PDA

View Full Version : It Can Be Done



Undercover
10-08-2013, 03:17 AM
Since I've been struggling to get an agent myself, I'm forced to submit directly in the hopes things will change that. And believe it or not, some of these places only take agent submissions. But through the grace of God, and digging through the internet like a forensic pathologist in search for contacts, I prevailed and opened a window for myself, getting two full requests from (OMG!) places. So it can be done.

I know this isn't the typical route an author would go, nor would I recommend skipping the agent search completely. I believe it's something that should be explored first. But when you've exhausted that route completely, there's still a way to make things work.

I pray to God I can make it all the way. But if I don't, at least I can say I tried my best. And right now I'm pretty happy with that.

folkchick
10-08-2013, 04:05 AM
I'm impressed, Undercover. You have a lot of drive and that's something to be proud of!

Siri Kirpal
10-08-2013, 07:11 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

:hooray: May the book(s) do well! Yes, indeed, it can be done.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Kylabelle
10-08-2013, 07:43 AM
Lisa, I am happy for you. Big congratulations, and may you go as far as you can dream.

triceretops
10-08-2013, 12:02 PM
Lisa, you and I have shared a gazillion emails and PMs about the most pertinent information on the small and pro indie publishing business extent. I admire your drive in facing that gawd-awful fire when you thought the chips were down and the world was against you. We've spent hours swapping information, deciphering rejections, analyzing markets, negotiating/contemplating R & Rs, comparing advances, talking cover art, trading publisher information, going toe to toe with editors and, yes, ranting and bitching a lot too.

Without an agent, or with an agent that has exhausted all leads, it's possible, even probable that a writer can take the bull by the horns and come out a winner. And girl, I know you searched high and low and in between the cracks until you scored big time with PP. I admire the frickin' hell out of you, and you did it solo. That was about the time I was launching my sub list and we were both fighting tooth and nail for every lead, referral, partial and full request.

When my agent hammered on NYC doors (for months and months) trying to raise the eyebrows of agents and came away bloody, I told her that my submission list was fresh and ready to go. "Take a well-deserved breather," I remember saying. After all, by prearrangement, she agreed that I could come in at the end and serve as backup. Well, that was like Humungus clipping the chain on Mohawk dude in the Road Warrior. There wasn't anything conservative in my submission process. I bull-rushed the markets, but I wasn't unprepared--I had the plan, the list and strategy already in place.

I knew who offered advances and carried full distribution, memorized the mission statements, styles, genre preferences, tone and info on just about every small and indie press out there. I knew many editors and CEOs by their first name, because from almost a decade back, I was their bad penny that kept showing up and getting under foot. I had my submission process down like a science, and with the help of Lisa, my targeting computer was dead on and I knew who to hit and why.

After a little over three months, the dust settled. I ended up with a grand prize contest win, six contract offers and a film option request. I didn't hesitate to bring agent back into the negotiations, where I think we staged the first ever bidding war in small press history. Those editors, I remember, at first sure didn't know what the hell hit them or what was actually happening. In end, the one that gave me the most, got the book and me. My agent blew a huge sigh of relief and thanked me profusely for swimming with the sharks.

If any anything Yog has said that can be taken to the bank, rest assured it is "Submit until hell won't have it", a phrase that has stayed with me from the very beginning of my term at AW. I don't and wont' take no for an answer.

You absolutely must make editors salute your book, stand up and cheer for your masterpiece. You can't melt and fall into a crack because you think your query stinks--you fix it. Same with the synopsis--you have to enter the gates of query hell before you dive into the depths of real submission hell. You must realize that rejections are jewels that can be used to tweak your story when you have a consistent problem pointed out to you. I rewrote my book four times during the submission process, throwing a new, revised edition of my baby out there every time multiple editors clobbered me with the same point.

If you fail and all of your options have been exhausted, pack that book away and revisit it down the road. Give it a new title and rewrite it if it suits you. Strengthen the plot, characters, accelerate the first pages--whatever it takes to breathe new life into it. Then go at it again. There's always self-publishing if you feel that you've gone through enough bloodletting, ha!

