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The_Burning_Quill
06-17-2013, 02:41 PM
Unfortunately, being very slow, it has only just occurred to me that living in the middle of nowhere (think somewhere like Fiji, or maybe Monglia) might be something of a problem getting anywhere in the publishing world.

Does where you live have an impact on what agents/publishers think about the potential returns from your work? Especially if you are a first time author?

I say this because it will basically be impossible for me to ever attend book-signings/conferences/meet the editor over anything but Skype (unless by some miracle my novel goes Twilight).

Not even sure if I'd be able to justify the flight out to sign a contract TBH.

I understand that many will probably say: "Yes, it is an issue, but if your work is good enough..."

And yes, maybe - I'd love to pretend that I'm sitting on the next mega-best seller but sadly I doubt it, good as I think my work is. When I strip away my dreams of Potter my sensible head thinks that even if I was amazingly successful with my debut novel, it will never cover the travel and lost income (or getting fired) on my day job.
So I wonder - looking at it without emotion, is there really an point in continuing to query agents?

Many thanks.

Terie
06-17-2013, 02:49 PM
Does where you live have an impact on what agents/publishers think about the potential returns from your work? Especially if you are a first time author?

Your location is completely and utterly irrelevant. It never has been very relevant, and in this day of electronic communication, it makes no difference at all.


I say this because it will basically be impossible for me to ever attend book-signings/conferences/meet the editor over anything but Skype (unless by some miracle my novel goes Twilight).

You don't have to do any of these things. They're nice if you can make them happen, but that's all the are: nice. They aren't an important part of the publishing process.

The only thing agents and acquisitions editors care about is the story. Write a good story and write it well, and nothing else matters. :)

cornflake
06-17-2013, 02:52 PM
Seriously, look where Stephen King lives, heh. Writing is traditionally a job done anyplace, and often very remote places. There are even books about people who gave up their jobs and moved to some remote location to live on the cheap and try to write the Great Wherever Novel.

If your book is picked up by an agent, then bought by a house that wants to invest in a book tour, they buy you the plane tickets. It's not an issue.

The_Burning_Quill
06-17-2013, 03:06 PM
I forget that this board is mostly Americans. <- just noticed the first poster was from Manchester (idiot)

I should clarify - the nature of the book is such that I have to submit to UK based agents, so maybe this is more of a UK agent question as Americans are used to vast distances and travel is relatively inexpensive for you guys.

Also - I live a looooooooong way away (seriously, it is a long way) and it is non-trivial amounts of money to fly back and forth.

But also - the double think is killing me. On one hand we are being told that the industry has moved on and requires authors to do lots of promotion (which would be impossible) and on the other we have the wonders of the internet which allows me to write from this cave.... they can't both be true.

Cathy C
06-17-2013, 03:11 PM
The only issue that's ever come up for me is overnighting things, since "overnight" is closer to two or three days. It takes at least one day just to get out of Texas (the equivalent distance from my town to any border of Texas is the same as from Paris, France to Berlin, Germany), then one day to nearly everywhere else in the world. :ROFL:

So we just do more things by email. Email dissolves distances, and publishing makes full use of it. I presume you have internet, or you wouldn't be here to ask. :)

As for conferences, if the publisher wants you to attend something, they'll pay. I know of author friends who have been sent from the US to Brazil, Australia, Japan and points beyond. Same with UK authors and Canadian ones.

Just a few year ago, I met a women's fiction author who had been sent on a multi-publisher bus tour who lived in Scotland. Happens all the time. And, Skype is your friend. One YA author I know regularly "attends" teen writing groups and "appears" at schools via Skype.

IOW, it's all good

kkbe
06-17-2013, 03:17 PM
On one hand we are being told that the industry has moved on and requires authors to do lots of promotion (which would be impossible) . . . Not impossible at all. Have you checked out the forums on blogging and book promotion? There are blog hops, virtual book tours, and all kinds of websites of folks who interview writers, many writers have their own websites, social media. A plethora :) of virtual opportunities for a writer to 'get the word out'.

The_Burning_Quill
06-17-2013, 03:30 PM
Thanks everyone, guess I was wrong about this one - which is good. The dream survives.

Old Hack
06-17-2013, 10:49 PM
Foreign rights sell even though few authors travel widely enough to promote those foreign editions. Think about it.

Chris P
06-17-2013, 10:54 PM
I have not signed a paper contract for a story in several years, and did e-sigs for a short story and a novel while in Uganda. I hope to sign with an agent while still here, but that's up to them :D

Terie
06-17-2013, 11:55 PM
Also, check out John Twelve Hawks. Three bestselling novels, and he lives totally off the grid. Even uses a voice disguiser for audio interviews.

Steven Hutson
07-01-2013, 03:03 AM
Every publisher that I might submit your work to, will absolutely expect you to participate in the marketing of your work. This includes book signings and personal appearances. If you get a deal in spite of these obstacles, great! But it will still be an impediment to sales.

The_Burning_Quill
07-01-2013, 09:03 AM
Every publisher that I might submit your work to, will absolutely expect you to participate in the marketing of your work. This includes book signings and personal appearances. If you get a deal in spite of these obstacles, great! But it will still be an impediment to sales.

And this is exactly what I was thinking to start with. As an unsigned nobody, I wondered if being a canoe a camel and a twenty four hour flight away from civilization was going to be a hindrance.

