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Hanson
06-06-2014, 02:03 AM
I dont know if this has been covered, and I don't a lot about this, so, well, be nice. (ish)

Harper Collins and Random House seem to be making direct connection to potential new authors through their respective imprints. (ie open submission windows and similar)

Some smaller presses are doing like-wise.

I'm wondering why?


So, these are my guesses.

a/ a brand name/marketing strategy using social media as a conduit

b/ a response to self-publishing, hoping to reduce momentum of same.

c/ and finally, and THIS IS A LONG SHOT - an attempt to dilute dependency on literary agents ( I don;t actually believe this, but thought I'd add it to the list, mostly because of the 'rule of three'.

d/ all of the above (rule of four (see 'rule of three'))

cornflake
06-06-2014, 02:21 AM
I dont know if this has been covered, and I don't a lot about this, so, well, be nice. (ish)

Harper Collins and Random House seem to be making direct connection to potential new authors through their respective imprints. (ie open submission windows and similar)

Some smaller presses are doing like-wise.

I'm wondering why?


So, these are my guesses.

a/ a brand name/marketing strategy using social media as a conduit

b/ a response to self-publishing, hoping to reduce momentum of same.

c/ and finally, and THIS IS A LONG SHOT - an attempt to dilute dependency on literary agents ( I don;t actually believe this, but thought I'd add it to the list, mostly because of the 'rule of three'.

d/ all of the above (rule of four (see 'rule of three'))

Why in the name of all that's holy would publishing houses want to 'dilute dependency on literary agents?'

You're saying this as if it's a new practice; it's not.

Hanson
06-06-2014, 03:11 AM
I dont know if this has been covered, and I don't a lot about this, so, well, be nice. (ish)




So, these are my guesses.


c/ and finally, and THIS IS A LONG SHOT - an attempt to dilute dependency on literary agents ( I don;t actually believe this, but thought I'd add it to the list, mostly because of the 'rule of three'.
)


Why in the name of all that's holy would publishing houses want to 'dilute dependency on literary agents?'

You're saying this as if it's a new practice; it's not.

I'm spitballin' is all.

I knew it existed a bit, but point I'm making is that it seems to be increasing.

And I'm wondering why?

Main thing is, don't panic.

I'm curious, is all.

cornflake
06-06-2014, 03:16 AM
I don't know that it's increasing but I don't get the logic behind the agent thing, or trying to reduce the 'momentum' of self publishing.

It's not as if they're lacking for submissions, and the vast majority of self-pubbed stuff they wouldn't touch so...

JulianneQJohnson
06-06-2014, 03:27 AM
I think "C" is not an issue. The publishers that you are talking about who open a specific time frame for un-agented material, normally will not accept un-agented material. Agents are benefit to the big houses. They weed out the chaff.

One of these houses in question explained it like this, and I'm paraphrasing mightily, that they sometimes tend to get the same types of books from agents, and they have a brief open submission to see what's out there from new authors that agents might not be taking on. Maybe agents think that trend is over, or the book doesn't fit into any certain genre well, or it's a trend so new that the agents are wary of taking a chance on it. Who knows.
Like agents, publishers are interested in finding the next new thing, or the next new author. That's their bread and butter.

Hanson
06-06-2014, 03:30 AM
I don't know that it's increasing but I don't get the logic behind the agent thing, or trying to reduce the 'momentum' of self publishing.

It's not as if they're lacking for submissions, and the vast majority of self-pubbed stuff they wouldn't touch so...
This is what I'm hoping to uncover - is there an increase in publishers offering 'open submissions'?

I'm not in the game long enough to know for sure, at the mo, it's a perception based on recent events, hopefully more knowledgeable heads will give their view. But, if it was the case, I'm wondering why.

Re the agents thingy, it's def a long shot, but it did enter my mind, so, thought I'd tenuously offer it up.

As for the self-publishing bit, I do think there might be concerns from publishers re same - a sense that their role in the world of publication might be diminished. After all, self-pubbed books are selling, and that must be some sort of loss to trade publishers.

If there IS an increase in publisher open calls, it would be interesting to understand exactly why.

Hanson
06-06-2014, 03:32 AM
I think "C" is not an issue. The publishers that you are talking about who open a specific time frame for un-agented material, normally will not accept un-agented material. Agents are benefit to the big houses. They weed out the chaff.

One of these houses in question explained it like this, and I'm paraphrasing mightily, that they sometimes tend to get the same types of books from agents, and they have a brief open submission to see what's out there from new authors that agents might not be taking on. Maybe agents think that trend is over, or the book doesn't fit into any certain genre well, or it's a trend so new that the agents are wary of taking a chance on it. Who knows.
Like agents, publishers are interested in finding the next new thing, or the next new author. That's their bread and butter.
Yes, I read that explanation elsewhere. But really, I find it confusing. It suggests the agent system isn't working effectively enough.

