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View Full Version : Is it really necessary...this query thing?



RainBrain
08-27-2005, 03:00 AM
based on the accounts i've read in "rejection" section of this board these agents tend to think they're on some high and mighty type nonsense and it really sickens me.

first of all, i do love writing and my manuscript isn't a novel like that of most first timers. i happen to believe and know that I write pretty good. i have been told this a number of times by my college professors.

the fact is, i really do want my book published. but i'm not looking forward to the publishing because of the advance. i can be given an advance of $500 and i wouldn't care. i know the book will sell gloriously once a publisher shows interest in it. it just will. any money i expect to make will be from royalties which i have absolutely no problem with.

a small book between 40,000 to 50000 words gives a writer like myself several advantages one of which includes being able to re-read it in a very short amount of time and making necessary changes as many times as one finds necessary. so being as i'm not in a hurry, i spend time going over my manuscript countless times making sure everything is up to par and i have to admit, i'm quite astonished at my own abilities.

after reading all the stuff in the rejection part of this board, i'm seriously considering not sending a damn thing to agents anymore. really, if i'm going to be rejected i prefer it from a publisher. my writing is good. a manuscript like mine cant do nothing but get better if re-read as many times as I did mine and the changes i made.

the basic question is, i do know agents are important...........to some people, but are they really that important?

StoryG27
08-27-2005, 03:36 AM
I don't know a lot about the non-fiction market, but Cathy posted a little quiz on another thread, and I thought it might help you see if you want to deal with publishers on your own, or with a knowledgable agent on your side.

Also, yes, we writers gripe about being rejected, but MOST agents are just doing their business, not insulting writers for fun, and most don't act high and mighty. Finding the right agent is where research comes into play.



Here's a little quiz for you to see if you feel confident to deal with the publisher alone:


1. Do you know what "Delivery and acceptance" of the manuscript means and what time period is best for your book?

2. Do you know which subsidiary rights are most advantageous to keep and which to leave with the publisher?

3. Do you think mandated publication is a good idea?

4. Do you know the length of time that is common for the publisher you're querying to hold "reserves on returns?" Do you know how to change it?

5. Can you negotiate your own option clause so it benefits you more than the publisher?

If you aren't comfortable with all of these aspects of a publishing contract (or don't know what the heck I'm talking about!) then you need an agent. ;)

stormie
08-27-2005, 03:54 AM
Rain,

It's good you think highly of your work. But in your title you ask about a query, then in your message, you ask about if agents are necessary.

First of all, to get your book (nonfiction, 50,000 words) out there, you do have to perfect a query letter, whether to agents or book editors. You will also need an outline. They don't want the completed mss. at first.

Now, if you need an agent--that's up to you. You can get hold of the 2006 Writer's Market and look up publishers who publish your type of work. See what they want, do want, etc. You can also look up agents. As Storygirl said, Cathy had a very good list for seeing if you need an agent.

Agents aren't high and mighty. Yes, you get a few who might think they're God's gift to humanity, but that goes even with writers who think they're also God's gift to readers. Agents are there to help. Andy Zack on the Ask the Agent board here, is very nice and helpful.

Torin
08-27-2005, 04:28 AM
based on the accounts i've read in "rejection" section of this board these agents tend to think they're on some high and mighty type nonsense and it really sickens me.

first of all, i do love writing and my manuscript isn't a novel like that of most first timers. i happen to believe and know that I write pretty good. i have been told this a number of times by my college professors.
-snip-

And perhaps you even write well, although this post is likely not an example of your grasp of grammar and punctuation. Many people, myself included, tend to write more informally in emails and message boards. Good luck with your book. An agent may not be necessary for a non-fiction book, but there are many publishers who prefer agented submissions. You'll have to focus on those who accept unagented work, but if you do your homework and find out who publishes similar titles, you may very well succeed.

Cheers,

RainBrain
08-27-2005, 04:51 AM
oh by the way, i didn't mean the agents on this board. i meant outside agents in general. well, most of them.


as for my grammar. i dont put in work into something that doesn't need it. as long as i get my point across, i'm satisfied.

however, on a manuscript which is a potential money maker, its a completely different story

AncientEagle
08-27-2005, 05:02 AM
Maybe it's just me, but I could swear there's some leg pulling going on here. I sure do hope so.

RainBrain
08-27-2005, 05:10 AM
Maybe it's just me, but I could swear there's some leg pulling going on here. I sure do hope so.

that wouldn't be accurate. what you're reading is the real deal, my friend.

triceretops
08-27-2005, 07:06 AM
Agents actually only got in the way when it came to selling my non-fiction books. By that I mean I wasted my time contacting them. You can sell non-fiction (proposals only) by yourself to many, many publishing houses without an agent, and the script doesn't have to be finished for that to happen. But I would suggest a complete chapter by chapter outline on the book, plus your platform, credits, target markets, and a good solid three samp chapters.

Fiction is a different story. But, alas, out of 25 submissions--guess who requested full and partial manuscripts, with polite courtesy, I might add?

4 count em, 4 publishing houses!

Last non-fiction book--16 agent rejections. 5 university requests.

