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Writers Retreat

 
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 91 
 on: April 18, 2015, 05:20:31 PM 
Started by jfields - Last post by jfields
I'm going to add to this series as soon as I get a slightly less wild moment to cover educational publishing, packagers, and possibly something on ebook only. I should do self-publishing (through services and totally DIY) but that can be a minefield.

 92 
 on: April 18, 2015, 04:20:32 PM 
Started by jfields - Last post by Londy Leigh
Again, thanks for this clarifying info!

Salex, all of that is so fascinating! Thanks for sharing, and good luck with the book in the estate court right now. Sounds like you have seen it all!

 93 
 on: April 18, 2015, 04:18:29 PM 
Started by jfields - Last post by Londy Leigh
Thanks for this info. Smiley

 94 
 on: April 18, 2015, 04:12:34 PM 
Started by Londy Leigh - Last post by Londy Leigh
Ome, bless your heart.

I, too, need solitude and no distractions to WRITE write, and it can be so difficult to find that.


I tend to do my best writing in the evening.  Hello, 9:00 p.m.!

Though, I will plug out a couple lines here and there if transcription is slow.  Hello, slow times!

Weekends!! I love Saturdays for writing!  Though, I tend to get distracted by shiny things.  Hello, Pinterest!

Cat... Cheesy hehehe

 95 
 on: April 18, 2015, 11:47:39 AM 
Started by jfields - Last post by salex
Thank you Jan for the clarification. I've always thought that any publisher who publishes less than 100 books a year in print (meaning I can find the book in bookstores or he library) and is relatively new to the scene as a small independent publisher.  The Traditional ones are the big houses who have been around for a long time, but they have "independent" arms as well.

My first book was published by a traditional publisher in 1987, and the company was swallowed anyway. My 2nd book went to a small independent publisher who I loved. But the owner, editor, publisher died in August and my book , rights, and royalties-along with 42 other authors-- are tied up in English estate court.  My 3rd book was crowdfunded and self-published through Halo ( I guess you can call it a vanity publisher, but they are so much more). My 4th book is being published by another small independent. And, my 5th book is going to be self published.

So, I've had both experiences, and discovered the only difference is me. What I wanted at the moment. What involvement I wanted in the process. What my goal was for publishing my book. And, finally, whether I wanted to wait 2 years for publication like I did for my first book. As you said, it has nothing to do with quality. The days of snubbing a writer because of the publishing avenue they choose is long gone. Good riddens. The best thing a writer can do iS write.

 96 
 on: April 18, 2015, 09:01:02 AM 
Started by jfields - Last post by jfields
What are the characteristics of SMALL INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS

USUALLY will accept subs from agents but don't require them.
Usually have specific submission guidelines for authors to follow.
OFTEN pay nominal advance (under $1000) or none at all.
OFTEN have contracts that are similar to but not exactly like larger publishers.
USUALLY include the author more and share more information during the publishing process.

At SMALL INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS

manuscripts go through an editing process to make the book better suit the publisher's needs [most of the time, this makes the book better, but it also may include things that are specific to the publisher's needs. HOWEVER, author's usually have MORE ability to say "no" to a change than at a bigger publisher].

there may (or may not) be a publicity department. If there is one, they staff will carry a much heavier load and publicity efforts will have less impact simply because of the lack of "bulk" behind the house. Publisher may produce advanced reader copies and may send them out to a list of reviewers (or the publisher may allow the author to come up with the list of reviewers.)

books may or may not end up in physical bookstores. Often the publisher uses a good distributor but doesn't have the money to have their own independent sales for pushing for bookstores to pick up their whole line. Author efforts may help, especially in the author's area because the publishers DOES have solid distribution so the bookstore can order books easily when made aware of them.

publisher may send books out for awards -- and almost certainly will support an author's desire to do so.

ebooks may be the backbone of sales for the publisher and may be the backbone of publicity for the publisher as well.

because there is little to no advance, the % of royalties MAY be higher (and almost certainly can be haggled a bit).

PLUSES FOR WRITERS

There is usually more communication and involvement between publisher and writer.

Publication is almost always faster -- from submission to published book is shorter most of the time.

Unagented writers usually are not operating as "second class" to agented authors.


MINUSES FOR WRITERS

Less money, fewer sales -- bigger publishers simply have more might. This is  NOT a function of quality. Small independent books can be fantastic.

SOMETIMES you'll see lower production values (there are a lot of costs in book production and sometimes small publishers simply have less dosh to put in.)

Small staff with more pressure can mean mistakes at any point -- though, honestly, the big publishers are working their staff like mules these days so you'll see mistakes EVERYWHERE. You simply cannot do the same job when shepherding twenty books through the process that you can when shepherding ten. Bigger publishers sometimes have the $$ to fix mistakes quicker, but they also might be quicker to see no reason to make the fix. So when it comes to mistakes -- if you happen on a publisher who handles them well, REJOICE.


 97 
 on: April 18, 2015, 08:41:10 AM 
Started by jfields - Last post by jfields
WHAT ARE THE PLUSES TO THE ROAD
You get more sales.
You make more money.
More people read your book.
Most of the time you're working with a fairly stable entity (which doesn't mean your editor might not quit and go do something else, but it does mean that most of the time, the publisher has been around long enough to handle most problems fairly smoothly.)