Little Ming
06-06-2014, 03:54 AM
I dont know if this has been covered, and I don't a lot about this, so, well, be nice. (ish)

Harper Collins and Random House seem to be making direct connection to potential new authors through their respective imprints. (ie open submission windows and similar)

Some smaller presses are doing like-wise. I think there are *more* small publishers today. (which is not always a good thing if you look in the Bewares forum) I don't know if percentage-wise there are *more* opening to submissions, though.

I'm wondering why?

I'm not sure it's actually increasing, though "increasing" might depend on how far back you're looking. Before the internet became popular it was common for authors to submit directly to publishers and get agents after; there's even an article by Stephen King floating around the web advising authors to submit directly to the publisher they want.

In recent history I've seen open calls from time to time. I can't say I've seen them "increasing."



So, these are my guesses.

a/ a brand name/marketing strategy using social media as a conduit wouldn't it be more effective to reach out to readers, then?

b/ a response to self-publishing, hoping to reduce momentum of same. heh. I think this assumes facts not in evidence. ;)

c/ and finally, and THIS IS A LONG SHOT - an attempt to dilute dependency on literary agents ( I don;t actually believe this, but thought I'd add it to the list, mostly because of the 'rule of three'. authors can still get agents after getting an offer, and as the first Random House digital contracts showed, authors *should* get agents when dealing with the bigger publishers.

d/ all of the above (rule of four (see 'rule of three'))


This is what I'm hoping to uncover - is there an increase in publishers offering 'open submissions'? I don't think so.

I'm not in the game long enough to know for sure, at the mo, it's a perception based on recent events, hopefully more knowledgeable heads will give their view. But, if it was the case, I'm wondering why. see above for the history. As for "recent," I, personally, am not getting the impression they are increasing.

Re the agents thingy, it's def a long shot, but it did enter my mind, so, thought I'd tenuously offer it up. authors can still get agents after the offer.

As for the self-publishing bit, I do think there might be concerns from publishers re same - a sense that their role in the world of publication might be diminished. After all, self-pubbed books are selling, and that must be some sort of loss to trade publishers. only if you view this as a zero sum game. (as I think *some* people do, but I rather not get into it here)

If there IS an increase in publisher open calls, it would be interesting to understand exactly why.


Yes, I read that explanation elsewhere. But really, I find it confusing. It suggests the agent system isn't working effectively enough.

There's no perfect system, I think. Agents have their roles, as do time-limited open calls. For the bigger publishers to be opened all the time might not be practical.

Hanson
06-06-2014, 04:13 AM
So, these are my guesses.

a/ a brand name/marketing strategy using social media as a conduit wouldn't it be more effective to reach out to readers, then?

Well I'm saying they're reaching out to potential authors in general terms, ie brand recognition through blog etc proliferation (and of course, most authors are readers, and some readers will read author blogs)



b/ a response to self-publishing, hoping to reduce momentum of same. heh. I think this assumes facts not in evidence. ;)

yes, lol, it does. I'm speculating, offering possibilities, def not certainties

c/ and finally, and THIS IS A LONG SHOT - an attempt to dilute dependency on literary agents ( I don;t actually believe this, but thought I'd add it to the list, mostly because of the 'rule of three'. authors can still get agents after getting an offer, and as the first Random House digital contracts showed, authors *should* get agents when dealing with the bigger publishers.

d/ all of the above (rule of four (see 'rule of three'))
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hanson http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=8908134#post8908134)
This is what I'm hoping to uncover - is there an increase in publishers offering 'open submissions'? I don't think so.

I'm not in the game long enough to know for sure, at the mo, it's a perception based on recent events, hopefully more knowledgeable heads will give their view. But, if it was the case, I'm wondering why. see above for the history. As for "recent," I, personally, am not getting the impression they are increasing.

Yes, I'm def not sure myself. But others might know.


Re the agents thingy, it's def a long shot, but it did enter my mind, so, thought I'd tenuously offer it up. authors can still get agents after the offer.

Yes, of course. I'm throwing the by-passing agents thingy out there, because of explanations I've come across for open subs (like Julianne mentioned)

As for the self-publishing bit, I do think there might be concerns from publishers re same - a sense that their role in the world of publication might be diminished. After all, self-pubbed books are selling, and that must be some sort of loss to trade publishers. only if you view this as a zero sum game. (as I think *some* people do, but I rather not get into it here)

Well, em, isn't it? In that revenue is removed from trade publishers? (I agree book sales increase overall, and that is probably good across the board, if that's what you mean?)



'There's no perfect system, I think. Agents have their roles, as do time-limited open calls. For the bigger publishers to be opened all the time might not be practical'

it's true that there is no perfect system, but i don't think that explanation adds up, not for me.