There is an editor out there right now looking for your book. It's your job to find them and make your presentation if you are without representation. If you don't have an agent, then you're going to have to act like one and negotiate the contract. And there won't be any time for blushing and gushing and hurrying up to sign because you think they'll drop you--you'll be business-like and savvy enough to get what you think you really deserve--take Pawn Stars as an example on how to deal with an editor who is a stranger--a tit for tat back and forth. Believe me, you won't scare them off and they'll respect your stance.

But Chris, didn't you trample on five publishers, waste their time and make unreasonable, outrageous requests? No. Those publishers asked that they remain in my consideration loop for future books. One of them did run for the hills when they saw my agent's shadow, but I wouldn't have wanted a deal with that type of house anyway. One of the most unusual perks I came away with was a publisher's promise that they would offer me a contract with an advance for just an idea on my next book. One single-spaced page. Not that I would take them up on such a thing. I'm just impressed with the sincerity and their impression of my work.

Peace out and give 'em hell.

tri

Undercover
10-08-2013, 02:12 PM
Lisa, you and I have shared a gazillion emails and PMs about the most pertinent information on the small and pro indie publishing business extent. I admire your drive in facing that gawd-awful fire when you thought the chips were down and the world was against you. We've spent hours swapping information, deciphering rejections, analyzing markets, negotiating/contemplating R & Rs, comparing advances, talking cover art, trading publisher information, going toe to toe with editors and, yes, ranting and bitching a lot too.

Without an agent, or with an agent that has exhausted all leads, it's possible, even probable that a writer can take the bull by the horns and come out a winner. And girl, I know you searched high and low and in between the cracks until you scored big time with PP. I admire the frickin' hell out of you, and you did it solo. That was about the time I was launching my sub list and we were both fighting tooth and nail for every lead, referral, partial and full request.

When my agent hammered on NYC doors (for months and months) trying to raise the eyebrows of agents and came away bloody, I told her that my submission list was fresh and ready to go. "Take a well-deserved breather," I remember saying. After all, by prearrangement, she agreed that I could come in at the end and serve as backup. Well, that was like Humungus clipping the chain on Mohawk dude in the Road Warrior. There wasn't anything conservative in my submission process. I bull-rushed the markets, but I wasn't unprepared--I had the plan, the list and strategy already in place.

I knew who offered advances and carried full distribution, memorized the mission statements, styles, genre preferences, tone and info on just about every small and indie press out there. I knew many editors and CEOs by their first name, because from almost a decade back, I was their bad penny that kept showing up and getting under foot. I had my submission process down like a science, and with the help of Lisa, my targeting computer was dead on and I knew who to hit and why.

After a little over three months, the dust settled. I ended up with a grand prize contest win, six contract offers and a film option request. I didn't hesitate to bring agent back into the negotiations, where I think we staged the first ever bidding war in small press history. Those editors, I remember, at first sure didn't know what the hell hit them or what was actually happening. In end, the one that gave me the most, got the book and me. My agent blew a huge sigh of relief and thanked me profusely for swimming with the sharks.

If any anything Yog has said that can be taken to the bank, rest assured it is "Submit until hell won't have it", a phrase that has stayed with me from the very beginning of my term at AW. I don't and wont' take no for an answer.

You absolutely must make editors salute your book, stand up and cheer for your masterpiece. You can't melt and fall into a crack because you think your query stinks--you fix it. Same with the synopsis--you have to enter the gates of query hell before you dive into the depths of real submission hell. You must realize that rejections are jewels that can be used to tweak your story when you have a consistent problem pointed out to you. I rewrote my book four times during the submission process, throwing a new, revised edition of my baby out there every time multiple editors clobbered me with the same point.

If you fail and all of your options have been exhausted, pack that book away and revisit it down the road. Give it a new title and rewrite it if it suits you. Strengthen the plot, characters, accelerate the first pages--whatever it takes to breathe new life into it. Then go at it again. There's always self-publishing if you feel that you've gone through enough bloodletting, ha!

