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Lenny Jennison
01-26-2012, 09:53 PM
Sorry I wasted your time with this post.

swvaughn
01-26-2012, 10:05 PM
Hi Lenny,

Welcome to AW!

I just thought I'd give you a helpful hint: it's difficult to read large blocks of text online.

You might get more responses if you were to edit your post and put in some line breaks, to chop things up a bit.

Also, breaking it up would let people understand your points more clearly.

:)

virtue_summer
01-26-2012, 10:05 PM
Could you explain your checkout analogy? I don't understand it. In a checkout line each customer is giving the checker who represents the business something of worth (money). How does that compare to agent queries? Secondly, I think that because we're writers we sometimes get a skewed view of things. I mean sure I know how frustrating the rejections or no responses can be. Meanwhile there are all sorts of things agents have to deal with that I don't, like being harassed by writers they've rejected, like working to sell their author's manuscripts and then be told that their work doesn't count and isn't valuable because they're the ones trying to sell rather than the ones who created the product. And that's without acknowledging, also, that some do contribute to the product with suggestions on how to make a work better. I'm not saying agents are perfect, but neither are writers. Personally I don't see things the way you do, I guess. Not everything in this business might be convenient for me, but it's not all about me either so why should it be?

Unimportant
01-26-2012, 10:14 PM
Lenny, I think it may feel that way to the author because he's only looking at himself and his book, and not the ratio of books written: books published. While most people don't write a book, many hundreds of thousands of people do -- heck, look how many people do NANO each year. A good literary agent will get thousands of queries each year, but may only sell a few dozen books to publishers -- she simply cannot take on all those thousands of authors. And she's so busy selling her dozens of books to publishers that she doesn't have a lot of time to read those thousands of queries.

Of course, the vast majority of the hundreds of thousands of books written each year really aren't very good. They aren't of publishable quality. But some are. And how do those authors with good books make themselves stand out from the zillions of not-good-enough books when querying agents and publishers? It's really hard. You have to spend a huge amount of time writing the perfect query letter. And having lady luck on your side helps. Mostly it's about perseverence.

I'm guessing that aspiring singers and musicians and painters feel similar frustrations.

Dr.Gonzo
01-26-2012, 10:18 PM
Hey, big boy.

Welcome.

I don't care for the analogy. You know, when I moved into my new apartment in Manchester city centre, I went to a Tesco Express. In my basket I had a ready-made curry, a bottle of chili sauce, and a large pack of toilet roll. I only realised just as I stepped up to the checkout girl what it must look like. I tried not to think about it but couldn't stop the grin spreading over my face. I don't think the girl noticed at all. Just some guy with a few random items.

Sometimes shit isn't obvious.

Lenny Jennison
01-26-2012, 10:27 PM
Could you explain your checkout analogy? I don't understand it. In a checkout line each customer is giving the checker who represents the business something of worth (money). How does that compare to agent queries?

clearly i thought this analogy was more clever than i had presented. the comparisons come in the for of authors book and the products purchased from the store. the cheetos represented the sample.


Not everything in this business might be convenient for me, but it's not all about me either so why should it be?

some may take this response as a slam on the writer, though i agree with you. I thank you for the insight because as the second person has pointed out: this is the world of literature from the WRITERS view. Not the literary world perspective! thank you for your insight.

Lenny Jennison
01-26-2012, 10:33 PM
i thank you for your perspective. i knew some of that but when someone else points out the specific's, this is more understandable. i guess my view on the subject was more of "why am i required to wait for a rejection from someone who may never even respond. if i do get a request for a section, i still may not even get a response or even a rejection. if i do get asked to send the manuscript, then i am to wait for the rejection to show up in my mailbox/inbox. I know i will see these letters because the fact that the harry potter series had 22 rejections before being picked up. if a staple in american society had been rejected that many times before someone seeing the true genius....what am i to expect when i write a non fiction story about a kid that had to rise up over the obstacle that had been placed in his way?

Lenny Jennison
01-26-2012, 10:34 PM
thank you for the reply! i will take that message to heart in future responses.

i also love your catch phrase for your book....i am intrigued to say the least!

Old Hack
01-26-2012, 10:36 PM
Is this just my perspective or do the authors get the worst treatment in this whole process?

A lot depends on how well you understand the publishing process--which is what I think you're talking about here.


We all have done something most people will never do, write a book. we then have to invest hundreds if not thousands of hours trying to find the people to represent us. then after we do, we have to jump through hoops to get them to even read what we wrote. then and only then, if they deem us worthy, they represent us.

Writing a book is a big deal. You're right: we writers deserve praise for that. It's hard work, and yet we stick with it and get those words down.

However, just writing those words down doesn't automatically mean that we've writte a good book, or that we deserve publication. You're not looking at this from the agents' point of view.

Agents get thousands of submissions each year. But they don't earn their living from reading those subs: they earn their living from looking after their author-clients' interests. Reading submissions actually takes time away from their money-earning endeavours, with no guarantee of return. And as most submissions are truly dreadful, there's little chance of return either.


this of course is after waiting a while to hope they even respond to us. If we are the lucky ones, we will be graced with their letter of acceptance. yes, they were the ones in the trenches and built the relationships with the publishers, but we are the artists that created something for others. then they submit our work to people they already know.

Agents are hardly likely to submit their clients' work to editors they don't know, though, are they? If they don't know them they won't know what they are looking for; or if they're good at their jobs, or if they're a good fit for the writers concerned, and so on.


I understand like any career we must pay our dues. this just seems like a very inane way of doing business. we sit here in forums talking about the amount of rejections and how we value the decency in which we hope to get our rejection letter.

I'm sorry, but the last bit of that sentence doesn't make sense to me. Can you explain what you meant?


this to me seems like an industry that needs new writers, yet treats them at the same time like second class citizens. i also understand that they have thousands of query's to deal with, but this still seems odd to me.

Again, can you clarify?


we could never go into a "target" and ask to be checked out even though we have the money. only to be informed that out purchase of a bag of cheetos is not what the retailer feels like selling. if they told us that we needed to go back into the store and also gather up some soda and maybe lunch meat they might be willing to check us out! when we question them, their response is :"hey, we are busy checking other customers out and we simply can not check out everyone who feels their purchase is worthy enough for our attention."