Mr Flibble
06-06-2014, 04:18 AM
They are opening stuff up to people who are not agented

Maybe as a reaction to self pubbing, may be not. Maybe just taking advantage of the E-age and people being able to send so easily or...Maybe just ytying something new.

I think that's all I can infer tbh, Anything else would be pure conjecture.

Hanson
06-06-2014, 04:23 AM
They are opening stuff up to people who are not agented

Maybe as a reaction to self pubbing, may be not. Maybe just taking advantage of the E-age and people being able to send so easily or...Maybe just ytying something new.

I think that's all I can infer tbh, Anything else would be pure conjecture.
Absolutely.

I doubt if we'll get a definitive answer.

But I definitely am curious.

IF an increase in open sub policy exists, it might herald a new business model for publishers.

that fascinates a big part of my curious (business orientated) psyche.

triceretops
06-06-2014, 04:28 AM
(I had nine paragraphs for this post until a tornado gust of wind knocked our power out! I mock the Gods!)

Well, Hanson, it isn't really ground breaking news that these imprints and open sub windows (calls) have suddenly sprang up out of nowhere. They began to show up in what, about the past three-four-five years or so? We've had a few threads on this very topic and we also have many of those imprints listed on watchdog and report status in our Bewares forum. I don't even remember which publisher started this new trend/paradigm, but it didn't take long for the other major houses to follow in lockstep with their own versions.

If a publishing juggernaut marketing manager told me that it wasn't a financial decision to start up these little sister imprints with lenient submission protocols (sans agents) I would have told them to slither back into their little offices (lairs) and practice lying better. But, hey, publishing is a business with precariously low profit margins and laborious spreadsheets that outline how they're going to keep the lights on, pay the rent, staff, writers and everybody else in sundry.

Since the ease and accessibility of self-publishing has come into play, the major houses, slowly at first, had to devise a way of capturing a piece of that market. I've heard via the Kindle Boards that self-publishing really started to get its wings around 2009, (the original indie crew call themselves the O-Niners) and that's when some major notoriety became evident with some of the breakout indie books and a new author cheering section reared its head (WatPad and Booksie, to name a few).

Self-publishing through Amazon or any other similar platform = a substantial amount of sales that do not belong to any of the trade publishers. Not only that, the likes of Harper C. Penguin-Random, S & S, Little Brown and others could ill afford their cash cow celeb writers going off into independent land in search of better royalties and complete product control. The major publishers are not panicking or beset with fear--they're really in need of adapting to the changing publishing environment and they know this all too well.

So what had to be done? Make publishing with a large trade publisher more attractive, easy, safe, dignified and accessible. I also had a gut feeling that the so-called large, mean, greedy, imperialistic Big Five/Six wanted to change their image and soften their stance. Hey, we're for the little guy writer, dontcha know. Please don't call us Gatekeepers, we hate that. Sure, in the beginning these little sister imprints, most of them e-book platforms, had some predatory contracts--rights grabs, no advance, reduced royalties and other snafus. The writing community at large cried foul and many writer's orgs went on the defensive--The Bewares board of the SFWA right out in front. Things have nearly straightened out in that sense.

I don't think the major houses believe that agents are passe or a dying breed or they're trying to bury them. Agents are the BEST go-between sources for major editors and writers. An inconsiderate writer can really phuck up an editor's day with phone calls and non-stop emails. A writer couldn't negotiate his own contract if his/her life dependend on it, sans a little legal advice and help. Is it part of their strategy to cleave off a couple hundred or thousand agent subs to stick it to the writers for contract deals that MIGHT be nonnegotiable or certainly less beneficial to writers?--we're talking about business here again and it could be part of it, but I don't think it would make a major dent in profits.

I think the majors want to fish the ocean for some potential, already talented authors who might be thinking about self-publishing or have landed there due to frustration and staked out a nice claim for themselves. So if you think this might be a media ploy you could be right. Partially. I don't think chicanery is involved.

So truth be told, I think the majors had some legitimate reasons for offering these new, innovative (or nonstandard) imprints and opportunities. Just another form of branching out to deal with the competition; there is competition for readers and book dollars. Make no mistake about that.

But I must say, it's a little queer that these imprints starting really showing up when major self-publishing stars began popping out of the woodwork. And Gawd help me, I think I might have forgiven Twilight, but I'll never concede that 50 Shades deserved print in the first place. It makes me ill when publishers become ambulance chasers, picking up prepacked stars and giving them new brand and legitimacy.

Tri

Hanson
06-06-2014, 04:40 AM
Very nice post Tricertops.

Just to reiterate my comment about dilution of agent's influence is indeed a bit of a fantasy, but was spurred on by comments Julianne paraphrased and I've read myself. I found that strange, those type of comments, that agents are the real gate-keepers, not lovable us, type of thing.

although I suppose all is fair in love and public relations...