I still have that lingering feeling. Maybe if I was already published then it wouldn't matter, but just starting out?

But then again, many more experienced AWers have weighed in saying it doesn't matter.

So it will be fine.

It'll totally be fine.

Terie
07-01-2013, 09:26 AM
Every publisher that I might submit your work to, will absolutely expect you to participate in the marketing of your work. This includes book signings and personal appearances. If you get a deal in spite of these obstacles, great! But it will still be an impediment to sales.

This is completely untrue. I don't live in the same country that any of my books were published in, and it's never been a problem.

Book signings and personal appearances aren't expected, and aren't even profitable until an author is a major seller. Publishers don't take the initiative to set up these kinds of things unless the author is a best seller, although they'll help any authors set up signings if the author wants to (such as in the place where the author lives). For example, when I was on vacation in the US, my publisher set up a couple of stock signings for me in the areas I would be visiting.

And no major publishers expect authors to do any marketing at all. It's the publisher's job to get books in bookshops, not the author's.

As an agent, Mr Hutson, you should know all of this. Of course, from what anyone here (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=242152) can tell, your sales are almost all to micropresses that don't require agents in the first place, and you have a footprint here at AW of making statements about publishing that are demonstrably untrue. Kind of like the one I quoted above.

What you're really saying, it appears, is that you don't submit to the Big 5, and that being the case, who would want you as an agent anyway?

cornflake
07-01-2013, 09:34 AM
And this is exactly what I was thinking to start with. As an unsigned nobody, I wondered if being a canoe a camel and a twenty four hour flight away from civilization was going to be a hindrance.

I still have that lingering feeling. Maybe if I was already published then it wouldn't matter, but just starting out?

But then again, many more experienced AWers have weighed in saying it doesn't matter.

So it will be fine.

It'll totally be fine.

It will be fine.

If a publisher wants you at events, the publisher gets you to events. This is all stuff that's discussed after a book is bought and the marketing department has been engaged, come up with a campaign, etc., taking many things into account.

Agents don't look at a query and write back 'it sounds fantastic; please send the full ms. immediately, but only if you live within X miles of Y.'

Also, honestly, if you're literally a canoe, camel, etc. away from everything, if, say, a publishing house bought your ms., thought it was going to be a huge seller, designed a giant marketing campaign to promote it and you're there? Either they get you where they want you or that's a bonus, because it's a gimmick for the Today Show or whatever to send their person on a journey on a camel and in a canoe to meet the author who yada yada.

Old Hack
07-01-2013, 10:39 AM
I've assumed Mr Hutson is using "marketing" to refer to what I call "promotion": that is, all the free stuff that writers can do, rather than all the paid-for stuff that publishers do. I realise that such terms are often used interchangeably.


Every publisher that I might submit your work to, will absolutely expect you to participate in the marketing of your work. This includes book signings and personal appearances. If you get a deal in spite of these obstacles, great! But it will still be an impediment to sales.

This might be true for every publisher you might submit to, but it's not true for most good publishers.

If it were true, how is it that I have never once attended a book signing for any of the books I've ever had published? There are now more than thirty of them, some of which have ended up on the best-seller lists in the UK, the USA, and elsewhere.

If it were true, how do you explain foreign and translation editions? Many of them go on to sell in astonishingly good amounts even though their authors have never visited the countries they're published in, and don't speak the language they're published in.

As I've said before, book signings are very poor sales tools. They are not cost-effective. They are not necessary. Writers who live in inaccessible places do not have to worry that this will affect their chances of publication, and it is very poor advice to suggest otherwise.

Corinne Duyvis
07-01-2013, 01:35 PM
In addition to the excellent advice given above--no one expects you to fly out to sign your contract. Publishers and agents are perfectly used to those things happening via the mail, and I've even signed several short story contracts via e-mail.

Do not stress about this one bit. :)

Princess Marina
07-01-2013, 02:42 PM
The biggest problem of living on a small but not that isolated island is the cost of getting off. Any conference, book signing or anything similar I wished to attend has an add on cost. Writing, submissions, contracts, etc. can all be done on line and hopefully most of the promotion, but actually networking at a conference would be far more difficult.

waylander
07-01-2013, 02:46 PM
Of course, once you have a contract and the associated earning, attending conferences etc becomes a tax-deductible cost of doing business.

Steven Hutson
07-01-2013, 08:17 PM
This is completely untrue. I don't live in the same country that any of my books were published in, and it's never been a problem.

That's wonderful, Terie. You've been blessed. That doesn't mean that geography doesn't matter.

Steven Hutson
07-01-2013, 08:20 PM
I
As I've said before, book signings are very poor sales tools. They are not cost-effective. They are not necessary.

True in the abstract, but sales are not the sole purpose of a book signing. It's also about building your brand, gaining exposure, meeting your fans. Fans who can meet you, buy more books over time. Then they tell their friends, who tell their friends.

Terie
07-01-2013, 08:34 PM
That's wonderful, Terie. You've been blessed. That doesn't mean that geography doesn't matter.

I have not been blessed. What a silly word to use about a business transaction.

Geography doesn't matter to reputable publishers, no matter how much you insist that it does. Period.

Insisting that it does serves mostly to confuse concerned inexperienced writers -- which is distinctly unhelfpul -- and to make you look like you don't know what you're talking about -- which you clearly, well, don't.

Many writers in one locale are published in another.

