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Richard Falk
02-18-2012, 07:44 PM
I've written elsewhere on the site about the woes facing my first novel Warp — my publisher (MP Publishing/Macadam Cage) isn't currently able to get it on bookstores in the States as the American distributor won't touch such a controversial, blasphemous book.

Now I'm trying to place my second novel Agency, which was intended to be mainstream commercial fiction, but hasn't turned out that way. I'm currently 20,000 words into it, and my editor has described the results as "darker than American Psycho". She thinks it's the most hilarious black comedy she's ever seen, but isn't going to buy it as once again the American distributor wouldn't go near a novel of that ilk.

Meanwhile, my beta readers' reactions have varied from fascination and delight to absolute revulsion; several have commented on the considerable use of bad language (205 uses of the f-word and 87 of the c-word so far), which I consider integral to the dialogue and narrative voice. I've also shown it to my contacts in two manuscript assessment agencies: one liked the novel but considered it unpublishable, while the other derided the opinion of the first and described it as a "clever, confident book" that merely needed to find the right outlet.

Here's my dilemma: I have no intention of finishing it while I'm not certain it will place with a publisher, as I could be spending my time on my non-fiction books instead. But at the same time, agents and publishers don't generally want to purchase a title on the basis of a query letter, synopsis and 20,000 words (that if they've got the stomach for the book in the first place).

So where do I go from here? Are there agents or publishers with particular interest in challenging writing who'd like to take a look?

scarletpeaches
02-18-2012, 07:48 PM
Here's my dilemma: I have no intention of finishing it while I'm not certain it will place with a publisher, as I could be spending my time on my non-fiction books instead.So...you want a guarantee that a particular book will sell or you won't write it? :Wha:

Richard Falk
02-18-2012, 07:58 PM
Not quite: nothing in life (and even less, publishing) is guaranteed. Nonetheless, I think that from the query letter, synopsis and first 20,000 words, an agent or publisher can get a pretty clear idea of what I'm trying to do with this novel, and from that can express a general interest in it. If somebody looks like they might bite on it, I can get the book finished within 60 days. If nobody's going to touch something so intense and left-field, it makes more sense for me to concentrate on my non-fiction work, which definitely will be published.

Filigree
02-18-2012, 07:58 PM
'Controversial' books sell all the time, but there are no guarantees about anything. You could improve your odds with an agent willing to push the book toward the right distributors and outlets. Otherwise, worrying about controversy is a fine way to halt your momentum for good.

If you and MP Publishing/Macadam Cage want to sell WARP and AGENCY in the States, look at another distributor. Your first one has obviously failed you. A clever enough marketing person could spin enough publicity to make people take notice. After all, AMERICAN PSYCHO sold.

Richard Falk
02-18-2012, 08:02 PM
Yes, we're going to find another distributor for Warp. As for Agency, I didn't think I'd written anything particularly challenging until I saw the reaction of some of my beta readers.

thethinker42
02-18-2012, 08:03 PM
Not quite: nothing in life (and even less, publishing) is guaranteed. Nonetheless, I think that from the query letter, synopsis and first 20,000 words, an agent or publisher can get a pretty clear idea of what I'm trying to do with this novel, and from that can express a general interest in it. If somebody looks like they might bite on it, I can get the book finished within 60 days. If nobody's going to touch something so intense and left-field, it makes more sense for me to concentrate on my non-fiction work, which definitely will be published.

No one's going to touch an unfinished novel, regardless of the content. The only time an unfinished novel is going to get anywhere with an agent is if you're already in with that agent and they already know you can deliver a solid final product...which means you start by querying a finished book.

ETA: To clarify - Yes, you already have one book out there, but in order to get in with an agent, you need to query them with a finished book. Once you're signed with an agent, you can talk to them about "hey, I have this other book in the works...", but querying an unfinished novel won't get you anywhere.

scarletpeaches
02-18-2012, 08:10 PM
Not quite: nothing in life (and even less, publishing) is guaranteed. Nonetheless, I think that from the query letter, synopsis and first 20,000 words, an agent or publisher can get a pretty clear idea of what I'm trying to do with this novel, and from that can express a general interest in it. If somebody looks like they might bite on it, I can get the book finished within 60 days. If nobody's going to touch something so intense and left-field, it makes more sense for me to concentrate on my non-fiction work, which definitely will be published.Yes, but they won't get a clear idea of whether or not you can finish the book.

