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Topic: Publishing?

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Subject: Publishing?
Date Posted: 3/5/2009 4:48 PM ET
Member Since: 2/18/2009
Posts: 2
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Hi all! I'm currently in the process of writting the story of our adoption of our daughter fom foster care. When I'm finished I would love to get it published. I was told that the best way is to find a writting group who works with publishers. Does any one have any ideas?

Thanks!

~M

Date Posted: 3/6/2009 11:07 AM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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I would actually get an agent, since that is the best way I have heard of getting published.  BUT joining a writing group is good for everyone if they give unbias feedback and help you improve your work.

Date Posted: 3/6/2009 12:34 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 5,637
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And remember:

Never pay to get published. Real (non-vanity publishers) pay the writer. Not the other way around.

The merits of self-publishing is debatable, but for the most part.if you want your books to be read and found on shelves at major bookstores, self-publishing is the wrong way to go.

Publish America does not ask for money up front, but they are vanity publishers. I'd advise any writer to stay away from them. I cannot stress that one enough.

A great forum for questions, advice, and just chatting about writing and publishing is Absolute Write. There are many published authors there.

Date Posted: 3/6/2009 6:37 PM ET
Member Since: 7/8/2005
Posts: 305
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Definately stay away from Publish America.  A lady that lives in my town that I met through my job used Publish America.  I bought one of her books out of obligation to a long term good customer of mine and the fact that she is in her 90's.  I had to pay $27.95 for a trade size book that would have been $13 max if it were even a well written novel by a well known author.  I hate to say this, but her book needed much editing also.  They printed it with it not being ready for publishing.  I know her assistant well and her assistant is of the opinion that Publish America is just out there to rip people off.  They had to threaten Publish America with a lawyer to even get the book released.  And the assistant knows for a fact that some people have ordered the book through Publish America's web site and they refuse to discuss royalties that she was supposed to have earned and they have not paid her anything even though they should have by their contract.  Stay away from them.

I would suggest going to the library and finding books similar to yours and seeing if the author gave thanks to their agent in the note from the author that is in the fronts of many books.  A lot of times you can see who is handling your type of book by looking there.  Then google the agent's name.

I have discovered that a lot of books that I have enjoyed are represented by agent Laurie Liss.  Three different authors and all books that I've enjoyed very much and all represented by the same agent.  So I guess that in addition to a favorite author and a favorite genra, I have a favorite agent.  I know that I will feel very successful if I can ever put out any work that would get Laurie Liss' attention.

Date Posted: 3/6/2009 6:43 PM ET
Member Since: 7/8/2005
Posts: 305
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A note on learning writing skills.  Check out your community college.  I am currently enrolled as a full time student (the job that I met the author friend at has been gone for some time now) and I have Expository Writing as my english class.  I've learned a lot and we are only half way through the term.  Thus far I have received a 96% on my Comparison Essay and a 98% on my Classification Essay and some wonderfully inspiring comments from the instructor.  Although I am writing fiction, I have learned helpful things from this class.  We have to do peer review for each essay also.  So not only do we get the instructors opinion, we get another individuals opinion as well.

So check out your local community college.  I'm sure you could take a class by itself without having to be enrolled as a regular student.  We also have a Writing Lab that will read our work and offer suggestions.  It's worth a "check into" in your area.

Good luck. Oh, and congratualtions on the the adoption of your daughter.  I am happy that you have had a dream like this realized.  I hope that you are able to help others with your story.

Date Posted: 3/6/2009 7:47 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2006
Posts: 4,865
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Janelle--ditto what you said!  It seems so many new writers don't understand vanity publishing, and and I've heard so many sad stories...like a guy who paid to have his golf book published (thinking it was a standard publisher), and then wound up with a garage full of books and nothing else.  He didn't know where to turn next.

I'm a professional writer (www.LynnKlammer.com), with 9 books and 200+ published aritcles.  I represent myself, which is a way to save money, but I also do far more "business" than I do actual writing.

Date Posted: 3/29/2009 8:46 PM ET
Member Since: 2/18/2009
Posts: 2
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Hi every one! Thanks for your imput and advice! I appriciate it.

Subject: Getting started in publishing
Date Posted: 4/1/2009 10:06 PM ET
Member Since: 4/1/2009
Posts: 1
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Hi, everyone! I'm knew to PBS, but not to the publishing biz. :) Four of my novels have been published with another hitting stores this Summer. My day job is as a literary publicist. Books are my (professional) life! Anywho, Wendy, one of the best ways to get started in the publishing biz is to attend a writers conference. You'll learn so much in just a few short days - from honing your writing craft to how to acquire an agent to how to market/publicize your book once it's published.

Most of us would tell you to make your story into a novel. While the reality is probably fantastic, it would be hard to sell unless your name is already a known commodity that would resonate with consumers in a bookstore. If it isn't, then a novel is an easier sell from a first-time author than a nonfiction book. My latest release, Scrapping Plans, followed this path. Part of that novel is the story of my sister-in-law and her husband adopting their little girl from China. Actually, all my novels follow this path - there's a ton of my real life wrapped up in every story. :)

Hope that helps! And congratulations on taking the first step down the writing path!

