...and at the same time, it isn't something you can easily make a living off on.

I come from a family of writers. My mom used to make a living off a writer, and she did it very well. How? She wrote non-fiction pieces of articles for different magazines and websites. Not on topics she wanted to write on, but topics that paid the most. If I was to try that for fiction, I would have to work twice as hard to earn the same amount of revenue, because the fiction market is much tougher to crack than the non-fiction market. For starters there are twice as many writers who want to write fiction, and the markets are not willing to pay as much.

Anyway, that's just my personal experience. Hope it helps :)

Al Ross
03-25-2010, 08:42 AM
I myself think that it seems all the trouble and time writers put in finding an Agent, they could have put in finding a publisher. Yes a lot do say they do not accept submissions, but some still might do. I think your time is better served by bypassing an Agent.

I've read stories where after finding an Agent, said Agent send the book out to 5 some publisher, gotten rejection and given up. (And many a story an agent telling an writer to rewrite a book to fit X) So you send X time to get an agent, get told what to do and then the agent send your book to a fixed amount of publishers, spending more time doing so. In the same time frame you could have send it to 20 or more publishers. I do not really see the sense in it. I do not know if I myself will go the Agent route.

ReallyRong
03-26-2010, 04:28 AM
People come with this pre-concienved notion that writing a bok is easy. Publishing is easy. A lot of people think it's just write the book, do a spell check nd you'll be rolling in doe.

Erm, spelchek aside, this sentiment hits the nail on the head. I'm not sure about bleak, but it's certainly hard. Many people think they've got a story to tell and that they can just tell it and people will love it. The trouble is that anyone can write basically in the same way that anyone can paint basically. But would anyone try to paint a masterpiece without any training? Would anyone try to do sculpturing without any training? Would anyone expect to perform musically without any training? And even after the training, you've still got to prove yourself against the others who also went through training. The fact is that to even give yourself a modicum of a chance of getting published, I think you have to be prepared to take the long road, which means being prepared to take time to learn your craft so that your writing becomes informed rather than intuitive. Then try getting some short stories published somewhere (anywhere!) or maybe even entering competions. Then of course, once you've tested yourself in those small worlds, you've got to honestly ask yourself the question of whether or not other people seem to think you've got what it takes or not.
I decided to go back to part time college that fits around work and doesn't cost too much, and am in a course where a score of 85% or more for a piece of coursework indicates that it has been deemed potentially publishable. My f***er of a tutor, who is an ex-journalist and small time published author keeps giving me 82%. I'm not too sure what to make of that, but am persevering anyhow as, I'm sure are all of the people on this board despite the bleak odds! The competitions are next....

eqb
03-26-2010, 03:27 PM
I myself think that it seems all the trouble and time writers put in finding an Agent, they could have put in finding a publisher. Yes a lot do say they do not accept submissions, but some still might do. I think your time is better served by bypassing an Agent.

Small presses don't require an agent, true, but most larger publishers don't take unsolicited submissions. For them, you do need an agent. Agents can submit to multiple publishers at once, they get a faster response from publishers, and once a publisher makes an offer, the agent can negotiate higher advance and better terms for the contract.

Just something to consider.

Red-Green
03-26-2010, 06:09 PM
from time to time i manage to give something away but i've never sold anything to anybody. still i'm very upbeat about the whole bleeping mess and am actually considering quitting my day job to write full time. --s6

Shakey, this cracked me up, because I actually sold stuff for the first time in 2009. Sold 5 whole stories for a total of $65. :roll: One of those was for $20!!! I really whooped it up with that money. Now...if I can just double my efforts in 2010... :D



I myself think that it seems all the trouble and time writers put in finding an Agent, they could have put in finding a publisher. Yes a lot do say they do not accept submissions, but some still might do. I think your time is better served by bypassing an Agent.

