Saturday, September 19, 2015

You have to give me LOTS of money

I have been working on a book series for almost a decade now, and the idea of handing it off to someone else worries me for two reasons:

1.) A publisher could acquire the rights, and skimp on the support they put behind it or never get around to publishing it. (Which would kill me. I've worked too hard on this project to let this happen.)

2.) I've done the research and the math, and I'm convinced that I could make more as a midlist indie than a midlist traditionally published author.

There are two ways to assuage both of these concerns:

1.) To indie publish, which I know will be a tough row to hoe, but at least I'll retain my rights and make sure the books get out there, though I won't have quite the reach of the traditional publisher.

2.) To hold out for a big offer from a big-name publisher, big enough to show how serious they are about getting the books in front of as many people as possible.

The odds of #2 happening are slim but only unachievable if I don't query anyone at all. Which is where my problem lies. I want to at least try for that big paycheck, but if I don't get it--if I'm only offered midlist offers--I plan to self-publish, which would leave the agent who shops it around with nothing to show for her time and effort. (Unless I get a post-self-pubbing rights deal.) On a scale of newborn baby to Bernie Madoff how shady is this plan? If I do decide to query, at what point should I discuss this with an agent?

It's not shady at all. In fact it's quite clear. Show you the money or you show me the door. I think you should be VERY upfront about this in your query. It will save us both lots of time. I won't read your manuscript and you won't need to wait around to self publish.

It's very clear from this that you have minimal understanding of the value of a publisher (large or small.)  You should not undertake a business relationship with anyone unless you value what they bring to the table. And value is not the amount of cash they are prepared to pour over you.

"Retain my rights" and "never get around to publishing" demonstrates a lack of knowledge about how the publishing contract works, and what it does.

"Handing it off to someone else" demonstrates a mind set that is almost impossible to deal with in publishing. (See above about value of publisher)

Traditional publishing isn't perfect. Far from it. I spend a goodly portion of my days with a Taser trying to whip those fuckers into doing what they're supposed to.  I have NO illusions about the state of publishing.

Which is not to say I don't value what they do, and the benefit they provide to my clients. I do. Very much.

What you're asking here is what are your chances of being a big splashy debut novelist. I can tell you they are minuscule even if you're a brilliant writer with a brilliant book that lots of people want to read.

You're an ideal candidate to self-publish and since you're sure you'll be a success there, I can't imagine why you would consider anything else.


french sojourn said...

At least you know this writer would be a real treat as a client....oooof! I think the value of perspective is invaluable. I wonder if this opie can stand back...far enough and see how he/she is percieved?

Gabby said...

What an unrealistic approach to publishing a novel. Self-pubbing is so much work! Even if you are able to eat the cost up front, then you're 100% responsible for the marketing of your book. For someone with zero contacts, it's a time-consuming, tear-inducing process. And after busting your ass for weeks, you probably still won't break 500,000 on Amazon's seller list. Publishers and agents are a wonderful asset. No one should be so willing to cast them aside. I'd be SO happy with a midlist offer. This author needs to get over themselves.

Craig F said...

Let's see a show of hands by all of those who never entertained delusions like this. All writers are there at some point. It is often the only thing that can get them past the naysayers. The important point is to grow up and get past this point. Research some and find the reality of the situation. The market is in flux and doesn't look like it will straighten out anytime soon. It doesn't matter how much time and energy you put into it until the rest of the world considers it worthwhile. Writers ARE self deluded and many have totally missed the mark on where their creations lie on the scale of reader appreciation.

Good luck in self publishing.

Donnaeve said...

I have never considered self-publishing. It isn't to say I look down on it - not at all. I just so happen to have a healthy appreciation for what would be involved, and have read enough stories to understand this is not the path for me. I might change my mind next year, or the next, but I doubt it.

Having said that, all I know is with the comments made by the OP, it's clear they've really already made up their mind what they should do. Even if OP does query, IMO, it sounds like they'd be wasting their own valuable time.

Craig F said...

Aargh, I forgot to tip my hat to the Ol' Chumbucket. It's the National Talk Like a Pirate Weekend.

So put away me lads O' the Cardiff Rose and hoist the Jolly Roger

Susan said...

Now I'm wondering if all agents have tasers and if I should be worried...

