This post from Nathan Bransford has some great stats based on a survey sent to a number of currently working agents. The numbers tell an interesting story but one that I think any writer considering traditional publishing needs to be aware of. Click the link here to head over and give it a read: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2017/05/agent-stats-on-personalization.html.
I came across this great post on Publishing and Other Forms of Insanity. I always like these kind of posts and interestingly enough I often come away with something I hadn’t thought of before. Go take a look: http://publishedtodeath.blogspot.com/2017/04/10-things-we-hate-about-agents-and-10.html
This was a great little piece I found on Janet Reid’s blog. Will Self Publishing Doom ME? I think it is a question facing many new unsigned authors. I have fielded a few myself and I never felt that I have doomed my writing by self-publishing. Notice I didn’t say career, my career is still in the library, mostly because I am not that good a sales person. You know self-publishing is only the first step. To have any measure of success you need to invest time and money into marketing and selling your book. You need to make contacts and pound the bricks. None of these are my strong point so I’ll just bask in the reviews and good word of mouth my books have afforded me and put off worrying about stellar numbers. Follow this link to read Janet’s take on this question: http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2017/02/will-self-publishing-doom-me.html
In the past, I’m talking before email, querying agents meant either typing up or printing 30 letters or using some kind of mail merge program to put in the names and addresses. There wasn’t much room to add in any personal remarks. Email has made that process much simpler and as a result many have taken to personalizing their query letter for the agent. Is it helpful? Will it make a difference? Who knows. For myself, I do usually begin my query with a sentence saying why I am sending the letter to that specific agent. But then again why go by what I do? Here is what some professionals in the field think about personalized query letters. In particular here is a blog post from Nathan Bransford replying to a post from Janet Reid, http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2016/11/in-defense-of-personalized-queries-and.html on that very subject.
I came across another excellent post from Janet Reid, http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2016/04/please-tell-me-you-didnt-pay-money-for.html. I know these are intended to be cautionary tales but sometimes I find some of these humorous. At other times I get infuriated at the hole machine that has popped up to, “assist,” writers. You can waste a lot of money, money that would be better spent on editors, book formatting and cover designers. Just always remember there are no sure things, no corners to cut, and a sucker is born every minute.
I always love visiting Janet Reid’s blog, especially when I’ve reached a point of frustration. It’s always good to know we aren’t alone in our suffering and her advice is some of the best. http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2016/01/well-that-was-quick.html
I always enjoy stopping by Janet Reid’s blog. She recently posted an answer to a question regarding paid book reviews. While I could paraphrase it, I’ll let you read her own words. http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2016/01/rant-paid-book-reviews.html
I agree with her 100%. There appears to be a whole cottage industry designed to separate gullible writers from their money. Writers should spend money on editing, cover design, typesetting and eBook formatting, but never on book reviews. I would also avoid, as Ms. Reid mentions, anything that bundles marketing with a book review; you’ve heard the saying don’t eat where you crap? If you want an easy, relatively speaking, way to get honest reviews, sign up for a Goodreads author account and setup a give-a-way. Sadly you will not get 100% of the people providing a review but you will get many and they will be honest.
Here is a great post on what to do and not do in your query letter. Boy have times changed. Most of what I followed religiously is out the door like yesterday’s bath water. Ask A Literary Agent: What Do You Look For In A Query Letter?
This guest post from Ann R. Allen’s blog might give you some food for thought. Agent Laurie McLean from Fuse Entertainment explains why self-published may not need an agent. Or do they? Read the full post here: Why You Don’t Need a Literary Agent ,(But You Might Want One)
I foresee myself working with an agent at some point in the future. Let’s be honest, while independent authors have come a long way and I love what we are doing, the business of writing is still centered on what comes out of the Big 5 houses and that comes through agents and editors. Even many of the success stories of Amazon millionaires that you hear about are authors who originally came from the ranks of the traditionally published. Typically when I complete a manuscript I send out a dozen or so quires to see if there is any interest. Their response or lack of one won’t influence where I go from there but I consider it just one more of my writer’s chops to keep up on.
Independent publishing is not cheap either. A even an exemplary manuscript needs editing, typesetting, eBook formatting and a professional cover design. None of these are free. One take away from this piece was the use of Kickstarter.com to offset some of these costs. I know I’ll be doing some research on that avenue in the future. Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments and we’ll see if we have a consensus on to agent or not to agent.
PS. Congrats to Anne for her blog’s inclusion among Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers.
First, I must thank fellow author and friend Gale Leach for sharing this on the message board of the West Valley Writer’s Workshop. I learned a long time ago that a manuscript rejection means four things, the agent / editor didn’t really read it and just tossed a form letter your way, the story doesn’t hold anyone’s interest, your writing really does stink or all of the above. Now I have to amend that lesson to include a fifth possibility with, you are a nobody.
I self publish because I became sick of seeing a pile of manuscripts sitting in my closet gathering dust. I also had to repeat the same mantra to anyone who found out I am a writer, “well, I am querying agents but the market is such I’m not getting many responses, so I don’t have anything on the shelf.” The sad truth is the market has gone away. Unless you can show you have success with a particular story you are not going to get anywhere with traditional publishers or agents. The best you can do is be pleasant at conferences and strike up a friendship with an editor or agent. Now the good news is a new market has spring up in it’s place. You still have to do your homework and write an epic story that entertains and thrills and is expertly told. You will also have to arrange some professional help with the cover, the formatting, editing or all of the above. Where today’s publishers want all the rewards without the risk you have to be willing to have your wallet assume on all the risk. In the end you may not wind up in a loft in New York City overlooking Central Park or a guest spot on Letterman but you are taking charge of your own destiny and can call yourself a writer.
Oh I almost forgot here is the story from CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/21/opinion/greene-rowling-author/
What do you make of about this? Does it prove all along what you have long thought?