Friday, April 4, 2014

Writing: A Work in Progress- Part Deux

In my last blog I mentioned some things you need to accomplish when you are writing a novel. So let’s continue with that process.

I tried to make a point last time about RESEARCH. I cannot emphasize this enough. Researching is the most important thing you can do as a writer and a person. You should not only research about writing, but also any endeavor you are to partake in your life, remember the old saying Better to be safe then be sorry.

Agent: I do not use an agent, so I am not a subject matter expert on this topic. I will however, pass along the info I have accumulated in my writing journey.

You do not need an agent, or you need one. I know I frustrate some of you when I do this, but it is a fact. Many successful writers never used an agent to get their books published, so you do not need one. However, many publishers will not look at un-agented manuscripts so you cannot get published without one.

As for me, I decided to go with a smaller publisher. I did not need an agent because there was an open submission with that publisher going on at the time. I will speak more about the size of a publisher later, and this will all make sense. I will say I am more than happy with Safkhet Publishing  who is putting out my book.

So, let’s go back to agents. They can open many doors and get a better contract that you would have alone, they will however, take a hunk of change from you for this service. Always weigh you costs and benefits when making this decision.

If you decide not to go with an agent, you will need to look at submitting your work yourself. If you want to be successful at submitting your work to a publisher, there are many steps you need to accomplish.

Large or Small Publisher: Let’s look at which kind of publisher you want to pick to publish your book. There are advantages and disadvantages to the size of the publisher you choose.

Large Publishes: A large publisher can provide a quick turnaround for your book from the day you send it to them until the day it is published. They have many more resources to them to put toward your book, including a large editing staff and artists for your covers. The publisher will also have established connections to promote your book once it is published; this includes you will be doing more radio shows and book tours.

The disadvantage of a larger publisher is that you may get lost in their large machine. A larger publisher expects results, they want book sales. If you falter or find yourself lost in the complex world of book promotion, you may be shoved aside to make room for the next author.

Small Publisher: They can take the time to show you the ropes and groom you as an author because they have a higher investment in you than the larger publishers. A smaller publisher can be there to answer your questions, or assign you one of their existing authors to be your mentor. It may be easier to get published with a smaller publisher, and this is important for the first-time author.

The disadvantage is that a smaller publisher has fewer resources, as a result the progress of your book (from submitting to being published) will move slower than a larger publisher. A smaller publisher may not have the contacts that a larger publisher does so much of the promotional and marketing will fall on the skills of the author. All the above reasons may mean fewer sales than from a larger publisher, which results in less profit for the publisher.

Taking Submissions: Before you even think about submitting work to a publisher, you better make sure they are accepting submissions. Publisher will have a website indicating if they have a current open door submission going on.

If you know an author that is familiar with your work, you may wish to ask them if you can submit work to their publisher. Many publishers with a closed submission policy will accept a manuscript if it is recommended by one of their authors.

NOTE: DO NOT HOUND AN AUTHOR SO YOU CAN GET YOUR WORK SUBMITTED. I know your passion about your work, but please do not keep asking an author about submitting your work to his publisher; if he/she wants to they will, if not look somewhere else.

Genre: Again do some research. Make sure that the potential publisher actually deals in your genre of work. No need sending a horror novel to a publisher of children’s books.

Know the format for submitting: Read the publishers requirements for submitting and follow them to the letter. If they want the first chapter of your novel, send that, do not send chapter 2 because you think it is better. If you do not follow the guidelines of a publisher, you will be rejected without them even looking at your manuscript.

Query Letter: This goes in line with the format of submission. If the publisher wants a letter, then send one in the format that is requested. I would suggest you look online and see sample query letters and compose yours similar to them. Now for me, I had trouble describing myself. I will admit I am shy and very humble about describing myself in the letter. DON”T YOU BE! This is the time to promote yourself. The publisher is looking for something to market you by, to see if your past would generate an established audience. Tell the publisher as much as you can about your accomplishments as long as it meets the format and lines available.

Once you find a publisher or an agent, PLEASE, PLEASE do more research. Find out the reputation of this publisher or agent; find out if they are legitimate. You worked hard writing your book; do not lose it because a publisher and or agent ripped you off.

Next Time: To be an Author, You have to have Friends.

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