The part that strikes me most about the poster's question/concerns is being worried about handing the book off to other people. I get that--your book is your baby, your life soul. You put tears and years into creating it, and you want to give it the best chance of succeeding. This concern is not unwarranted, but it's important to remember that the people you'll be handing it to--agents, editors, publishers-- want to see you succeed, too. In fact, at a minimum, that's what traditional publishing is based around--the business of wanting your book to succeed.

But you also have to put in the work to help make it happen, especially as a debut author. The work doesn't end with the writing. You still have to market, build your network and platform, and embrace your readership even after a publishing deal. The way I see it, publishing helps you stand up, but you have to be the one willing to walk.

Here's where self-publishing is another option--and, if it wasn't already clear from past comments, I'm a huge proponent for self-publishing for the right reasons, when it's done right. It sounds like OP likes creative control, and I can't blame them. I had a clear vision for my cover design, typesetting, websites, and marketing campaigns when I decided to self-publish my book, and I couldn't be happier with it for those reasons. But having that clear vision also meant doing all the work, and indie publishing is nothing but hard work (also: expensive).

What it comes down to is letting go of the book to let it succeed. No matter which way you publish, you'll need an editor--a good editor--and you're going to have to make changes. It's not because someone hates the book, but because they want to love it. No matter which way you publish, you'll need to market on your own--blogging, networking, events--not because people don't want to support you, but because you need to give them that chance to help you.

Research. Read everything on this blog to learn about the industry. Listen to Janet. Ask yourself what it is you really want for your book and your career, set reasonable expectations, and decide which path will help you get there.

My two cents. Anyone need a refund?

E.M. Goldsmith said...

So I had lunch with one of my oldest friends in the universe. He knows I have been writing since forever and he asks me why in the world I am not published yet. One of his other buddies has self published so our sphere of friends are already reading his book.

It sounds like the woodland critters on this blog know this song and dance. I did not answer my friend. This kind of question has begun to strike a nerve. It does rather bite at me when someone chides me for not being published yet. It says to me that they suspect I am not very good. Sadness.

To take nothing away from those that self-publish, that would not in any way satisfy my goals. That will not put me on the bookshelf with Papa Tolkien and my contemporaries who have endured the glacial pace of publishing.

Also, from my father and cousin who are published, I know from their hard lessons, you want a damn good agent looking out for your business interest as well as your art. Also, being a bit insecure, I really want the approval it will take to get an agent and good publisher. I will endure the rejections and cone of silence that come along the way, knowing the pay off will be the best of my work.

I think this OP can't be too serious about his craft. He's looking for a bottom line like he's selling a used car on Craig's list. Sure, everyone wants to make a bit of cash. I get that, but I bet you dollars to pesos that an agent really wants your book to do well because here's the thing- if you don't make money, either will they.

Even as a business decision, to me, this OP is delusional. But that's me. As usual, I could be totally wrong.

Marc P said...


I know people say LOL and it has become a bit of a 'Nice' word. But you know I did actually 'fucking laugh out loud' there, you know so people could hear and looked at me like I am a complete idiot. Which in the interests of full disclose is not an unusual look I get. I am still chuckling. I have decided that you and Janet Evanovitch have never been seen together in the same room at the same time.


Ps. Is the double use of the word same in the last sentence a tad.. whatever the word is.. probably tautological.

Anonymous said...

For those of you happy to slog along the agent route, I have a tip to share I hope Janet doesn't mind. If I'm violating something, she can delete and slap my hands.

I've been listening to Far Rider on a text to speech program called Ivona. There are several of them, but this had a few voices that were actually tolerable and it had a 30 day free trial. I'm using British Amy. A friend on B&W is using English Welsh Gwenyth, another, English Welsh Geraint, and another American Salli. Those seem to be the four tolerable ones.

I have read this over so many times I thought it was clean as a hound's tooth. I had a new beta reader go over it. Even after the new beta, listening to it is still picking up missing words, oddly placed words where I'd been editing and cutting, sentences that could be rearranged.

Even when I was reading it out loud myself and recording it, it helped, but not like this. As my non writer son pointed out, I was reading what I thought was there. He offered to record it, but he's swamped with school, raising a kid, and homework himself, so I ferreted around and found this.

It might help some of you in the editing or getting ready to query phases.

Susan said...