I've read stories where after finding an Agent, said Agent send the book out to 5 some publisher, gotten rejection and given up. (And many a story an agent telling an writer to rewrite a book to fit X) So you send X time to get an agent, get told what to do and then the agent send your book to a fixed amount of publishers, spending more time doing so. In the same time frame you could have send it to 20 or more publishers. I do not really see the sense in it. I do not know if I myself will go the Agent route.

Here's the sense in it: in the last 8 months, my hard-working agent has subbed my MS to 19 different editors, including several who simply don't take unsolicited submissions from writers. Right now I'm swapping emails with an editor at R@ndom H0use, discussing the book. That's a discussion that wouldn't be happening without my agent. You know what I've paid the guy so far: $0. He doesn't make a dime until he sells that book. You bet he's working hard. How much work have I done since I did my last revisions on the book? None. Unless you count obsessively refreshing my email as work. I'm not having to hassle publishers or send MSS or try to make contacts. All I have to do is work on the next book.

Ibelong
03-26-2010, 10:32 PM
=ReallyRong;***The trouble is that anyone can write basically in the same way that anyone can paint basically. But would anyone try to paint a masterpiece without any training? Would anyone try to do sculpturing without any training? Would anyone expect to perform musically without any training?



My reply:

First off not everyone can create art. It doesn't matter how many classes, professional or otherwise, those individuals just cannot create art. That is something you either can do or not. Now, do people paint and sculpt all the time? Sure!!!
In fact, in many artistic circles, it is felt that "traditional training" as well as structural influence ruins the beauty of art created via natural talent. There are (and have been) artists that are not only lacking in formal training but basic education. And yet, they are successful at being artists.
Now I must profess. I don't think it's possible for a "writer" to be successful without being schooled in the basics. After all, if you can put it to paper in a string of clear intelligible words, then people are not going to be able to "read" it.
That doesn't apply to art.
The reason why many artists study the greats is to learn style, technique, and to try and understand what they were wanting to achieve with the subject matter. The "greats" were quite often NOT greats when they were alive, many of whom suffered from varying degrees of mental illness and or depression. Many of the greats went against "tradition" and what was right. They did not paint or sculpt like everyone else and they were often ridiculed for it.
Writing, can be done, to a basic degree by anyone who can (as I said above) string a bunch of intelligible words together. Story telling, cannot. The ability to weave a story where character feel alive is truly a gift. It can be made BETTER, with practice or worse with the wrong influences, but the talent is something a person is born with.



ReallyRong:
And even after the training, you've still got to prove yourself against the others who also went through training. The fact is that to even give yourself a modicum of a chance of getting published, I think you have to be prepared to take the long road, which means being prepared to take time to learn your craft so that your writing becomes informed rather than intuitive. Then try getting some short stories published somewhere (anywhere!) or maybe even entering competions. Then of course, once you've tested yourself in those small worlds, you've got to honestly ask yourself the question of whether or not other people seem to think you've got what it takes or not.



My reply: IMHO---I really think that this is part of the problem with the industry today. I seem to recall...oh in the early eighties, a similar attitude among the music labels.
Musicians who wanted to be signed on were told to either "play like this" or "too bad so sad." Then along came the 90's and the slow rise of the internet. Many of those bands who had been called "no talent hacks" began putting their music out on the web where people could hear it. Those that did it well, developed a following. Today, some of the best music out there (and the worst) is done free enterprise. And you know who decides whether or not if the music is any good? The people who listen to it. The labels (are slowly but surely) losing their influence over the general public. And surprise, surprise, these bands are more often than not, comprised of people who-learned how to play in their garage and never went to music school or had any kind of advanced training.

Artistic ability (like a gift of an analytical mind) is innate. Practice simply makes perfect.



ReallyRong: I decided to go back to part time college that fits around work and doesn't cost too much, and am in a course where a score of 85% or more for a piece of coursework indicates that it has been deemed potentially publishable. My f***er of a tutor, who is an ex-journalist and small time published author keeps giving me 82%. I'm not too sure what to make of that, but am persevering anyhow as, I'm sure are all of the people on this board despite the bleak odds! The competitions are next....