This analogy isn't appropriate for publishing. Writers don't need to "have the money" in order to be published; publishers pay them. If you were talking about readers, not writers, you might have a point but it's still a badly-thought-out analogy.

Readers fund publishing. Writers are suppliers. Think about it: if you ran a business--and publishing is a business--you'd want to find suppliers who could produce the highest quality product for the best possible price. If there were a glut of suppliers--and in publishing, there is, because there are so many aspiring writers out there--then you'd pick and choose who you bought your products from, and you'd ignore the suppliers of lower-quality stuff. Just as publishers do.


again, this seems bitter, but i assure you it is not. i know far too well about the "paying dues" and the real process that happens when we query, i just find this as odd that someone has not come out and reinvented the way a company accepts submissions and deal with the "talent".

It might seem strange to you, but I think it's because you're not looking at it from the right angle. There's no need to reinvent the way it works because for publishing--the business--it works fine. And there's no way that publishing is going to change its business plan in order to make poor writers feel more cared-for, because that way lies bankruptcy.


please share your thoughts. i am a big boy, and i can deal with your opinions. i do ask that you skip "you do not know what you are talking about" or even "you really sound bitter". i am not, i just think as the new kid on the block, this industry has a funny way of receiving new talent. thanks again!

You'll notice that I've not skipped the "you do not know what you are talking about" bit, because that's exactly what's going on here. Publishing is an odd business. Writers have to learn how it works, or they'll be lost. No matter how much they might not want to be told.

Lenny Jennison
01-26-2012, 10:36 PM
I don't care for the analogy.

Sometimes shit isn't obvious.[/QUOTE]

though you may not be a fan of my analogy, i am certainly a fan of yours! great use of story to accent the point! perfectly done.

Amadan
01-26-2012, 10:54 PM
Is this just my perspective or do the authors get the worst treatment in this whole process? We all have done something most people will never do, write a book. we then have to invest hundreds if not thousands of hours trying to find the people to represent us. then after we do, we have to jump through hoops to get them to even read what we wrote. then and only then, if they deem us worthy, they represent us. this of course is after waiting a while to hope they even respond to us. If we are the lucky ones, we will be graced with their letter of acceptance. yes, they were the ones in the trenches and built the relationships with the publishers, but we are the artists that created something for others. then they submit our work to people they already know. I understand like any career we must pay our dues. this just seems like a very inane way of doing business. we sit here in forums talking about the amount of rejections and how we value the decency in which we hope to get our rejection letter. this to me seems like an industry that needs new writers, yet treats them at the same time like second class citizens. i also understand that they have thousands of query's to deal with, but this still seems odd to me. we could never go into a "target" and ask to be checked out even though we have the money. only to be informed that out purchase of a bag of cheetos is not what the retailer feels like selling. if they told us that we needed to go back into the store and also gather up some soda and maybe lunch meat they might be willing to check us out! when we question them, their response is :"hey, we are busy checking other customers out and we simply can not check out everyone who feels their purchase is worthy enough for our attention." again, this seems bitter, but i assure you it is not. i know far too well about the "paying dues" and the real process that happens when we query, i just find this as odd that someone has not come out and reinvented the way a company accepts submissions and deal with the "talent". please share your thoughts. i am a big boy, and i can deal with your opinions. i do ask that you skip "you do not know what you are talking about" or even "you really sound bitter". i am not, i just think as the new kid on the block, this industry has a funny way of receiving new talent. thanks again!



Just because you've written a book doesn't mean you are saleable "talent."

You're not a paying customer, you're a vendor with a product to sell. There are many other vendors trying to sell the same product, and most of the products being offered are crap. So, you're looking at it from the wrong end.

James D. Macdonald
01-26-2012, 11:14 PM
Rather than the checker at a supermarket, think of the agent/editor combo as the guys outside the doors of a trendy nightclub, deciding who gets past the velvet rope.

They can't let everyone in, because, if they did, the Fire Marshall would shut them down.

If you're Paris Hilton, you get in (even if your contribution to the world is only that you're using up oxygen that some plant worked hard to make). If you're with Paris, you get in. But if not -- you'd better look cool.

So what can you do if you don't get into Studio 54? Either go to another night club, or work on becoming really cool.

=============

Or, to get back to the supermarket: You own a supermarket. There are hundreds of brands of cheese-snacks available to you. Cheetos being only one of them. Which of those thousands do you stock? How many units? You have limited resources to stock them, and to present them to the public -- and if not-enough customers take them to the checker, you go out of business.

Now you're a cheese-snack maker. What do you do to make sure the grocer wants to stock you? You make cheese-snacks that a whole lot of people want to buy.

Yes, writing is an art. But writing for sale is a commercial art -- and the accent on "commercial" is equal to the accent on "art."

Calla Lily
01-26-2012, 11:18 PM
Now you're a cheese-snack maker. What do you do to make sure the grocer wants to stock you? You make cheese-snacks that a whole lot of people want to buy.

Yes, writing is an art. But writing for sale is a commercial art -- and the accent on "commercial" is equal to the accent on "art."

Now I want Cheetos. :tongue

And I totally love the analogy that my books = Cheetos. Because when I see Cheetos, I grab 'em and nom nom nom.

My goal is to get a very large fraction of the Cheetos-noming public to nom the Cheetos with my name on the covers.

Lenny Jennison
01-26-2012, 11:53 PM
wow, i can honestly say that i now love this place! i am not used to any medium that has as much instant feedback as i have witnessed so far in this forum. i do agree that the analogy (though i perceived to be a great example to illustrate my point), was meant to share my perspective was a weak one at best. i love how others took this ill advised concept and shared another perspective without bashing me as a person. not only do i look forward to submitting some of my work here for honest review but i actually get a chance to talk to people who are knowledgeable about the business as a whole.

the original post a heart felt one, but i agree, this was looking at the problem in a restricted view of the whole "test".

thank you all for adding your thoughts (and so quickly at that!).

Cyia
01-27-2012, 12:06 AM
Agents do not get paid to read queries. Queries are not actually part of their job. They don't owe anyone a response for doing work outside what they get paid for.