Medievalist
07-01-2013, 08:43 PM
True in the abstract, but sales are not the sole purpose of a book signing. It's also about building your brand, gaining exposure, meeting your fans. Fans who can meet you, buy more books over time. Then they tell their friends, who tell their friends.

Yes, Pynchon's sales have really suffered for lack of book signings.

MandyHubbard
07-01-2013, 08:50 PM
True in the abstract, but sales are not the sole purpose of a book signing. It's also about building your brand, gaining exposure, meeting your fans. Fans who can meet you, buy more books over time. Then they tell their friends, who tell their friends.

Steven,

I'm not familiar with you or your agency so I looked up your deals-- 5-- on PMP, 2 of which are digital. Obviously you're not expecting THEM To do in person signings, are you?

I work with both indie pubs and big six pubs (still can't get used to saying big 5!) as an author and as an agent, and have never had any of them have any expectation of me doing events. I did a launch party for my debut novel from Penguin, and I've done a few panel signings since. I despise solo events as while my books sell modestly well, I'm no blockbuster and it's not worth my time to sit there for two hours to sell a dozen books. So I do panel ones that draw a bigger crowd and are fun for me. I've done 2 or 3 of those.

It was all stuff I set up myself and frankly when you work with a big 5 pub, unless they shelled out a sizeable advance and/or your book is a big in-house favorite, your publicists reaction is going to be, "oh, great." As in they don't react or plan anything for you.

I have a client I sold for six figures to S&S, and she lives in the UK and is not doing any US events.

And as to the OP, I had four debut authors on my list this year (I've sold almost a dozen debuts so far), some did launch parties, some did not. Frankly launch parties are for YOU and your family to celebrate your awesome, not becuase they are big PR machines. (And because you're so awesome, your family would have bought 2 copies each regardless of the party, yes?)

Don't give it another thought. When an agent offers you can tell them about your location limits at that time.

Mandy

Terie
07-01-2013, 09:12 PM
True in the abstract, but sales are not the sole purpose of a book signing. It's also about building your brand, gaining exposure, meeting your fans. Fans who can meet you, buy more books over time. Then they tell their friends, who tell their friends.

Yes, Pynchon's sales have really suffered for lack of book signings.

So have Steig Larsson's

Old Hack
07-02-2013, 12:56 AM
That's wonderful, Terie. You've been blessed. That doesn't mean that geography doesn't matter.

Steven, if you're so convinced that authors are going to have to hit the streets to promote their books, how do you explain the huge success of Steig Larsson's books? He died before his books were published. Then there are all those foreign and translation deals which are made, where not only do the authors concerned not visit the countries concerned, they don't even speak the language;


True in the abstract, but sales are not the sole purpose of a book signing. It's also about building your brand, gaining exposure, meeting your fans. Fans who can meet you, buy more books over time. Then they tell their friends, who tell their friends.

Why is it that publishers spend all sorts of money bringing their books to market but then don't send every single author they publish out on a book-signing tour? It would make economic sense for them to do so if what you suggest is true: and yet they don't. Think about that.

Book signings are not cost-effective. There are far better ways to build a brand and gain exposure. And writers who aren't able or available to participate in such events are not going to be rejected by publishers because of their reluctance.

Steven Hutson
07-02-2013, 07:54 PM
Steven, if you're so convinced that authors are going to have to hit the streets to promote their books, how do you explain the huge success of Steig Larsson's books?

Yup, someone of Larsson's stature doesn't seek help in a place like this.

But the majority of the people in these forums are at or near the beginning of their career. Personal appearances can do a great deal of good in building your brand.

Steven Hutson
07-02-2013, 07:57 PM
Why is it that publishers spend all sorts of money bringing their books to market but then don't send every single author they publish out on a book-signing tour?

Because they put most of their money into their marquee-name authors who have a known track record.

Steven Hutson
07-02-2013, 07:59 PM
Look at my post again, Terie. I said "Someone of Larsson's stature." And most of the people in these forums ask rookie questions, which tells me that they're not in that league.

Which is not a criticism. Just a recognition of where they are on their path.

Medievalist
07-02-2013, 08:03 PM
Yup, someone of Larsson's stature doesn't seek help in a place like this.

Yes, because he's DEAD.

You keep making errors like this that suggest you are less than au fait with professional publishing.

Moreover, there are only two people who are in a position to know who is and isn't posting here—and you're not one of them.

In fact, you've responded to people whose names you should recognize without having a clue who they are.

But you have successfully managed to sneer at the very people you, presumably, are hoping to gain as clients.


But the majority of the people in these forums are at or near the beginning of their career. Personal appearances can do a great deal of good in building your brand.

You really need to stop making assertions like this. You sound like a marketing dweeb, not an agent.

The writer's job is writing good books. The agent's job is selling those books to publishers. The publisher's job is marketing those books to retailers, wholesalers, and book buyers.

Terie
07-02-2013, 08:03 PM
Yup, someone of Larsson's stature doesn't seek help in a place like this.

But the majority of the people in these forums are at or near the beginning of their career. Personal appearances can do a great deal of good in building your brand.

This post twists my head. I deleted my original reply and will try again.

Larsson's stature doesn't matter one whit. You're saying that people in remote locations can't get publishing deals because they need to be around to do book signings.

Which is rubbish.

And Larsson does disprove your notion because The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was his first novel and it was published posthumously. He had no known stature in the English-speaking world, and yet his books took off like wildfire without him being present for a single signing, what with the being dead and all.

