Agents and Publishing…

What a brain over load!! I found a new website, well, not new, but new to me, that has a ton of information for writers. ( http://www.writersdigest.com ) And while looking through there, I found a section on literary agents and publishers.

I have been researching all through this stuff and my mind is spinning. I have been doing self publishing because of all of the talk about how hard it is to get an agent and to be published. But in all of this reading, it seems as though it is easier than I thought. (not to actually be accepted, but the process in itself)

Is it just me? I guess I never did the proper research and just went by what I was told. But I mistook people saying how hard it was, thinking they were meaning the whole process, not just getting accepted. I am still in the research process, so I am sure I will discover more, but my question to all of you is where does the money come in?

Self publishing has no up-front costs and from the looks of it, sending your work to an agent doesn’t either. When and where does the up-front costs come from? I am just curious.

I will not be near a computer until tomorrow night, but I will be curious to see what you all think. Thank you and have a great night.

Oh gosh – PS-The writing competition starts tomorrow. I have only changed one thing. Instead of it running through the entire month, I think I will have it end on Valentine’s Day instead.

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13 thoughts on “Agents and Publishing…

  1. I remember my writer’s digest days, so I’m coming from the opposite direction than you. I started with the easy process of submitting to agents and publishers and now I’m heading toward self-publishing with e-books. It is true that it is easy to submit, but the difficulty is (as you noted) getting accepted. You need to have the right query letter/sample sent to the right person at the right time. I was led to believe that I needed to establish myself before they would look at me, which is what I’m doing now.

    The up-front money only comes into play if you go through a vanity press or pay-for-print publisher. You give these companies money to do whatever the package includes, which can be as basic as editing, formatting, and making it available or as complicated as everything including advertising. Those are the only situations where I’ve seen up-front money coming in from the author. They were the only option for a rejected author before the era of ebooks began.

  2. Well, depending on whether you do it all yourself or hire out, self-publishing could have upfront costs. Me? I’m no graphic artist, so I’d pay to have someone create a book cover me. You might want to hire someone to do a copy-edit, and so on.

    Agents and publishers should also have no upfront costs. If someone says you must pay to be published or represented by them, walk away. Agents make money when they sell your book (generally 15% of the advance and any royalties after that). Publishers get paid when people buy your book.

    The query process itself isn’t hard. It can be tedious. Rejection isn’t fun. But writing and formatting a query letter, a synopsis, etc. isn’t really all that difficult. And it’s a transferable skill. The description of your book you use in a query letter might make a good “back cover” copy/product description if you decide to self-publish.

    Hopes this helps. A lot of authors I know are doing both–self-publishing some projects and querying/publishing traditionally with others.

  3. As one of the other commentors noted you do have to be careful who you’re sending your work to. A small “vanity press” will ask for a chunk of money for services (cover art, editing, etc…) but may be easier to get “accepted” by, a small press might ask for some money upfront too but they’re usually a little more respected.

    As far as the agent process goes there’s really no reason not to submit while you’re working on formatting your book for self-publication and you may even get some valuable criticism in any rejection letters you get that you can use to improve before you publish. But be careful, some agencies refuse to take on manuscripts that have been self-published so you may want to look into that if you were thinking of publishing first and querying later.

    I was one of the lucky few that actually had a short story I published with a lit-mag noticed by an agency and they queried me about a novel manuscript. While the one I had didn’t work out I am still on their short list if I have a different one to submit, so it also pays to get your short fiction/poetry out there too. You never know who might stumble across it.

    • Thank you!! That is awesome – and good for you for being noticed by the magazine!! I am in the process of writing a novel, but I think that I have more fun writing the short stories. So I may write some up and send them out just to see what happens. Thank you!!

  4. I spent years sending my work out, first to publishers, then to agents. I always got personalized and encouraging letters back – yet I was always rejected.

    Publishers and agents want what they are already comfortable with. In other words, you have to be like everyone else they deal with. If your work is outside the box, you won’t get in.

    Mine is outside the box. I finally had to face up to publishing my own work. It was either that or jump off the nearest bridge after wasting my entire life on this career choice. Fortunately I chose to live. ๐Ÿ™‚

    It’s early days for me, but on my blog and off it, those who have read my work (science fiction) are already hounding me for the next in the sequel, due out around July. So that’s very gratifying.

    It’s hard to get my work into a lot of hands – no one knows me, why should they be interested in my book? I try to get it out there by launching freebies whenever I can, such as the one I am currently running (Kindle version). That’s the only way I can think of aiding the process along. I hope this information helps.

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