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Getting books published?

Posted: 04 Feb 2009 03:37 AM   Ignore ]  
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Has anyone here had any experience with book publishers and getting their work published?

From what I’ve been told you have to be careful about what you agree to and how you go about it as it can end up costing you a lot of money.

Does anyone know how to even begin with getting your work published and the steps to take? Is it necessary to have an agent and how would one go about finding one?

I’m confused by the mass of reading I’ve done on the subject and still lost as to where to start.

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Posted: 04 Feb 2009 12:06 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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CB I would strongly recomend you get a copy of the Writer and Artists Year Book 2009. It will give you loads of advice on what to do and what not do etc.

You can buy a copy from amazon

There is advice in there from authors and publishers. Whatever you do, NEVER approach a vanity publisher. Avoid them like the plague.

Let us know how you get on. I want a signed copy when it,s published. wink

Posted: 04 Feb 2009 05:26 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Hi CB

I know a couple of people that have had books published/are getting books published. I’ll contact them with your questions and get back to you with their recommendations/advice.

Posted: 05 Feb 2009 01:57 AM   Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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OH… Thank you both so very very much!

Souxi, that’s extremely helpful. There is even one for children’s writers which is what I have ready to go! Will put an order in - Thank you. And yes matey you are most welcome to a copy and I’ll even sign it for you LOL. Would love a signed copy of yours too! smile How is it going?

Martin, thank you! That is extremely thoughtful of you and will help considerably.  smile

Posted: 05 Feb 2009 07:03 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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This is from Patrick O’Keefe - he has published a book about managing online forums (definitely worth a read if that area of Web development interests you).

With contracts, I think you should always be careful what you agree to. That said, generally speaking, nobody gets rich off books. Yes, there is an exception and it can be reached, but the people I’ve spoken with have generally always said this. Often times, when an author achieves some level of wealth, it’s because of what the books create, not the books themselves.

I would say to definitely get an agent. When I started, I pitched myself. That can work. But, the difference of having a good agent was just so worthwhile. He gave me feedback on my proposal, he adjusted it, he provided suggestions and ideas. He then pitched the book and had all of the contacts already. He was persistent. And then, when the offer came, he negotiated the advance higher and added several contract provisions, asserting greater rights to myself. He did a great job and was well, well worth his 15%. In fact, the raise in the advance paid for his 15%.

I would check out forums dedicated to getting published and writing as they are probably full of good thoughts. Do you know any friends who have agents? Contact them and ask them if they like their agent and if they can give you a referral? That’s how I found my agent. If not that, try to nail down some good ones and contact them. My understanding is that agents aren’t so much interesting in you as much as your first idea. So, have your first book – or just your book – fully thought out. Think of pitching to an agent as similar to a publisher. You are selling them on the idea of your book, that it has potential, that no one else should write this book and, more importantly – that they can sell it to a publisher.

My book is nonfiction and, suffice to say, it’s easier to get published in nonfiction, I believe. Not that anyone can write good fiction, but it can be harder to say something like, “I’ve managed forums for 8 years and that is why I should write a book about them” with fiction. But, everyone has to start somewhere. If you are dedicated enough and passionate enough – anything can happen. And if publishers don’t want you and you still love it – self publish and do it yourself. I’d go with a major publisher if I could, especially for a first book, because it adds a level of legitimacy and because they will make it more likely for your book to be in Barnes & Noble, etc., but marketing wise, you’ll be doing a lot of work, with or without a major.

I hope that this helps.

Posted: 06 Feb 2009 02:15 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Chatterbox - 05 Feb 2009 06:57 AM

OH… Thank you both so very very much!

Souxi, that’s extremely helpful. There is even one for children’s writers which is what I have ready to go! Will put an order in - Thank you. And yes matey you are most welcome to a copy and I’ll even sign it for you LOL. Would love a signed copy of yours too! smile How is it going?

Martin, thank you! That is extremely thoughtful of you and will help considerably.  smile

You are very welcome CB. I also have the Childrens Writer and Artists Year Book and it,s full of brilliant information for budding authors.

My son has actually given me a great idea for a kiddies book. He had to make up a story at school; and I was so impressed with his characters and what he called them I told him I,d write the book and take all the credit for it. LOL  LOL

Just kidding lol. I told him when it was published he could get half of the proceeds.

Posted: 06 Feb 2009 04:33 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Martin - 06 Feb 2009 12:03 AM

This is from Patrick O’Keefe - he has published a book about managing online forums (definitely worth a read if that area of Web development interests you).

With contracts, I think you should always be careful what you agree to. That said, generally speaking, nobody gets rich off books. Yes, there is an exception and it can be reached, but the people I’ve spoken with have generally always said this. Often times, when an author achieves some level of wealth, it’s because of what the books create, not the books themselves.