Little Ming
06-06-2014, 05:33 AM
Very nice post Tricertops.

Just to reiterate my comment about dilution of agent's influence is indeed a bit of a fantasy, but was spurred on by comments Julianne paraphrased and I've read myself. I found that strange, those type of comments, that agents are the real gate-keepers, not lovable us, type of thing.

although I suppose all is fair in love and public relations...

Dear gawd, no.

Sorry for the minor derailment, and not directed at you specifically... but publishing is a business and I try to stay as objective as possible. Trade, self, vanity, agent, literary attorney, etc. Whatever the authors decide, it's a business. "Lovable" is nice, but shouldn't be a deciding factor. ;)

(That's not to say I think agents and publishers are Evil Overloads, but business is business. :))

Putputt
06-06-2014, 08:43 AM
Very nice post Tricertops.

Just to reiterate my comment about dilution of agent's influence is indeed a bit of a fantasy,

So you mean you fantasize about agents becoming unnecessary in the publisher's eyes? Interesting...


but was spurred on by comments Julianne paraphrased and I've read myself.

What Julianne said to me sounds nothing like what you said. As for the comments you have come across, who is making them, and can you provide sources? That would be quite helpful. If the publishers themselves are saying that agents are getting in the way, that's a pretty big clue. If the ones who are saying that are authors who are dejected by the querying process, that's a different matter.


I found that strange, those type of comments, that agents are the real gate-keepers, not lovable us, type of thing.

Again, who are the people making these comments? And if you think agents are the main "gate-keepers", may I direct you to the Next Circle of Hell thread in the Rejections forum... you will see just how much tougher publishers are as "gate-keepers"

Hanson
06-06-2014, 02:05 PM
Dear gawd, no.

Sorry for the minor derailment, and not directed at you specifically... but publishing is a business and I try to stay as objective as possible. Trade, self, vanity, agent, literary attorney, etc. Whatever the authors decide, it's a business. "Lovable" is nice, but shouldn't be a deciding factor. ;)

(That's not to say I think agents and publishers are Evil Overloads, but business is business. :))
Yes, that did sound a bit 'Evil Overlordy', lol

but what I'm saying really is that in the battle for hearts n minds not all is lovable. Publishers know they need agents, without doubt, as they are efficient and cost effective.

But, and I'll guess I'll have to find that quote, in the statement

'we're having an open sub because agents, well I mean, they're wonderful, wonderful Beings, but em, well they might just have, well, overlooked em...'

Please note the above sentence is exaggerated for (possibly weak) effect!

For me, this could suggest a new business strategy by publishers. Of course, it might not be. Hence this 'whaddyouthink?' thread thingy.

Hanson
06-06-2014, 02:12 PM
http://www.thebookseller.com/news/cape-holds-month-open-submissions.html


Editorial director Alex Bowler said: Its a gentle experiment to see what it throws up. It is not with enormous expectation, its a question of patience. If we sense its heading in the right direction we may do it again. It may be three or four years before two or three interesting thing are surfaced. It is a gentle way of surfacing new writers."
He added: The stuff we get in from agents is wonderful, our list is wonderful, this is a way of expanding our universe.






link is http://www.thebookseller.com/news/bo...bmissions.html (http://www.thebookseller.com/news/borough-press-opens-unagented-submissions.html)



Quote:
HarperCollins imprint The Borough Press is opening submissions for unagented manuscripts for two weeks in April.
From 7th to 21st April, the imprint will be open to accept three chapters, a synopsis and an author biography from previously unpublished writers.



Katie Espiner, publishing director said: "The Borough Press has got off to a dream start with The Shock of the Fall winning the Costa Book of the Year Award (http://www.thebookseller.com/news/nathan-filer-wins-costa-book-year.html). Even more pleasing, the novel was Nathan Filer's debut. Borough has a rich mix of established writers and upcoming talent and we are very keen to continue finding and nurturing new writers.
"That's the thinking behind the open submission we know that publishers can often seem like a dauntingly closed fortress to new writers and we hope that by opening our submission doors, people will be encouraged to submit directly to us, in the knowledge that their work will be read by the editors here. Were all excited to start reading and are confident we will find some gems."


Now there are different ways to interpret these statements.


Certainly the language is bright and loving.



But...I also see something else, and am postulating on same. Hence this thread.

Putputt
06-06-2014, 02:44 PM
"That's the thinking behind the open submission we know that publishers can often seem like a dauntingly closed fortress to new writers and we hope that by opening our submission doors, people will be encouraged to submit directly to us, in the knowledge that their work will be read by the editors here. Were all excited to start reading and are confident we will find some gems."


Now there are different ways to interpret these statements.


Certainly the language is bright and loving.



But...I also see something else, and am postulating on same. Hence this thread.