To keep up the check-out analogy, it's more:

Go into Target and put together what you want to buy, then get to a line. Instead of waiting, you go up to the checker and tap them on the shoulder, saying "I've got this stuff to buy - check me out!" but their job is to check out the people in line.

So you go to some kid in a Target shirt, but who's clocked out and say "I've got this stuff to buy - check me out!" but the kid's off the clock.

Then you find a manager who's willing to help you at the jewelry counter, but you're buying bananas, and there's no scale to weigh them at that counter, so he says you'll have to get in a regular line. Angry, you shove the basket aside and storm out of the store lamenting that you did the work; you gathered the goods; you presented them to be purchased, but they "still" couldn't be bothered to make a sale!



(And please don't take this as a dig at you, but agents and editors trawl these forums. I don't say this to make you wary of what you say, but to point out that - on a writer's forum - you might want to take a bit of time to hash out proper capitalization, etc.)

Torgo
01-27-2012, 12:30 AM
We all have done something most people will never do, write a book. we then have to invest hundreds if not thousands of hours trying to find the people to represent us. then after we do, we have to jump through hoops to get them to even read what we wrote. then and only then, if they deem us worthy, they represent us. this of course is after waiting a while to hope they even respond to us.

Writing a book is difficult, but a lot of people seem to manage it, judging by the avalanche of manuscripts that come in to us every day. The fact that you have to jump through hoops to get read is a consequence of this fact.

We publishers don't work off big profit margins. Publishing is basically a system for sharing risk; we take on the cost of making, printing and distributing a book, add as much value to it as we can during the process, in order to protect our interests and yours. But it's a chancy business. If we end a year having made a double-figure margin, it's probably been a good year.

We don't get paid a lot. I work in the industry because I love working with creative people, and I get the chance to be a little bit creative myself. I live modestly and spend more time at the office than I do at home. A lot of the hours I put in there, I spend reading manuscripts. I load them into Kindle and read them on the train home. I sit eating my lunch poring over picture book texts.

I don't intend this as a sob story, because I like my job, but we're reading just as many manuscripts as we possibly can; and do bear in mind that we have taken the decision to only look at agented stuff. A fiction editor I know received over 300 YA novels last year from agents. She read them all. 32 went to an acquisitions meeting. 15 were bought. Meanwhile, she edited the 15 or so books she'd bought the previous year, and managed their publication. (Oh: of the 15 books she bought last year, I think about half were debut novels.)

Agents are in the same boat. The hoops you have to jump through are a progressive filtering process. If we're slow to respond, the odds are it's not caprice or disrespect; if you succeed or fail, it's more likely to be someone's considered, though fallible, judgement, rather than luck or whimsy.

Lastly, I just want to take issue with the idea of 'paying dues'. This isn't how the business works.

I worked in television for about three months once upon a time. You start off as a 'runner'. This means you're a general dogsbody. You make the tea, get the sandwiches, work 60 hours a week and get paid peanuts. The culture is, you do this until people feel you're humble and hardworking enough, or perhaps it's until people feel you've been exploited enough to do it to the next generation. Either way, it's 'paying your dues.' You have to do stuff that maybe doesn't even make sense, but it's about displaying the right attitude.

That isn't what publishing is about. We want to be your partners if your book is good. We will, in fact, put our money and our expertise where our collective mouth is. We honestly don't care if you've had to jump through hoops or not. But first we need to read your manuscript, and it's eight-thirty, I'm still at the office, and there are a hundred other potential gems in my in-tray.

Actually, what am I doing writing long posts on AW?

jclarkdawe
01-27-2012, 12:36 AM
Let's see. I have good idea, write good query, get a contract to write book (this is nonfiction). Write book, and publisher edits it. Then publisher sinks a whole lot of cash into printing, promoting, and distributing the book.

Not only do I get ego boost, publisher sends me a check. A check to do much more then take my wife out to eat.

How did I get the raw end?

I write a bad query, or one that doesn't interest agent. Agent ignores me.

Again, how did I get the raw end? If I wrote a better query, I won't have the problem.

Worry about what you can control.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Stacia Kane
01-27-2012, 01:06 AM
yes, they were the ones in the trenches and built the relationships with the publishers, but we are the artists that created something for others. then they submit our work to people they already know.


Again, this is evidence that you're looking at the industry in the wrong direction, as it were, which is very common.

Submissions are only a very small part of an agent's job. An agent's entire day does not consist of sending off mss and having lunch with their editor pals. Agents read and negotiate contracts, and that's a big and complex job. They step in if there's some sort of dispute between author and editor/publisher: over edits, over covers, over release dates, over anything else. They give their clients pep talks, brainstorm with them, and offer feedback and often editorial suggestions.

They handle an author's money; they collect checks from publishers and then issue them to authors. Much of the time collecting them from publishers involves multiple phone calls to multiple people. If there's a dispute about money the agent handles that.

All of this work becomes doubly complicated if we're talking about foreign markets, where the agent may have to go through a sub-agent or deal with people with whom there's some kind of language barrier. All of the business of converting foreign currency to domestic is also the agent's job, and then they have to parcel out money to their subagents as well.

All of this is in addition to reading their clients' work and, yes, meeting with and submitting to editors. But that's not easy either; there are hundreds of editors, at all sorts of different imprints, and agents need to know not only who they are but what sorts of books they like and what they're looking for at that particular moment. It's an agent's job to know that Editor A at Ballantine likes funny, light-hearted books while Editor B likes dark, brooding books, and to submit accordingly. It's an agent's job to know who Editor A's boss is and what imprints they oversee; it's an agent's job to know that last week Editor C moved from Bantam to Del Rey and what they're going to be looking for now that they're there, and what the hierarchy is there. People in NY tend to move around; that's a complex job all on its own.

An agent had to know which imprints work along the lines of "If you submit to this one you can't submit to that one" and which don't. Hell, an agent has to know what each imprint handles to begin with and what the differences are--each and every imprint at each publisher, and what lines they fall under, and who the publisher and higher-ups are in each line.