I would say to definitely get an agent. When I started, I pitched myself. That can work. But, the difference of having a good agent was just so worthwhile. He gave me feedback on my proposal, he adjusted it, he provided suggestions and ideas. He then pitched the book and had all of the contacts already. He was persistent. And then, when the offer came, he negotiated the advance higher and added several contract provisions, asserting greater rights to myself. He did a great job and was well, well worth his 15%. In fact, the raise in the advance paid for his 15%.

I would check out forums dedicated to getting published and writing as they are probably full of good thoughts. Do you know any friends who have agents? Contact them and ask them if they like their agent and if they can give you a referral? That’s how I found my agent. If not that, try to nail down some good ones and contact them. My understanding is that agents aren’t so much interesting in you as much as your first idea. So, have your first book – or just your book – fully thought out. Think of pitching to an agent as similar to a publisher. You are selling them on the idea of your book, that it has potential, that no one else should write this book and, more importantly – that they can sell it to a publisher.

My book is nonfiction and, suffice to say, it’s easier to get published in nonfiction, I believe. Not that anyone can write good fiction, but it can be harder to say something like, “I’ve managed forums for 8 years and that is why I should write a book about them” with fiction. But, everyone has to start somewhere. If you are dedicated enough and passionate enough – anything can happen. And if publishers don’t want you and you still love it – self publish and do it yourself. I’d go with a major publisher if I could, especially for a first book, because it adds a level of legitimacy and because they will make it more likely for your book to be in Barnes & Noble, etc., but marketing wise, you’ll be doing a lot of work, with or without a major.

I hope that this helps.

Martin, this is great and extremely helpful! Thank you and Patrick O’Keefe so very much. So from this advice I am now looking into literary agents and hopefully there is an Australian one that will take me on.

Its hard because most writers associations that I’ve found so far ask you to pay an annual fee to join before they’ll give you access to information about them and its generally around the $150 mark. I don’t want to pay that only to find out they’re not what I need. So the information both you and Souxi have given is extremely helpful. Thank you very much!

I have just removed the link I had included in this post as further research indicated that the agency was a representation similar to that of vanity publishers.

Posted: 06 Feb 2009 04:36 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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You are very welcome CB. I also have the Childrens Writer and Artists Year Book and it,s full of brilliant information for budding authors.

My son has actually given me a great idea for a kiddies book. He had to make up a story at school; and I was so impressed with his characters and what he called them I told him I,d write the book and take all the credit for it. LOL  LOL

Just kidding lol. I told him when it was published he could get half of the proceeds.

hehehehehe Souxi you may well have a future budding author on your hands! That’s very cool!

Do I still get a signed copy and umm.. would include both signatures wink. Just so I could say in years to come that I have a book signed by that author from when he was a child and wrote a book with his Mum. Can you imagine what it would be worth!!!  LOL  LOL  tongue wink

Posted: 08 Feb 2009 03:45 AM   Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Chatterbox: I think the advice Patrick gave you is great and he definitely has experience. I know Patrick and respect his work. But I offer something else. I do not have an agent, but I have a publishing contract. I was told by several agents that they liked my idea and concept and felt that it was important, but did not feel that my niche was broad enough for them to convince a publisher.

I am of the mindset that all industries are changing due to the web and the low barriers to entry to becoming a content producer. I just don’t buy into the fact that everyone needs an agent. I mean, what if you just can’t find one and you can get somewhere by going directly to a publisher?
Sure the agents have all of the experience and that is likely invaluable, but if you have a niche product, that none of them feel is big enough, what are you to do, just give up?

I think not! Start looking at publishers and perhaps send your proposal directly to them. I know that there are people out there who would balk at this advice but I say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Try something else.

And as with any contract, have a lawyer or someone who deals with contracts look it over for you.

This is a different perspective I know, but I wanted to share it.

Posted: 08 Feb 2009 11:31 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Angela, thank you so much. Congratulations on your publishing contract!

Thank you again, as all advice and perspectives are invaluable in my humble opinion and I very much appreciate all you’ve said and will certainly take it into consideration before making my final decision.


I’ve spent the last few days researching and reading - reading, reading, reading… there is so much conflicting and contradictory information out there but I’m wheedling through it all slowly and starting to make some sense out of it.


Can ask you Angela, if you had your work and/or synopsis formally appraised before submitting it? I was thinking from all I’ve read that it would be extremely helpful to me to have this done but again so much conflicting advice ‘out there’ that it’s very hard to know if its just more money laid out unnecessarily.

I’m so grateful for the advice and help you’ve all given me. It’s not only pointed me in the right directions but inspired me to keep going when the going seemed as though it was going to be too hard. Thank you.