Seriously, dude. You aren't nearly as knowledgable about how publishing works as you think, and the misinformation you're dishing out to inexperienced writers is worrisome.

ETA: Furthermore, the US a very large place. No writer becomes a major seller on the back of book signings. No one could do enough to make a splash. The fact that you keep harping on this being a major factor goes to show that you don't actually know what does make a splash.

Steven Hutson
07-02-2013, 08:13 PM
You're saying that people in remote locations can't get publishing deals


LOL, you gave a lovely way of turning my general statements into absolutisms. Which I don't do. I said it can be a disadvantage.

And a book signing is ONE tool among many, that an author can use to raise his/her profile.

Terie
07-02-2013, 08:18 PM
Nope. I don't make absolutist statements like that. I said it can be a disadvantage.

ETA: You've edited you post since I quoted it. Now it says:


LOL, you gave a lovely way of turning my general statements into absolutisms. Which I don't do. I said it can be a disadvantage.

And a book signing is ONE tool among many, that an author can use to raise his/her profile.

And now you're just plain lying. The sum total of the following posts you've made serve to tell the remote people who asked the questions that getting a publishing deal will be difficult by virtue of their locales.

And none of these statements are true.

Note the use of the word 'absolutely' in your own freaking post. I bolded it to make sure you don't miss it.


Every publisher that I might submit your work to, will absolutely expect you to participate in the marketing of your work. This includes book signings and personal appearances. If you get a deal in spite of these obstacles, great! But it will still be an impediment to sales.


... That doesn't mean that geography doesn't matter.


True in the abstract, but sales are not the sole purpose of a book signing. It's also about building your brand, gaining exposure, meeting your fans. Fans who can meet you, buy more books over time. Then they tell their friends, who tell their friends.


Note: In the event of a legal dispute, you could have some difficulty serving the other party with a summons. It happens. Many agents and publishers choose not to work internationally, for that very reason.

cornflake
07-02-2013, 10:38 PM
Yup, someone of Larsson's stature doesn't seek help in a place like this.

But the majority of the people in these forums are at or near the beginning of their career. Personal appearances can do a great deal of good in building your brand.

I have no idea where you get the latter idea. Who do you know on these forums to say that? Plenty of people here have several books in their sigs, plenty of people don't have any, yet have decades of experience writing, editing, agenting or otherwise. As the cartoon goes, some people are dogs. You have no idea who the majority or otherwise of people on these forums are.

As to the first, well, were he not, you know, dead, he'd be considered near the beginning of his career. He had no 'stature' as a novelist, though he did as an investigative journalist.

What the heck kind of agent doesn't know anything about one of, if not the, best-selling novelists of the past decade? Whose first novel, btw, was The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, for which I am positive he did not a single promotional event in any country in the world. Lordy.

FluffBunny
07-03-2013, 12:13 AM
Having been in bookstores when new (or newish) authors are holding signings, all I can say is that I feel sorry for them. People avoid making eye contact for fear of getting strong-armed into buying a book. Or for fear of being drawn into conversation and then feeling as if it would only be polite to purchase a book.

A publisher paying for the author's book to be displayed will have more impact than the author showing up for a signing. The author will be signing for an hour or two. The display will be pushing the book for however long the publisher pays for.

Mr. Hutson, I think you're still confusing "marketing" (which is done by the publisher--store displays, ads in trade publications, write-ups in their catalogs, etc.), i.e. the things that really sell books, with "promotion" (blogs, Twitter feeds, going to cons on their own dime, etc), the things that may or may not help form a fan-base. Some publishers expect a certain level of promotion from their authors, some don't care and none of them expect their authors to be involved in marketing. At least, none of the advance-paying, commercial houses do.

SentaHolland
07-03-2013, 12:41 AM
Of course I'm not as experienced as many people here but in Erotica, many people write under a pen name so that their identity won't be revealed. So in that case some of them never turn up in person anywhere (others do, of course, but that means they are ok with being spotted). Erotica seems to sell reasonably well...

yendor1152
07-03-2013, 01:41 AM
Seriously, look where Stephen King lives, heh. Writing is traditionally a job done anyplace, and often very remote places. There are even books about people who gave up their jobs and moved to some remote location to live on the cheap and try to write the Great Wherever Novel.

If your book is picked up by an agent, then bought by a house that wants to invest in a book tour, they buy you the plane tickets. It's not an issue.

Well, Bangor, Maine isn't exactly outer Mongolia. I live approximately an hour away, and I can assure you we have electronic media and access to airports.

Mr Flibble
07-03-2013, 02:44 AM
I've done a whole two book signings -- one at my book launch at Forbidden Planet and one at a con (sitting next to Stacia, thank the gods, or I'd have been Billy no mates, my book having only just come out....)

I'm willing to do more, but Waterstone's have changed their policy and...and well it;s a lot more effort for each store to get it organised, so unless you're a big name/your publisher sets up a book tour, it's not as easy as it used to be.

I did do some signings there when I was with a small press (before the rules changed). Hey, guess what, my books sell better at a big press, because of their marketing.

And my pub have never demanded anything of me. They ask, terribly nicely, if I would mind...? And I say yes, because I'm a gobby soul so it doesn't come hard, and I want my book to do well. But I can think of at least one author with my pub who does not/will probably never do any personal appearances of any description, because only the pub knows if they are even make or female. (And I know of a couple of others the same at other pubs) The vast majority of my promo is online, which I can do from anywhere.