Julie: That's a really great idea--even reading it out loud on your own produces mistakes, so it'll be great to hear it from someone else. And who doesn't want to hear their work read in a British accent? ;)

E.M.: The concept of writing purely for fame/fortune is so foreign to me that I skimmed over the part where they want a big paycheck right off the bat--that's going to be problematic everywhere, especially in indie publishing. Also, if there's one thing striving for a traditional publishing deal has taught me, it's that, like you, I want that validation for my writing (there's a support group for insecure writers, right?). I know everyone's goals for publishing are different, but for me, everything else would be secondary to that--that's what would make the struggle worth it. Hang in there with your friends--you know what you want and why, and you'll get it :)

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Thank you for that Susan. And Julie, that is a splendid tool. I will try it. I would love to hear my work read in a British accent. 😀

And I think this might be that support group for insecure writers. Or maybe I am in the wrong place. That happens a lot with me.

Theresa said...

I have "Mack the Knife" running through my head right now.

C M said...

To put it gently.....this writer offends me. It's very hard to find a good agent willing to take you on as a client. Then it's challenging for an agent to properly place a manuscript with an editor. It's extremely difficult for a published book to find an audience. These are all challenges that the readers of this blog are facing head-on every day.

That this writer doesn't understand these challenges, and moreover, thinks that one can just "hand off" a book series to a publisher is insulting to all of us who've put in the effort, who've done everything we can to perfect our queries, who've worked to get publishing credits and find an audience.

Mister Furkles said...

My mother was an artist, so I met quite a few of them. By brother's best friend is an author of several mysteries and I've met others who were working on getting there. Hank, my uncle by marriage, had an uncle who became a famous designer, and Hank told us of his uncle's early days in New York.

One thing really stands out, and that is how insecure all of these creative people are about their work. Once they are established they are confident—sometimes to a fault. But I've never met a successful creative person who was confident before undergoing the rigors of presenting their work to the public. Such confidence is usually the child of self-delusion.

So for that reason, were I an agent or publisher, I would pass on anyone who thought they deserved a large payout before meeting with success in a competitive market.

Anonymous said...

It's very common nowadays to use the verb "research" to replace the verb "Google", which is what people have often done when they say they researched something.

Now, OP, if you're still reading: Anyone, with any agenda, can post stuff online and it will turn up on Google. While many fine upstanding well-informed people of goodwill are involved in self-publishing, they are not necessarily the people who post all of the stuff that turns up when you Google.

Self-publishing is highly unlikely to result in riches. So is traditional publishing, but the odds are at least better.

Tell you a funny story. I sold a book for a lousy midlist offer to a traditional publisher who just refused to stump up with the money my hard work deserved. No promotion beyond the basic midlist promotion, no book tour. All they did was put it out there. It's since earned out its advance many times over. As Liberace said, I'm crying all the way to the bank.

However, it wasn't my first book and I've had other books that didn't do as well or didn't sell at all. My hard work, alas, isn't always rewarded. On the other hand, nobody asked me to do it.

E.M. Goldsmith, once you do get published... everyone will assume you self-published. Even bookstores and libraries. One can only shrug and laugh.

Colin Smith said...

Raising six kids and homeschooling, of COURSE I would love my writing to be financially rewarding, at least to help pay the bills. But there has to be a bigger motivation to getting published than the money, and whether to trad or self pub has to be considered in terms of one's wider career, not just in terms of which pays out the best. For example, if you had the chance to work with Janet for your entire publishing career, but lose 15% of your income, would you turn that away to go it alone and keep it all? I know which I would choose.

Julie: Welsh English? What is that? English with a Welsh accent, as opposed to English translated into Welsh? English and Welsh are two very different accents and languages. Confused! :-/

BJ Muntain said...

As I understand it, you only become 'midlist' *after* you're published, and if your work doesn't hit the jackpot or totally flop. 'Midlist' is how your work does, not what your work is or how it's paid. I know that there aren't always big advances out there, but I don't think the middle-of-the-road advances are considered 'midlist'. No publisher wants a 'midlist' author (which is sad, really, because midlist authors often have a good following, just not a big enough following to be a bestseller).

Every author (okay, after reading Susan's post, maybe not EVERY author, but I'm sure most of them) goes into publishing with the pipe dream of 'making it big'. No matter how realistic they are, there's always that 'what if' going on in their skulls. Even if they secure a deal with a small advance, they always hope they're going to be the one to shoot past all the others and be a Big Name Author. It's natural, especially because, until the book is out there, no one really knows how it's going to do.