My reply:

Because...in HIS *opinion* your work is only worth 82%. Someone else may deem it worth 40% and another may give a solid 95%.

I'm going to leave you with this little sad tale...a true story in fact! Because it's my story.

As a child I was considered gifted as an artist. Looking back, I was gifted. I entered contests on several occasions only to be tossed out because and I quote "there is no way an 11 year old child could have created this"
Anyhow, I wanted to go to art college, but didn't have a pot to piss in. I was given the opportunity to present my work to the head of the art department and show him what I could do. Within two days I had a full scholarship.
After years of formal training, technical exercises, art competitions, and group critiques I graduated with a solid A and some of the top scores in our group critiques and painting and drawing courses.
So, now that I could paint like my professors wanted me too, create art by the rule book, it would only seem logical that I take everything I "learned" and become the next Degas, right?
Nope. I laid down my paint brushes and pencils and I did not pick them up again for almost 15 years. To this day I still don't "create art." I am, much to my disappointment, no longer "gifted" or even very good.
Going through all that formal skill building, killed it for me. It killed my ability to "think outside the box" cause now when I draw I find myself bogged down with the rules and I am so worried about breaking them that the magic and the sensation of creating a piece just isn't there for me.
I honestly feel the same way about any creative process including writing. There is a fine line and way too many people trip, fall, and break their neck on it.

And no, I'm not saying that any old piece of slop writing is worth reading, however, I am saying that I think sometimes writers, editors, and publishes get so caught up in the rules that they forget that writing is also art and a creative process. And that, my friend, isn't something you can cage up and expect to survive.

straightshooter
03-30-2010, 11:39 PM
I sent millions (okay, maybe 50) queries to publishers with prior MSs - and that is why I went the agent route this time. Pretty much getting the same level of rejection. So has anyone had success focusing and targeting publishers?

Ibelong
03-31-2010, 01:00 AM
I sent millions (okay, maybe 50) queries to publishers with prior MSs - and that is why I went the agent route this time. Pretty much getting the same level of rejection. So has anyone had success focusing and targeting publishers?



If you haven't read Piers Anthony's site, http://www.hipiers.com/
it's a really good read, as well as a wealth of information about the publishing world.
I found it extremely interesting that even Piers Anthony still gets rejected and has unsold manuscripts......
Just goes to show you how tough it can be.

And no, I'm not even a fan of his (actually I don't care for his books at all) but I have a huge amount of respect and awe for his successes and honesty as a writer!!!!

Skippy75
04-16-2010, 04:28 PM
Hi CNMoon,

As someone who's spent my career on the otherside of the "table" when it comes to publishing, I can tell you: "Yes, it is bleak." Part of the reason is because so many people think they have "a book inside them" and publishing is something a lot of people dream of, for whatever reason. Many are misguided, and it is often the misguided who make it harder for legitimate writers to get ahead.

Publishers, even small publishers like the one I work for, receive numerous submissions a day. Most are awful -- either not appropriate for the market the publisher deals with or hastily prepared, poorly written, ridiculously egotistical (beyond all measure of ability) or just plain unimaginative. As you can understand, these take time to process (and time is money).

Publishers are not always raking in as much money as authors think either. Editorial and design costs as well as printing, distribution and promotional costs, are not cheap and books are sold to bookstores on a "sale or return" policy, usually at 40-60% of the RPP. This means that if the books don't sell in store (for whatever reason, even shitty shelf space) they get returned (often in less than pristine condition) and are usually sold elsewhere (to bulk distributors) at even more discounted prices.

First time authors, who lack an established fan base, therefore represent a considerable risk to a publisher. I know this isn't exactly encouraging you to keep going, but it does explain why some very successful authors received a lot of rejections before they got signed. A lot of authors can count "luck" as much as talent in their rise to success.

