Monday, October 31, 2011

Patience, Predators and Publishing

I forgot I scheduled this. Come back tomorrow for the first Birth of a Novel blog chain! Email me at charity.bradford@gmail.com to sign up for this. 
Also, I'm still looking for some guest posters for November. You can even send a post that you've previously put up on your blog that you really liked, or seemed to be a hit with your followers. Email the same addy above. Thanks to those who have already responded!

Some of you may have seen this over on Jeanne's blog when I guest posted(July 2011?), but I wanted to share it with the rest of you as well. 


Patience.
As writers we need so much of it. It seems like the life of a writer is one big round of waiting.
  • We wait for stolen moments to type or scribble away at our novels.
  • We wait for comments from critique groups.
  • We sludge through revisions waiting for the day our novel is polished and ready to send into the world.
  • We wait for replies from agents.
  • And I don't know from experience, but I've heard that after you get an agent is just more waiting.
We all hope this waiting will get us somewhere, but sometimes its hard to be patient. And that's when we become susceptible to predators.

Let me share a story with you. I have a younger brother who started writing a book this year. This is his first story, a fantasy. I've read the first three chapters and he has a lot of potential. A lot, and I'm happy for him. But he hasn't learned about patience yet.

The first week of August he submitted his first three chapters (read only three he had) to a publisher (I don't know where he found this publisher) and two days later he received a sample contract in the mail to look over. This publisher was thrilled with his rough draft and said they would love to publish it if he could finish it by November 1st of this year and get it to them.

What???

I've been slaving over my baby for three solid years! Revision after revision. Round after round of critiques. Patiently taking each comment, mulling it over and then changing things (or not) based on my vision for the story. And now my little bro is getting published before me a few short months after he starts writing?!!

Wait, sorry, this isn't about me.

*cough* Um, where was I? Oh, yeah...
Red flags were flying around all over the place when he told me this. I've never heard of any publisher who accepts unfinished FICTION. My brother also sent me the contract to look over. Now, to my untrained eye, the ten page contract made little sense (another reason I want to catch an agent). There were a few things that rubbed me wrong, such as the royalties. They were considerably lower than some other midsize publishers that I have had contact with, but mostly it looked fine. I guess. *shrugs*

Since I don't know everything, I started some research.A simple Google search of the company brought up all kinds of rants about their dishonesty. Then some of my other writer friends responded to my questions to them and all said the same thing about said company, "Run away!" This particular company received an F from the Better Business Bureau.

With all this new knowledge under my belt, I had to inform my brother that he should walk away. I felt like a dream crusher. For his part, my brother handled it quite well. He has now finished three more chapters of the book and is hopefully starting to read and learn about the publishing world.

Qs4U:
How do you remind yourself to be patient?

How do you research publishers or agents?
Please share in the comments.

Whatever it is that you do, don't give up! And don't give in. Be true to yourself and the dream you have for your book. Whether it be traditional, mid to small publisher, or vanity publishing is up to you. In this day and age its all good! Just take your time. Do your research and make sure you understand what you're getting into.

Wouldn't it be awful to find that you've lost all rights to the story you bled over for years?

Here are some helpful links:

6 comments:

  1. Awww I feel sorry for your brother... but secretly relieved too. It would be totally unfair for him to get a publishing contract before you. Oops, I'm getting all self righteous on your behalf!

    Re guest posting, I'd be happy for you to post my HOT SEAT interview with you, if you'd like? If you'd like something different let me know and I'll see what I can come up with. :-)

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  2. so tempting!
    but there is no easy way to do it (unless you have connections...)
    if it looks too good to be true, it prob is!
    thanks for the links!

    HaPpY HaLLoWeeN!

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  3. Patience is a Virtue. *gag* Sorry LOL. That sneaked out.

    I learn virtue I mean patience by studying new writing techniques, skills, and nuances. Education helps.

    Research by website, Query Tracker, P&E, Absolute Write Water Cooler, with a little Publishers Marketplace thrown in.

    One thing for certain, the time I spend in research doesn't equal the time it takes an agent to reject a query.

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  4. Your brother is wise to listen to big sister who has much knowledge of the publishing industry. It's interesting how "we" (I'm using that as a collective because I think that you and I and others on the interwebs that have blogs) have become so "well informed" about this business. I have people at work that ask me publishing questions...and I've gotten to where I can spot a scam almost instantly. It's kinda like a super power.

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  5. I remember that story about your brother. Glad he didn't sign anything.

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  6. LOL, thanks Cally. It would be unfair, but after crying a river I could smile and tell him congrats. Maybe.

    So true Tara, there isn't an easy way. If there was I would have done it already.

    Huntress, OMGosh, if only things were more balanced with the research to query ratio.

    Michael, I'm glad he took it so well. I don't know how much time he has to "learn" so I'll share what ever I can.

    Alex, now he has a finished wip that I'm trying to get critiqued by Christmas for him.

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