See the trend here. There is currently a serious glut in the agencies right now. That's my opinion, of course, but I'm getting rather fed up with agents who are passing entirely on queries, whereas publishers are eating them up.

Triceratops

AncientEagle
08-28-2005, 05:15 AM
that wouldn't be accurate. what you're reading is the real deal, my friend.

Oh my.

OneTeam OneDream
08-28-2005, 05:35 AM
[QUOTE=RainBrain]based on the accounts i've read in "rejection" section of this board these agents tend to think they're on some high and mighty type nonsense and it really sickens me.

Me too, but that's part of the game.

first of all, i do love writing and my manuscript isn't a novel like that of most first timers.
Yes it is.

i happen to believe and know that I write pretty good. i have been told this a number of times by my college professors.

We have all been told we are good. Until we are told that by someone buying our books off of the shelves, we are the same as any other "unpublished"

the fact is, i really do want my book published.

So do we all.


but i'm not looking forward to the publishing because of the advance. i can be given an advance of $500 and i wouldn't care.


Name me someone who is doing this for the money, and I'll show you someone who probably isn't successful. Your viewpoint is nothing new.


i know the book will sell gloriously once a publisher shows interest in it.

But there is always the chance that it won't. Probably a good chance that it won't, but obviously that isn't discouraging you, and that is a good sign.


it just will.

Of course it will.

any money i expect to make will be from royalties which i have absolutely no problem with.

That's good, I really wouldn't expect you to turn down royalty monies.

a small book between 40,000 to 50000 words gives a writer like myself several advantages one of which includes being able to re-read it in a very short amount of time and making necessary changes as many times as one finds necessary.

The biggest advantage you can have is writing a good to great book. If you can write a great book, none of the other stuff matters.



so being as i'm not in a hurry, i spend time going over my manuscript countless times making sure everything is up to par and i have to admit, i'm quite astonished at my own abilities.


You should be able to do these well, or else you'll be submitting stuff to agents/pubs that screams AMATUER HOUR!

after reading all the stuff in the rejection part of this board, i'm seriously considering not sending a damn thing to agents anymore.


That's your perogative, but don't expect to get into any of the "Big" houses.

really, if i'm going to be rejected i prefer it from a publisher.

Rejection sucks no matter who it is from.

my writing is good.


What a coincidence, mine too!.....and everyone elses here. And a lot of other people too!

a manuscript like mine cant do nothing but get better if re-read as many times as I did mine and the changes i made.

see above

the basic question is, i do know agents are important...........to some people, but are they really that important?


If you want to work up the ladder, nah they aren't important. However, if this is the greatest book ever written, and you expect nothing but NY times bestseller list, then yeah you should probably get the agent first.

Just my two cents.


Chris

LloydBrown
08-28-2005, 06:20 AM
I'm starting to agree with you, Triceratops.

With my current NF title, I've interested 0 agents. I think it has limited marketability, and the "limited" part is what's turning off the agents. A publisher might look at 30,000-50,000 sales and be content. If an agent sees a ceiling of 50,000, he's probably going to pass.

A few years ago, before I really had a clue what I was doing, I sent out a shotgun blast query for a NF title to 10 publishers--four replied with interest! Market research (done after the query, if that doesn't tell you how bad I was at the time) indicated that the book wasn't viable, but I still had that interest at that stage.

I think my next round of proposals will go straight to the publishers. I'll get an agent afterward.

triceretops
08-28-2005, 06:35 AM
Hi, Loyd. Yeah, it's just that when I took the books directly to the source (small and medium presses) I got instant results and instant contracts, one right after another. Non-fiction is SO MUCH easier to sell than a novel, it just makes sense to investigate all those leads and send them out in mass. I had several agents per book offer contracts, so I pitted them against each other, by telling them what advance they had to beat. So I infact held my own dumb little bidding war. Hey it worked, I guess. I earned out on both books. However, if you hit with a big house, then you can solicite an agent at that point to take you on. They can get much better advances and royalties for you, make no mistake about that.

I happened to goof with the "net" and "gross" differences on my royalties. That was probably the worst mistake I made.

Tri

RainBrain
08-28-2005, 03:00 PM
Hi, Loyd. Yeah, it's just that when I took the books directly to the source (small and medium presses) I got instant results and instant contracts, one right after another. Non-fiction is SO MUCH easier to sell than a novel, it just makes sense to investigate all those leads and send them out in mass. I had several agents per book offer contracts, so I pitted them against each other, by telling them what advance they had to beat. So I infact held my own dumb little bidding war. Hey it worked, I guess. I earned out on both books. However, if you hit with a big house, then you can solicite an agent at that point to take you on. They can get much better advances and royalties for you, make no mistake about that.

I happened to goof with the "net" and "gross" differences on my royalties. That was probably the worst mistake I made.

Tri

this is what i'm actually thinking. if one gets a deal with the publisher, then, an agent can come into place.

i started off wanting to write a novel and it wasn't until i had coughed up about 25000 words that i realize that wasn't my forte. and besides, there are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many novelists out there.

i started my nonfiction and i have no problem finding things to write about. it just comes easily.



about that writer's market magazine. i suppose the local library should have one, right? lol. yeah, i know, i'm being cheap but ya cant blame me for trying to save a lil.