There is an editor out there right now looking for your book. It's your job to find them and make your presentation if you are without representation. If you don't have an agent, then you're going to have to act like one and negotiate the contract. And there won't be any time for blushing and gushing and hurrying up to sign because you think they'll drop you--you'll be business-like and savvy enough to get what you think you really deserve--take Pawn Stars as an example on how to deal with an editor who is a stranger--a tit for tat back and forth. Believe me, you won't scare them off and they'll respect your stance.

But Chris, didn't you trample on five publishers, waste their time and make unreasonable, outrageous requests? No. Those publishers asked that they remain in my consideration loop for future books. One of them did run for the hills when they saw my agent's shadow, but I wouldn't have wanted a deal with that type of house anyway. One of the most unusual perks I came away with was a publisher's promise that they would offer me a contract with an advance for just an idea on my next book. One single-spaced page. Not that I would take them up on such a thing. I'm just impressed with the sincerity and their impression of my work.

Peace out and give 'em hell.

tri


This is why I love you, C and that you're my very best friend. You've helped me tremendously. I've always been drawn to your tenacity and that you always listened to my rants and still responded. haha. And even when days went by and I emailed you and I got so concerned I didn't hear back--from you and it was just because your internet was down. haha. Thank you so much for always being on my side, always. And you too got the nice deal on Intrigue and that was all you man...and you had an agent.

I hope that others will learn from your post that it's never over till you say it's over. And you're right about each and every thing you said. Query not working, write a new one. First chapters not working-write a new one. MS not working--keep revising till you hit request for a full. R&R's? Try them out. Whether you connect with that publisher's request, your ms. will be stronger. Getting feedback on rejections? Listen to them, and rewrite if you have to. Or store for later and write something completely new. It wasn't until my third book that I started seeing real interest from real publishers. I wrote a 4th and 5th and I'm working on my 6th....keep going like the energizer bunny, and when you're exhausted on writing and rewriting, research in the meantime while you take a breather from it and submit to the potentials. Research the F**k out of the publishers you're interested in. Like C said, reading mission statements, studying the genres they take and even excerpts of their books, finding out what editors like and don't like, really honing in on the publishers that you think will like your book is key and that you can only do with research.

If you're looking to publish, it's not just about writing a book. It's about learning about the whole publishing industry and all it entails. And when you think you've had enough with the business and think "What am I doing this for?" Yet that dream still remains, keep following that dream.

I can't say whether I'll connect with one of these publisher's requests, but I know I can say I will get over the rejection if it comes (maybe rant about it for a while with friends, especially C) but eventually I move on and keep at it.

Thank you Folkchick, Siri and Kylabelle for your support too.

heyjude
10-08-2013, 02:18 PM
Congratulations, Undercover! :) I hope the book does well.

Phaeal
10-08-2013, 04:13 PM
CGs, and yes, perserverance is the key for most of us. Here's to shiny responses from those publishers!

EMaree
10-08-2013, 04:44 PM
Congratulations and good luck! You're an inspiration as always, Undercover. Triceretops too!

Barbara R.
10-08-2013, 04:56 PM
Well said, Tri! And you prove the point with your own experience. It's so important to realize that writers have more choices than ever these days. Leaving aside self-publishing, which is not for everyone, there are still many publishers who accept subs directly from writers, including some imprints belong to the big five. Two of my former students recently sold unagented work, one to Entangled, another to the Poisoned Pen Press (I think I've got that last one right.) Despite claims to the contrary, the agenting system still functions quite well. Good writers with no publishing history or major platform still get picked up on the strength of their writing. But there are always some who fall through the cracks for reasons having nothing to do with quality, and for those writers, small presses are a great option.

Sheryl Nantus
10-08-2013, 06:47 PM
Who did you sign with?