As a person who had had to assess submissions for suitability I can tell you that I've had days when everything I see is so crap that the first spell-checked and grammatically correct piece I see might go through to the pubs board for assessment, even if it's not that original, doesn't end satisfactorily, would need some structural work, or doesn't end up making the grade. Sometimes there's such a dearth of talent that publishers make do, at other times something comes through that makes my heart sing and I know we have to publish it. It's a number game and it does depend on what has come immediately before and immediately after in the slushpile, which is why I'd suggest to anyone serious about this art to just keep on keeping on. By all means, assess the market, spell check and edit your work (or have someone do it for you), but be persistent. Persistence may just pay off.

Cheers
Skip

willietheshakes
04-16-2010, 06:27 PM
OP: One thing to remember when all seems bleak and the road ahead looks hopeless: it's the talented whores that make the best money.

Bushrat
04-16-2010, 10:09 PM
Well, it's just a business. What you write has to have the potential to make money.

No matter how much of your soul you pour into your book, how you wrestle with each sentence, hone the plot - if you want it published and get paid for it, there needs to be an appetite, no, a hunger out there among book buyers to shell out their ten bucks for YOUR book.
It is the publisher's risk when they buy manuscripts that they'll sell.
So I wouldn't blame the difficulty of getting published on the publishing houses - look at what you're writing, how it compares with other books in its genre, and how many people would want to pay for the privilege of reading it. That's just what it boils down to - are you meeting the consumers' demand?

ilookcool
04-16-2010, 10:27 PM
I myself think that it seems all the trouble and time writers put in finding an Agent, they could have put in finding a publisher. Yes a lot do say they do not accept submissions, but some still might do. I think your time is better served by bypassing an Agent.

I've read stories where after finding an Agent, said Agent send the book out to 5 some publisher, gotten rejection and given up. (And many a story an agent telling an writer to rewrite a book to fit X) So you send X time to get an agent, get told what to do and then the agent send your book to a fixed amount of publishers, spending more time doing so. In the same time frame you could have send it to 20 or more publishers. I do not really see the sense in it. I do not know if I myself will go the Agent route.

Even if a publisher accepts unsolicited submission, it might be 1 year later or even longer when you hear back from them (if you do at all). And almost all publishers require exclusive rights for unsolicited submissions. So it means it will take you at least 5 years to submit to 5 publishers.

Bubastes
04-16-2010, 10:36 PM
Even if a publisher accepts unsolicited submission, it might be 1 year later or even longer when you hear back from them (if you do at all). And almost all publishers require exclusive rights for unsolicited submissions. So it means it will take you at least 5 years to submit to 5 publishers.

Really? That's news to me. Which publishers require exclusives for unsolicited subs?

scarletpeaches
04-16-2010, 10:44 PM
Even if a publisher accepts unsolicited submission, it might be 1 year later or even longer when you hear back from them (if you do at all).Or three days in my case.
And almost all publishers require exclusive rights for unsolicited submissions.O RLY?

I've never heard of any reputable publisher having that in their guidelines. Any shady outfit which did wouldn't be one I would ever deal with.
So it means it will take you at least 5 years to submit to 5 publishers.What shite. Really. This is just a steaming pile of arse-gravy.

Now I'll grant you that some epubs request exclusivity for fulls - no-one wants to offer a contract and be met with "Oh sorry; I sold it to someone else," but this would be after a non-exclusive query. After they had requested a full.

And certainly not all epubs implement this policy. I emailed a requested full this week and the editor concerned asked me to let her know if it was with anyone else - so it was obviously 'allowed'; she just wanted to know if that was the case. As it happened, it wasn't. She's the only one with the manuscript at the moment, and as the turnaround for epubs is pretty quick, I'm happy to make it an exclusive submission.

A year though? Pfft. If someone took longer than twelve weeks to get back to me I'd be pissed off, never mind twelve months.

ilookcool
04-16-2010, 11:03 PM
I write fantasy, so I've only researched major sci-fi/fantasy publishers.