Carole
08-28-2005, 05:31 PM
this is what i'm actually thinking. if one gets a deal with the publisher, then, an agent can come into place.


I know of at least two writers who have the publisher side almost wrapped up and are STILL having a devil of a time finding an agent. Just a thought.

christa
08-28-2005, 05:39 PM
Maybe it's just me, but I could swear there's some leg pulling going on here. I sure do hope so.

ditto Ancient Eagle. Bitten twice--shy thrice.

by the way Rain--how is your healing coming along (from that near fatal accident)?

Why don't you post us a copy of your query to your proposal, perhaps we could better comment on if it would be rejected more easily by an agent or by a publisher.

RainBrain
08-28-2005, 06:34 PM
ditto Ancient Eagle. Bitten twice--shy thrice.

by the way Rain--how is your healing coming along (from that near fatal accident)?

Why don't you post us a copy of your query to your proposal, perhaps we could better comment on if it would be rejected more easily by an agent or by a publisher.


the accident was a blessing in the sky. it gave me more things to write about. but i do have about three devilish scars on my face and a lockjaw.


i'ma think about posting my query. i haven't revised it yet because based on what you said a while ago, i decided to finish editing my manuscript before concentrating on the query. probably later on today or tomorrow morning i'll post it

RainBrain
08-28-2005, 06:35 PM
I know of at least two writers who have the publisher side almost wrapped up and are STILL having a devil of a time finding an agent. Just a thought.

like i said, getting a publisher interested is all its about. i could care less about the advance. if after getting the publisher i have a problem finding an agent, no biggie. i'll just abort the search.

Sassenach
08-28-2005, 07:10 PM
the accident was a blessing in the sky. it gave me more things to write about. but i do have about three devilish scars on my face and a lockjaw.




Word on whomever suggested 'leg-pulling.' You have 'a lockjaw'??

Carole
08-28-2005, 10:52 PM
like i said, getting a publisher interested is all its about. i could care less about the advance. if after getting the publisher i have a problem finding an agent, no biggie. i'll just abort the search.

Well, I only mentioned this because of Cathy C's questionnaire about whether or not a writer needs an agent. If you can answer those questions in a way that makes you believe you wouldn't need an agent, then go for it I guess.

stormie
08-28-2005, 11:12 PM
...about that writer's market magazine. i suppose the local library should have one, right? lol. yeah, i know, i'm being cheap but ya cant blame me for trying to save a lil.

"That writer's market magazine" isn't a magazine. It's a rather large book called 2006 Writer's Market. After reading your posts, I really think you'd get a lot out of it. Or maybe not.

RainBrain
08-28-2005, 11:33 PM
"That writer's market magazine" isn't a magazine. It's a rather large book called 2006 Writer's Market. After reading your posts, I really think you'd get a lot out of it. Or maybe not.

too bad u didn't answer the question. library?

RainBrain
08-28-2005, 11:38 PM
Non-fiction is SO MUCH easier to sell than a novel, it just makes sense to investigate all those leads and send them out in mass.
Tri


i missed this part when i first read your post but i have to admit, this is the truth people dont wanna talk about.

i didn't need a book or something major to tell me non-fictions will be much more easier to sell. just looking at the gizillion amount of great aspiring novelists out there alone tells a story.


so what was your non-fiction book(s) about?

triceretops
08-28-2005, 11:52 PM
I used to hold the most massive garage sales in the 80's. It occured to me that I was paying my rent at times, so I decided to write a book that was for the seller and the buyer. There were no books on the subject, just articles. So I wrote about liquidations, indoor/outdoor swap meets, tag sales, yard sales, moving sales, auctions and all that. It became Garage Mania. The other was called Auto Repair Shams and Scams (with Ralph Nader) how to avoid being ripped off by a mechanic.

Tri

RainBrain
08-29-2005, 12:02 AM
I used to hold the most massive garage sales in the 80's. It occured to me that I was paying my rent at times, so I decided to write a book that was for the seller and the buyer. There were no books on the subject, just articles. So I wrote about liquidations, indoor/outdoor swap meets, tag sales, yard sales, moving sales, auctions and all that. It became Garage Mania. The other was called Auto Repair Shams and Scams (with Ralph Nader) how to avoid being ripped off by a mechanic.

Tri

nice. i'm working on something sorta similar in the sense that there aren't enough about it in the market as of now.

RainBrain
08-29-2005, 12:34 AM
Word on whomever suggested 'leg-pulling.' You have 'a lockjaw'??

yes a lockjaw and i tell you, its not fun living with that. i cant open my mouth wide enough to eat my favorite food.

it sucks just having liability insurance on a car. got no one to sue. i'm submerged in bills. but hey, more to write about.

AncientEagle
08-29-2005, 06:19 AM
[QUOTE= i cant open my mouth wide enough to eat my favorite food.[/QUOTE]

Foot?

reph
08-29-2005, 07:49 AM
the accident was a blessing in the sky.
I stared at that sentence for a couple of seconds before translating it as "The accident was a blessing in disguise."

