Wait, they exist..? I thought they were just a mythic creature that populate the underground sewers of NY, NJ, DW, and parts of GA. I've never seen one.
Good for the most part. Most publishers want what you want, a good piece of work. Editors are tougher and can be a pain.
I've had great experiences with Dramatists Play Service. They published THE GIFTED PROGRAM in 2004 and have been very supportive. DPS included a monologue from that play in the recently-published OUTSTANDING MEN'S MONOLOGUES VOLUME II, which I'm proud to be a part of.
Well, Self publishing is pretty easy though can be expensive. I like it because you don't have to wait for someone to actually like your book and decide to publish it. As opposed to where for a while I was sending in books to publishers and Kept getting rejection letters. Though with the first book my whole goal is just to get my name out there as a published author, that way it will be easier in the future.
My first publisher went bankrupt after signing the contracts for the Targa Trilogy. At the time, I was already one and a half books into writing the seven volume Sword of Heavens series, which is the sequel to the Targa Trilogy. As my rights to the Targa Trilogy were locked up in bankruptcy court, I stopped work on the Sword of Heaven series and began a new series, the eight volume Forgotten Legacy series.
Although I did eventually get my rights restored by the bankruptcy court, I then had two unfinished series to contend with. I then spent the better part of a decade finishing both the Sword of Heavens series and the Forgotten Legacy series.
During those years, I shied away from further contracts with publishers, unwilling to tie my destiny to the financial foibles of another publishing firm. As I worked to complete both series, I turned to self-publishing to get my books to market. I sold them first as eBooks, progressing to print and eventually to audio. When both series were complete, I decided to write a standalone fantasy novel to present to publishers. While that book sat in queues waiting to be read by publishers, I started writing a sequel series to the Sword of Heavens.
I began writing the seven volume Demonstone Chronicles series in 2006 and completed it in 2009. During that time, my standalone novel passed through the hands of a single publisher who eventually said, “No, thanks.” I have since sent it off to another publisher for consideration, but I have no intention of sitting still while my novel makes it way through their process. My current goal is to complete the audio recording of the Demonstone Chronicles series and then layout another epic fantasy series to start writing in the new year.
Publishers vary immensely. In recent years a predatory kind of publisher has been exploiting small press and niche markets with unfair rights grabs and unreasonable requests for authorial financial support. It is not the duty of the author to fund and market the work; if the publisher is not willing to do that, then they are not a publisher. The author must assist in such efforts, of course, but if the bulk of that work is going to fall on them, they should consider self-publishing wherein they will also receive the bulk of the reward, should the project be successful, and maintain full creative control over the project.
The larger publishers are focussing more and more on 'bestsellers' or antcipated bestsellers instead of building up their midlist and actively developing new authors. The payment to authors has stagnated or even shrunk so that they are getting even less of the cover price of a book. New forms of enjoying stories are gaining market share, such as ebooks and podcasts.
Videogames have become a huge market for the consumption of stories. A great many readers that used to read adventure tales in various genres are now gaming instead. The visually rich and interactive nature of such stories holds their attention better than plain old paper. I wonder what could be accomplished if the literary possibilities of games were exploited. When I was a child I used to read Robin Hood, then tie a green cloth around my neck for a cloak and find a stick to use as a sword while I acted out my own adventures. The urge to participate has always been part of reading; videogames can harness that. Writers must recognize that. How then are we going to tell our stories when we have so many different kinds of technology available?
never been published
|The most common question I get asked - I don't do fiction much so am spared the 'Where do you get your ideas from?' conversations - is 'How did you get published?' I've had a glut of these recently and I'm happy to answer that question and share what I know, such as it is. So, here we go.
First things first ... you'll need an agent. I'm sorry but it's pretty much a necessity these days. Such is the instability within the industry that almost nothing gets looked at by publishers unless (a) you're a celeb, (b) you have an agent, or (c) you have some gimmick, such as a huge internet presence, or (d) excellent sales of a self-published title, or (d) you win a new writing competition. Therefore, your pitch should be aimed at getting an agent to look at it. That means using every underhand and imaginative trick at your disposal. How else to get them to read your submission?