Lisa, you and I have shared a gazillion emails and PMs about the most pertinent information on the small and pro indie publishing business extent. I admire your drive in facing that gawd-awful fire when you thought the chips were down and the world was against you. We've spent hours swapping information, deciphering rejections, analyzing markets, negotiating/contemplating R & Rs, comparing advances, talking cover art, trading publisher information, going toe to toe with editors and, yes, ranting and bitching a lot too.

Without an agent, or with an agent that has exhausted all leads, it's possible, even probable that a writer can take the bull by the horns and come out a winner. And girl, I know you searched high and low and in between the cracks until you scored big time with PP. I admire the frickin' hell out of you, and you did it solo. That was about the time I was launching my sub list and we were both fighting tooth and nail for every lead, referral, partial and full request.

When my agent hammered on NYC doors (for months and months) trying to raise the eyebrows of agents and came away bloody, I told her that my submission list was fresh and ready to go. "Take a well-deserved breather," I remember saying. After all, by prearrangement, she agreed that I could come in at the end and serve as backup. Well, that was like Humungus clipping the chain on Mohawk dude in the Road Warrior. There wasn't anything conservative in my submission process. I bull-rushed the markets, but I wasn't unprepared--I had the plan, the list and strategy already in place.

I knew who offered advances and carried full distribution, memorized the mission statements, styles, genre preferences, tone and info on just about every small and indie press out there. I knew many editors and CEOs by their first name, because from almost a decade back, I was their bad penny that kept showing up and getting under foot. I had my submission process down like a science, and with the help of Lisa, my targeting computer was dead on and I knew who to hit and why.

After a little over three months, the dust settled. I ended up with a grand prize contest win, six contract offers and a film option request. I didn't hesitate to bring agent back into the negotiations, where I think we staged the first ever bidding war in small press history. Those editors, I remember, at first sure didn't know what the hell hit them or what was actually happening. In end, the one that gave me the most, got the book and me. My agent blew a huge sigh of relief and thanked me profusely for swimming with the sharks.

If any anything Yog has said that can be taken to the bank, rest assured it is "Submit until hell won't have it", a phrase that has stayed with me from the very beginning of my term at AW. I don't and wont' take no for an answer.

You absolutely must make editors salute your book, stand up and cheer for your masterpiece. You can't melt and fall into a crack because you think your query stinks--you fix it. Same with the synopsis--you have to enter the gates of query hell before you dive into the depths of real submission hell. You must realize that rejections are jewels that can be used to tweak your story when you have a consistent problem pointed out to you. I rewrote my book four times during the submission process, throwing a new, revised edition of my baby out there every time multiple editors clobbered me with the same point.

If you fail and all of your options have been exhausted, pack that book away and revisit it down the road. Give it a new title and rewrite it if it suits you. Strengthen the plot, characters, accelerate the first pages--whatever it takes to breathe new life into it. Then go at it again. There's always self-publishing if you feel that you've gone through enough bloodletting, ha!

There is an editor out there right now looking for your book. It's your job to find them and make your presentation if you are without representation. If you don't have an agent, then you're going to have to act like one and negotiate the contract. And there won't be any time for blushing and gushing and hurrying up to sign because you think they'll drop you--you'll be business-like and savvy enough to get what you think you really deserve--take Pawn Stars as an example on how to deal with an editor who is a stranger--a tit for tat back and forth. Believe me, you won't scare them off and they'll respect your stance.

But Chris, didn't you trample on five publishers, waste their time and make unreasonable, outrageous requests? No. Those publishers asked that they remain in my consideration loop for future books. One of them did run for the hills when they saw my agent's shadow, but I wouldn't have wanted a deal with that type of house anyway. One of the most unusual perks I came away with was a publisher's promise that they would offer me a contract with an advance for just an idea on my next book. One single-spaced page. Not that I would take them up on such a thing. I'm just impressed with the sincerity and their impression of my work.

Peace out and give 'em hell.

tri

triceretops
10-08-2013, 11:16 PM
Intrigue. Tiny town publishing, but big on heart and enthusiasm. And willing to meet every contract amendment my agent proposed over 30 days of negotiation.