That's very different from:




c/ and finally, and THIS IS A LONG SHOT - an attempt to dilute dependency on literary agents ( I don;t actually believe this, but thought I'd add it to the list, mostly because of the 'rule of three'.


A few years ago, I interned at one of the Big 5 publishers in London. The publisher was one of the few that accepted unagented submissions. My job was to go through the slushpile, but once in a while, the editor I interned for would tell me to stop reading a slushpile MS and read a different MS because it came from an agent. Without fail, agented MSs were always put at the top of the priority list.

So even though they had an open submissions policy, agents were still highly regarded and the MSs they submitted were given more importance. The editor required me only to read the first 50 pages of unsolicited slushpile MSs before giving up if they were bad, but when it came to agented MSs, I was required to read the whole thing whether or not I liked it.

So...nah, I don't think option c is what is going on at all. They just want to "expand their universe", which means it gives them a chance to read MSs that might be:

A. Not even subbed to agents

B. Subbed to agents and rejected because of any one out of a million reasons (that agent is too busy/ list too full/ already has something similar on her list/ just didn't fall in love with it and so on).

It just means they're acknowledging that the industry is vast and also very subjective.

Hanson
06-06-2014, 02:48 PM
So you mean you fantasize about agents becoming unnecessary in the publisher's eyes? Interesting...



What Julianne said to me sounds nothing like what you said. As for the comments you have come across, who is making them, and can you provide sources? That would be quite helpful. If the publishers themselves are saying that agents are getting in the way, that's a pretty big clue. If the ones who are saying that are authors who are dejected by the querying process, that's a different matter.



Now, I just want to say, this is a genuine thread, on a subject that I'm genuinely interested in.

That is, is there an increase in publishers reaching out to new writers directly, and if so, what does it mean.

I admit I come across a bit tongue-in-cheek, and I also might have (read, did) veered towards the smart-ass-ishness re my sentence I found that strange, those type of comments, that agents are the real gate-keepers, not lovable us, type of thing.

(which was born out of a reaction to a sense of being soft soaped by the quoted statements - so, my bad)

but, this is an attempt to understand possible publishing trends and the implications of same, not a rant against em...'what ever your having yourself.'

I offered a/, b/ and a (clearly indicated) wild card c/ to get the ball rolling. So, with that outta the way....

Hanson
06-06-2014, 02:52 PM
That's very different from:



A few years ago, I interned at one of the Big 5 publishers in London. The publisher was one of the few that accepted unagented submissions. My job was to go through the slushpile, but once in a while, the editor I interned for would tell me to stop reading a slushpile MS and read a different MS because it came from an agent. Without fail, agented MSs were always put at the top of the priority list.

So even though they had an open submissions policy, agents were still highly regarded and the MSs they submitted were given more importance. The editor required me only to read the first 50 pages of unsolicited slushpile MSs before giving up if they were bad, but when it came to agented MSs, I was required to read the whole thing whether or not I liked it.

So...nah, I don't think option c is what is going on at all. They just want to "expand their universe", which means it gives them a chance to read MSs that might be:

A. Not even subbed to agents

B. Subbed to agents and rejected because of any one out of a million reasons (that agent is too busy/ list too full/ already has something similar on her list/ just didn't fall in love with it and so on).

It just means they're acknowledging that the industry is vast and also very subjective.
Posted previous post, before I seen this.

They (A and B) are possible explanations. for sure.

Torgo
06-06-2014, 02:59 PM
Big publishers are trying to be a bit more open in lots of ways, I think. It's partly a marketing exercise - it's quite easy to get people to publicise your brand on social media if you're offering an opportunity like this. It's also designed to see if there are untapped resources out there - people that aren't showing up through the normal channels and who might be worth the effort.

When there's a new imprint being set up - especially new digital-focused ones - it also makes sense for an editor to start off on open submission. Helps publicise you, makes you look friendly, and gets you subs at a time when agents might not be passing things on to you because they don't really know you or your list.

Hanson
06-06-2014, 03:02 PM
I found that strange, those type of comments, that agents are the real gate-keepers, not lovable us, type of thing. (me)



Again, who are the people making these comments? And if you think agents are the main "gate-keepers", may I direct you to the Next Circle of Hell thread in the Rejections forum... you will see just how much tougher publishers are as "gate-keepers" (putputt)

I think you might have misunderstood my sentence. I'm saying that the quotes I've come across suggest that publishers are hinting that agents are the real gate-keepers, not us (the publishers). Subjective and speculative on my part, of course. :)

Hanson
06-06-2014, 03:05 PM
Big publishers are trying to be a bit more open in lots of ways, I think. It's partly a marketing exercise - it's quite easy to get people to publicise your brand on social media if you're offering an opportunity like this. It's also designed to see if there are untapped resources out there - people that aren't showing up through the normal channels and who might be worth the effort.