If they request a full and you say "Okay, gimme a couple of months to finish it," how do you think that will make you look?

They don't want a book in two months. They want a book as soon as they request it.

Richard Falk
02-18-2012, 08:15 PM
Yes, that is the issue. I'm a full-time, professional writer, and can easily finish the novel if it appears there's a market for it. But as a full-time, professional writer, I'd rather be working on something that pays if there isn't a market for it.

scarletpeaches
02-18-2012, 08:17 PM
Yes, that is the issue. I'm a full-time, professional writer, and can easily finish the novel if it appears there's a market for it. But as a full-time, professional writer, I'd rather be working on something that pays if there isn't a market for it.So you say. But they don't know that. An agent wants proof you can finish a novel, and the only proof you'll be able to give is...a complete manuscript.

thethinker42
02-18-2012, 08:20 PM
Yes, that is the issue. I'm a full-time, professional writer, and can easily finish the novel if it appears there's a market for it.

Understandable, but don't expect to get an agent or editor's attention until it's finished. It's a gamble we all take when writing a novel, that it'll sell well or sell at all, but until it's finished, it won't interest anyone with the power to buy or sell it.


But as a full-time, professional writer, I'd rather be working on something that pays if there isn't a market for it.

And an agent is going to spend his/her time on something that's finished and can therefore be pitched and sold.

Richard Falk
02-18-2012, 08:24 PM
Would it make any sense for me to post some sample sentences or paragraphs here, so that any agents or commissioning editors can get a sense of the style? I obviously wouldn't expect to receive any offers as a result of doing so, but it would be interesting to see whether people react by saying "this is potentially interesting" or "this is so intense and grotesque as to be unsaleable".

scarletpeaches
02-18-2012, 08:25 PM
Would it make any sense for me to post some sample sentences or paragraphs here, so that any agents or commissioning editors can get a sense of the style? I obviously wouldn't expect to receive any offers as a result of doing so, but it would be interesting to see whether people react by saying "this is potentially interesting" or "this is so intense and grotesque as to be unsaleable".There's a SYW section, but I wouldn't hold my breath for passing agents to offer representation based on a small section of an unfinished novel.

thethinker42
02-18-2012, 08:25 PM
Additionally, and I don't mean this disrespectfully or as anything snide, but I think it's a point that needs to be made...

If an agent was willing to take the time to read and consider your unfinished manuscript, which is extremely unlikely, they would probably also go take a peek at your existing book. So, out of curiosity, I went and looked at the book on Amazon.

The very first line of the book has a misspelled word in it. As a reader, that raises a red flag that the rest of the book is going to be poorly edited. An agent holding an unfinished manuscript in his other hand, using that existing book as an example of whether or not the author can finish a quality book, is probably going to reject it.

Finish your book, polish it within an inch of its life, and query it. It's really the only way you're going to catch the attention of an agent or editor.

Richard Falk
02-18-2012, 08:28 PM
Yes — "weakeneed" [sic]. The publisher mistakenly used an earlier, unedited draft of the typesetting for the first few ebooks. I told them to change this months ago, and it clearly hasn't been done. Just wait until I get hold of them on Monday.

thethinker42
02-18-2012, 08:31 PM
I couldn't C&P it because it was a PDF, but here's the screencap:

http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i177/thethinker42/screencap.jpg

firedrake
02-18-2012, 08:32 PM
Dude, SP and The Thinker are spot-on.

If you read through some of the many threads on here, you'll know that subbing a story idea before you've finished writing is not terribly clever.

Finish the book, make it pretty and submit it. No agent or editor is going to make any kind of offer based on a snippet, unless your name is Stephen King.

Richard Falk
02-18-2012, 08:41 PM
I couldn't C&P it because it was a PDF, but here's the screencap:

http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i177/thethinker42/screencap.jpg

Thanks — I spotted that just as you posted. I'm absolutely furious about it. Having spent many years as an advertising agency creative director, I'm experienced in editing and proofreading and I put that book through countless levels of revisions to make sure the typesetting was perfect, only for them to send out ebooks using an earlier version. To add insult to injury, "weakeneed" was an introduced typesetting error, as I don't make misspellings in my manuscripts.

