Visit from Elizabeth Sinclair

Due to technical problems, Elizabeth Sinclair won't be able to join us as our guest blogger today. We'll reschedule her blog about The Dreaded Synopsis at a future date. We don't want to miss it!

We've been discussing The Submission Process this month, and although there are still a few things we'll blog about for the next week and half, we know we haven't covered everything and there are probably questions that haven't been answered or topics someone would like to discuss. This is a great time to do that! Don't hesitate to be specific!

Feel free to post questions or comments or even links of interest for the next two days. Someone is sure to be able to help, either by answering a question, sharing a bit of experience, or knowing where information can be found.

We'll be back to our regulary scheduled blogging on Wednesday! Thanks for visiting!

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would like to know more about the pros and cons of getting an agent and what are the odds of getting published if you don't already have a publicity network of your own?

Roxann Delaney said...

The topic of agents is one we hadn't gotten around to discussing yet. There's no reason why we can't though. :)

1. Determine whether you need an agent. Some publishers will only look at agented material, while with others, it doesn't matter.

2. Ask writers you know who have agents if they're willing to give you the name of theirs.

3. As with publishers, do your homework. Be sure you're submitting to the right agent, when it comes to genres. Not all agents deal in romance. A good place to start is AAR, the Association of Author's Representatives, Inc. Most good agents are members.

4. After you have a few agencies you think might be good to submit to, check them out at Preditors and Editors.

A word of warning: Run, don't walk, from any agent that offers to "fix" your manuscript for a fee. These are what are known as "Book Doctors." And NEVER pay an agent to read your material.

There are some agents who choose to charge the author for mailing fees and other small office expenses. It's my opinion that the 15% commission earned by the agent from the author's sales should cover those incidentals, but that's up to each individual.

Some agents work closely with their authors, suggesting editing and changes, while others don't. Ask yourself what you need.

There are many excellent websites with information on agents. Do a search for 'questions to ask literary agents' for more information on the do's and don't's.

Roxann Delaney said...

I've only lately been hearing about the need for the pre-published to publicize themselves, so I can't really give a good answer without knowing more. Maybe someone else has some information and will comment soon. :)

Reese Mobley said...

The old adage of having a bad agent is worse than having no agent certainly applied to me. I had an agent who only submitted one of my books. He sat on the other ones--wasting time for both of us. After we parted company I entered a contest with one of the books he had never submitted and I not only won the contest but I had a request for the full manuscript.

Since most of the publishers that I want to sell to will only look at agented work I'm starting the agent search now again. I won't be so quick to jump at the first offer this time around.

Depending on where you submit to, you CAN get published without an agent--but it might speed up the process if you had one.

Good luck with your pursuit.

Becky A said...

In my research for an agent I've found that they ask if you have ties to Tv, Radio, Magazines and public appearances that are already scheduled. They want you to have a publicity avenue (network?) already available and ready to use. I would think that it would be harder to get a new writer published but have no idea on the odds.

Starla Kaye said...

I publish in what is considered the smaller presses, in particular with ebook publishers that also do print books. You don't need an agent with these markets.

Concerning a "publicity network of your own"...I'm not exactly sure what you mean. But I do know that more and more of the small presses seriously encourage their authors to publicize, publicize, publicize. I just did a 2-hour program on the process of publishing and then promoting your work for another writers' group. My handouts will eventually be posted on their website and maybe on WARA's website.

Basically some of the smaller presses now want to know what you, the author, have in mind for a marketing plan if they publish your book. I have 3 publishers and they all treat that aspect differently. But if you want your books to sell, you'd better be prepared to dive into the whole promotional thing big time.

You don't necessarily need to have a publicity network before you publish, but you need to know how to do it afterward.

Roxann Delaney said...

Becky,

My first reaction to all that is are they kidding? I'd love to see a list of the agents who are asking these things. It isn't easy for a published author to have those things.

An agent's job is to help you sell your "stuff". Those things listed are in the realm of a publicist. It would be a little hard to get a publicist if a writer hasn't sold a book yet, or at least I would think so.

As for networking and getting your name out there, that isn't as difficult as it used to be. With blogs, Facebook, My Space, podcasts and all the rest, there are many ways to get yourself noticed AND connect with authors, editors, and agents. It does take time, but the good thing is that it doesn't take a lot of money.

As far as websites go, my personal take on this is that it isn't the wisest idea to throw up a website, unless you really know what you're doing. On the other hand, professionally designed websites aren't given away. Maybe I'll do a blog in the future on that. ;)

Roxann Delaney said...

Starla,

There's nothing wrong with a publisher being interested in an author's marketing plan! Promotion is very important, no matter who the publisher is. It also happens to be an area I could use some help with. :)

I'd LOVE to see your handouts! I've somewhat ignored promotion/publicity for a while and still feel a bit ambiguous about it. ("Chicken" would be more like it.) Any help and ideas are always appreciated, and I doubt I'm the only one who could use both.

Becky A said...

Roxann,
The only one I can remember and find right now is: Rachelle Gardner at Word Serve Literary Agency.
http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com

She has a great blog with many tips but she seems to expect alot from the writers. It may seem like a lot to me just because this is new territory.

I have run across others who ask what media connections you already have though too.

Becky

Becky A said...

Roxann,

Now you know why I get not only confused but frustrated when it comes to publishing and agents. Especially since most publishers in my market want you to have an agent before they'll even look at your stuff. It's a bit overwhelming to be asked what Tv personalities you know that will promote your book and to list your speaking engagements, WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE ANY! :)

Roxann Delaney said...

Becky,

I'll check out that blog this evening. She doesn't have a listing at Preditors and Editors, but the agency does. That doesn't mean they aren't legit! They are. :) Those who aren't or are trouble have a warning statement next to their listing.

Writer Beware is another good site that helps to NOT choose the wrong publisher, agent, or others.

I've known of people who were ripped off by so-called agents. Theresa's experience was mild.

Roxann Delaney said...

Starla,

I don't think it's only the smaller presses that encourage their authors to publicize. Only the really big houses do author promotion, and that's usually for the well-known authors, not so much the new ones.

As big as Harlequin is, there isn't a lot of author promotion done. Books, yes, but not so much individual authors. Best-sellers and the more prolific authors see their covers and names more often on eHarlequin though. In fact, Harlequin has encouraged its authors to be more visible, using Facebook, My Space, Twitter, podcasts, booktrailers, etc. In fact, there was an information letter on a workshop they offered on digital promotion about a year ago.