Then once a work is out on submission agents need to keep track of who has it and what they say, and call them to follow up, and plan their further submissions, all the while both keeping their client from freaking out and calling other editors to tell them how they have an awesome project the editor is going to flip out when they see.

It's not just handing out a few mss to their buddies and waiting for the money to roll in. It's an extremely complex job with a very specific skillset and a huge amount of information to learn and track. It's a huge amount of paperwork and administration.

That's why it takes agents so long to reply to queries and why so many have gone no-response-means-no; they're incredibly busy, and queries are the least important thing on their lists, because their first duty is to their clients.

Jamesaritchie
01-27-2012, 02:45 AM
Is this just my perspective or do the authors get the worst treatment in this whole process? We all have done something most people will never do, write a book. we then have to invest hundreds if not thousands of hours trying to find the people to represent us. then after we do, we have to jump through hoops to get them to even read what we wrote. then and only then, if they deem us worthy, they represent us. this of course is after waiting a while to hope they even respond to us. If we are the lucky ones, we will be graced with their letter of acceptance. yes, they were the ones in the trenches and built the relationships with the publishers, but we are the artists that created something for others. then they submit our work to people they already know. I understand like any career we must pay our dues. this just seems like a very inane way of doing business. we sit here in forums talking about the amount of rejections and how we value the decency in which we hope to get our rejection letter. this to me seems like an industry that needs new writers, yet treats them at the same time like second class citizens. i also understand that they have thousands of query's to deal with, but this still seems odd to me. we could never go into a "target" and ask to be checked out even though we have the money. only to be informed that out purchase of a bag of cheetos is not what the retailer feels like selling. if they told us that we needed to go back into the store and also gather up some soda and maybe lunch meat they might be willing to check us out! when we question them, their response is :"hey, we are busy checking other customers out and we simply can not check out everyone who feels their purchase is worthy enough for our attention." again, this seems bitter, but i assure you it is not. i know far too well about the "paying dues" and the real process that happens when we query, i just find this as odd that someone has not come out and reinvented the way a company accepts submissions and deal with the "talent". please share your thoughts. i am a big boy, and i can deal with your opinions. i do ask that you skip "you do not know what you are talking about" or even "you really sound bitter". i am not, i just think as the new kid on the block, this industry has a funny way of receiving new talent. thanks again!

I hope your fiction is better structured than your post, but what funny way of receiving new talent?

If a writer actually has talent, and can write a query and a book that displays his talent, he'll have no problem at all finding an agent and a publisher.

You need to put yourself on the other side of the desk. Pretty much everything gets read, and no agent or editor is to busy with other customers to deal with you.

Your query will be read. If the query is good enough, your manuscript will be requested. If the manuscript is good enough, it will find a publisher.

Trouble is, very damned little that comes in displays any talent whatsoever. Not the query letters, and not the manuscripts. Worse, much of what does display talent is same old same old that agents and editors have seen a thousand times.

I think we all believe our work is good enough, else we wouldn't submit it. But maybe, maybe, one percent of what comes in is professional quality, which just means it will find a home somewhere, sometime.

Maybe one tenth of one percent actually catches the reading public's eye enough to earn really good money.

For that matter, it's perfectly possible to bypass the agent and sell your own novels. But nothing much changes when you do this. Talent and quality still rule, and just like with agents, will still attract attention. Lack of talent and lack of quality still get ignored.

Yes, we create things for others to read. This does not mean very much of it is worth reading.

As for no response, who cares? No response is a response. A smart writer waits for nothing. He spends all his time writing the next book, and the next after that.

Lenny Jennison
01-27-2012, 02:55 AM
i will address everyone who has taken the time to answer in this thread. i have to say that i really appreciate the time you took to write this out. I had learned a lot from what i read in this post. i know i have a problem of coming off as a whiner sometimes, but this is truly not my intent. for all of the people that talk about the fact that i rarely use capitalization, sorry that is the way i write for fun. to me, message boards are FUN and informational. again, i thank you for going the extra step to inform me of the views from the other side. i never took your story as complaining. i took this as a sign that you are really invested in the stories that are sent to you. that makes me feel better on this side of the table. all the stories and examples i have heard from people made my earlier comment seem like the reality, and not a perception. i will take this bit of knowledge and use the information. thank you again.

Lenny Jennison
01-27-2012, 02:56 AM
Cyia,
i love your analogy even better than mine as well. I now see the other side. Thank you for the insight!

Lenny Jennison
01-27-2012, 03:02 AM
That's why it takes agents so long to reply to queries and why so many have gone no-response-means-no; they're incredibly busy, and queries are the least important thing on their lists, because their first duty is to their clients.

Wow, not only do i feel bad that i asked this question...but now i wonder who i need to apologize for thinking this thought? i appreciate your very detailed information. This is a great site. I can look at other's questions even ask one's i think i am right on, which in the end makes me sorry i asked in the first place. As one person mentioned, it seems like the writer's do have the easiest job!

Stacia Kane
01-27-2012, 03:24 AM
Lenny, please don't feel the need to apologize! Publishing is often a confusing and opaque business, and we're here to help and answer questions. You owe no one an apology, seriously. Don't ever feel bad for asking a question, especially not when you respond so gracefully.

That said, I do appreciate that you've started breaking up your posts into paragraphs and capitalizing letters. It is fun here, absolutely--check out places like Office Party!-- and we joke a lot, but it's a lot more fun to read posts when we can understand them a bit better. :)

And a belated welcome to AW! Glad you joined us.

kenthepen
01-27-2012, 03:26 AM
I'm new at this, so forgive me if this is already posted--
I just epublished my first novel at smashwords.com, "Mjolnir Found, A New Mythology", and I'm new to publishing. I briefly(4-5 months) queried, to no avail. I'm convinced I've written a damn fine book, but I'm mystified by what might grab the attention in a query letter.
(pause for cheetos I dug out of couch cushions)
I have worked in film and video production for twenty years, and the process is just as crazy. About twelve years ago the WGA registered around fifteen thousand scripts a year. For all the crap that gets produced, there's tons more that doesn't.
While there may be jewels in this great heap of manure, who's going to pay someone to sift through it?
That's why I gave up on the traditional process so quickly and epublished. It's still a crapshoot, but at least it's out there.
So keep at it, and good luck, or karma, or God bless, whatever.