Ketzel
02-18-2012, 08:52 PM
I'd venture to say many of us on this site write for pay in some fashion or other. In my case, it's also my non-fiction that pays the bills. But I guess I don't see time spent on fiction as not worth it unless the novel sells, because I enjoy writing it, it's more fun than another paid project tends to be, and if it sells, that's bonus money. If all writing is fungible to you and you want to be sure you can sell everything that you write, I strongly recommend you drop the fiction altogether -- it will always be a gamble, especially so if you are drawn towards the controversial, dark and profane side of the spectrum. This isn't meant as criticism or judgment, btw, just a practical observation given what you seem to have as your goal: not wasting time on fiction when writing non-fiction pays the bills.


Here's my dilemma: I have no intention of finishing it while I'm not certain it will place with a publisher, as I could be spending my time on my non-fiction books instead

jclarkdawe
02-18-2012, 10:18 PM
Let's go through what you've got for opinions so far:


American distributor won't touch such a controversial, blasphemous book.


She thinks it's the most hilarious black comedy she's ever seen, but isn't going to buy it


my beta readers' reactions have varied from fascination and delight to absolute revulsion


one liked the novel but considered it unpublishable,


the other described it as a "clever, confident book" that merely needed to find the right outlet.

What's your difficulty here? The answers are not only consistent, they're clear. You've got a book that's going to be a hard sell, with probably low sales figures until and unless it catches on as a cult book.

You might find an agent who likes it, but that doesn't guarantee a publisher. A publisher isn't going to make a final commitment until they've got the complete book in hand. And I can't see a publisher looking at a big run on this book. Too much of a gamble on what sort of market acceptance.

If you want a good gamble, this isn't the book to write. If you like playing long-shots, go for it.

You've got more than enough information. You just are hoping someone will come up with what you want to hear.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Jamesaritchie
02-18-2012, 10:33 PM
Yes, that is the issue. I'm a full-time, professional writer, and can easily finish the novel if it appears there's a market for it. But as a full-time, professional writer, I'd rather be working on something that pays if there isn't a market for it.



Publishers buy controversial novels on a regular basis. Controversy is considered a good thing by most of them, IF the novel is well-written, and has story and character value in its own right.


But the novel must be complete. Even an agent wouldn't be very bright to take on, or even express much interest, in a uncompleted novel.

If you're a full-time, professional writer, you should know better than to approach things this way. My guess is that you aren't a full-time, professional fiction writer, and you need to learn the difference between writing fiction and nonfiction.

You don't get to sell a novel until after you write the whole thing, at least until after you've established yourself as a writer who can write novels the reading public loves.

If you think writing the entire thing is a waste unless it sells, fiction isn't for you.

Richard Falk
02-18-2012, 10:38 PM
My guess is that you aren't a full-time, professional fiction writer, and you need to learn the difference between writing fiction and nonfiction.

Correct. Warp was my first stab at writing fiction since I was a teenager and was written purely for fun and not with publication in mind. I was frankly astounded when the first publisher that saw it, wanted it, as I believed it had little or no commercial potential.

Anyway, thanks to all for some very useful input. I'm far from certain whether Agency has any commercial value either, but it looks as though finishing it is the only way to find out.

Uno87
02-18-2012, 10:58 PM
I'd say do what you believe is best. There isn't a person on this site that knows exactly what's going on with your work but you.

In my opinion, you've already got a quarter of the book done. Go for it. If you find that these questions keep nagging at you and it affects your writing, stop. Sometimes time away is the best remedy.

Bottom line who cares about popular opinion. Write it because you want to not because it'll sell. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best of luck.

scarletpeaches
02-19-2012, 03:40 AM
I'd say do what you believe is best.So the opinions of agents and publishers and readers don't matter?
There isn't a person on this site that knows exactly what's going on with your work but you.There are plenty of people on this site who have seen threads like this many times before.
Bottom line who cares about popular opinion.Anyone who wants to sell a book.
Write it because you want to not because it'll sell.Sadly, those of us with rent to pay have to think about books that'll sell.

Hip-Hop-a-potamus
02-19-2012, 03:55 AM
I realize you're going for controversial and all, but if it's going to be that difficult to place, maybe just turn it down a tad. It's one thing to be controversial, it's another to be downright offensive.

Seriously-- 87 uses of the C word? I wouldn't touch it either.

scarletpeaches
02-19-2012, 04:00 AM
I realize you're going for controversial and all, but if it's going to be that difficult to place, maybe just turn it down a tad. It's one thing to be controversial, it's another to be downright offensive.