Signings and personal appearances are not usually mandatory (the pubs really like you to help, obviously). The real story is in your online presence. If you can effectively promo online, and you do so...If you were to refuse to be even online at all (as well as never do in person stuff), it mightmake things tricky (it certainly would at say a small e-press), but even then it might not be a dealbreaker for the larger pubs (though I suspect it might make a harder sale, or involve more negotiations etc, though I don't know that for sure. This may well depend on editor/publisher. Some demand more online presence than others).

So this:


Originally Posted by Steven Hutson http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=8272353#post8272353)
Every publisher that I might submit your work to, will absolutely expect you to participate in the marketing of your work. This includes book signings and personal appearances. If you get a deal in spite of these obstacles, great! But it will still be an impediment to sales.


Is a very sweeping statement that might indicate much. But not about the larger pubs as a rule.

And that's not even going into the marketing v promo thing which I think has been covered? (and I'd expect an agent to know the difference)

cornflake
07-03-2013, 03:12 AM
Well, Bangor, Maine isn't exactly outer Mongolia. I live approximately an hour away, and I can assure you we have electronic media and access to airports.

I wasn't suggesting it was Mongolia-level - the OP has electronic media as well, obvs. or wouldn't be posting the q. Just meant King has always been in a location in which it'd take decent time and/or money to get someplace, and that he started doing this a long time ago, before electronic media, and it wasn't an issue.

Stacia Kane
07-03-2013, 03:25 AM
Good lord. Nobody really cares where you live, unless you happen to live somewhere really interesting, different, and exciting (frex, if you live in an igloo, or a grass hut on a semi-deserted island, or in a thousand-year-old lighthouse and have written a mystery based on medieval documents you found in a hidey-hole in the wall*), in which case the marketing people might prick up their ears a bit. But if they didn't want the book anyway they won't buy it because of that, and if they do want it the fact that you live in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere doesn't matter one bit.

When I signed with my agent (in the US) and he sold UG (first to a US house), I was living in a small town in the assfuck end of England. Now I live in an even more obscure town even further in assfuck, and nobody cares about that either and it's not stopping anyone from wanting to work with me.

Are you reachable by phone and email? Then you're fine. Seriously, this is NOT an issue, no matter if you're brand new or multi-published, huge name or lurking near the bottom of the midlist.

And as for the idea of being served in case of a legal dispute...who's assuming adversarial relationships now? (And I'm not aware of a single large publisher that refuses to work internationally, especially since--strangely enough--those publishers are themselves multinational.)

I've done a few signings. Always joint or multi-author signings. I don't want to do them on my own, frankly, because the odds of a big turn-out aren't that great (even the biggest authors have done signings nobody showed up for). Nobody at any of my publishers is too concerned about that, either, because they know that signings don't really sell books (Seriously, how many books have you bought by unknown authors just because they were signing when you happened to walk into a bookstore?), or rather, they know signings are like advertising in that they are designed for current readers.

Conventions are fun, and I love doing them, but again, even the largest ones I've done, with rooms packed to capacity for panels I've been on (not because of ME, but because of others on the panels :)), are more for promoting general goodwill/name recognition and networking with other writers and industry pros than selling books. I've sold plenty of books from conventions but nowhere near as many as I've sold just because my books are in stores and people give them a try and then buy more.

One good blog post is worth way more, promotion-wise, than a couple of signings.

As others have said, if being DEAD isn't an impediment to being published, living in Small Town Small Country most certainly is not.



I've done a whole two book signings -- one at my book launch at Forbidden Planet and one at a con (sitting next to Stacia, thank the gods, or I'd have been Billy no mates, my book having only just come out....)


That was fun, wasn't it? :)



The real story is in your online presence. If you can effectively promo online, and you do so...If you were to refuse to be even online at all (as well as never do in person stuff), it mightmake things tricky (it certainly would at say a small e-press), but even then it might not be a dealbreaker for the larger pubs (though I suspect it might make a harder sale, or involve more negotiations etc, though I don't know that for sure. This may well depend on editor/publisher. Some demand more online presence than others).

Yep. And there are plenty of big sellers who don't have big internet presences, too.



(*This actually sort of happened. A few years ago I read a story in the news about a couple renovating a medieval house in Wales, where either Llewelyn Fawr or Llewelyn the Last had lived at one point. They actually--this still KILLS ME--found a bunch of old documents in a cubbyhole; old as in "parchments written in Latin and Welsh." And they THREW THEM OUT. Because they couldn't read them and figured they weren't important. :cry: :rant:)

Helix
07-03-2013, 09:18 AM
Not that this needs saying* after the comprehensive answers given here, but if distance were an impediment, no Aussie or Kiwi writers would ever sell internationally. (Or nationally, in the case of Aussie writers outside the state capitals.)



(*This actually sort of happened. A few years ago I read a story in the news about a couple renovating a medieval house in Wales, where either Llewelyn Fawr or Llewelyn the Last had lived at one point. They actually--this still KILLS ME--found a bunch of old documents in a cubbyhole; old as in "parchments written in Latin and Welsh." And they THREW THEM OUT. Because they couldn't read them and figured they weren't important. :cry: :rant:)

Nooooooooooo!


______

* But I am going to say it

Old Hack
07-03-2013, 12:21 PM
Yup, someone of Larsson's stature doesn't seek help in a place like this.