Rebeca Seitz

Date Posted: 4/10/2009 4:08 AM ET
Member Since: 12/18/2008
Posts: 25
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I'm assuming most new unpublished writers cannot afford an agent? What do they charge for what they do?

And just how far can you take yourself by representing yourself? I mean no offense ChWriter (seriously) but your website looks very unprofessional.

With so many writers out there isn't it just basically getting that lucky break, knowing the right people kind of thing?

In reading all of the thank you's and acknowledgments from romance novels I found a LOT of those writers got breaks from making friends with other published writers in that genre. Gee you can only have so many friends when all of them want to be published! LOL

Date Posted: 4/10/2009 9:37 AM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 145
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To answer some of Tami's questions: You NEVER have to pay an agent up front. Agents make their money when the writer makes money (most get 15% of a writers' advances/royalties). Most publishers won't look at unagented work--so you really don't want to represent yourself. Agents know the business, know the editors, know who's looking for what. They also negotiate the contracts. Agents work for the writer. Yes, luck does come into it, but the biggest thing is writing a fabulous book--I was an unknown single-mom school teacher from the midwest, but I still got an agent (after 300 rejections!), and am now a published author--and my book has also been translated in 6 foreign languages, all thanks to my agent. The way most unknown writers meet other writers (published and unpublished) is to go to conferences, book festivals, writing workshops, etc.)--and you become friends because you have shared experiences and goals--it's not just to "get breaks."
Date Posted: 4/10/2009 9:50 AM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2006
Posts: 4,865
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Connections are useful in this business, but not necessary.  I've had pretty good success without knowing anyone for instance.  Agents do different things depending upon the agent.  They charge a percentage of what you make, and some also charge for expenses.

Your comment about my website is accurate.  It's very simple because that's all I had the time to do, but I plan to work on it again eventually.  I only put it up because my publishers kept saying I should have a website, so I got something simple up for the time being.  It's actually been quite profitable for me though--I've had lots of people contact me through it, and I know of several sales of large numbers of books (for churches and such) that have come through it..  So, I guess it would be worth my while to work on it a bit.

I should point out that although I have 9 published books (none of them self-published), and 200+ magazine articles...I'm just part time.  I'm also a psychologist and educator, so writing has been a part time endeavor for me.  Which again goes to show you--you don't have to have an agent or publicist, or work at it full time, to have some level of success. 

Date Posted: 4/10/2009 12:06 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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Lynn- maybe look around and see if there are people offering to design websites for free. I know there are loads of people out there that want to be web designers and will do pages for free if they can then link to them as proof of there work (which could be of benefit to you too).
On another note, its a simple EASY to navigate page which I personally like. I hate having to hunt around to find things.  So just keep it simple. I would also show pictures of your books rather then your family, thats fine on a bio page but if I was wondering if you're the author of the book I just read, it would be easier for me to work that out if you showed the cover of your book.

 

Date Posted: 4/10/2009 1:23 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2006
Posts: 4,865
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Thanks for the suggestion Xengab.  There's lots I'd like to do with the website, but just haven't had the time to get to it.  I just finished a book (that's being relased this month), so I'm working on marketing for that.  I  also currently have a freelance job for  national counselor test I'm working on too.  You know how it is...never enough hours in the day.

Date Posted: 5/20/2009 11:55 AM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2009
Posts: 16
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Any suggestions on how to find an agent?  Google??  Or maybe suggestions of a good agent?  Thanks!

Date Posted: 5/20/2009 12:08 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 145
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There are plenty of websites (google "literary agents" or "literary agencies") and that's always a good place to start. Another suggestion is to find books in a similar vein to yours and look on the acknowledgments page--most authors thank their agents--that way you'll come up with a list of agents who represent your "genre" or type of book.
Subject: Query Letters and Self-Marketing
Date Posted: 10/4/2009 6:16 PM ET
Member Since: 7/8/2008
Posts: 47
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Hi,

I've just finished writing a novel too and am looking for an agent.  All info I've read says to send agents 1 page query letters with a 2 page synopsis attached.  But really, you have to look for agents who are interested in your particular genre and then follow their specific submission guidelines. 

I've also set up a website http://girlclassified.googlepages.com/home to generate interest in the book.  That way I can show an agent that I already have a following.  That will make them more interested in backing me. 

Please feel free to look at my webpage and sign the guestbook.  My goal is to have 1,400 guestbook signatures.

Thank you!

-R.Schafer

Subject: Self Publishing
Date Posted: 1/24/2010 4:17 PM ET
Member Since: 11/12/2009
Posts: 2
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Self Publishing has gotten a bad rap.It can be a verifieable way to see your material in print.  It depends on what you want it for.  I self published a book that I had written for my grandsons. I went to a local company that prints whatever you want printed.  They are not editors or publishers in the sense that they do not market your book.    they also inserted my illustrations.  The books turned out very nicley. I sold 100 books and made back the money I had invested.If you get tired of marketing them yourself, as I did, you can hire a distributor.

If, on the other hand, you want  your book to be sold nationally at book stores with the publisher doing the marketing, then you must submit your manuscript to known publishers.  You may not ever get it printed, but it is worth a try.