Seriously-- 87 uses of the C word? I wouldn't touch it either.Not referring to the C-word, but try reading How Late It Was, How Late by James Kelman.

4k+ fucks and it won the Booker.

Lock thread.

IceCreamEmpress
02-19-2012, 04:01 AM
You can't sell a novel in the US if it isn't finished these days. You can't get an agent for an unfinished novel in the US these days. This is true for multi-published novelists with totally solid sales.

So. You either need to find other small presses that take unagented submissions that might buy your work, or you need an agent. Some small presses in the US that publish edgy fiction with controversial themes include Akashic Books (http://www.akashicbooks.com/) and New Directions (http://ndbooks.com/).

As for agents, I would encourage you to find other books on similar themes and see who represents the writers of those books. Not knowing what your book is about I'll flag the authors of some other disturbing dark comedies: Chuck Palahniuk is represented by Edward Hibbert at Donadio and Olson (http://donadio.com/agents/); Helen DeWitt is represented by Edward Orloff at McCormick and Williams (http://www.mccormickwilliams.com/); Adam Ross is represented by Susanna Lea (http://www.susannalea.com/). Querytracker.net is a good place to find out who represents whom.

richcapo
02-19-2012, 05:18 AM
I recommend soliciting publishers who specialize in transgressive fiction (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transgressive_fiction), like Offense Mechanisms (http://www.offensemechanisms.com/), which has the following to say about the work it publishes:


The Offense Mechanisms imprint of Silverthought Press is a publishing venue for works of transgressive fiction. In response to a growing number of non-speculative fiction manuscript submissions to Silverthought, many of which are brilliant examples of challenging, thoughtful explorations of life's darkest places, editor Paul Hughes established Offense Mechanisms as an imprint for promising new voices in the transgressive genre.

Transgressive (or transgressional) fiction was defined by journalist Anne H. Soukhanov as a genre that "... graphically explores such topics as incest and other aberrant sexual practices, mutilation, the sprouting of sexual organs in various places on the human body, urban violence and violence against women, drug use, and highly dysfunctional family relationships, and that is based on the premise that knowledge is to be found at the edge of experience and that the body is the site for gaining knowledge" "Word Watch." The Atlantic Monthly (December 1996): 128. The genre focuses on characters' struggles to break free of society's expectations. This resistance to cultural norms confronts issues of mental illness, anti-social behavior, and identity. Transgressive fiction isn't afraid to challenge, inspire discussion of the taboo/profane, or, of course, offend. It is perhaps one of the most potent forms of social commentary, as evidenced by (in)famous examples such as American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, The Mad Man by Samuel R. Delany, and A Fan's Notes by Frederick Exley.


Offense Mechanisms will actively pursue relationships with writers whose work digs into the underbelly of life and finds meaning at the bleeding edges.
You might also want to check out Eraserhead Press (http://eraserheadpress.com/). They publish off-the-wall fare, as well.

James D. Macdonald
02-19-2012, 06:32 AM
Let's see if I have this right:

1) You're a full-time non-fiction writer with a long string of published books.

2) Your first novel sold to a legitimate press.

3) The press found that they couldn't distribute it.

4) Based on this, they passed on your second novel, which is currently in proposal form.

Am I correct that you aren't currently agented?

Okay: Advice (and worth every penny you paid):

A) Your first book should revert, since the publisher can't sell it.
B) Get an agent, who can/will re-sell that first novel to a publisher that can distribute it.
C) Take your agent's advice on what to do with the second novel.

Notes:

A book that is publishable by one is publishable by many. Macadam/Cage is not the only press out there.

American Psycho found a distributor. Hustler has a distributor (and I seriously doubt that anything, page for page, is more controversial, or has more vulgarity, than Mr. Flynt's magazine).

Best of luck.

shaldna
02-19-2012, 01:58 PM
I've written elsewhere on the site about the woes facing my first novel Warp — my publisher (MP Publishing/Macadam Cage) isn't currently able to get it on bookstores in the States as the American distributor won't touch such a controversial, blasphemous book.

Then change distributor.

I may be a being a little simple here, but my experience with distributors is that they will send the books to whoever ordered them from the publishers sales reps. Or am I missing something here? I just haven't ever heard of a distributor who refused to handle a book.