But while I hold onto those dreams, I'm also realistic. I know what I want from publishing, and what I'll do to get it.

What I want: My book on bookshelves, being read by what I hope will be a large following of happy readers, meaning I will get to keep having my books published (and, hopefully, soon a living wage. Yes, I can write quickly and pump out quality work if given a chance.)

What I'll do to get it:

Step 1: Get an agent to help me get published and to get the best contract possible.
Step 2: Market it up the wazoo.
Step 3: Pump out as much quality work as is possible to keep the bubble moving.

I'm kind of stuck on Step 1. If Step 1 never works out, I'll consider self-publishing. But I'd really rather have someone else taking care of the business side of things. Business (numbers especially) gives me headaches. I burnt out the math portion of my brain one stupid semester when I decided to take 4 math classes and a computer science class. (Advice to younger folk looking at going into science: don't do all your math at once, unless you can breeze through calculus.)

I have a friend who says I should self-publish. He's a writer who's given up on the system (mostly because he's not reading the real publishing news, and only hears about the famous people getting book contracts and out-in-left-field successes of folks like EL James), and he's trying to get me to self-publish. He has a friend who has self-published children's books. He says that's the only way to get into publishing these days if you're not already famous. He figures he's done his research. He should know better.

Susan: THIS is the support group for insecure writers.

Regarding having a computer read my work out loud: Reading one's work (or having it read) out loud is invaluable. I highly recommend it for everyone. But me, until I get over this idiotic fear of hearing someone else read my work, I don't know if I could do it. I *know* it's practically necessary, and I know that it's stupid to think that way about a computer program, but just the thought scares me to death. That will have to be one more fear I have to work past... but it won't be easy. At least I can now read it to myself. A decade ago, even that scared the bejeebies out of me.

Anonymous said...

Colin, I'm sorry, I shouldn't post before I've had my coffee. Yes, I know the difference.

You can get:

English, American,
English, British,
English, Australian,
English, Welsh,
English, Indian

Here's the link and the box where you can try it out with your own text.

Gayle Carline said...

As a self-pubbed writer, I feel that this person would not do any better in the self-publishing arena than in seeking an agent/publisher. Yes, any yahoo can write something and throw it on Amazon, but if you want to treat your books as a business, you need to invest in their quality. That means hiring an editor (to touch your baby!), hiring a cover designer (to interpret your baby!), having beta readers give you their opinion of your baby (how dare they?!), etc. In other words, you have to make your books as professional as if they'd come from a publishing house.

Then you place them carefully on Amazon and other sites, and what happens? Strangers read them and POST their opinions as reviews. The horror! (Please note, I am using my sarcasm font.)

Something about this person tells me their skin is not thick enough for any of this.

Unknown said...

Oh OP, OP, OP. You are going to have a rough row, whichever row you hoe.

Your agent, should you be so fortunate as to acquire one, will work as hard as they can to get you the best deal possible, because that means more success for them as well as you. Agents are very happy when their clients do well.

But an agent really needs to believe in your manuscript, so, once you have found this agent, whom is as excited about your book as your are, then that is the time to worry about everything else.

In a nutshell, don't tick the agent off before they've even read your work. Once you've received the first ten or twenty rejections, you may see things differently. If you do decide to self-pub, start your marketing plan right now. And your budgeting plan. Expect to spend.

There is so much more I could say, but it's already been said in so many other sites as well as this one. I don't think you've read enough of them, OP.

OT: Thanks, Julie, I'm looking forward to trying that Ivana thingie. Though I'm a bit tired of English accents at the moment. Be easier if they didn't all talk so fast.

Dena Pawling said...

50 Shades started very small and exploded.

The picture book about the rabbit who couldn't sleep started out self-published and exploded.

Who wouldn't want a success like these?

One of my local RWA writers queried for I think two months. When he didn't get a bite from an agent, he self-published. He busted his tail and got a full-page interview/article in our local newspaper. As far as I know, he's doing really well. I just checked his book on Amazon and he has good reviews, some of which I don't recognize the name =)

Another of my local RWA writers was paid for a 6 month movie option without actually having sold her book to a publisher yet.