It would be kind of difficult for him to do so, I'll admit. *snerk*


But the majority of the people in these forums are at or near the beginning of their career. Personal appearances can do a great deal of good in building your brand.

You have no idea who you're speaking to here, do you?

For example: when you submit your clients' works to various publishers, some of the people you've been so dismissive of here are going to be the people who get to decide whether or not to take those submissions further. And that is going to have a direct effect on the success of those submissions.

For example, were I to receive a submission from you I'd reject it unread, because I have no wish to work with an agent who is so ignorant of the workings of the publishing business.


Because they put most of their money into their marquee-name authors who have a known track record.

But you said before that book signings were essential marketing tools. You can't have it both ways.


What the heck kind of agent doesn't know anything about one of, if not the, best-selling novelists of the past decade? Whose first novel, btw, was The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, for which I am positive he did not a single promotional event in any country in the world. Lordy.

Imagine if he had. Oh dear.


(*This actually sort of happened. A few years ago I read a story in the news about a couple renovating a medieval house in Wales, where either Llewelyn Fawr or Llewelyn the Last had lived at one point. They actually--this still KILLS ME--found a bunch of old documents in a cubbyhole; old as in "parchments written in Latin and Welsh." And they THREW THEM OUT. Because they couldn't read them and figured they weren't important. :cry: :rant:)

My parents used to live in a Victorian villa on the Isle of Wight. The grand hall and entrance hall had marble floors and pargetting on the walls: pargetting is like wood panelling, but it's made from plaster of paris instead of wood. This particular pargetting was made of six-inch squares in three different designs, a rose, a thistle and a shamrock, and they were held in place by a network of hand-carved decorative oak pieces, with another plaster rose at each intersection. It had originally been made for Osborne House (Queen Victoria's residence on the IOW) but had been moved to my parents' house as the Queen didn't like it.

My parents didn't like it either. They pulled it all down, burned the wooden parts, and got a friend with a digger to use the plaster pieces to fill the holes in the track up to the house.

I sometimes wonder if I'm related to them at all.

Steven Hutson
07-03-2013, 09:23 PM
And Larsson does disprove your notion because The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was his first novel and it was published posthumously.

Larsson was already famous for his political activism and writing in Sweden, when Dragon was released in 2005. This pre-existing reputation propelled his sales among his countrymen. This success led to an English translation three years later. The subsequent movie led to tons more sales.

Steven Hutson
07-03-2013, 09:28 PM
But you said before that book signings were essential marketing tools. You can't have it both ways.

Actually, I said that book signings are ONE way to promote books.

Medievalist
07-03-2013, 09:36 PM
Actually, I said that book signings are ONE way to promote books.

Is that one of the lessons you learned from Tate?

Old Hack
07-03-2013, 09:39 PM
Larsson was already famous for his political activism and writing in Sweden, when Dragon was released in 2005. This pre-existing reputation propelled his sales among his countrymen. This success led to an English translation three years later. The subsequent movie led to tons more sales.

The book became a worldwide best-seller before the film was made.

According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Girl_with_the_Dragon_Tattoo) (I know) it won the Glass Key Award in Sweden in 2006, the 2008 Boeke Prize, the 2009 Galaxy British Book Awards for Crime Thriller of the Year, and the 2009 Anthony Award for Best First Novel. In 2008 Larsson was posthumously awarded the ITV3 Crime Thriller Award for International Author of the Year.

Film development didn't start until 2009. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Girl_with_the_Dragon_Tattoo_%282011_film%29)I don't think it went into production until late 2010.

Terie
07-03-2013, 09:45 PM
Actually, I said that book signings are ONE way to promote books.

You have, by going on and on about it, implied that they're an important way to promote books. BUT YOU'RE WRONG AND THEY'RE NOT.

Pay particular attention to the first quote.


Every publisher that I might submit your work to, will absolutely expect you to participate in the marketing of your work. This includes book signings and personal appearances. If you get a deal in spite of these obstacles, great! But it will still be an impediment to sales.


... That doesn't mean that geography doesn't matter.


True in the abstract, but sales are not the sole purpose of a book signing. It's also about building your brand, gaining exposure, meeting your fans. Fans who can meet you, buy more books over time. Then they tell their friends, who tell their friends.

Old Hack
07-03-2013, 10:05 PM
Steven, you're getting yourself confused here.

I asked you,


But you said before that book signings were essential marketing tools. You can't have it both ways.

And you replied with,


Actually, I said that book signings are ONE way to promote books.

No, you didn't.

What you actually wrote was this:


Every publisher that I might submit your work to, will absolutely expect you to participate in the marketing of your work. This includes book signings and personal appearances. If you get a deal in spite of these obstacles, great! But it will still be an impediment to sales.

My bold. So, according to you, every publisher you submit your clients' works to will expect them to participate in book signings.

Except that when I asked you,


Why is it that publishers spend all sorts of money bringing their books to market but then don't send every single author they publish out on a book-signing tour?

You replied,


Because they put most of their money into their marquee-name authors who have a known track record.

So within this brief thread you've stated that "every publisher ... will absolutely expect you to participate in ... book signings and personal appearances", they will also only actually send their big-name authors on such tours.

As I said to you before, you can't have it both ways.

Steven, I get that you published with Tate. I get that you've learned what you know about publishing from that experience. I also get that it can be very painful when you hear that a lot of what you thought was true is in fact a load of bollocks. But please: learn from this experience.