Here we go:
Tor:
http://www.hatrack.com/writers/news/tor_submissions_guidelines.shtml
quote: "That means you can only send it on an exclusive basis. You can't send it to multiple publishers at once. "

Ace:
http://us.penguingroup.com/static/pages/specialinterests/scifi/submission.html
quote: "Please submit your project to only one publisher at a time."

DAW:
http://us.penguingroup.com/static/html/aboutus/DAWsubmission.html
quote: "We will not consider manuscripts that are currently on submission to another publisher."


Do you need more?

scarletpeaches
04-16-2010, 11:16 PM
I didn't see anything regarding exclusivity on the actual Tor link and with DAW, the part you quoted makes perfect sense. Why on Earth would one publisher consider something another publisher already had? Queries are non-exclusive and submissions often are, depending on your dealings with each agent or publisher.

Not that I would sub to a print publisher without an agent anyway, but nothing there seems out of the ordinary.

However...nowhere did I see anything about waiting a year for a reply. Five months? Pfft. No thanks. I'll go elsewhere, or get an agent first to speed things along.

ilookcool
04-16-2010, 11:24 PM
. Why on Earth would one publisher consider something another publisher already had?

Why does this conflict with what I said about exclusivity?


However...nowhere did I see anything about waiting a year for a reply. Five months? Pfft. No thanks. I'll go elsewhere, or get an agent first to speed things along.

http://www.critique.org/blackholes/index.ht

some of them do take around a year.

I'm not here to fight with anyone. I was just trying to say it's best to get an agent, which I believe is the board consensus.

If you want to fight, or like to talk in a condescending attitude, I won't reply any further.

scarletpeaches
04-16-2010, 11:27 PM
Why does this conflict with what I said about exclusivity?Because there's a difference between queries and submissions.
I'm not here to fight with anyone. I was just trying to say it's best to get an agent, which I believe is the board consensus.On that we agree, if we're talking about going to print.
If you want to fight, or like to talk in a condescending attitude, I won't reply any further.Oh well. If you want to think someone disagreeing means they're being condescending or looking for a fight, I can't help you.

ilookcool
04-16-2010, 11:31 PM
Because there's a difference between queries and submissions.

The original post I replied to was talking about submit his/her books to publishers without an agent, not query. So I said it wasn't such a good idea, because most publishers only want exclusive submissions.

scarletpeaches
04-16-2010, 11:32 PM
Also, not that this is much to do with this thread, but I'm going to have a bath now to soak away my rattiness.

Threads like this always seem to turn pessimistic about how long it takes to 'make it', or how no-one's taking on new clients/writers these days, and how hard it is.

I don't know why I do this to myself but I still join in, and end up wanting to bang my head against a brick wall.

If publishing really was that bleak, then...well, I'd suggest we just all give up.

But it isn't.

And if someone's so easily put off, then I submit my favourite Hannibal quotation (the elephant guy, not the A-Team one):

"We will either find a way, or make one."

SP, going for a soak.

ETA: Sorry I just don't seem to have much patience these days. Blame it on my approaching birthday.

Mr Flibble
04-16-2010, 11:47 PM
Sadly, the bigger / better the pub, the more slush they get, the longer they may take to get back. And yes, many of the bigger ones do want exclusivity, though not all insist.

For instance, Baen.

They made an offer on mine straight from the slush, and I had zero connections with Baen.

It took 2.5 years though, which is one of the potential downsides of submitting directly to the publisher.

I've got a requested full out and I've been told not to expect anything back for at least six months, probably more like nine ( non exclusive though). Will I wait? Hell yes, because the house is the dog's testoles




SP, going for a soak. You've got Jared under the bubbles, haven't you?

aadams73
04-18-2010, 12:05 AM
Writing has to be an obsession, not a means to an end. Writing has to be as much a part of your life as eating and drinking and even breathing. You have to view writing as both your "other" job and your real life.