RainBrain
08-29-2005, 08:28 AM
I stared at that sentence for a couple of seconds before translating it as "The accident was a blessing in disguise."


lol. i knew what i was saying when i used the words "blessing in the sky"

Sassenach
08-29-2005, 07:41 PM
I'm skeptical about how you went from having 'half your face torn off' to 'lockjaw.' And since your accident was only a couple of weeks ago, isn't it rather premature to talk about scars. IOW...I don't believe you.

RainBrain
08-30-2005, 01:52 AM
I'm skeptical about how you went from having 'half your face torn off' to 'lockjaw.' And since your accident was only a couple of weeks ago, isn't it rather premature to talk about scars. IOW...I don't believe you.


awww. how cute. and if i may inquire, why exactly would i be lieing? let me educate you on some quick things. first off, the cut was deep enough that even doctors guaranteed there'd be a scar. after about 3 weeks, its clear to me, the person with the wound, that this is reality. not like i want a scar on my gorgeous face :) but reality is reality. and are u familiar with what lockjaw is? i'll update you on that too, since......you know.....i'm the one suffering from it now.

lockjaw is an acute and serious infection of the central nervous system caused by bacterial infection of open wounds; spasms of the jaw and laryngeal muscles may occur during the late stages

anymore things u need cleared up you let me know and i'll be more than happy to quench the investigative thirst in you.....i promise.

reph
08-30-2005, 06:25 AM
R. Brain, as what you quoted says, lockjaw is a disease – namely, tetanus. If, after an accident, your jaw is locked in one position, that isn't lockjaw.

My point? Gee, I don't know. I just enjoy seeing words used correctly.

RainBrain
08-30-2005, 08:52 AM
R. Brain, as what you quoted says, lockjaw is a disease – namely, tetanus. If, after an accident, your jaw is locked in one position, that isn't lockjaw.

My point? Gee, I don't know. I just enjoy seeing words used correctly.

hey hey hey, my friend. my jaw is not locked in one position. but as u can see in my post i specifically highlighted the word "spasm of the jaw", u should have gotten a clue

see, it appears some people actually expect full explanations when posting on a board. i know what i went through when i had the accident since i was there when it it happened. why didn't i go into the details instead of paraphrasing? why should I? whats the point? the point was i had an accident and i expect your imaginations to pick up from there as to the damage that can do to a human body.

now as far as lockjaw goes. have u ever had one before? have you ever had a case in which you just could not open your mouth wide enough because the muscles on the side of your head aches like hell. have u? i'll tell you hw it feels. it feels like u might tear something. thats spasm of the jaw

u need to understand. this is a board. not a book. i'm not here to show off my exceptional writing skills. i'm here to ask questions. whether or not i use phrases like "blessings in the sky" or "monkeys in sneakers" shouldn't matter. what should be of concern is the question being asked. i'm not speaking swahili here.

susanabra
08-30-2005, 09:54 AM
I don't believe you either, but the point is not whether you are for real, but why anyone should waste time answering questions, you obviously already think you have the answers to.
On the other hand, I got a kick out of some of your posts, so it wasn't a total waste of time

RainBrain
08-30-2005, 10:55 AM
I don't believe you either, but the point is not whether you are for real, but why anyone should waste time answering questions, you obviously already think you have the answers to.
On the other hand, I got a kick out of some of your posts, so it wasn't a total waste of time


u dont believe me too. lol anyone else wants to join the clan?

first off, i suspect those of u spending time picking out the irrelevant things are agents who are offended by the first post of this thread

lol. its like this guys. i'm not hating on you. i'm really not.

a member of this board posted a reply letter she recieved from one agent a while ago. i dont remember the exact words of the letter but I remembered that the agent really went out of his way to belittle her. even though the letter wasn't directed to me, i was really heated when i read it. some of these agents really consider themselves on some supreme crap and it annoys me.

alls i'm saying is i intend on bypassing agents and going straight to publishers. i needed to know if there were others who had been successful in doing that and then triceretops came into the picture. though he may be one of the few who were lucky in doing so, i still nevertheless intend on doing the same thing

i am going to get published one way or the other, its just a matter of finding a less stressful (most likely non-agent) way of doing it.

i sent my query letter to one agent a few weeks ago and she replied 2 weeks later. she simply told me my type of work isn't what her company was looking for at the time. i mean, i wasn't offended. thats how an agent is suppose to reply. i liked a rejection letter like that. but when an agent goes out of his way to ridicule ones work i cant help but develop disdain

Cathy C
08-30-2005, 04:04 PM
There's a fine line between constructive criticism and ridicule, I'll agree. What an agent is NOT supposed to do is to make comments against the writer directly. To say, "Don't quit your day job...please! My God! What ever made you think you were a writer?" is ridicule.

But on the other hand, a letter that says, "This sample is atrocious. The characters are uninteresting, the plot drags and the grammar is dismal. Please buy a copy of Strunk & White as soon as you can!" is not ridicule. It's brutal, but still qualifies as constructive criticism because the writer has gotten advice about what's wrong with the work.