Posted: 09 Feb 2009 08:27 AM   Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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thank you for all the advice on here about publishing , I too am a budding author , they say we all have at least one book in us ay? wink

Posted: 09 Feb 2009 02:08 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Here is an additional response from Patrick:

Just to clarify, I agree with Angela and actually share her perspective. I didn’t say everyone needed an agent, as that’s not true and I don’t believe that. What I did say is that having a good agent is preferable. The benefit isn’t just in access, as most publishers offer an address on their website to submit proposals, even if they may be more familiar with an agent. On top of the benefits I mentioned, the benefit is also in having someone to negotiate for you. Generally speaking, there’s a reason why virtually no professional athlete represents themselves. They do not have the expertise and, even if they did – more importantly – it is best to have someone negotiating on your behalf because then, the negotiations are not personal and you don’t have to be afraid of hurting anyone’s feelings – and your own feelings do not get hurt. If you can either have a good agent or have no agent, it’s better to have a good agent. It’s good to have someone looking out for your end, in addition to yourself – because the publisher won’t (nor should they).

More importantly, I did not, and would never say that if you do not get an agent, that you should give up. Absolutely not. You should still pitch the book yourself and, even if a publisher fails to pick it up, if you believe in it, you should consider publishing it yourself. The nature of any creative business is that great people get passed up, and it’s not anyone’s fault. Whether it’s music, movies, books or anything else. But, if you believe in what you have and you are committed to the work, bring it to the people yourself. smile Good luck.

Posted: 09 Feb 2009 11:14 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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I totally understood what you had said Patrick.

You point out the benefits of having a good agent and that is invaluable to hear as it makes one stop and think about not only having an agent but making sure they are a good one. I like the idea of someone negotiating for me as I am absolutely hopeless at negotiating. I also like the thought of having feedback on what I’ve submitted. And as you both point out if an agent won’t accept you, you can always approach the publishers yourself. It was good to hear that an agent isn’t the ‘end of the line’ as there are other options… The publishing sites I’d gone to at the time were not accepting unsolicited manuscripts so it sounded to me as though it was a case of ‘no agent - no hope’ and that’s not the case at all.

I can’t thank you enough for suggesting also that I check out forums as it hadn’t occurred to me to do that and within those forums a lot of the contradictory info I’d read was cleared up just through reading their discussions. It showed clearly many of the traps but also gave a much more positive outlook to it all which was nice, as I was beginning to think it was all going to end up a negative experience in the long run and not worth pursuing. I have renewed faith in the industry.

At this point I have no experience in the marketing of books and have very little knowledge of the business side of things.I know within myself that I would feel a lot less stressed in having someone else take care of those things for me. I’m not even sure if my writing is of a high enough standard to even think about publishing but you don’t know if you don’t put it out there and see what comes of it. I think if I got continual knock backs I would look at formal appraisals and see where I was going wrong and take their constructive criticism seriously before attempting self publishing. Mainly because I truly don’t know if my work is marketable.

BUT as both you and Angela say, if you believe in your work don’t let the knock backs stop you! I hear you both and will explore every avenue before letting the dust mites breed in the deep recesses of a creative mind.

Thank you again Patrick for such invaluable information, I truly appreciate you sharing it. And thank you Martin for passing it on!

Posted: 09 Feb 2009 11:22 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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gemini - 09 Feb 2009 01:27 PM

thank you for all the advice on here about publishing , I too am a budding author , they say we all have at least one book in us ay? wink

I know you write poetry too gemini and wanted to share that I was surprised after looking through hoards of agents and publishers that no one seems to take on poetry! I’m not sure that when they state that if they mean ‘one’ poem or anthologies. Can you imagine life without published poetry!!!

Good luck with your writing too gemini. It’s really good to have this advice here and know where we’re heading hey and more so through people who’ve actually ‘done’ it. Feels like we’re privileged it does!!!!

smile

Posted: 24 Mar 2009 04:05 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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1. Avoid vanity publishers, and all those ads in magazines which start with the words, AUTHORS GET YOUR WORK PUBLISHED’ which draws people in like a magnet, but you need to be very careful and read the miniscule print very carefully. But generally they are to be avoided. It is vanity publishing, and what does the word vanity mean? Well, in this context it means if you are vain enough to think your writing is worthy of being published, sign here and pay now.

2. If you have a book proposal, then approach an agent. It can be done the other way around, ie sending an ms to a publisher, b ut to be honest, they get hundreds every week and many of them end up on the floor, not even being read, let alone returned to the sender, who they care little about. Occasionally someone will pick up on an ms and the rest, as they say, can be history, and I guess that’s what most wannabe writers dream of… not me, I have kept my feet on the ground and had more realistic hopes, which are yet to be fulfilled when it comes to THE NOVEL, but have had lots published in other genres.

3. Get the Writers and Artists Yearbook, trawl patiently through all the agents, and then make a list of those who specialise in the genre you write, and approach them with a brief synopsis, maybe a sample chapter or two.

4. HAVE PATIENCE AND FAITH IN YOURSELF. If it’s meant to be published, then hopefully it will. But, at this particular time, agents and publishers are less likely to take on any new untried authors, they too, feel the economic pinch.

5. GOOD LUCK!

Posted: 24 Mar 2009 04:51 PM   Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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I had an experience with vanity publishers once. I was as green as grass and didn,t know anything about them. I never did get my precious stories back. mad

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