Now I'm trying to place my second novel Agency, which was intended to be mainstream commercial fiction, but hasn't turned out that way. I'm currently 20,000 words into it, and my editor has described the results as "darker than American Psycho". She thinks it's the most hilarious black comedy she's ever seen, but isn't going to buy it as once again the American distributor wouldn't go near a novel of that ilk.

Then this is a problem that your publisher has, and needs to address ASAP. If they can't get things in gear on their end then they should stop buying books that they can't sell and you should look for another publisher who is capable of selling those books.



Here's my dilemma: I have no intention of finishing it while I'm not certain it will place with a publisher, as I could be spending my time on my non-fiction books instead. But at the same time, agents and publishers don't generally want to purchase a title on the basis of a query letter, synopsis and 20,000 words (that if they've got the stomach for the book in the first place).

Thing is, you have no track record here, and that's a problem. The first book was contracted but never went on sale. You have no history of big sales or meeting deadlines. If you were 10 books in you could probably sell the book based on a query alone, but not at this stage.

You said you write a lot of non-fic, but non-fic is a very different kettle of fish, not only does it usually sell on a query and a sample, but it is a different style altogether, and so showing that you can finish a non-fic books isn't any indication that you can finish a novel.


So where do I go from here? Are there agents or publishers with particular interest in challenging writing who'd like to take a look?

1. Write the book.
2. Finish the book.
3. Query the book.




Nonetheless, I think that from the query letter, synopsis and first 20,000 words, an agent or publisher can get a pretty clear idea of what I'm trying to do with this novel, and from that can express a general interest in it.

No. Do you have any idea how many books out there get queried and have and AMAZING first couple of chapters and a BRILLIANT query, but the novel sucks balls? Lots. That's how many.

From a sample an agent or editor might like the style enough to ask to see more, but no one is going to commit without seeing the whole thing, and if they ask you for the whole thing and you have to answer 'sure, just give me six months while I finish writing it' then you are shooting yourself in the foot in terms of professionalism.

Honestly, I think you are just getting a little ahead of yourself here. Write the book if you feel that you should write the book. THEN try to sell the book. There's no point in stressing yourself out by trying to do things arse about face.



Thanks — I spotted that just as you posted. I'm absolutely furious about it. Having spent many years as an advertising agency creative director, I'm experienced in editing and proofreading and I put that book through countless levels of revisions to make sure the typesetting was perfect, only for them to send out ebooks using an earlier version. To add insult to injury, "weakeneed" was an introduced typesetting error, as I don't make misspellings in my manuscripts.

Everyone makes mistakes sometimes and there are a lot of stages where mistakes can happen in the process of publications. But surely you read your proofs?



Publishers buy controversial novels on a regular basis. Controversy is considered a good thing by most of them, IF the novel is well-written, and has story and character value in its own right.

Controversial is often another word for 'free publicity' too.



Correct. Warp was my first stab at writing fiction since I was a teenager and was written purely for fun and not with publication in mind. I was frankly astounded when the first publisher that saw it, wanted it, as I believed it had little or no commercial potential.

I don't know your publisher, but have you checked them out on the background check board etc? Are they legit, and have others had the same distribution problems?





Seriously-- 87 uses of the C word? I wouldn't touch it either.

You clearly aren't Irish then. :) C-word is a part of everyday conversation and often a term of endearment. I guess it's one of those cultural things too.

Richard Falk
02-19-2012, 04:40 PM
Let's see if I have this right:

1) You're a full-time non-fiction writer with a long string of published books.

2) Your first novel sold to a legitimate press.

3) The press found that they couldn't distribute it.

4) Based on this, they passed on your second novel, which is currently in proposal form.

Am I correct that you aren't currently agented?

1) My non-fiction is reference books, magazine articles and album sleeve notes about underground rock music. The Richard Falk who writes about current affairs (mainly about the Israel/Palestine conflict) is a different person entirely: an 81-year-old American university professor. In retrospect, I should probably have chosen a pen name to avoid the confusion, but part of me likes the idea of such an erudite man being asked why he’s suddenly diverged into writing controversial novels.

2) Yes.

3) Yes.

4) Yes.

Also, yes, I am not agented. I directly sold Warp to MP Publishing, whose European office is 15 minutes’ walk from my home in the Isle of Man.