For example I work at WalMart to mark time and earn enough money to keep a roof over my head and pay my bills.

I write because I can and I'm good at it, but also because it's my life.

WalMart wants my life to be "the Store", but it's not even close. My stories and my writing are my life and nothing else even comes close.

My life is my life.

I love writing, I really do. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction, and, one day, I hope it will bring in some serious money.

But at the end of the day, I'm good at lots of things and I enjoy a great many activities. I can't say writing is my life. It's a part of it, but not the most important part by a long shot.

Al Ross
04-18-2010, 10:14 AM
Even if a publisher accepts unsolicited submission, it might be 1 year later or even longer when you hear back from them (if you do at all). And almost all publishers require exclusive rights for unsolicited submissions. So it means it will take you at least 5 years to submit to 5 publishers.

Sorry but I do not know where you heard this. In all publishers submission info pages, I never saw them asking any exclusivity for unsolicited submissions.

Even if it were to be so, sending unsolicited already is against the set rules writers think they need to uphold, so do you really think if someone is in the mindset of sending his work unsolicited he would adhere to any rule of exclusivity?

Reality is there are no death set rules of submitting your work. One way works for someone and another for someone else.

eqb
04-18-2010, 02:52 PM
Sorry but I do not know where you heard this. In all publishers submission info pages, I never saw them asking any exclusivity for unsolicited submissions.

Handy guideline:

Unless the agent explicitly asks for exclusivity, you can query/submit to more than one at a time.

PUBLISHERS, however, go by just the opposite. Unless they explicitly state they accept sim-subs, they want exclusivity for submissions from authors. (Solicited or not.)

Note: Agents, however, can submit your ms. to more than one publisher at a time.

waylander
04-18-2010, 02:56 PM
Sorry but I do not know where you heard this. In all publishers submission info pages, I never saw them asking any exclusivity for unsolicited submissions.


I heard it here
http://us.penguingroup.com/static/html/aboutus/DAWsubmission.html

scope
04-18-2010, 08:27 PM
Handy guideline:

PUBLISHERS, however, go by just the opposite. Unless they explicitly state they accept sim-subs, they want exclusivity for submissions from authors. (Solicited or not.)



As waylander said, where did you see this?

Although not many publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts, of those who do, few in their guidelines demand exclusivity. That's just a fact. Check it out in any guide book.

eqb
04-18-2010, 08:54 PM
As waylander said, where did you see this?

Although not many publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts, of those who do, few in their guidelines demand exclusivity. That's just a fact. Check it out in any guide book.

Point 1) It was Al Ross who asked "where did you see this?" not Waylander.

Point 2) Waylander linked to Penguin's guidelines. In case you missed the relevant text, Penguin states, "We will not consider manuscripts that are currently on submission to another publisher."

Point 3) In case you were not aware of this, many other publishers state the same.

Point 4) Even if they don't explicitly state it, most publishers do not accept sim-subs. If you don't believe me, ask Hapisofi or Jim Macdonald.

Point 5) I'm going by my agent's knowledge and experience. Given a choice between your beliefs and hers? I'm taking hers.

midgedear
04-18-2010, 10:39 PM
[QUOTE=IceCreamEmpress;4675228]Nonsense.
And that's people I know well enough to call on the phone--it doesn't include Stephen King and Stephenie Meyer and Dan Brown and Jodi Picoult and Nora Roberts and Debbie Macomber and James Patterson and Tom Clancy and Michael Chabon and Laurell K. Hamilton and Charlaine Harris and John Grisham and Janet Evanovich and Nicholas Sparks and Danielle Steel and Jennifer Crusie and Michael Connelly and Linda Lael Miller and Peter Straub and Jackie Collins and Dean Koontz and John Irving and Anne Tyler and Anita Shreve and Jan Karon and Stuart Woods and Patricia Cornwell and Tess Gerritsen and Larry McMurtry and other staples of the best-seller list.