I'd rather have brutal honesty than vague generalities. There's little more frustrating to me than to get a rejection like the example you used. "Your type of work isn't what her company was looking for at the time." If I targeted an agent who regularly sells books of my same genre, then saying it's not what they're looking for is a bald-faced lie, and doesn't tell me why they didn't want MY book.

But I'd be interested to know what others consider ridicule. Different people have different levels of expectation in a contact from an agent/publisher.

(For the record, FWIW, I'd really recommend that you look for an agent before you go to a publisher. I've done it both ways, and my bank account continues to appreciate the efforts of our agent.)

Lauri B
08-30-2005, 04:13 PM
I'm of two minds about agents--we've signed authors through their agents and signed authors without agents, and have had good experiences both ways. I think it's far easier for writers to sign with publishers without an agent when they are pitching nonfiction than it is for fiction authors to pitch on their own. I also think it's easier, in general, to attract the attention of smaller publishers than the big ones. The most important aspect of pitching your own work to a publisher is to be sure that the publisher is appropriate for what you are writing. There's nothing that annoys me more than spending time opening queries or manuscripts for books that have absolutely nothing to do with our list. Read a publisher's guidelines--if they say, "we don't do cookbooks, poetry, books about animals, books about aliens" etc. etc., then don't send them queries or manuscripts about aliens, cookbooks, poems about aliens cooking, books about animals eating aliens who cook, or anything else even remotely like it. Do your homework and everyone will be much happier.
Good luck, RainBrain. Keep us posted on your efforts.

aka eraser
08-30-2005, 07:42 PM
This is verging on Take-It-Outside territory, which is a shame because there's some decent info here for newbie nonfiction writers.

Let's try to keep the focus on querying/agents/small pubs shall we?

By the way, I gave up trying to land an agent after about six months and 40-some attempts. I then went the direct-to-pub route and was successful on my 2nd try. I will be looking for an agent to represent my next book though.

RainBrain
08-30-2005, 09:14 PM
This is verging on Take-It-Outside territory, which is a shame because there's some decent info here for newbie nonfiction writers.

Let's try to keep the focus on querying/agents/small pubs shall we?

By the way, I gave up trying to land an agent after about six months and 40-some attempts. I then went the direct-to-pub route and was successful on my 2nd try. I will be looking for an agent to represent my next book though.




answers like this brightens my day. thanks for the contribution. i'm probably going to have to buy this writer's market book..............after i'm done re-reading my manuscript for the 600th time (not really 600 but you get the picture :)

and as for nomad's post. lol. this had me cracking up:

if they say, "we don't do cookbooks, poetry, books about animals, books about aliens" etc. etc., then don't send them queries or manuscripts about aliens, cookbooks, poems about aliens cooking, books about animals eating aliens who cook,

nice

RainBrain
08-30-2005, 09:16 PM
There's a fine line between constructive criticism and ridicule, I'll agree. What an agent is NOT supposed to do is to make comments against the writer directly. To say, "Don't quit your day job...please! My God! What ever made you think you were a writer?" is ridicule.

But on the other hand, a letter that says, "This sample is atrocious. The characters are uninteresting, the plot drags and the grammar is dismal. Please buy a copy of Strunk & White as soon as you can!" is not ridicule. It's brutal, but still qualifies as constructive criticism because the writer has gotten advice about what's wrong with the work.

I'd rather have brutal honesty than vague generalities. There's little more frustrating to me than to get a rejection like the example you used. "Your type of work isn't what her company was looking for at the time." If I targeted an agent who regularly sells books of my same genre, then saying it's not what they're looking for is a bald-faced lie, and doesn't tell me why they didn't want MY book.

But I'd be interested to know what others consider ridicule. Different people have different levels of expectation in a contact from an agent/publisher.

(For the record, FWIW, I'd really recommend that you look for an agent before you go to a publisher. I've done it both ways, and my bank account continues to appreciate the efforts of our agent.)


i'd like to dig up that post i'm talking about but i'm too lazy. in that post, it was clear the agent was just an ***. he crossed well beyond any fine line there could possibly be. anyway, i do see where you're coming from.

underthecity
09-02-2005, 06:18 PM
alls i'm saying is i intend on bypassing agents and going straight to publishers. i needed to know if there were others who had been successful in doing that and then triceretops came into the picture. though he may be one of the few who were lucky in doing so, i still nevertheless intend on doing the same thing

I think it depends mostly on subject matter and the publisher who best handles that particular subject. I haven't explored the bigger houses lately, but publishers will state in their guidelines "No unagented submissions" or "No unsolicited manuscripts." These are two different things. Obviously if the publisher says "no unagented submissions" they mean you absolutely must have an agent to submit to them. "Unsolicited" means they have to ASK for the manuscript first. In this case, you first send them a query letter asking if they are interested. They will then write back and let you know whether or not to submit the manuscript, or samples, whichever they ask for.

Forgive me if all that has already been discussed.

