• On Writing,  publishing

    The New World of Publishing: Traditional or Indie? What To Do Now?

    Over and over I get the question, “Should I mail books to traditional publishers or not these days?” And honestly, over the last year my answer has varied and shifted. But now I have finally settled on an answer I feel comfortable with for the next year or so. Remember, please, this is just my opinion. And how I am moving for my career. But every writer, every career in fiction writing is different. Please keep that in mind when reading this. The Problem Right now the problem is that a former stable industry is changing at light speed. Faster, actually, which makes everything looks so warped and confused. (Sorry,…

  • On Writing,  publishing,  Recommended Reading

    A great set of guidelines for agents

    Passiveguy, a former attorney, laid out a set of guidelines that agents should follow if they are setting up a publishing program.  You can read it here: http://bit.ly/lJk5gB Great stuff and spot on the money in my opinion, but the truth is I laughed about halfway through because it was far, far too logical and above board for any agent to do these days. Which is a bummer. So I stand by my position. Any agent who continues to represent clients to traditional publishing and also sets up a publishing house of their own, for whatever reason, is a scam (Unless, in the unlikely event they follow Passiveguy’s advice.) (A…

  • On Writing,  publishing

    The New World of Publishing: Agents and the Future

    Okay, time to talk about agents and their future in this changing world. But first folks, read this!! http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2011/the-agents-role-in-todays-digital-book-world/ Mary Kole, who I do not know, and who seems fairly smart, works at Andrea Brown Literary Agency. On the Digital Book World site, she talked about her opinions of what the agent’s role will be going into the future. I read it and shuddered, to be honest. Then I went back and actually tried to figure out why I had such an adverse reaction to some very logical thoughts by this agent. Agent Mary Kole argues that agents will become packagers, doing “editorial work, marketing consultation, design, etc.” She thinks…

  • On Writing,  publishing

    The New World of Publishing: The Scams

    As we ramp into 2011, I figured that besides all the goal-setting talk, it might be a good time to give a few warnings as well. And maybe set a clear work goal as well. Electronic publishing is the hot topic and traditional publishing is struggling to change to the new world. Indie publishing is becoming the term, and indie writers are vocal and all over the web. Us old-timers who are paying attention to the changes are rushing to get up our lost backlist and reverted novels at the same time as traditional publishers are moving quickly to get all their inventory into electronic form. And everywhere I look…

  • On Writing,  publishing

    Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: You Have It Made When…

    This myth has a lot of ugly heads, but I’m going to do my best to wrap them all into one chapter here. And I’m sure I’m going to miss one or two heads at least. But I hope to get the main ones. So what is this myth exactly? Simply put, writers believe that when one event or another happens, they will have it made. They usually have no idea what “having it made” means exactly, but that’s beside the point for most everyone. And some part of this myth hits all of us at one point or another, and many published writers still carry it in some ways.…

  • On Writing,  publishing

    Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: You Can Trust Your Agent

    Okay, I’m going to grab hold of the third rail of fiction publishing with this one and see how long I can hold on. Myth: You can trust your fiction agent. Major myth, actually. And one I have tried to deal with in a number of ways in this book. For some reason, the same person who will give a stranger all their money and the paperwork for that money will at the same time shout about a reader stealing a book online. I shake my head at that. That’s like complaining someone stole the mirror off your car while at the same time a moving van has backed up…

  • Misc,  On Writing,  publishing

    Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: You Must Give Your Money to an Agent First

    The myth is simple: All your money must first go to an agent before you can have it. Oh, wow, is this myth buried deep in this business, so deep that no writer thinks of questioning it, often even after having an agent take money from them. I’m going to do what I often do in these chapters, and that’s build the history first of why this myth came about and why it is so strong, then build a solution. So hang on for the ride and try to hold the anger down until you have read all the way to the end. SOME IMPORTANT HISTORY In the beginning, meaning…

  • Misc,  On Writing

    Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: Writers Need to be Taken Care Of

    The idea that writers need to be “taken care of” has become such a common phrase among agents, it has moved to being flat insulting for most of us out here. I talked about this a little bit in another chapter, but lately I’ve been hearing this “justification” for frightening bad behavior on the part of agents. It just makes me angry, to be honest with you. So for the second week in a row I’m writing a chapter of this book while angry and insulted. Stand back. If nothing else, this might be entertaining, as a number of people called my last chapter. As I usually do in these…

  • Misc,  On Writing

    Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: The 15% Myth.

    It’s time to step back and ask some questions. For decades writers using agents have just accepted the 15% fee amount without question. Before that it was 10% for five decades. And now there is talk of some agents starting to move to 20% because they can’t make enough money. And again, the writers who are buried solidly in all the agent myths will stand in line to get an agent at this new rate. And they will be happy when they do, without a single logical business thought in their mind. Not one. Perfectly sane humans who understand money and do fine in the real world of money will…

  • Misc,  On Writing

    Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: There is Only One Way

    “This is how you do it.” How often do writers in this business hear that silly phrase? Some writer or editor or agent telling the young writer to do something as if that something was set in stone. Nope. The truth is that nothing in this business is set in stone. Nothing. For example, a wonderful new professional writer in one of the workshops here e-mailed a well-written query with ten sample pages and a synopsis of the novel off to an editor in New York from the workshop. The next morning she came out of her room smiling. The editor had asked to see the entire book. So being…