Another of my local RWA writers [one of my CPs] is polishing her manuscript and researching agents who are connected with Hollywood so her book can be made into a movie “right away.” Her book is relatively high-concept, so I think she might have a chance at a movie deal, altho I also think it's a bit too early in the process to be thinking that way. But I'm not yet published, so what do I know?

My perception is that pretty much every author who goes traditional [who's not already a celebrity] starts out midlist. It's a combination of factors including timing, the market, publicity, hard work, and luck that makes the book go higher. Only some of those factors are under anyone's control.

Based on what this OP wrote, it sounds like self-publishing is the way to go. You have a series, which is already a point in your favor. Make a plan, self-pub the first one, work your tail off, see what happens.

Unknown said...

I get the sense that OP also doesn't trust other people to offer constructive feedback on their wordbaby, either.

Readers (alpha, beta, critique partners, editors, whoever) exist to find the things you are 100% aren't there. Let other people help you. Really and truly. Please.

Unknown said...

(For example, the word "certain" in my previous comment.)

Anonymous said...


You can adjust the speed. Salli is the best American accent. The rest of them are insufferably robotic. I have Amy set at minus 3 I think so I can hear the words very clearly. I listen once while I read along and watch for punctuation and then listen again with my eyes closed.

Remarkably, there is a certain amount of inflection. It's not as good as a voice actor, but it's not monotone.

Marc P said...

@ Susan and Julie MW

You missed: ENGLISH SEXY

I can do a chapter for Fifty squid. But I am negotiable! :)

Anonymous said...


I am kind of picky about who I let read my work because if they simply don't get it or me, it tends to not do much good.

Even so, I have some people outside my genre who read and catch things others haven't. It's like the blind men looking at the elephant from different angles. Someone is good at structure. Someone is good at dialogue. Someone is good at punctuation. It's great when you find someone who's great at everything, but I notice people tend to excel in one area or another mostly.

Maybe it's just the crew I hang with.

When they all pick up on something, I know I have a problem.


Hired. When can you start?

I've been looking for one in a southern accent, but no luck so far. le sigh


Unknown said...

OK, I have to say this.

I'm really uncomfortable with the tone in many of these comments and the assumptions being made about the OP.

Janet very generously answers questions from writers to help them out along the way. The fact that the OP reached out at all shows that they are trying to get information from a variety of sources on what the best course of publishing is best for them.

We may not all agree with the OP and their conclusions, but I don't think it's healthy from us, fellow writers, to jump down the throat of another writer.

Don't we all, sometimes, have a question burning inside us that we're too afraid to ask because it might make us seem totally clueless? I know I've asked stupid questions in the past and I'm sure I will again.

I really appreciate the comments from this community and I know that the people here strive to be both honest and respectful. I am striving for both those things in this comment, too.

OP, I hope you found Janet's honesty helpful. Good luck as you decide what's best for you.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Hey I'm in Italy what the hell am I doing on Janet's Planet.
Anyway, I'm surprised OP didn't mention movie rights. Maybe he/she is going to direct the blockbuster by his/herself.
I'll be back tomorrow from Venice. I know, who cares.

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

...but at least I'll retain my rights From what I understand, agents deal well at negotiating all kinds of rights for their clients. Which rights are OP considering?

Unknown said...

I don't think OP was trying to be rude or come across as narcissistic. This is his or her baby. We all think our own baby is the greatest and don't realize that everyone else is thinking the same thing (and is as right as we are) until we get in the community and do research. I'm not sure anyone should get into writing for the money, though. Even landing a 'huge' deal in traditional publishing won't be as lucrative as everyone make-believes. I came across this the other day and thought it was so helpful with pushing down that dream that all of us have sometimes. It also made me remember why I REALLY want to write. It has little to do with money! and I suspect it would for anyone who has put ten years of their life into something, even if they think so.

Colin Smith said...

Thanks for the clarification, Julie, though now I'm a bit disappointed. I'd like to hear my work translated into Welsh and read by a Welsh person. Not that I'd understand it all, but it would sound cool. :)

Anonymous said...


It does have Welsh. Go to that link and test out your work in the box. Choose Welsh. It just has one voice, Gwyneth. It's interesting to listen to even if you can't understand it.

Why, yes, I have tried it.

Colin Smith said...