WHAT ARE THE MINUSES OF THE ROAD
It's a long and winding road and it takes a long, long, long time.
It's frustrating and painful.
There isn't a spot on this road for every book (and that's not always because of quality).
A lot of the time, you don't know what's going on -- you don't know the cover until it's chosen, you don't know what publicity efforts are being made.
You have very little control over anything -- you're handing your book off to a machine (in effect). Now it's a machine that's really pretty good at making and selling books, but their vision easily may not be YOUR vision. And that can be frustrating. Having an agent can help you because an agent knows how to handle the machine better than we do...but you're still giving up a lot of control.

 98 
 on: April 18, 2015, 08:32:50 AM 
Started by jfields - Last post by jfields
Not all publishers using the system that I describe as "the road" require agents for all books. MOST do. Not all. Some open their doors to unagented submissions for a brief time each year. Some open their doors to unagented submissions in response for a call for a specific sort of book. Some have had contests to open their doors to submissions. Some accept queries, but not actual manuscripts. Some accept queries from people who have met the publisher's editors at conferences. All sorts of different types of "open" exist with publishers.

So this is probably the first variation on the traditional road -- not all publishers require agents all the time.
And as you move further and further from the road in other ways, the need for agents also becomes less and less.

One thing to keep in mind always -- you don't write checks to agents.
Agents get paid as a cut from checks TO YOU from the publisher after the deal is made.
So the agent works on your behalf, but they're paid by a check sent from the publisher.
It sounds weird but it's a good system because it means the agent has a very strong motivation to sell your book.
It also means that an agent's job is really risky all the time. They try to pick books that will be a good match for the contacts the agent has -- this means any given agent WILL pass on publishable books because that agent doesn't have the right contacts for them. So when agent hunting, try not to let that make you down on your writing. In this case, it really might not be you -- it might be him/her.

 99 
 on: April 18, 2015, 08:24:33 AM 
Started by jfields - Last post by jfields
Some folks are confused by the word "ADVANCE." An advance is an amount of money paid to the writer prior to publication. It's an "advance" on the expected royalties. It's NOT a loan. It's not a gift. It's like a payday advance. The publisher calculates what they expect to pay you in royalties based on your book being "normal" -- not a best seller, not a steaming ruin. Then they take the calculation and make it your advance. As soon as your book is published, the publisher begins keeping track of your owed royalties and when those owed royalties exceed your "advance" then the publisher begins sending you royalty checks. For all the advance-paid authors "on the road" that I know personally, this happens normally in about a year.

The moment that you have enough royalties to equal your advance, your book is said to have "earned out." That's not the point at which your book began to turn a profit for the publisher. That happened long before. The advance is simply the point at which your book EXCEEDED the publisher's expectations and began to pay you royalties. A book that never earned out is NOT a flop in the publisher's eyes as long as it earned them a profit (which it probably did).

 100 
 on: April 18, 2015, 08:18:22 AM 
Started by jfields - Last post by jfields
I get a lot of emails asking about the many publishing choices and what is "normal." The world of publishing was NEVER 100% homogenous. Always there were some variations, but the type of package most of us connect with getting a book published, the type that happens on shows like BONES or CASTLE looks like this:

You write a book.
You get an agent. (You do not PAY the agent anything)
The agent sends the manuscript for your book to all his/her contacts in publishing.
A publisher makes an offer.
The agent passes the offer on to you and you accept.
You sign a contract which outlines which of YOUR RIGHTS are being purchased/leased by the publisher.
You are paid an ADVANCE.
You are assigned an editor who works with you to bring your manuscript up to meet the needs of THAT publisher (most of the time, they help you make it better. Sometimes they're simply getting you to conform to their style. Sometimes they're asking for changes to make the book more marketable.)
An illustrator/book designer is assigned to the book -- MOST of the time, you don't interact with them at all. You certainly don't pick or pay them.
The publisher publishes the book.
The publisher's publicity department sends out advanced reader copies to review venues. You may be asked to do some thing connected with the publicity department's plans for your books (like answering questions for an interview that will be sent out on a sheet along with the advanced review copy).
The publisher's sales people also carry advanced reader copies to bookstores as they push to get as much of the publisher's line of books as possible ONTO THE SHELVES.
The book is released and can be bought hands-on in bookstores, or online, or read in libraries (ALL of this happens with no additional activity on the part of the writer.) [In these electronic days, the book will ALSO be released as an ebook most of the time. This may happen concurrently with the print release or the print release may be offered ahead of the ebook to keep ebooks from bleeding off print sales.]
Once the book earns out it's advance, you begin to receive checks for royalties (Royalties are a small % of the sale of each book).

This is "THE ROAD" of publishing. It's what happened most of the time in the past because publishers found it to be the best (as in most profitable) way to produce books. It's still what many people think of when they think of "traditional publishing." It still happens for many, many, many, many books every year. BUT even given that, it's still only a tiny slice of the publishing world. Whole worlds of publishing happen outside this model -- they happen "off" this road. And each different publishing experience happens because of the specific needs of the publisher (including when the publisher is actually also the writer).

I know a lot of people who publish in exactly the way outlined above. They may publish with one of the big conglomerate publishers or they may publish with a mid-sized or large independent. Once you get smaller than that, the publishing experience will go off this traditional road in some way because of the needs of the publisher.

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