Lenny Jennison
01-27-2012, 03:32 AM
Stacia,
Thank you for the reassurance. I was wondering if i needed to stop speaking in these forums...for my mouth was getting tired of constantly housing my foot.

I had a side note about your signature. If you allow a book to become Ebook formatted, isn't there more of a chance other's could pirate the info easier than buying the book? Also, on the same line, if you sell your book for .99 cents in ebook format, how much profit do you the author see from this sale? I am not all about the money, but i am worried about trying to make this way of life, a living.

Namatu
01-27-2012, 03:35 AM
Wow, not only do i feel bad that i asked this question...but now i wonder who i need to apologize for thinking this thought? i appreciate your very detailed information. This is a great site. I can look at other's questions even ask one's i think i am right on, which in the end makes me sorry i asked in the first place.You should never be sorry for asking questions and learning from the answers.


As one person mentioned, it seems like the writer's do have the easiest job!Nobody in the publishing process has an easy job. I wouldn't quantify any part of it compared against another, but that's me. :)

Lenny Jennison
01-27-2012, 03:38 AM
Stacia,
After writing you the reply to our last exchange, i clicked on your link to your website. Wow! Not only is that a beautiful site, but i was engrossed with the impressive list of amazing reviews you have received from established writers! Now i am not sure if i want to "try" the 5 free chapters and ruin the story line or just buy the first book! Decisions, decisions!

Unimportant
01-27-2012, 04:05 AM
Also, on the same line, if you sell your book for .99 cents in ebook format, how much profit do you the author see from this sale? I am not all about the money, but i am worried about trying to make this way of life, a living.

I think it's a great strategy for a publisher to put a book on sale for 99 cents, if they're pretty sure that every person who buys that book will be so hooked that they'll immediately run out and buy the rest of the books in that author's series (at full price). It sure worked on me! I got Stacia Kane's first book and the minute I finished reading it I was online buying the next two books. (And now I'm in stasis until the fourth book comes out in March....write faster, damn you, Stacia!)

Jamesaritchie
01-27-2012, 04:06 AM
i will address everyone who has taken the time to answer in this thread. i have to say that i really appreciate the time you took to write this out. I had learned a lot from what i read in this post. i know i have a problem of coming off as a whiner sometimes, but this is truly not my intent. for all of the people that talk about the fact that i rarely use capitalization, sorry that is the way i write for fun. to me, message boards are FUN and informational. again, i thank you for going the extra step to inform me of the views from the other side. i never took your story as complaining. i took this as a sign that you are really invested in the stories that are sent to you. that makes me feel better on this side of the table. all the stories and examples i have heard from people made my earlier comment seem like the reality, and not a perception. i will take this bit of knowledge and use the information. thank you again.


Message boards can be fun, and posts never, thank God, have to be perfect, but when you want to be a writer, and you're on a writer's forum, remember that your posts will likely be viewed by agents and editors.

It's just as much fun to use good structure as poor, good grammar as poor, and good punctuation as poor.

Writing is about communication, which means it isn't simply abut how you write for fun, but whether readers understand exactly what you mean, and have an easy time reading it.

The best way to communicate, to get good information across, is with proper structure, good grammar, paragraph breaks, etc. On a writer's forum, where agents and editors abound, this is particularly true, but it matters everywhere.

Libbie
01-27-2012, 04:21 AM
You shouldn't feel badly for asking the question, but realize that you're on a forum full of writers, and writers tend to be opinionated people. They'll tell you what they really think of anything, including your questions.

Welcome to AW!

virtue_summer
01-27-2012, 04:25 AM
Writing is about communication, which means it isn't simply abut how you write for fun, but whether readers understand exactly what you mean, and have an easy time reading it.

The best way to communicate, to get good information across, is with proper structure, good grammar, paragraph breaks, etc. On a writer's forum, where agents and editors abound, this is particularly true, but it matters everywhere.
I'm going to second this because I think it's an excellent point.

Cyia
01-27-2012, 04:37 AM
If you allow a book to become Ebook formatted, isn't there more of a chance other's could pirate the info easier than buying the book? Also, on the same line, if you sell your book for .99 cents in ebook format, how much profit do you the author see from this sale? I am not all about the money, but i am worried about trying to make this way of life, a living.


If you go the agent route, then get a publisher, that publisher is going to want to have an ebook version of your novel. Period. Yes, they're easy to pirate, but that doesn't make them less profitable for the publishing house or the author.

$0.99 isn't a normal price point for a commercial publisher. It's used in sales sometimes, as a loss leader to entice the purchase of a series, but $9.99 is closer to normal for commercial publishing. With self-pubs, the $0.99 price point is more common, but means around $0.30 profit/copy, and as most self-pubs rarely break 100 copies sold, that's not a lot.

Also, and I hate to say this, but it's going to be said at some point. It's exceptionally rare for a writer to earn a living wage, especially on their first book. The average advances you'll see discussed here are in the $5000-$10,000 range, and that's not money you get all up front. It's broken into 3-4 parts (usually) and paid out over the life of the publishing process from signing, to acceptance, to hardback release (if you get one), then paperback release. You also have to allow for the agent's commission and taxes.

ios
01-27-2012, 05:30 AM
It can be frustrating, but that's the way it goes. The writer is the producer of a product, and the publisher is the one who sells the product. Because a publisher's resources are finite, it has to carefully pick not only what it wants to sell but which products fit its brand or image but also how to get those products up to the quality it wants to fit the costumers it wants to get.

It helps to keep in mind the publishers have frustrations too, including, no doubt, wondering why us writers aren't writing more of what they want at the quality level the need it at.

So if it is frustrating, you simply have to make a choice as to what you really want and how best to get it. Is another novel the best bet? Is querying another agent or publisher? Is a small press market better than a commercial big house one for your needs? Is self-publishing? Is just writing for yourself? That is what you control.

Jodi

Richard White
01-27-2012, 05:47 AM
You shouldn't feel badly for asking the question, but realize that you're on a forum full of writers, and writers tend to be opinionated people. They'll tell you what they really think of anything, including your questions.