Okay: Advice (and worth every penny you paid):

A) Your first book should revert, since the publisher can't sell it.
B) Get an agent, who can/will re-sell that first novel to a publisher that can distribute it.
C) Take your agent's advice on what to do with the second novel.

Thanks, James. I can’t see MP being keen to declare Warp out of print as they have thousands of unsold copies of it. That said, I question whether they’re actively promoting it, as it’s no longer even mentioned on their website.


Then change distributor.

I may be a being a little simple here, but my experience with distributors is that they will send the books to whoever ordered them from the publishers sales reps. Or am I missing something here? I just haven't ever heard of a distributor who refused to handle a book.

Must admit that this was a new one on me as well.


Do you have any idea how many books out there get queried and have and AMAZING first couple of chapters and a BRILLIANT query, but the novel sucks balls? Lots. That's how many.

I had no idea at all. I come from a writing background (copywriting followed by some dabbling in journalism) where if you’re given a deadline, you deliver a quality product on time, without fail.


Everyone makes mistakes sometimes and there are a lot of stages where mistakes can happen in the process of publications. But surely you read your proofs?

I’m extremely careful about reading my proofs, which is why the ebook mistake is so infuriating. This wasn’t about an error being overlooked; it was a version control problem at the publisher’s end, where they mistakenly issued an early version that hadn’t even been seen by me. It’s doubly annoying inasmuch as the typography for the paperback, which was done in the States by one of Macadam Cage’s designers, is beautiful.


I don't know your publisher, but have you checked them out on the background check board etc? Are they legit, and have others had the same distribution problems?

MP Publishing was a start-up when I signed to them. They’ve now grown considerably, and have absorbed a fair amount of what was Macadam Cage, but they certainly haven’t managed to shift Warp in any quantity.

Captcha
02-19-2012, 05:03 PM
One possibility that has not yet been mentioned, and that I hesitate to mention myself...

A book that the author knows will find an audience, but that can't find a publisher is a reason commonly used for self-publishing. Now, maybe you're not actually confident that the book will find an audience - that's fair. Or maybe you don't want to jump through all the self-publishing hoops. Makes sense. Maybe you're being realistic about the problems of getting attention for self-pubbed books - absolutely a valid concern.

But I decided to mention the possibility anyway. Especially since you'll be producing an MS that will be completely error-free. Self-publishing would be a way to eliminate any other human's errors from the process.

And, as a side note: "Cunt" has a much stronger connotation in North America than it does in the UK and Ireland. I know women who literally curl up in a weird defensive revulsion when they hear it. No idea why, but if I had to guess why your book is having trouble on this side of the pond, I'd look much more closely at the use of "cunt" rather than the use of "fuck". A UK publisher may have underestimated the strength of that word over here.

James D. Macdonald
02-19-2012, 05:20 PM
"Change distributor" is something that happens at the publisher level, not the author level. What happens at the author level is "change publisher."

You'd have to check your contract to see what constitutes out of print, and what the conditions that trigger the reversion clause are. Dropping the title from their web page may constitute "no longer offered for sale."

Regardless of what happens with this book, you'll want to write the next one, and the one after that, and the one after that....

Deb Kinnard
02-19-2012, 10:17 PM
I haven't much of value to add, but when a publisher no longer exhibits your title on their web page, how then can the customer know of it and purchase it?

It may be to your benefit at this point to ask formally for reversion of your rights, and if they say "no", ask at what sales threshold the book will be considered no longer offered for sale. Or ask for a given time period after which your rights will revert. It sounds from where I sit as though your title is in no-man's-land here.

Torgo
02-19-2012, 10:24 PM
I have never heard of a distributor refusing to carry a book. Either the publisher/distributor relationship at work here is somewhat unusual, or there might be something else going on that you're not privy to?

veinglory
02-19-2012, 11:08 PM
A full-time professional writer should know that you finish the book, you submit the book, then you finish the next book. You work on books you think you can sell, or you work on books you aren't sure will sell and take you chances.

robjvargas
02-19-2012, 11:27 PM
A full-time professional writer should know that you finish the book, you submit the book, then you finish the next book. You work on books you think you can sell, or you work on books you aren't sure will sell and take you chances.

Gotta disagree, veinglory. Nonfiction books can be proposed and contracted before they are fully written. Difference between a query and a proposal, as I understand it.