And, if you count those listed you have enough for 2 pro teams! You're numbers were way off, dude! Too funny, Ice Cream! Loved it.

I am in agreement with a lot of what was said here today. If you're not obsessed with writing, if you've come into it to make money, better move on. I personally, would lose my mind if I were told I'd never write again. Maybe I shouldn't say this, but I write a whole lot more than I read!

scope
04-19-2010, 02:15 AM
Point 1) It was Al Ross who asked "where did you see this?" not Waylander.

Right. My mistake.


Point 2) Waylander linked to Penguin's guidelines. In case you missed the relevant text, Penguin states, "We will not consider manuscripts that are currently on submission to another publisher."


Wrong. Penguin USA specifies that although they don't really relish unsolicited queries they accept those which are sent (not all imprints). They make no mention about exclusivity or manuscripts that are currently in submission. They go as far as to recommend that writers work through agents.



Point 3) In case you were not aware of this, many other publishers state the same.


I'm very well aware and quite certain I can say that the great majority of publishers who still accept unsolicited manuscripts don't insist on exclusivity up front.


Point 4) Even if they don't explicitly state it, most publishers do not accept sim-subs. If you don't believe me, ask Hapisofi or Jim Macdonald.


I disagree -- based on personal experience, not belief.



Point 5) I'm going by my agent's knowledge and experience. Given a choice between your beliefs and hers? I'm taking hers.


I'm going on 30 years of experience, an intimate knowledge of the industry, and my agent's knowledge and experience. However, I would be the first to agree that it's more than difficult for a writer to get a book bought going this route

kaitiepaige17
04-20-2010, 10:46 PM
Just read The Shining. I'm surprised that doesn't happen to all writers. Often, I feel like Jack. That is, I go a little crazy sometimes.

Dave Willhoite
04-21-2010, 12:48 AM
I feel stupid jumping into this discussion, because I am unpublished, and even unsubmitted at this point.

But I have experience from a different field that I believe would apply. Please forgive me if my inexperience causes offense, and please keep the ridicule to a healthy minimum.

I was a road musician for years. Now I am a music teacher. Better paycheck, less heartbreak. I CAN like to talk about creative production and the business of selling that creation.

In music, you have the talent, the talent buyers, and the talent sellers.

The talent is the musician, in my case. They do something because they love it. It can include songwriters, or even the very best sound techs. The operative word is love, in this case. They are also driven by angst, fear, insecurity and desperation. There is a fair amount of lust and need for self actualization involved. Please believe me on this one. Even second rate rock stars get more groupies than almost all writers.

The talent sellers go by a lot of names. Some are "Managers", some are "Booking agents", sometimes it's "the guy in the band that does the business", sometimes it's "Vinnie the Drummer, 'cause his phone is still on." They want to help the talent, but they don't care about the love. They are businessmen. They search for what they believe will sell, and they try to sell it. They want the artist to make as much money as possible, so that they can make a cut. They aren't selling the Talent, they are selling the product.

Talent buyers tend to be guys like record company guys (I had no good experiences with these), bar owners, club owners, and festival coordinators. They are also businessmen. They are passing judgment on the product, not on the artist. They want to pay as little as possible for the product (and to the artist) as possible.

When the buyers reject a project, they are not rejecting the artist, they are rejecting the product.

It isn't personal. Honestly, in almost every case, unless you screw up, they don't care who the heck you are. They don't know you from Adam, and much of the time they don't want to. But they want to sell your product. They want as much money to flow as possible.

Some basic rules.

1) Be professional.

2) Continue to produce the best quality product you can. Constantly improve, and constantly enjoy. Do it because you love to do it.

3) Don't take it personally. You are in this for the love, not for the approval. It sucks when your project isn't as good as you thought it was. Rejection is feedback too.

4) Don't EVER do it for the money, 'cause there ain't no money.