Welcome to AW!

Writers are opinionated? :Jaw:


When did this happen? I thought writers were introverts who never came out of their houses except to collect their royalty checks. :chair

Polenth
01-27-2012, 06:42 AM
Your analogy works if you reverse the whole thing. The customer with stuff in the basket is the reader, who can buy anything they want to pay for. The store is the bookshop. The food manufacturer is the publisher. The person with a new product idea to pitch to the food manufacturer is the writer.

If the proposed recipe is bad, the food manufacturer won't want to make it. They know the store won't buy it because customers won't buy it. And if by some chance they did make it and customers brought it, the reputation of the manufacturer would be harmed by the poor quality product.

Everyone thinks they've baked the best cake in the universe and someone should produce it commercially, but most people are wrong.

Stacia Kane
01-27-2012, 04:26 PM
Stacia,
Thank you for the reassurance. I was wondering if i needed to stop speaking in these forums...for my mouth was getting tired of constantly housing my foot.


No, please speak up. Like I said, we're here to help.

I do recommend you spend some time reading old threads (especially the Stickied ones, and the FAQs), because there's some incredibly valuable information in them. :)




I had a side note about your signature. If you allow a book to become Ebook formatted, isn't there more of a chance other's could pirate the info easier than buying the book? Also, on the same line, if you sell your book for .99 cents in ebook format, how much profit do you the author see from this sale? I am not all about the money, but i am worried about trying to make this way of life, a living.




If you go the agent route, then get a publisher, that publisher is going to want to have an ebook version of your novel. Period. Yes, they're easy to pirate, but that doesn't make them less profitable for the publishing house or the author.

$0.99 isn't a normal price point for a commercial publisher. It's used in sales sometimes, as a loss leader to entice the purchase of a series, but $9.99 is closer to normal for commercial publishing. With self-pubs, the $0.99 price point is more common, but means around $0.30 profit/copy, and as most self-pubs rarely break 100 copies sold, that's not a lot.




As Cyia said, yes, ebooks get pirated, but my publishers basically require that I sell them the license to publish in ebook format, and that's fine with me. I loathe ebook pirates but I also love readers, and lots of readers prefer to buy ebooks, so to not release a book in ebook is essentially cutting out a percentage of potential readers.

The regular ebook price for UNHOLY GHOSTS is $7.99, as set by Random House (in the US; the UK and foreign editions all have their own price points set by those publishers). The 99 price is a promotion, to attract new readers and basically see what that price does to sales levels--the next two books in the series, UNHOLY MAGIC and CITY OF GHOSTS, are both promotionally priced at $4.99. And all of that promotion is basically being done in anticipation of the fourth book's release in March.

Yes, it means my royalty on those 99 copies is very small. But I believe the promotional price has given a boost to my print sales--a year and a half after release all three titles are still selling; not as many paperbacks as they did in the months after release, of course, but still selling better than I expected them to--and I also believe that it's totally worth it if it means more people buy Book 4 (and Book 5 in June, etc.). My agent and I were consulted and gave approval before they changed the price, too, they didn't just do it without talking to me first. :)




Stacia,
After writing you the reply to our last exchange, i clicked on your link to your website. Wow! Not only is that a beautiful site, but i was engrossed with the impressive list of amazing reviews you have received from established writers! Now i am not sure if i want to "try" the 5 free chapters and ruin the story line or just buy the first book! Decisions, decisions!

Thank you! Yes, other writers and readers have been very kind. I hope you enjoy the book(s)!

shaldna
01-27-2012, 05:48 PM
Is this just my perspective or do the authors get the worst treatment in this whole process? We all have done something most people will never do, write a book. we then have to invest hundreds if not thousands of hours trying to find the people to represent us. then after we do, we have to jump through hoops to get them to even read what we wrote. then and only then, if they deem us worthy, they represent us.

I like to think that being an author is like applying for any other job - there will be a lot of competition, there will be many other people are much better than you. Not every 'vacancy' will be the right fit for you, or want the skills that you have. So you have to keep applying until you find the right place for you.




this of course is after waiting a while to hope they even respond to us. If we are the lucky ones, we will be graced with their letter of acceptance. yes, they were the ones in the trenches and built the relationships with the publishers, but we are the artists that created something for others.

I don't tend to have much tolerance for the 'oh poor me, I'm an artist' thoughts. I do a job, I get on with it. I don't think I'm better or more important than my publisher, nor do I think that they are patronising or dismissive towards me. If they were, then they clearly aren't right for me.



then they submit our work to people they already know. I understand like any career we must pay our dues. this just seems like a very inane way of doing business.

Well, not really. The literary agent is like any employment agency - they know what their clients want, they know what, or who, is going to be a good fit for those folks.




i also understand that they have thousands of query's to deal with, but this still seems odd to me. we could never go into a "target" and ask to be checked out even though we have the money. only to be informed that out purchase of a bag of cheetos is not what the retailer feels like selling. if they told us that we needed to go back into the store and also gather up some soda and maybe lunch meat they might be willing to check us out! when we question them, their response is :"hey, we are busy checking other customers out and we simply can not check out everyone who feels their purchase is worthy enough for our attention."

This is very inaccurate. I belive Jim gave a much more realistic analogy above.




i just find this as odd that someone has not come out and reinvented the way a company accepts submissions and deal with the "talent".