In my own experience, my first book was regional history. Since the topic was a narrow focus, I did not try for an agent. Instead, I queried several regional history publishers (including university presses) and received rejections. It was until a couple of years later that I discovered the publisher that was best suited for my work. Arcadia was indeed a regional history publisher which was set up to handle EXACTLY my subject matter. I just wish I had found them sooner. Since my first book did well with them, I did two more. The third is due out this December.

I believe that with either nonfiction or fiction, the trick is finding just the right publisher for your work. As Nomad said before, publishers handle different things and one may want your subject that another would not. You will receive rejections to be sure, but you have to keep looking until you find the right one. And when you DO find the right one, it's win-win for both parties.

And after many rejections, you may have to re-evaluate the manuscript.

allen

RainBrain
09-03-2005, 02:05 AM
I think it depends mostly on subject matter and the publisher who best handles that particular subject. I haven't explored the bigger houses lately, but publishers will state in their guidelines "No unagented submissions" or "No unsolicited manuscripts." These are two different things. Obviously if the publisher says "no unagented submissions" they mean you absolutely must have an agent to submit to them. "Unsolicited" means they have to ASK for the manuscript first. In this case, you first send them a query letter asking if they are interested. They will then write back and let you know whether or not to submit the manuscript, or samples, whichever they ask for.

Forgive me if all that has already been discussed.

In my own experience, my first book was regional history. Since the topic was a narrow focus, I did not try for an agent. Instead, I queried several regional history publishers (including university presses) and received rejections. It was until a couple of years later that I discovered the publisher that was best suited for my work. Arcadia was indeed a regional history publisher which was set up to handle EXACTLY my subject matter. I just wish I had found them sooner. Since my first book did well with them, I did two more. The third is due out this December.

I believe that with either nonfiction or fiction, the trick is finding just the right publisher for your work. As Nomad said before, publishers handle different things and one may want your subject that another would not. You will receive rejections to be sure, but you have to keep looking until you find the right one. And when you DO find the right one, it's win-win for both parties.

And after many rejections, you may have to re-evaluate the manuscript.

allen

thanks a lot for this post. i have seen some publishers with the "no un-agented manuscripts" signs on their websites. i knew not to waste my time with those. though i'm still re-reading my the ms I truly do need to get off my asss and go buy that writer's market book. i supposed you too found it very helpful in finding your dream publisher? right?

underthecity
09-03-2005, 02:22 AM
thanks a lot for this post. i have seen some publishers with the "no un-agented manuscripts" signs on their websites. i knew not to waste my time with those. though i'm still re-reading my the ms I truly do need to get off my asss and go buy that writer's market book. i supposed you too found it very helpful in finding your dream publisher? right?
Rainbrain, you're welcome for the info.

Before you buy a copy of Writers Market, check out the most recent copy from the library. Unless you are planning a career in writing, say in magazines, then it's probably best to check it out. OR, they do have a website which contains all the listings in the book. I think you would pay about the same price for a year's subscription to WD's website that you would for the book.

Oh, and another caveat. There are MANY publishers listed in WM book whose listings say "web only," meaning your dream publisher might not even have any info in the book. I think that's a raw deal, but I guess I'm in the minority.

But WM is more than just publisher listings. They have a GREAT series of articles in the beginning of the book that tell how to write query letters among other necessary things. They also show a good example of a query and a bad example. You can learn a lot reading this.

In my case, I searched WM for regional history publishers, but somehow missed Arcadia. The author of this website (http://www.forgottenoh.com/page1.html)had written a book for Arcadia based on his website. I saw the book posted on his site, and thought it had a similar theme as my manuscript. I emailed the publisher, and they expressed interest and asked for the manuscript. After that, they had me fill out a proposal, then issued me a contract soon after. That first book (http://www.allensedge.com/cincinnatisubway.html) turned into one of their best sellers.

That's the story in a nutshell. If I had done more bookstore research, I would have found them a lot sooner than I did.

Like I said, I think it's just a matter of finding the right publisher for your manuscript. You just have to do the research and target publishers. Otherwise, you could be wasting a lot of waiting time.

allen

RainBrain
09-03-2005, 04:07 AM
Rainbrain, you're welcome for the info.

Before you buy a copy of Writers Market, check out the most recent copy from the library. Unless you are planning a career in writing, say in magazines, then it's probably best to check it out. OR, they do have a website which contains all the listings in the book. I think you would pay about the same price for a year's subscription to WD's website that you would for the book.

Oh, and another caveat. There are MANY publishers listed in WM book whose listings say "web only," meaning your dream publisher might not even have any info in the book. I think that's a raw deal, but I guess I'm in the minority.

But WM is more than just publisher listings. They have a GREAT series of articles in the beginning of the book that tell how to write query letters among other necessary things. They also show a good example of a query and a bad example. You can learn a lot reading this.

In my case, I searched WM for regional history publishers, but somehow missed Arcadia. The author of this website (http://www.forgottenoh.com/page1.html)had written a book for Arcadia based on his website. I saw the book posted on his site, and thought it had a similar theme as my manuscript. I emailed the publisher, and they expressed interest and asked for the manuscript. After that, they had me fill out a proposal, then issued me a contract soon after. That first book (http://www.allensedge.com/cincinnatisubway.html) turned into one of their best sellers.