What did I do? I cheekily sought out some celebrity endorsements for my first book. I sent synopses and sample chapters to people I respected and asked them to comment. Many didn't answer. Some did. That was enough to make my submission stand out from the pile (my agent gets in excess of 80-150 manuscripts per week). I also played the 'unusual spelling of a name' card and changed Stephen to the Cornish spelling of Stevyn. As I say, this is just to grab the agents' eye - you can always revert to your own name once you have a contract. A good title helps hugely too.
Your pitch should be solely aimed at getting an agent interested and not, at this time, to sell the book so you don't need to do a huge document. A synopsis and a couple of sample chapters should do. But accompanying it should be a letter explaining who you are, why you've written the book, why it should be on the bookshelves and why the agency should take you on. This is tough to do; you're selling yourself and you have to do it well. Singing our own praises is something most of us find uncomfortable. It can be hard finding a middle point between underselling ourselves and appearing cocky. The aim of your letter is intrigue them enough to invite you in for interview. Once you get that, you can hopefully win them over with your charm and knowledge. Remember, your book is likely to change a little as it goes through the editorial process. What you are selling to an agent is not your manuscript but its author - YOU. Think about it ... an agent earns a living by syphoning off 15% of what you earn; consequently they want you to have a suvccessful career and not to be some one book wonder. They hitch their wagons to people they believe in.
If an agent takes you on, the next thing is to write a good proposal for them to punt around potential publishers. Your agent will help with this. As my agent explained to me, proposals sell books and, in the case of non-fiction, 95% of books sell on a good proposal. The basic structure should be along the following lines:
1) THE BIG IDEA – (BANG – upbeat, general)
2-6 will overlap and you can play around with the order, so long as you face the questions head-on
2) WHY A BOOK ON SAID IDEA (you might say, who cares?), WHY NOW? WHY YOU (your passion for said subject)?
3) HOW WILL THE BOOK BE WRITTEN/BE TOLD/ITS ARCHITECTURE ?
4) WHAT WILL IT BE LIKE – other books etc?
5) CRIT OF SIMILAR BOOKS/BOOKS IN THE SAME AREA – WHAT THEY DO AND DON’T DO?
6) IS THERE A MARKET? WHO MIGHT THE READER BE AND WHAT WILL MAKE THEM PICK THIS UP?
7) WHAT’S UNIQUE ABOUT YOURS?
8) SAMPLE INTRO
9) CHAPTER BY CHAPTER BREAKDOWN
The proposal for my next book is a mind-buggering 36 pages long, almost a book in itself, but my agent likes it and is convinced it will sell the book to a publisher.
So that's it really. I hope that's of some help. Of course, you may have written the Next Big Thing and could bypass all of this rigmarole. That's the way life goes sometimes. But for most of you, be prepared for rejection. It hurts like a kick in the cods - especially when the rejection slip gives you no indication why. It will simply be that, for some reason, you didn't catch their eye. Pick yourself up, dust yourself down, take a deep breath, review your submission and send it out again. Some old-fashioned agents say that it's 'bad form' to submit to more than one agent at a time. Arse to that. Take the scattergun approach and send it to as many as you like. I sent out 12 and got interest from three. I chose the agent who, I felt, was most in tune with me and what I want to write. If you do get a constructive and personalised rejection slip, take the advice where it's given, be prepared to be flexible and send it out again. Meanwhile, write the best that you possibly can, keep writing and keep hitting the agents. One will crack eventually. It took me a few years but I got there in the end.
Good. I haven't had a book out yet but I've only been rejected once by a publisher actually. I'm sure the ratio will change once I start trying to find a place for my book.
Um, well, I've only had stories used in compilation style books. So directly no experience, but material to be produced web wise or TV wise....eeesh, don't get me started.
None. I've never met one.
They are busy and most of them are overworked. But my experience even with rejections have been positive. The thing is to be professional - always professional.
I have a love-hate relationship with publishers. Back in the day, it wasn't as hard as it is today to get a large work published. One would write several chapters, a summary and find a literary agent (if one was lucky).
Today, however; and most recently, I have had negative experiences using the same successful tactics that have worked for me in the past. The trend is "self-publishing" and frankly, I am spoiled. I want to submit, either be rejected or accepted and then published and promoted. Isn't that what all writers dream of?
Publishers are interested in the bottom line. If they reject you, it's because they don't think you stuff will sell even though the writing might be fine. So, they're tough and very, very busy.
Very little, because I'd prefer to finish a book completely to my satisfaction before I bring in a publisher to look at it.