But how then? I think literary agencies are probably one fo the most efficient aspects of publishing - they act like any employment or talent agency in that you send then a query (application) and they review it to see if you have what their contacts need and want. They act as a filter, not a barrier.

timewaster
01-28-2012, 02:34 AM
Is this just my perspective or do the authors get the worst treatment in this whole process? We all have done something most people will never do, write a book. we then have to invest hundreds if not thousands of hours trying to find the people to represent us. then after we do, we have to jump through hoops to get them to even read what we wrote. then and only then, if they deem us worthy, they represent us. this of course is after waiting a while to hope they even respond to us. If we are the lucky ones, we will be graced with their letter of acceptance. yes, they were the ones in the trenches and built the relationships with the publishers, but we are the artists that created something for others. then they submit our work to people they already know. I understand like any career we must pay our dues. this just seems like a very inane way of doing business. we sit here in forums talking about the amount of rejections and how we value the decency in which we hope to get our rejection letter. this to me seems like an industry that needs new writers, yet treats them at the same time like second class citizens. i also understand that they have thousands of query's to deal with, but this still seems odd to me. we could never go into a "target" and ask to be checked out even though we have the money. only to be informed that out purchase of a bag of cheetos is not what the retailer feels like selling. if they told us that we needed to go back into the store and also gather up some soda and maybe lunch meat they might be willing to check us out! when we question them, their response is :"hey, we are busy checking other customers out and we simply can not check out everyone who feels their purchase is worthy enough for our attention." again, this seems bitter, but i assure you it is not. i know far too well about the "paying dues" and the real process that happens when we query, i just find this as odd that someone has not come out and reinvented the way a company accepts submissions and deal with the "talent". please share your thoughts. i am a big boy, and i can deal with your opinions. i do ask that you skip "you do not know what you are talking about" or even "you really sound bitter". i am not, i just think as the new kid on the block, this industry has a funny way of receiving new talent. thanks again!

TBH not many of us are any good - agents and publishers read shed loads of crap and do the reading public a favour. Looked at from the POV of a reader/bookseller/publisher it makes sense.

Lenny Jennison
01-28-2012, 02:44 AM
Ok, so I will stop reading this thread. People may contribute to this but I will not be reading any more of this. I asked a question as I thought the perspective to be...evidenced by my asking if this was just my perspective of the truth. Taking slams on how I write when I am merely asking a question is not why I joined this site. I heard some people saying that i should not have felt sorry for asking the question, and then was criticized in the manner (or delivery) of how I asked.

Unimportant
01-28-2012, 02:58 AM
Lenny, I don't think anyone slammed you. There's no rule on AW that says you have to put a double space between paragraphs or double-check your punctuation and spelling. It was merely pointed out, quite correctly, that a lot of agents and editors hang out here. And as writers we are of course judged on how we write and how we present our prose. So one or two people have suggested -- as advice, not a command -- that you will be doing yourself a favour if you make sure your posts are written as clearly and correctly as possible.

After all, you never know when your dream editor will read a post on AW and think, "Wow, that person writes really well and appears to have a book in just the genre I'm looking for. I think I'll private-message him and ask him if I can have a look at his first three chapters."

James D. Macdonald
01-28-2012, 03:05 AM
It isn't really about prospective sales.

Writers write to the best of their abilities all the time, because that's what they do. If someone wants to be an orator they don't mumble on a day-to-day basis, and (mumble) "This is how I talk; when I'm on the podium (if I ever get there) I'll enunciate."

Gravity
01-28-2012, 03:14 AM
You shouldn't feel badly for asking the question, but realize that you're on a forum full of writers, and writers tend to be opinionated people. They'll tell you what they really think of anything, including your questions.

Welcome to AW!

Oh yeah, who SAYS I'm opinionated?! Take it back!! :D

Toothpaste
01-28-2012, 04:29 AM
I should also add I don't think it's just about the person writing the post, I think it's also trying to communicate as well as possible to others on the forum. You sought answers to your questions, you were asking for others to weigh in. Thus you need to make it easy for people to read what you want from them.

Spaces are a wonder. They make things so much easier to read. As does proper spelling and punctuation.

But I do agree with the others that it also helps to just write as well as you can (we all make mistakes here, it's not like we're saying "Be perfect or else!"), because it's just great practice. My spelling has improved tons since being here (I'm a terrible speller) simply because I post so much and don't want there to be misspellings in my posts. It might take a bit more time to post, but the more you do it, the faster you get.

In any event, aside from all this I wanted to commend you on how well you took the answers given to you, and how thoughtful you've been about this thread in general. Trust me, not everyone reacts so well when they learn they still have a lot to learn. Odd, because we all have a lot to learn, so it shouldn't be a big deal. But people can get defensive.

Cyia
01-28-2012, 05:38 AM
Sorry I wasted your time with this post.


I see you've deleted your original post, but don't stress about it. No one's time was wasted, or else there wouldn't have been replies to your questions. You're new, so the only way to know is to ask.

Williebee
01-28-2012, 06:06 AM
No one's time was wasted, or else there wouldn't have been replies to your questions. You're new, so the only way to know is to ask.

pfft! Even when you're old the only way to know is to ask. :)

Calla Lily
01-28-2012, 06:09 AM
+1 from an old person. :)

Lenny Jennison
01-28-2012, 12:29 PM
Wow, thank everyone for adding in to this thread. Yes, i did delete my original post because I felt like an idiot. Some of the reviews of my post were really hard to read. I am not a "writer" in the traditional way (as some of you area). I have been known to write well in the past but that was just for papers etc.

I do get self conscious about my writing though. I guess that is why I took some of the comments harder than someone else would.

I was speaking to my mother today about this thread and she basically said the same thing as most of you. I saw this as an informal chance to get questions answered. She had informed me that this is more of a white collar place of networking.

I will put more thought into the way i spell things and even capitalize my "i"s, which i hate btw :)

I know that some of you are asking why i started to write something if i am not a writer by my own definition. This book is not merely a book for me. This book is the book I feel my whole life was meant to share.

I also have read that people who write non fiction should query before the work is completed...I am 90% done (needing only final edit and chapter break downs still). Should I be trying to start my practice query letters?

shaldna
01-28-2012, 01:17 PM
I asked a question as I thought the perspective to be...evidenced by my asking if this was just my perspective of the truth.

And a lot of folks took time to answer and give their opinions on it too.

quote] Taking slams on how I write when I am merely asking a question is not why I joined this site. I heard some people saying that i should not have felt sorry for asking the question, and then was criticized in the manner (or delivery) of how I asked.[/QUOTE]

No one was 'taking slams' at you, and I'm sorry if that's how you see things, but I can assure you that no offense was intended by any of the members here.

However, this IS a writing board and, as is the nature of writers, how posts are written will be commented on - such as poor or random capitalisation, lack of paragraphs or line breaks etc. Part of this is because it makes it very hard for the reader to follow the post - staring at a solid block of text is hard on both the brain and the eyes. Any comments made about how you write posts are made with the sole intention of helping you to format your posts so they are easier to read, and thus more likely to get responses.