Sheryl Nantus
10-08-2013, 11:23 PM
That would be the Intrigue Publishing from this thread (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=266540&highlight=intrigue+publishing), I guess.

It says your book should be out in September - do you have an update on when it'll be available?

And what appealed to you about this publisher? I realize you might not be able to mention contract negotiations directly but they seem pretty small and only have a handful of books out. What made you choose them over other publishers, if you had other offers?

Thanks in advance!

stormie
10-08-2013, 11:26 PM
You did it, undercover! Congratulations!

(And, tri, I'm printing out your excellent post to keep next to my computer.)

ebbrown
10-08-2013, 11:29 PM
That is great news. Well done! :partyguy:

triceretops
10-08-2013, 11:45 PM
That would be the Intrigue Publishing from this thread (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=266540&highlight=intrigue+publishing), I guess.

It says your book should be out in September - do you have an update on when it'll be available?

And what appealed to you about this publisher? I realize you might not be able to mention contract negotiations directly but they seem pretty small and only have a handful of books out. What made you choose them over other publishers, if you had other offers?

Thanks in advance!

We're doing pre-publicity now, just organizing media lists and other contacts. That's because they're switching editors and mine won't be assigned yet. I was impressed with one of the CEOs, Austin Camacho, and all the workshops he's created, the conferences and speaking engagements. He's been very involved in the publishing process for years (note: still doesn't qualify him as a publisher). I think he started publishing his detective series about eight years ago, so they did have some experience, but they'd just opened their doors to others. I was leery at first, I can tell you. It was kind of a shot in dark with a flashlight in-hand.

They offered the highest advance--my primary reason. Another well-known publishers fought to the bitter end but fell apart at the last moment.

I would say that a pre-sale is more than possible--maybe two to three months in advance of release (Sept) of next year. We're going to take our time and give it a good launch.

triceretops
10-09-2013, 04:45 AM
Lisa, thought I'd try here. I've answered all your PMs and sent a couple of emails. My computer has gone totally wonky--pop-up adds in every margin, disappearing cursor and other virus-type conditions. I've run AVG free virus, compressed and degragged but to no avail. I'm slowly dying and I don't know why.

tri

Undercover
10-09-2013, 04:49 AM
Lisa, thought I'd try here. I've answered all your PMs and sent a couple of emails. My computer has gone totally wonky--pop-up adds in every margin, disappearing cursor and other virus-type conditions. I've run AVG free virus, compressed and degragged but to no avail. I'm slowly dying and I don't know why.

tri

Well I really hope you fix it soon or you know what's gonna happen...I'll go batty. I'm getting your emails okay. Maybe it's only certain functions? Make sure your files are okay!!!

GingerGunlock
10-09-2013, 05:11 AM
Since I've been struggling to get an agent myself, I'm forced to submit directly in the hopes things will change that. And believe it or not, some of these places only take agent submissions. But through the grace of God, and digging through the internet like a forensic pathologist in search for contacts, I prevailed and opened a window for myself, getting two full requests from (OMG!) places. So it can be done.

I know this isn't the typical route an author would go, nor would I recommend skipping the agent search completely. I believe it's something that should be explored first. But when you've exhausted that route completely, there's still a way to make things work.

I pray to God I can make it all the way. But if I don't, at least I can say I tried my best. And right now I'm pretty happy with that.

You had me at "forensic pathologist" :D

The best of luck to you!

L. Y.
10-09-2013, 05:24 AM
Congrats and good luck! :)

Mclesh
10-11-2013, 01:20 AM
Lisa and Triceratops, very inspiring posts! Best of luck for your continued success!:hooray:

ARoyce
10-11-2013, 03:06 PM
Lisa and tri--Congrats to you both!! And good luck!

gypsyscarlett
10-12-2013, 01:41 PM
wishing you much congrats and success!

sadron
10-12-2013, 02:07 PM
Congrats and all the best for the book! :)

Undercover
10-12-2013, 03:38 PM
Thanks everyone. So wonderful to get so much support. Helps tons and tons!