Julie: OK, so if you put English text in the box and choose "Welsh", Gwyneth will pronounce the English words using Welsh letter and syllable pronunciations. If you select "English, Welsh", she will read the English with a Welsh accent.

Fun! I will have to bookmark this one. Thanks, Julie! :)

Jenz said...

Kelsey, you're right, some of the comments have been a little harsh. But I'm going to differ slightly with your characterization of the OP's question. The question "How shady is this plan?" implies the OP already knows there's something wrong about it. Also the entire post implies that traditional publishing is a bad choice. And the OP directed all of that at someone who works in traditional publishing. It's not polite or innocent to imply negative things about someone's field while asking their advice on how to circumvent it.

A better way to ask about this would be something like, "Since the numbers clearly favor self-publishing if sales were equal, why do people still choose go with traditional publishers?" Once phrased like that, it should be clearer that there must be some benefits of which one was not aware.

Incidentally, since I didn't see this spelled out already, it's not possible that a publisher will retain rights but never publish the book. Not only would all rights revert to the author in that case, they would also keep any advance the publisher had paid to them (this is assuming the lack of publication was the fault of the publisher, and not something like the author never finished the book).

John Frain said...

Everyone has to figure out their own course. Life, writing, whatever the subject is.

I'm decent at math, so I'm confused, OP, when you say you've done the math and would do better as a self-pubbed midlister than traditionally published midlister.

If your only difference is the fee you'd pay an agent, you're leaving out a wealth of things that the agent and publisher bring to the table.

Forgetting all the other arguments for a moment, from a purely financial sense I can't fathom a debut novel bringing you more income through self-publishing based on your question.

Regardless everything else, congrats on FINISHING a series of books. That's an accomplishment. I've learned (the hard way) that sometimes when you think you're finished it turns out you have to run a few more laps round the track. Good luck, whatever you decide.

Christina Seine said...

I just .... Wow.

Adele said...

Dear OP:

While I love the imagery of "from a new-born baby to Bernie Madoff", since you're asking whether something is shady, you already know that it is.

By the time the agent gets your book to the point where an editor is ready to acquire it, she's already invested a lot of time in the project. So you're proposing to make the hapless agent work for free, and potentially damage her own career by flogging something to her contacts that you're already planning possibly not to sell. Really? Is that where you want to go? Ethics aside, what if, later on, you decide you want to publish traditionally? You've burnt a few bridges, haven't you?

About the plan itself - I can't say whether it would work or not, only that others have mentioned how expensive it is, and I wonder if you included the value of your own time when you did the math. Plus did you consider cash flow - with self-publishing your cash flows out and out and out before it starts trickling back in, whereas with traditional publishing you're not putting out any cash; they're paying you and then maybe there's a trickling in.

Just my two cents. No, forget it - on second thought I've decided I can get more money someplace else.

BJ Muntain said...

John Frain: It's possible OP is thinking of royalties. With traditionally published books, the author often gets a smaller percentage of royalties, while self-publishing would garner the author everything the book brought in (after the initial expenses).

However, there's a very large assumption here that the author would be able to sell the same number of books if he self-publishes that he would through traditional publishing.

Unfortunately, that assumption is rarely true. A traditional publisher has a lot more resources than a self-publisher. These resources can print more books, get them in book stores, get more publicity and public relations, and basically get the book out there and into people's hands.

The self-publisher must rely on their own resources. They usually have a more difficult time getting their books into brick-and-mortar book stores, they have to do their own promotion, and they have to put up the money for printing (if they go print), for editing, design, and formatting.

Is it possible for a self-published author to sell as many books as a traditional publisher can? Sure. Anything is possible. But it's going to take a lot of money and a lot of work to do so.

Amy Schaefer said...

OP, I have to agree with the commenters who said: if you suspect it's shady, you know it's shady. Don't do it.

Keep going. Keep reading through industry blogs like this one. Keep learning about pubishing. Give yourself enough time to really think about how the business works, what you need, and whether you can reasonably expect to get that. Then proceed accordingly.

And treat everyone fairly along the way.

Anonymous said...

I was going to stay out of the controversy, but I've read this several times and each time I do I get more irked because I think back to several times I have people figuring out loopholes around not paying me commissions as a Realtor after I worked my butt off to fulfill my obligations.