Wow, thank everyone for adding in to this thread. Yes, i did delete my original post because I felt like an idiot.

I will say, and I think I speak for all of us, that deleting an original post is both annoying and confusing because there are often pages of responses, comments, advice and suggestions which are suddenly moot because the OP has removed the original post.



Some of the reviews of my post were really hard to read.

Such is the nature of writing. I don't want to sound harsh, but anyone who writes will tell you the same thing - you need to grow a thicker skin if you want to make it. If you think the friendly suggestions here were tough then you are never going to cope with the scathing fury of an editor or reviewer.



I was speaking to my mother today about this thread and she basically said the same thing as most of you. I saw this as an informal chance to get questions answered. She had informed me that this is more of a white collar place of networking.

Well, with all due respect, I don't think she's right.

Sure, there is an element of networking, but it's primarily on a social level. The main thing this place does is put writers in contact with other like minded people to share questions and advice and generally have support from others in the same situation. It's not a networking opportunity as such.

I'm not really sure what you want to hear right now, or, to be honest, what you are wanting from this site. But I hope you stick around because it's one of the most useful writing resources around and the folks are damn nice.

Stacia Kane
01-28-2012, 05:49 PM
I do get self conscious about my writing though. I guess that is why I took some of the comments harder than someone else would.



But the majority--the vast majority--of us really don't want you to feel that way. The thing is, as Shaldna says above, posts which are all one block of text without much capitalization/punctuation are often hard to read, and so go unanswered.

We just want to make sure your posts attract as many responses as possible. That's all. Making you feel bad or putting you down isn't at all the goal of the vast majority of us; we want you to be comfortable here, and we want you to participate and learn and be part of the community. (And because this is a community, we have all kinds of people here; the best thing to do is listen to those who want to help and ignore those who don't. We have only one rule here at AW: Respect Your Fellow Writer [you'll see it mentioned as RYFW]. Those who don't are dealt with, often behind the scenes by us moderators. If you feel a post has been harsh or hurtful, please click the little red triangle with the arrow in it, at the bottom of the post to the left under the poster's username, and report that post.)


I was speaking to my mother today about this thread and she basically said the same thing as most of you. I saw this as an informal chance to get questions answered. She had informed me that this is more of a white collar place of networking.

It is an informal place to get your questions answered. :) And there is an element of networking, sure, but it's mostly just informal fun-and-question-answering.



I will put more thought into the way i spell things and even capitalize my "i"s, which i hate btw :)


Lol. Like I said, it makes your posts easier to read. And if I may...good writing is a habit. The more you work to make that a habit the better everything you write will be. :) Most of us here care very deeply about good writing, so we tend to be a bit more emphatic about it/tuned into it than non-writers.




I know that some of you are asking why i started to write something if i am not a writer by my own definition. This book is not merely a book for me. This book is the book I feel my whole life was meant to share.



It's not the place of anyone here to judge you or your reasons for writing your book. It's not. Your reasons for writing your book are as legitimate as anyone else's. And hey, when I sat down in 2002 to write my first novel (an absolutely horrible cliche-ridden medieval romance), I wasn't a writer by my own definition either. I was a housewife who'd always wanted to write and figured that was my chance to actually do it. I discovered I loved it, and I wrote another book that was a bit better, and then (after taking a year or two off to have another baby) I wrote another, and another, and I just kept going and improving every time.

If you want to write a book, if you feel the need to write a book, don't let anyone tell you not to or that you're somehow wrong for doing so. It's your life, it's your book, and that's enough.



I also have read that people who write non fiction should query before the work is completed...I am 90% done (needing only final edit and chapter break downs still). Should I be trying to start my practice query letters?

I seem to think memoirs--which I believe your project is, though it could be narrative non-fiction--are queried like novels, but I'm not sure. I know little about the non-fic side of things. Please do check out both the Memoir and Non-Fiction sections here!

Also, once you have your 50 posts (and so have gotten to know the community and we've gotten to know you; that's the reason for the 50-post minimum) you can post an excerpt in Share Your Work, and your Query as well, for feedback. It's a good idea to start reading queries--there's a thread of "Successful Queries" in there--and critiquing other queries and excerpts, both as a way of (again) getting to know others, and of helping your own work--what we see in others' writing can often show us things about our own.

Personally, I tend to keep the query letter in mind as I write, but don't actually start a draft of it until the book is complete. I work on the query in between finishing the book and editing the book (I let the book "sit" for a few weeks so I can reread it/start editing with fresher eyes). So this might be a good time to start working on your query, but you do things on your own time.

Lenny Jennison
01-28-2012, 08:30 PM
Personally, I tend to keep the query letter in mind as I write, but don't actually start a draft of it until the book is complete.

I laughed when I read this part of your response. I have ALWAYS been thinking of the query (since I learned of them of course). I am a "thinker" and I spend large amounts of time thinking about all moves I make in life (except on here evidently :)), so I have already started to mentally work on this.

To the person who mentioned the deleted OP. The reason I did that was because I had noticed that over 800 people (at that time) had read that post. Despite the claims that I should not feel bad about it, i was really worse with every new post that pointed out the flaws in my thinking.

I did not want people to keep adding to the OP, because I had learned that I was too far off of the mark.

In the future, I will think about my post and how others might take them. Even if, I think the post is merely a question.

For that, I thank everyone for weighing in their input.

Old Hack
01-28-2012, 09:47 PM
Despite the claims that I should not feel bad about it, i was really worse with every new post that pointed out the flaws in my thinking.


Please don't feel like that! It can be really difficult to accurately judge the tone of things on the internet: as Stacia has already said, no one here wants you to feel foolish, and no one here will judge you because you don't know everything there is to know about publishing. We all started off at that point.

It can be difficult realising that perhaps you've misunderstood something: but that's how we all learn. And trust me, everyone gets things wrong about publishing. It's a peculiar business and it takes a lot of effort to get a grip on how it works.

You're doing fine. Just keep reading, keep asking questions, and you'll be up to speed in no time.