Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bookstuff 101

Last week Maureen mentioned possibly giving out information for some of our more newbie followers. Don’t even know if we have newbie followers, but I figured a refresh in the abc’s of how to get published might be helpful.

Also I can reuse this post the next time anyone says… “Oh you’re a writer. My (hairdresser’s daughter’s third cousin once removed fill in any other blank here___) is a writer. How should she go about getting published?”

1. Have a finished book. The last page needs to say The End. The word count (if you’re writing for something besides category romance) should be at least 65,000 words. That’s probably too short for most books too – but I figure if you can string together 65,000 words you’ve got a good start.

2. Put that book away in a drawer because it’s probably not any good and start writing a new one…. Just kidding (I’m so not.) But that is not what newbies want to hear. They want the part about fame and fortune. So I’ll just leave it at if you think this book is good enough - which means you’ve read it back to yourself and you still think it’s the cat’s meow – then on to step 3.

3. What does the agent do? The agent makes contacts within the publishing industry and establishes a reputation for having a good taste. So when they say to editor So and So at Publishers What and What – “Hey I’ve got this really talented author who has written a great book. Do you want to be the lucky lucky publisher to pay me for it so in return you can make lots of money too?” Publisher pays an advance, agent takes a cut, writer gets the rest. Then anything beyond the advance of earned royalties gets split. Publishers bulk, writer a little bit. Agent gets 15% of your little bit.

4. Do you need an agent? Yes. If you want to publish with a mainstream NY publisher that is not Harlequin – then yes. Why? Because let’s say 100,000 people think they can write a book other people will pay money to read. The reality is that of those 100,000 probably only 10,000 can. Of the 10,000 only maybe 5,000 are the “right” book for the “right” time. Publishers don’t want to deal with 90,000 bad books. Agents find the 10,000 good books. The publishers scoop up the 5,000 they “think” will make money. And of those only maybe 500 will go on to be books that will make big money. These numbers are of course made up –hope they give you a scope of things.

5. Do you need an agent? No. Nothing but easy answers here folks. If want to try an indie publisher/electronic only publisher/ or you want to self publish – or you specifically write category romance - which really only Harlequin publishes – then you don’t necessarily have to have an agent.

6. Why are these publishers different? Because they will pay out less or no advance so they take less risk, and can open themselves up to more than just “agented” writers. If you are self-publishing – you obviously take all the risk and get no money until people buy your book.

7. What is Electronic Publishing vs Self Publishing. A “self” published book is a book you would put online to allow people to purchase and read. Putting it on line – cheap. Printing it, Cover Art, distribution – not cheap. So today most selfpublished books are offered electronically. You wrote it, we assume you edited, you plan to market it and you used a service that allows for the purchase of said books i.e. Amazon. You get 70% of all profits. (At least through Amazon.) An electronic book can by any book by a publisher or self-publisher that is offered in an electronic format. Big NY publishers today publish hardback, paperback and electronic books. Some publishers will only publish books in an electronic format. Why? See the bit about cheap above. Got it?

8. Why have a publisher? Because they work on the book with you. They edit it, they give it a cover, they market it to buyers and readers. Here is how it translates. You make a widget – you can sell it yourself at a stand in front of your house. You keep all the profits. Or you give it to Walmart and let them sell it all over the country. They take the bulk of the profits – but give you some. Now what’s changing here is the internet is making that stand outside your home a little bigger. But think about it folks – readers still need to find your little corner of the world.

Okay, those were the things I needed to understand first. Because writing is creative but publishing is a business. Unless you have a grasp of the business you shouldn't be swimming in the pool.


Molly O'Keefe said...

I fight myself all the time about my attitude towards I really just an old dog who doesn't understand how everyone is going to make a bazillion dollars self-publishing, or am I right and maybe ten people will make a bazillion dollars self-publishing and the rest might make a grand...

connie brockway made this big leap into self-publishing, but she's self-publishing through a very very selctive arm of amazon. basically a publishing arm of amazon... so the gatekeeping's been done, she'll have the power of amazon publicity and marketing behind her - which is NO JOKE - she's going to do fine, but it's not the kind of self-publishing a lot of authors are jumping into right now...

i don't know, maybe I'm just an old old dog.

Stephanie Doyle said...

Molly - we're going to find it's like anything else.

Just like we did when we went through the no advance electronic publishing phase.

Lots of people will try it. Ultimately cream will rise to the top.

Connie is an author. A writer. She knows how to write book, after book.

Most people who go the self-publish route will only every try it once.

Not easy to work that hard and only make $50 bucks.

But that's just my take.

Maureen McGowan said...

Great summary, Molly!

And it kind of turns out that Connie Brockway isn't self-publishing at all... As I understand it, her initial announcement was something like: my books will be primarily available in e-format from now on... and based on that, everyone assumed she was self-publishing, but then the real announcement came out and from what I can see, Amazon is becoming a small publisher. A small publisher who own a huge part of the retail market share. So if they pull it off, they cut out several "middlemen" between authors and readers, while still offering most of the benefits of a publisher... That's what they call vertical integration in economics. (I think. It's been a long time since University. LOL)

I remember a gag bit on a TV show... Or a silly movie... Damn, what was it??? About a company who was vertically integrating and their 3 main products were fat free potato chips, laxatives and toilet paper.

Damn. Anyone know what I"m thinking of?

OH! It was an episode of The Sarah Silverman Show. LOL Figures. It was tres dumb. I think a character (probably Sarah) was trying to expose this evil plan by this corporation to sell more toilet paper.

Eileen said...

I don't get it either, Molly, but it is what EVERYONE is talking about every authorish place I go. I don't understand either, but people are supposedly raking in thousands of dollars while doing no promotion work.

At the moment, I'm panicked about meeting the deadlines I have so the thought of trying to get something out to epublish just depresses me.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...