Suggestion for new (and not-so-new) authors

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Richard White

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I've spent some time the past few days reading through the INDEX TO AGENTS, PUBLISHERS, AND OTHERS and found some real gems.

I would highly recommend people read through a few of these old threads and concentrate on the publishers (listed in gray) who are no longer with us.

I'm seeing a number of consistent points raised in these slow-moving train wrecks. I see a number of people who point out these issues and how other people want to believe and ignore the warnings, only to see what happened to their work months or years later.

Loss of first publishing rights, non-payment of royalties and for some even loss of copyright are some of the painful lessons learned in these threads.

I think new writers could apply these points to other "new publishers" and some "not-so-new publishers". If you see the same signs in a publisher, then I would highly suggest that this is a publisher you might not want to be associated with your work.

I have nothing against new publishers. I think new blood can only be a healthy thing in any business.

I do have something against unprepared or unscrupulous people setting themselves up as a publisher because they almost always hurt the authors more than they do themselves.

Study the history that Cao Paux has organized for you.

Know as much about publishing as you can. Writing is both an art and a business. Protect yourself.
 
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CaoPaux

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Which segues nicely into touting Writer Beware Blogs! The Index.
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Eirin

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Reading through the disaster threads will also give you a clue to why "I've queried 'til Hell won't have it, but that doesn't matter, 'cause I'll just publish my ms myself and then at least I'll be out there" is a really tough row to hoe.

On the surface - that is, until you learned just enough to understand that you don't know jack (stands up, presents self), and especially if you forget to use your reader/consumer brain - publishing doesn't look all that difficult. You have digital technology, you have all sorts of nifty formatting software, you have a pal who can photoshop, and you have the internet. Why, you're practically a publisher already!

It's the Dunning-Kruger effect in full force; it negatively impacts the Book-Buyer state of matter.
 

Richard White

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I just re-read the Capri Publishing thread.

That was a couple years ago and it's still painful to read.

Good intentions and a willingness to trust someone who "seemed nice" led to nothing but months if not years wasted by authors while they were tied up with a publisher who was not ready to go live.
 

triceretops

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This is indeed wise advice. One of the first major, reported train wrecks was my own at Rain. Then came the rest in a downpour, and to this day it goes on. I'm very proud to say that I've declined twice the amount of contracts that I've been offered by publishers. Still, there's no firm-footing anywhere unless you research these places and make balanced decisions. I'm still not very good at it, but I've learned loads.

Tri
 

BrandiZ

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Thank you! I just read some of that thread and I plan to do more over the next few weeks on this part of my journey.
 

JoyceD

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From someone new to the whole biz of writing, deepest thanks for the advice and information. It's a shame that there are so many pitfalls out there, like there weren't already enough obstacles to overcome.
 

Richard White

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Coming back to this thread late, but that's one of the best things about Absolute Write. Along with the camaraderie and the occasional kick-in-the-pants we all need to keep motivated, the Agency/Publishing/Editing, etc Index is an incredible resource.

Not only does it point out some horror stories (both self-inflicted but good intentioned disasters as well as pure malicious fiascoes), but it also gives a base of some great publishers (large, medium, small; print and e-book) and agents.

A new author would be well served to not only look at the gray links - but also review some of the blue (active) links. See what makes a good publisher and a good agent. Compare how they act, what they say, what other authors say about them to anyone you're considering giving your work to. If they don't compare favorably, ask yourself why?
 

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