That's the story in a nutshell. If I had done more bookstore research, I would have found them a lot sooner than I did.

Like I said, I think it's just a matter of finding the right publisher for your manuscript. You just have to do the research and target publishers. Otherwise, you could be wasting a lot of waiting time.

allen


nice. very nice. congrats on your success. mane.

i goto ask, so is writing your only source of income now? none of my business but im just curious if after your success you decided to quit ya day job.

underthecity
09-03-2005, 06:46 AM
i goto ask, so is writing your only source of income now? none of my business but im just curious if after your success you decided to quit ya day job.

Rainbrain, you flatter me. No, I have a day job, as most writers do. I do get a nice couple of checks every six months. For many writers, writing is like a part time job. We do it because we like to and we can make money at it also.

My first two books are sold regionally. But these are stepping stones into a larger career which I am working toward now.

allen

christa
09-06-2005, 05:01 PM
Rainbrain, I too went to a publisher without an agent. For the book's sequel I found an agent. The agent seemed easier to land since I was already published. I had three offers for representation from my first batch of queries. (I think I made a mistake in my final choice, but that's another story.)

In my experience, it's almost impossible to incite the interest of the big publishing houses without an agent. My own publisher was a small house. Overall, I was quite satisfied with the outcome, but it was an exhaustive process, I would not look forward to doing it again; abet the agent.

I join in the above recommendation to check out the Writer's Market at the library. That way you can decide if it's worth your while to purchase it. In another thread somewhere on these boards there is mention of a delux version, the price of which includes the web connections.

Good luck.

DeePower
09-18-2005, 01:54 AM
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You can read the article at
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Dee

Jamesaritchie
09-18-2005, 04:07 AM
based on the accounts i've read in "rejection" section of this board these agents tend to think they're on some high and mighty type nonsense and it really sickens me.

first of all, i do love writing and my manuscript isn't a novel like that of most first timers. i happen to believe and know that I write pretty good. i have been told this a number of times by my college professors.

the fact is, i really do want my book published. but i'm not looking forward to the publishing because of the advance. i can be given an advance of $500 and i wouldn't care. i know the book will sell gloriously once a publisher shows interest in it. it just will. any money i expect to make will be from royalties which i have absolutely no problem with.

a small book between 40,000 to 50000 words gives a writer like myself several advantages one of which includes being able to re-read it in a very short amount of time and making necessary changes as many times as one finds necessary. so being as i'm not in a hurry, i spend time going over my manuscript countless times making sure everything is up to par and i have to admit, i'm quite astonished at my own abilities.

after reading all the stuff in the rejection part of this board, i'm seriously considering not sending a damn thing to agents anymore. really, if i'm going to be rejected i prefer it from a publisher. my writing is good. a manuscript like mine cant do nothing but get better if re-read as many times as I did mine and the changes i made.

the basic question is, i do know agents are important...........to some people, but are they really that important?

Clean up your grammar and punctuation, and then I'll believe you write well. College professors say a lot of things, but college professors are not agents or editors.

Agents are not on high and mighty anything. Agents make money by finding writers who write well, and who write something the public wants to read. And if you think agents are tough, try editors. Editors make agents love like puppies standing next to a wolf.

If your book isn't good enough to attract an agent, odds are it won't even be looked at by publishers.

Short or long is no advantage. Advantage lies in writing a book that's both good and right for an audience. Editing and rewriting a long book is really not much more difficult than editing and rewriting a short book.

But either way, if the grammar and punctuation in your post is an example of the way your book is written, you need to do some serious work in this area before submitting the book to anyone.

RainBrain
09-19-2005, 03:59 PM
Clean up your grammar and punctuation, and then I'll believe you write well. College professors say a lot of things, but college professors are not agents or editors.

Agents are not on high and mighty anything. Agents make money by finding writers who write well, and who write something the public wants to read. And if you think agents are tough, try editors. Editors make agents love like puppies standing next to a wolf.

If your book isn't good enough to attract an agent, odds are it won't even be looked at by publishers.

Short or long is no advantage. Advantage lies in writing a book that's both good and right for an audience. Editing and rewriting a long book is really not much more difficult than editing and rewriting a short book.

But either way, if the grammar and punctuation in your post is an example of the way your book is written, you need to do some serious work in this area before submitting the book to anyone.


for some reason i find that very hard to believe. a gigantic manuscript filled with jargons will be hell to rewrite/reread....for an unpublished writer.

but i have to say thanks for your responce. i can see why u believe i need serious work in my writing...even though your only going by my posts. the fact is i find it quite hard to write seriously when posting on a message board or doing anything that doesn't necessarily benefit me financially.

in my first post of this thread, my purpose was to get a point across. it was a point u apparently understood hence ur detailed reply. everyone who read it understood it. now, mission accomplished. i didn't need to employ my outstanding writing abilities to do so.


you couldn't read my book and guessed I was the author if you are basing your knowledge of me on posts on a message board.