5) Don't quit your day job. Ever. If you have reached a point where "you have to", you can get a leave of absence.

6) If you screw up, or suspect you have screwed up, apologize as soon as you figure out you might have done it.

Ignoring these rules is a bad idea, in my opinion. Like I said, my own experience is limited, as far as writing is concerned.

It's not a bad system. It's just a heartbreaking system if you don't understand it, or approach it from the wrong viewpoint.

I was heartbroke. It soured me to no end. I hope that you don't have the same experience.

Dave

HConn
04-21-2010, 09:53 PM
The better you are at writing a book that readers want, the less bleak publishing will be.

incognitopress
04-21-2010, 10:47 PM
Hey Dave, I wanted to say that I really appreciated your observations. Though I don't personally have experience with the music industry, I've often compared the process that musicians go through with the literary industry, so I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this.
I only wish we had as many groupies as second-rate rock stars, lol :P

eventidepress
04-21-2010, 11:56 PM
Some basic rules.

1) Be professional.

2) Continue to produce the best quality product you can. Constantly improve, and constantly enjoy. Do it because you love to do it.

3) Don't take it personally. You are in this for the love, not for the approval. It sucks when your project isn't as good as you thought it was. Rejection is feedback too.

4) Don't EVER do it for the money, 'cause there ain't no money.

5) Don't quit your day job. Ever. If you have reached a point where "you have to", you can get a leave of absence.

6) If you screw up, or suspect you have screwed up, apologize as soon as you figure out you might have done it.

I was going to try and say smart insightful things, but then Dave said them all!
Honestly, I think that as long as you are calm, patient and professional about the process of breaking into publishing, you won't run into too much trouble. You may never get a book published, but you also won't be written off as a crazy person before your manuscript even has a chance.
The industry is looking for talented writers with good stories to tell, yes. But it is also a business. Just keep that in mind whenever you are interacting with agents/editors/authors/whoever.

blacbird
04-22-2010, 11:32 AM
Honestly, I think that as long as you are calm, patient and professional about the process of breaking into publishing, you won't run into too much trouble. You may never get a book published,

That's not trouble?

caw

eventidepress
04-22-2010, 06:10 PM
That's not trouble?

caw

Well, what I meant was that being calm, patient and professional isn't enough to sell a book -- you also have to have a book that's well-written and engaging. But even if your writing isn't quite there yet (mine wasn't when I submitted it to a few editors last year and I still cringe in embarrassment when I reread it now >.<), as long as you're professional about it, they aren't going to ignore you later on if you come back with a better MS.
To be fair, as long as you don't stalk the editor's publishing house in person or mail them giant flower basket bribes with subtly threatening notes attached, then you're probably being professional anyway...

ReallyRong
05-06-2010, 03:53 AM
Well my most recent piece of coursework actually made an 85%, and my tutor said that the people who mark the markers thought it was pretty good too - so I've finally produced a piece that might be worthy of publication. A few days ago I was one of the neverbeens, let alone the hasbeens and probably will be a neverwas tomorrow, but tonight I'm just so happy to have broken that barrier for a day. Oh - and I've been celebrating a bit too (though I'm guessing that's pretty obvious in this meandering), so apologies are available upon request.

AnkleSneeze
05-06-2010, 03:11 PM
(Ecclesiastes 12:9-12) ..And besides the fact that the congregator had become wise, he also taught the people knowledge continually, and he pondered and made a thorough search, that he might arrange many proverbs in order. 10*The congregator sought to find the delightful words and the writing of correct words of truth. 11*The words of the wise ones are like oxgoads, and just like nails driven in are those indulging in collections [of sentences]; they have been given from one shepherd. 12*As regards anything besides these, my son, take a warning: To the making of many books there is no end, and much devotion [to them] is wearisome to the flesh.

ReallyRong
05-07-2010, 03:10 AM
Erm, did I just get reprimanded?!