When there's a new imprint being set up - especially new digital-focused ones - it also makes sense for an editor to start off on open submission. Helps publicise you, makes you look friendly, and gets you subs at a time when agents might not be passing things on to you because they don't really know you or your list.

Excellent observation (bold bit)

I do think the e-publishing development may be a real driver in this (possibly) new strategy.

Putputt
06-06-2014, 03:14 PM
I think you might have misunderstood my sentence. I'm saying that the quotes I've come across suggest that publishers are hinting that agents are the real gate-keepers, not us (the publishers). Subjective and speculative on my part, of course. :)

Which was why I asked you who are making those comments. :D From the quotes you shared, I did not interpret them to mean that the agents are the real gate-keepers at all.

Hanson
06-06-2014, 03:19 PM
Which was why I asked you who are making those comments. :D From the quotes you shared, I did not interpret them to mean that the agents are the real gate-keepers at all.
:)

Yes, it's certainly open (no pun intended) to interpretation.

Language huh?

Just when you think it's safe to go out into the word-storm...

Putputt
06-06-2014, 03:37 PM
:)

Yes, it's certainly open (no pun intended) to interpretation.

Language huh?

Just when you think it's safe to go out into the word-storm...

Yes, language is a funny thing. I look at those quotes and think, okay, they're expanding their universe. You looked at those quotes and get the sense that they're hinting at something else. Who's to say what's really going on? Hopefully someone with more of an insight would come along and clear up the confusion. ;)

Hanson
06-06-2014, 03:42 PM
Yes, language is a funny thing. I look at those quotes and think, okay, they're expanding their universe. You looked at those quotes and get the sense that they're hinting at something else. Who's to say what's really going on? Hopefully someone with more of an insight would come along and clear up the confusion. ;)
MORE insight???

You surely jest?

lol.

Yes, aint no easy way to interpret sub-text. Probably the best approach is also to look at trends etc, if and when they arise.

I think Torgo's comments are telling, and Tricetops offered some nice observations.

Hopefully with all of the AW knowledge out there/in here, some unprovable but plausible conclusion can be offered.

Barbara R.
06-06-2014, 03:43 PM
Some publishers, like Tor, have long had an open window for direct submissions---once a year, for a few weeks. I hadn't heard of publishers like RH doing it, and my first thought upon reading the OP was that I sure hope unsuccessful applicants aren't getting solicited by Author Solutions (owned by the same parent company as RH) after being turned down.

It's an evil thought, my stock in trade; but I doubt it's true. Don't like to believe RH or Viking (my publisher) would dirty their hands like that.

Tirjasdyn
06-06-2014, 10:11 PM
WTF? Harper Collins is doing another open call for an imprint? They haven't finished the last one yet and it's more than a year over due with no real end in site.

At this point, having gone through the process, I think they are creating slush to give people things to do.

Mr Flibble
06-06-2014, 10:35 PM
WTF? Harper Collins is doing another open call for an imprint? They haven't finished the last one yet and it's more than a year over due with no real end in site.

At this point, having gone through the process, I think they are creating slush to give people things to do.

Are you thinking of different imprints? HC Voyager has had one fpr a while (but an editor left sooo...) Has a different imprint opened up? That'd be different editors and staff, Or is the OP mentioning the one already open?

Tirjasdyn
06-06-2014, 11:09 PM
Are you thinking of different imprints? HC Voyager has had one fpr a while (but an editor left sooo...) Has a different imprint opened up? That'd be different editors and staff, Or is the OP mentioning the one already open?

Yeah, HC apparently opened a new call for Borrough Press in April. Different imprint but considering how the HV one went/is going....

Liosse de Velishaf
06-06-2014, 11:21 PM
I think you might have misunderstood my sentence. I'm saying that the quotes I've come across suggest that publishers are hinting that agents are the real gate-keepers, not us (the publishers). Subjective and speculative on my part, of course. :)


No. That's not so. Agents are a convenient filter, because the chances of a book being worth publishing are much higher if a good agent thinks it's worth representing the book. But publishers are the final "gatekeepers", in the sense that they decide what they publish.


There have always been publishers with open submissions, although because of the volume of submissions received, response times can be incredibly long, and it's often not worth it financially for a publisher to invest the money required to respond even as fast as the slower agents. Often, turn-around for open submission calls, especially if they aren't quick two-week deals, can be a year or two, or longer in some cases.

Hanson
06-06-2014, 11:36 PM
No. That's not so. Agents are a convenient filter, because the chances of a book being worth publishing are much higher if a good agent thinks it's worth representing the book.

Yup. That's my feeling also.


But publishers are the final "gatekeepers", in the sense that they decide what they publish.

Yup.

There have always been publishers with open submissions, although because of the volume of submissions received, response times can be incredibly long, and it's often not worth it financially for a publisher to invest the money required to respond even as fast as the slower agents.