Look at the people who are taking their time and trouble to participate in this thread: you have a literary agent with an excellent reputation, a few people who have worked for years in trade publishing in various different capacities, and some very successful, highly regarded authors. We're trying to help here. You would do well to pay attention.

Cathy C
07-03-2013, 10:11 PM
Originally Posted by Steven Hutson
Every publisher that I might submit your work to, will absolutely expect you to participate in the marketing of your work. This includes book signings and personal appearances. If you get a deal in spite of these obstacles, great! But it will still be an impediment to sales.

The only thing I can add to what others have already eloquently stated is that if your quote is true, you need to submit to better publishers. Those publishers that would expect this, that would consider non-appearance as an obstacle to success, are to the detriment of your clients. Your clients deserve . . . and you should demand better on their behalf. Far better, because you're supposed to be their advocate.

Otherwise, what it tells people is that a sale, any sale that gives you a commission, is acceptable to you. And it shouldn't be. There should be a line, a bottom level of publisher that you're not willing to go below. Pay-for-play (subsidy publishers) should be that line, because they aren't publishers at all. And to me, insisting that an author buy and market their own books is subsidy publishing.

Steven Hutson
07-03-2013, 10:39 PM
The book became a worldwide best-seller before the film was made.

Yup. And the film linkage sold more books.

As I said earlier, "This success led to an English translation three years later. The subsequent movie led to tons more sales. "

Steven Hutson
07-03-2013, 10:43 PM
The only thing I can add to what others have already eloquently stated is that if your quote is true, you need to submit to better publishers. Those publishers that would expect this, that would consider non-appearance as an obstacle to success, are to the detriment of your clients.

Humor me. Take a look at any professional guide to writing a book proposal. It will always have a section called "author marketing," or something similar. The publisher will want to know what the author is willing/planning to do, to promote their book.

Steven Hutson
07-03-2013, 10:46 PM
Actually, I'm not pleased with my experience with Tate. If I had known then, what I know now, I would have taken a very different course.

Medievalist
07-03-2013, 10:50 PM
Humor me. Take a look at any professional guide to writing a book proposal. It will always have a section called "author marketing," or something similar. The publisher will want to know what the author is willing/planning to do, to promote their book.

Mr. Hutson:

You are responding in an nonsensical fashion to an author who is a multiple-listed best seller on multiple lists.

Steven Hutson
07-03-2013, 10:53 PM
Every publisher that I might submit your work to, will absolutely expect you to participate in the marketing of your work. This includes book signings and personal appearances.

Actually, Hack, this is the quote. Marketing includes these things.

Steven Hutson
07-03-2013, 10:54 PM
Not sure what to make of that post Med. You know of a recognized professional book proposal template that doesn't have a section for author marketing?

Old Hack
07-03-2013, 11:00 PM
Not sure what to make of that post Med. You know of a recognized professional book proposal template that doesn't have a section for author marketing?

I spent decades editing non-fiction.

Non-fiction submissions require proposals; fiction submissions don't.

Proposals usually include marketing and promotional suggestions.

They don't require that the author will cover the marketing of the book. Ever.

Steven Hutson
07-03-2013, 11:09 PM
1- Non-fiction submissions require proposals; fiction submissions don't.

2-Proposals usually include marketing and promotional suggestions.

1- You might be surprised, Hack. It's more common than you might think.

2- I will make a suggestion. Go to any bookstore to find any recognized professional guide to writing a proposal. It will have a section for author marketing.

Medievalist
07-03-2013, 11:16 PM
1- You might be surprised, Hack. Lots of pubs ask for proposals with fiction.

2- I will make a suggestion. Go to any bookstore to find any recognized professional guide to writing a proposal. It will have a section for author marketing.

Mr. Hutson:

You are succeeding in demonstrating that your knowledge of publishing is theoretical.

Is that your goal? Because you're doing a fabulous job of explaining to people who have successful, established careers in publishing as agents, editors, and authors.

FluffBunny
07-04-2013, 12:10 AM
Humor me. Take a look at any professional guide to writing a book proposal. It will always have a section called "author marketing," or something similar. The publisher will want to know what the author is willing/planning to do, to promote their book.

Humor me and listen to what Old Hack and Medievalist and a bunch of other people are trying to tell you--fictional works do not have proposals. Full stop. N'existent pas. You also seem to have "marketing" (with the meaning that has in publishing) and "promoting" (ditto) badly confused. If I had an attorney who was confused about the legal definition of "absolutely" and the everyday use of the word, I'd find another attorney very quickly.

It would behoove someone who is acting as an agent, supposedly representing the best interests of his clients, to be familiar with the language as it is used in the industry. A favorite saying around here is, "words mean things." They do, indeed.

As a complete aside, asking people to, "take a look at any professional guide" is a worthless undertaking. If what you think isn't in there, you can proclaim it, "unprofessional" or "old" or unacceptable for whatever reason. It would be better to quote what book(s) is/are giving that kind of advice. That way I may be sure to give it a wide berth.

JournoWriter
07-04-2013, 12:20 AM
Entertaining and informative as this discussion is, I think Head has met Brick Wall.

cornflake
07-04-2013, 01:28 AM
Humor me. Take a look at any professional guide to writing a book proposal. It will always have a section called "author marketing," or something similar. The publisher will want to know what the author is willing/planning to do, to promote their book.