"When I write I take on a totally different personality"

take for instance the second paragraph of your own post. you meant to say "look" NOT "love". now i believe thats a spelling error. but i assume since you were in a totally different mode of mind at the time of writing, u cared less to proofread. same thing with me. as long the point is understood.

Sassenach
09-21-2005, 02:47 AM
but i have to say thanks for your responce. i can see why u believe i need serious work in my writing...even though your only going by my posts. the fact is i find it quite hard to write seriously when posting on a message board or doing anything that doesn't necessarily benefit me financially.




Since I'm assuming all of us value our time, that's all I need to know about wasting mine responding to posts like yours.

There's a difference between being casual on a bulletin board and coming across as semi-literate.

RainBrain
09-21-2005, 12:03 PM
Since I'm assuming all of us value our time, that's all I need to know about wasting mine responding to posts like yours.

There's a difference between being casual on a bulletin board and coming across as semi-literate.


Some people just need somewhere to vent.


Why cant u be like deepower, undercity, nomad, aka eraser?

The aforementioned posters understood the thread and answered accordingly. Others like reph, you, sussanbra and a few others on the first page baffled me tremendously.

I can not fathom how and why you are making a big deal out of nonsense. Honestly, i cant. Reread my original post and ask yourself "Do i even understand what i'm saying?"

The only explanation i can come up with for your strange baseless behaviour is the macroscopical possiblity that you may be an agent who was angered by the seemingly objurgated statements i made in the prior page of the thread.

As you said, there IS a difference between being casual on a bulletin board and coming across as semi-literate. However, my coming off "semi-literate" on a message board has merit. You coming off as a immature preschooler doesnt.

In my case, I come off "semi-literate" because it requires not a lot of work but enough to get my intended point across. On the other hand, you coming off as an unsophisticated kindergarten-er has no reasonable grounds.

Your words became more than useless to me the moment you tried to tell me the scar on my face wasn't really a scar. As u put it, its only 3 weeks old so I could not have possibly known if it was a scar because i'm assuming u think i'm an idiot and i dont know how my body responds to injuries.

In short, dude, u need to learn how to comprehend and control your loose urges.

Cathy C
09-21-2005, 06:27 PM
I have to admit, RainBrain, that I find your post strangely compelling. If I'm to believe you --- that you can choose different levels of "literacy" depending on where you write, and do it without active thought --- then I'm a bit impressed. I simply CANNOT turn on and off my internal editor. It forces me to use complete sentences, vary my word choice and use standard punctuation and capitalization no matter where I put fingers to keyboard. If I intentionally write something "semi-literate," I have to actively think about HOW to do so.Maybe you're the next ee cummings. Only time will tell...

RainBrain
09-21-2005, 07:16 PM
I have to admit, RainBrain, that I find your post strangely compelling. If I'm to believe you --- that you can choose different levels of "literacy" depending on where you write, and do it without active thought --- then I'm a bit impressed. I simply CANNOT turn on and off my internal editor. It forces me to use complete sentences, vary my word choice and use standard punctuation and capitalization no matter where I put fingers to keyboard. If I intentionally write something "semi-literate," I have to actively think about HOW to do so. Maybe you're the next ee cummings. Only time will tell...


you can't, i can. yeah. call it strange. thats fine. it is what it is.

when i'm writing my book i look at is as a job....even though it isn't....yet.

when u do work that puts food on the table you tend to me more focused and serious. same thing in my situation.

"maybe i'm the next ee cummings." lol. though ur being sarcastic, the thing is You Might Be Right.

its all about personalities. you can do one thing with one personality that u wouldn't be able to do with the next.

as for the agents that are reading this and boiling with anger. lol. all i goto say is relax. evidently, the amount of people that are for you guys outnumbers those aren't. but as for me, the conclusion has been made that you really are of no use to me. well, not now. probably after i get a deal. :)

Cathy C
09-21-2005, 07:36 PM
though ur being sarcastic,


Actually . . . I wasn't.

Lauri B
09-22-2005, 04:32 PM
I think this conversation has veered off track again. RainBrain, whether or not you try to find an agent before you try to find a publisher is a decision you will probably make every time you write a book and try to sell it. It's entirely up to you, and I have known many writers who sell books with agents and without. It's a tricky business either way, and often depends more on timing than anything else (provided the work is good, that is).
The goal should be to see your book published by a legitimate publisher, get on bookstore shelves, and into readers' hands. Good luck to you, however you decide to do it.

RainBrain
09-22-2005, 09:07 PM
I think this conversation has veered off track again. RainBrain, whether or not you try to find an agent before you try to find a publisher is a decision you will probably make every time you write a book and try to sell it. It's entirely up to you, and I have known many writers who sell books with agents and without. It's a tricky business either way, and often depends more on timing than anything else (provided the work is good, that is).
The goal should be to see your book published by a legitimate publisher, get on bookstore shelves, and into readers' hands. Good luck to you, however you decide to do it.

see, why cant people reply like this guy here?

i mean, nomad. i see where ur going with this. i have already made the decision agents are of no use to me right now but i'm not goign to rule them out for the future.