Yup


Often, turn-around for open submission calls, especially if they aren't quick two-week deals, can be a year or two, or longer in some cases.

Yup

Again, I think my statement has been misunderstood.

This is the sentence

I'm saying that the quotes I've come across suggest that publishers are hinting that agents are the real gate-keepers, not us (the publishers)


So, I'm gonna break it down.


I'm saying that the quotes I've come across suggest that the publishers are hinting

(that is, the publishers are hinting)

that agents are the real gate-keepers,


(so, in this instance, the publishers are hinting that the AGENTS are the gate-keeper, NOT THEM.

(them = the publishers)

Just to clarify that sentence.

Liosse de Velishaf
06-06-2014, 11:40 PM
Many agents for many publishers do have a sort of gate-keeping function. There's nothing to hint about. Everybody knows it.

Hanson
06-06-2014, 11:51 PM
Ok, I think we might have moved into the Twilight Zone a little.

But to go back to the central question.

assuming there is an increase in publishers attempting to engage with authors directly (and as yet that is conjecture), the question is why.

I'm interested in what it might mean; Is it good? Bad? Irrelevant? Ugly?

I don't know. but some interesting thoughts have been put forward so far.

Hopefully if there is enough, some sort of synopsis/ postulation might be possible, which I think would be helpful to all writers, and indeed others in the game.

amergina
06-07-2014, 12:02 AM
Why would they have open calls? As another avenue to finding books they feel are worth publishing. *shrug* There are imprints of big publishers who are open to submissions all the time.

For those that don't, by making it a limited submission window, there's only so many manuscripts that come in, so it's more manageable to get through the slush pile.

Thinking that there's some kind of secret or hidden reason is kind of weird, in my opinion. Publishers publish books. They're...looking for books to publish. Agents are one way, open calls are another.

So basically, I think it's good. It provides another way for an author to perhaps get picked up by a larger publisher (should an author choose that route).

There's no one saying an author *has* to submit to any particular call, so I can't see how it could be bad or ugly.

I mean, I could see how it could be bad or ugly if the publisher drags things out or doesn't manage expectations well, but that would be bad and/or ugly *for the publisher* not the author.

Hanson
06-07-2014, 12:07 AM
well i'm personally not offering up a conspiracy theory.

I'm exploring possible trend shifts.


as for good.bad/ugly, I'm talking about the end result of those trends fro all concerned.


However, I am getting a sense this is a more emotive subject that i would have thought, which is something i probably should have considered more thoroughly and maybe my use of the Sergio reference was a bit much

Kylabelle
06-07-2014, 12:13 AM
Thinking that there's some kind of secret or hidden reason is kind of weird, in my opinion. Publishers publish books. They're...looking for books to publish. Agents are one way, open calls are another.


I agree. I feel the persistent suggestion that there "might just maybe" be something ugly going on begins to appear more than just curiosity, idle or not, and takes on the tone of intentional pot-stirring.

It's fine to examine how this action on the part of publishers is or might be reflecting changes in the landscape of publishing, but to continue to imply that there sure might be something wrong there, without any evidence or strong reasons to support that suggestion? Why?

What are you hoping to accomplish here, Hanson?

Not everything that occurs in the mutuality of large groups can be defined right away or even assigned a motive with any certainty. In the interests of promoting good working relationships among all of us who are involved in delivering published writing to readers, why try to stir discord when there isn't any?

Let's just not, okay? Unless there really is a good reason to go there, and I have not seen any indication whatever that there is.

And we cross posted. Thanks for rethinking your approach.

Little Ming
06-07-2014, 01:01 AM
well i'm personally not offering up a conspiracy theory.

I'm exploring possible trend shifts.

To be fair, your opening post did have some "conspiracy theories." Just because you keep saying "I don't know, but maybe..." doesn't mean you've never offered those theories in the first place.



as for good.bad/ugly, I'm talking about the end result of those trends fro all concerned.

Sure, I don't mind talking about what this means for authors.

The long time waits have already been mentioned in this thread, and I think that's a big issue most authors don't consider when submitting. Angry Robot, I think, took close to a year or more to respond to everyone. HC is still responding and it has been over a year (2?) Even publishers who are always open have very long wait times. Baen and Tor, I think, average over a year wait; some people reported two years. This is especially important if the publishers do not allow simultaneous submissions. Do you really want a single submission tied up for two years?

Another thing to consider is getting an agent or literary attorney after an offer. Especially when dealing with big publishers it is important to protect yourself. The Random House digital contract is a good example.