Yes, most book proposals do - because book proposals are for non-fic, and they're often hitting a very niche, target market that the author him or herself has familiarity with. You still mean promotion though.

That's got nothing to do with fiction, which is what we're talking about.

ETA: Beaten to the punch, heh. Geez dude, quit while you're, er, behind.

LindaJeanne
07-04-2013, 03:48 AM
ETA: Beaten to the punch, heh. Geez dude, quit while you're, er, behind.
I think the phrase you're looking for is "When you're in a hole, stop digging".

Steven Hutson, I get the idea that you learned everything you know about publishing from tiny publishers started by people unfamiliar with the publishing industry, and from operations like Tate that intentionally spread false information (which is often believed by the afore-mentioned small publishers with no prior publishing experience).

You've learned very well the lessons from people who don't know what they're talking about, and therefore you refuse to listen to people who do.

I pity your clients.

yendor1152
07-04-2013, 05:57 AM
I wasn't suggesting it was Mongolia-level - the OP has electronic media as well, obvs. or wouldn't be posting the q. Just meant King has always been in a location in which it'd take decent time and/or money to get someplace, and that he started doing this a long time ago, before electronic media, and it wasn't an issue.

That's true, for the most part--but he had something a lot of us lack: connections. I graduated from the University of Maine in 1985, and King was still affiliated with the English Department there. I oftentimes saw him on campus, in fact. One of his old professors, the late Dr. Burt Hatlen, also taught one of my classes, and since I was editor of the literary magazine, I often conferred with him. He told me that King did indeed have good connections with Doubleday and had submitted a few novels that were rejected (The Long Walk being one). Plus, he also utilized the contacts provided by the English department, since most of its professors had been published. Not trying to poo-poo his accomplishments, because--let's face it--he's had remarkable success. But I don't really think his being "isolated" worked against him.

cornflake
07-04-2013, 08:51 AM
That's true, for the most part--but he had something a lot of us lack: connections. I graduated from the University of Maine in 1985, and King was still affiliated with the English Department there. I oftentimes saw him on campus, in fact. One of his old professors, the late Dr. Burt Hatlen, also taught one of my classes, and since I was editor of the literary magazine, I often conferred with him. He told me that King did indeed have good connections with Doubleday and had submitted a few novels that were rejected (The Long Walk being one). Plus, he also utilized the contacts provided by the English department, since most of its professors had been published. Not trying to poo-poo his accomplishments, because--let's face it--he's had remarkable success. But I don't really think his being "isolated" worked against him.

Of course it didn't - that's what I was saying originally, that he was rather isolated (in the beginning, I mean he still is but see previous post, heh) but it was meaningless.

His first novel was published in the early/mid '70s, no? I'm not sure but I know he's been in business since the '70s at least. I don't doubt he may have had connections. I didn't know he taught, but that's one of those do-or-don't things you can't really control for imo. Someone in Kansas might have a friend whose cousin is an editor at S&S, someone in Queens might run into the same person at Starbucks, or have no connections at all. :Shrug:

Terie
07-04-2013, 10:06 AM
And again I bring up John Twelve Hawks. He lives completely off the grid. He's never met his agent or publisher in person. He's done a few voice interviews in which he uses a mechanism to disguise his voice. He probably lives in the US, but no one knows for sure, and he has completely isolated himself from the regular world. He could live on the most isolated island in the world, for all anyone knows. I'm not sure whether his agent and publisher even know his real name, since when you know how to live off the grid, you also know how to get paid without using your real name.

Didn't stop his books from becoming bestsellers.

Mr Flibble
07-04-2013, 11:40 AM
And again I bring up John Twelve Hawks. He lives completely off the grid. He's never met his agent or publisher in person.

No one, except the publisher and the author, knows whether KJ Parker is even male or female. S/he's done online interviews etc, but that's it AFAIA. (Same with Mazarkis Williams, though I understand there will be a Great Reveal)

And I gave my pub a list of things I would do for promo (not marketing). I'm pretty sure as far as they were concerned, me doing signings/panels etc was a bonus. Not required. I mean, hell, it's a bit of a trek for me to get to the US/Canada but I do promo there!

Jennifer_Laughran
07-04-2013, 08:38 PM
I'd just like to second (third? fourth? 100th?) the fact that geography doesn't matter. I have clients who live all over the world and never set toe one in the USA, who have gotten great deals to US publishers without anyone batting an eyelash. Additionally, we have sold foreign rights to US books around the world, without those authors schlepping to Outer Mongolia to promote them.

And while it's NICE to meet your editor/agent, I have many clients I have never met and probably never will meet, and it doesn't affect our work at all.

I have had (rarely) US publishers fly a European author in to do events, or German or UK or other European publishers fly an author out from the USA for events -- but this is far from the norm. And if they were DESPERATE to have you for an event (like, if you "go Twilight")... they would not only pay, but also have patience for the extra time it might take to get you someplace.

More likely if they want you to participate in something, you'd be asked to do guest blog posts or perhaps a radio interview, skype visits, and the like - all of which are easy-peasy to do from home, wherever that might be. No biggie!

Nick12
07-05-2013, 02:38 AM
This is such a great thread. Never mind that I think Burning Quill's original question is answered. I keep thinking dude is going to pause, consider, lower defenses, and tip his cap. It never happens. It's not going to happen. This thread brought me so much amusement today. But to the OP, Burning_Quill, just keep writing. Keep editing. Do your thing.