And he did say it's nonfiction he's written.

IceCreamEmpress
02-20-2012, 01:05 AM
MP's US distributor is Publishers Group West. I think someone is giving you erroneous information if they tell you that PGW won't handle your book because of content; they distribute much more controversial books than yours, I can guarantee you. (Look at Soft Skull Books's catalogue, for instance!)

I also think you're getting erroneous information about the relationship between MP Publishing and Macadam/Cage. And your book doesn't appear on either MP Publishing's US site (http://mppublishingusa.com/books?page=1) or Macadam/Cage's site (http://macadamcage.com/books/backlist), so I would start by looking into that.

I would be very surprised that the issue is with Publishers Group West. Very surprised.

Richard Falk
02-20-2012, 01:14 AM
This is very interesting. Yes, it is PGW that is distributing MP Publishing's titles in the USA. MP Publishing issues all the ebook versions of Macadam/Cage's paper catalogue, and has also taken on a number of Macadam/Cage's staff as that publisher has downsized, setting up a San Francisco office in addition to its original Isle of Man office. The two businesses are closely intertwined, but remain under separate ownership for the time being.

IceCreamEmpress
02-20-2012, 01:59 AM
Richard, is your book published by MP Publishing, or by MacAdam/Cage?

I've just confirmed that MacAdam/Cage self-distributes now (my bookstore owner friend happened to be in the store today :) ).

Also, you say "MP Publishing has taken on a number of MacAdam/Cage's staff" but for the last few years I am pretty sure that "MacAdam/Cage's staff" has consisted entirely of David Poindexter, Pat Walsh, and Sonny Brewer. David and Sonny are still at M/C--has Pat Walsh stared working for MP Publishing?

Richard Falk
02-20-2012, 02:03 AM
MP Publishing. The US version was likely to come out on Macadam/Cage, as the intention was that Macadam/Cage would issue MP Publishing's paper output in the States, while MP Publishing would issue ebook versions of Macadam/Cage's books worldwide. In the final event, Macadam/Cage started to contract, and MP simply took on a number of their people to open their own San Francisco office.

Lucas
02-20-2012, 02:07 AM
Actually, controversiality is pretty much a selling point.

Richard Falk
02-20-2012, 03:25 AM
Also, you say "MP Publishing has taken on a number of MacAdam/Cage's staff" but for the last few years I am pretty sure that "MacAdam/Cage's staff" has consisted entirely of David Poindexter, Pat Walsh, and Sonny Brewer. David and Sonny are still at M/C--has Pat Walsh stared working for MP Publishing?

I believe so. I hope I'm not betraying any confidences by saying that.

IceCreamEmpress
02-20-2012, 09:22 PM
So, Richard, has a US edition of your book actually been published by MP Publishing? Because it's not on their website and it's not at Amazon or Barnes and Noble--just the UK edition at Amazon.com (which is listed as having been published by Gazelle Distribution, an error that someone at MP should correct) and nothing at all at Barnes and Noble.

The problem doesn't seem to be on the distribution end, to be polite. And if I were in your position, I wouldn't take the word of my editor that PGW wouldn't distribute my book because of its content, because PGW has distributed way more controversial books than yours.

Richard Falk
02-20-2012, 09:29 PM
No, there is no US edition as such, due to PGW's apparent disinterest. I spoke to MP this morning and they're going to tell PGW more forcefully that they have to get the book out there. The plan is that we'll strip the covers off some of the UK copies and substitute a new design more suitable for the American market.

I asked my editor directly whether it was MP's decision not to promote the book in the States, and she assured me that it wasn't. I suspect this is true, as they have thousands of unsold copies they would like to get moving. I have been assured that my profile and book will be added to the MP USA site, and that the correct, signed-off version of the text will be inserted into the ebook this week.

quicklime
02-20-2012, 10:45 PM
So the opinions of agents and publishers and readers don't matter?There are plenty of people on this site who have seen threads like this many times before.Anyone who wants to sell a book.Sadly, those of us with rent to pay have to think about books that'll sell.



all of this QFT.

Uno, if you want to extoll the virtues of writing "cause it makes you happy, man" that's fine, but if he's asking (and the OP was) about publishing, he's got some other concerns to address beyond that. As said, lots of folks have half-scripts someplace; a much smaller fragment ever finish anything, and agents are a bit leery of a solid "oh, just trust me."