However, I am getting a sense this is a more emotive subject that i would have thought, which is something i probably should have considered more thoroughly and maybe my use of the Sergio reference was a bit much

I think discussions like this are important, especially when thinking about the authors. What I don't find helpful is implying there's something sinister going on without any evidence. It's not really an "emotive (sic) subject." If you look through the Bewares forum you'll see AW takes care of its authors. If a publisher really was up to something sinister, we call them out on it. But if they're not, it's probably more helpful to keep away from the "I don't know, but maybe," language that can lead to unfounded speculation. ;)

Mr Flibble
06-07-2014, 01:28 AM
Yeah, HC apparently opened a new call for Borrough Press in April. Different imprint but considering how the HV one went/is going....

Different imprint
Different staff
Maybe different reasons for doing it



Another thing to consider is getting an agent or literary attorney after an offer.

Absolutely

An editor at a big fantasy imprint came to talk to our writers group...er..last year? They have an open sub policy but they prefer it if an author has an agent (and if they take on unagented writers, will recc them a good agent, because they WANT them to have one). Many reasons -- one being, he writer and editor need to have a relationship that is centred on the book, not the contract and the agent makes a great buffer. And an agent will know what is and is not negotiable in a contract (he said one unagented author missed clauses that he probably should have negotiated but stuck on ones that were, from the pub's POV, not really negotiable, which just made things awkward all round)

Hanson
06-07-2014, 01:35 AM
To be fair, your opening post did have some "conspiracy theories." Just because you keep saying "I don't know, but maybe..." doesn't mean you've never offered those theories in the first place.



Sure, I don't mind talking about what this means for authors.

The long time waits have already been mentioned in this thread, and I think that's a big issue most authors don't consider when submitting. Angry Robot, I think, took close to a year or more to respond to everyone. HC is still responding and it has been over a year (2?) Even publishers who are always open have very long wait times. Baen and Tor, I think, average over a year wait; some people reported two years. This is especially important if the publishers do not allow simultaneous submissions. Do you really want a single submission tied up for two years?

Another thing to consider is getting an agent or literary attorney after an offer. Especially when dealing with big publishers it is important to protect yourself. The Random House digital contract is a good example.



I think discussions like this are important, especially when thinking about the authors. What I don't find helpful is implying there's something sinister going on without any evidence. It's not really an "emotive (sic) subject." If you look through the Bewares forum you'll see AW takes care of its authors. If a publisher really was up to something sinister, we call them out on it. But if they're not, it's probably more helpful to keep away from the "I don't know, but maybe," language that can lead to unfounded speculation. ;)
Well, all I can say is that interpretation is a many splendid thing.

Anyway, this thread seems to have moved from a I wonder if there is a new trend in publishing of consequence to writers, agents and publishing, to well, I'm not exactly sure what.

For sure, my use of language is colorful, I accept that.

But as for me suggesting 'something sinister' is afoot, I say ..not so.

(eta, yes I'm not convinced by the explanations put forth for open calls by the two publishing persons I linked to, but sinister? I think not.)

As a footnote, I think it best for me to step away from the thread for a bit, and hopefully more a productive discourse pertinent to the original query, might develop.

SentaHolland
06-08-2014, 11:19 AM
The publishing universe IS changing, there can be no doubt about that. Publishers are responding to the environment they operate in. So do authors.
I have always thought there would be some very positive developments coming out of this period of change. For everyone, including authors. This is exciting to watch!

M.S. Wiggins
06-09-2014, 01:23 AM
That's very different from:



A few years ago, I interned at one of the Big 5 publishers in London. The publisher was one of the few that accepted unagented submissions. My job was to go through the slushpile, but once in a while, the editor I interned for would tell me to stop reading a slushpile MS and read a different MS because it came from an agent. Without fail, agented MSs were always put at the top of the priority list.

So even though they had an open submissions policy, agents were still highly regarded and the MSs they submitted were given more importance. The editor required me only to read the first 50 pages of unsolicited slushpile MSs before giving up if they were bad, but when it came to agented MSs, I was required to read the whole thing whether or not I liked it.

Free pile of training material for interns...perhaps?

Weirdmage
06-09-2014, 07:12 PM
I actually think that the reason to publishers publicly announcing open submission windows (, and not just not so publicly being open to unagented submissions all the time,) could be an answer to the self-publishing evangelists's myth of publishers not being open to new writers. (Paraphrasing here, but I think everyone who has followed the publishing industry in recent years will know the kind of statement I am referring to.) It would be an easy way of debunking that statement without there being any way to interpret it as being antagonistic against said self-publishing evangelists.

But, I do not work for a pubisher and I can't read their minds. They could have reasons that none of us in this thread have mentioned. One of us may have hit the real reason. It may be several different reasons, and the reasons may be different for different publishers. -Actually I think it is highly likely that different publishers/imprints will have different reasons for having open door submissions.
I don't really think there is a need to analyse why publishers are doing it. For writers it means that there are more avenues to get a manuscript published. And for readers it means that they will get books that they may not have gotten otherwise. I think that whatever the reason(s), it is a win-win situation. (Or if the publishers make money off it a win-win-win situation.)