OP. Your chances of getting the blockbuster deal are practically zero. You know what you're planning on doing is chicken crap. If your book is that amazing, movie producers, big name publishers, movie stars wanting to star in your book will beat a path to your door ala Dances With Wolves sort of.

You don't need an agent.

Panda in Chief said...

Yes, it is hard not to jump down OP's throat when he asks a question like this. So I won't, even though I want to say something really rude just about now.
I concur with those who have said, if you have to ask is this too shady, you already know it is.
Reminds me of the artists who don't want to give half of "their" money to a gallery, without recognizing the work and resources a gallery brings to the table.
"If you publish it, the money will come," only exists in the movies. Sorry. Using the resources of a professional when you are planning on using contacts and knowledge and cutting them out after they have done the work is just not kosher.

And. I DO care that Carolynnwith2n's is in Venice.

Anonymous said...

Ah, writers. We're such a charming mix of towering arrogance and crushing self-doubt. It's a wonder more of us aren't killed in our sleep.

OP, you need to decide which path to follow for this series and then commit to it. Seriously. It's insulting to everyone involved to think you can do things by halves and change course mid-stream if things aren't working quite the way you want them to work. There are advantages and disadvantages to both traditional and indie publishing. Figure out what they are and what you want and then make a choice. One or the other. No one gets to select the best from each and have it all. Keep in mind that you can choose to self-publish some work and pursue traditional publishing for other work . . . provided you don't burn all those bridges before you even get to the damn river.

Janet, this . . .

Traditional publishing isn't perfect. Far from it. I spend a goodly portion of my days with a Taser trying to whip those fuckers into doing what they're supposed to. I have NO illusions about the state of publishing.

Which is not to say I don't value what they do, and the benefit they provide to my clients. I do. Very much.

. . . is why that list I mentioned in my comment on the last post is really more like one, not two or three. Probably I shouldn't admit that.

But I'm still laughing. You are so wonderfully badass. Much respect.

Anonymous said...

Well, fudge, KD, thanks for reminding me. Three times I have started to post about Carolynn and gotten waylaid because my mind is totally on vacation today, but not in a good way. I'm amazed I got the bathroom cleaned today.I'll have to check it tomorrow to see if it's really clean. I may have put the milk up in the washer.

Anyway, I've been meaning to tell Carolynn I am really excited about her vacation ever since she announced she was going. Donna Rubino took her little 90-year-old Italian mother this summer and they had a blast. The pictures from Venice were gorgeous. So, I hope you are taking lots of pictures and you're going to write lots of lovely blogs when you get home.

Hugs. We miss you, but we don't wish you were here because that would mean you were there.

Janice Grinyer said...

I once had an unpaid columnist for a local free advertisement-typey paper ask me how my "little writings" were going. I was honest - told them I just received yet another rejection from yet another Magazine, but I will keep trying, because hey, writers angst is all part of the deal,right? Their answer?

"Gee, I have never been rejected".

Am I going to hell because it felt so damn good when they finally submitted their work to a PAYING media publication and they were rejected? They gave up after their first and only rejection but still write for free because "its where I am supposed to be as a writer". Well, okay fine then. But I'm going to continue to write my "little writings", and avoid you when I can at all costs...

Big fish, small pond. Small fish, large pond. Dang, this opie hasn't even queried yet. So dang presumptuous...

Megan V said...

I had a friend in middle school who swore up and down she would never be a winner. Instead, she'd be a success. Why? "Winners are out to WIN and get some big dumb prize, but successes are just trying not to let themselves or anybody else down, you know."

In this case, I bow to her long ago logic and words of wisdom. Opie, you do what you think is best for you. Just remember: Be a success. Don't be a winner.

Anonymous said...

This might be of interest to some. Hat tip to Margaret Campbell on Books and Writers for finding this.

So, what's your definition of success?

John Frain said...


Such despair seasoned throughout that article. To quote Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness, "The horror."

Forget for a moment the 30% drop in income since 2009, this didn't bring a shout of joy from my lips either:
"A sensational sale would be about 25,000 copies," says literary agent Jane Dystel. "Even 15,000 would be a strong enough sale to get the publisher's attention for the author for a second book."

But if that second book doesn't sell, says Dystel, odds are you won't get another chance.

Is this true? It's not enough anymore to sit at the keyboard and open a vein. Now we don't even get thanked for the donation.

Unknown said...

Thanks Julie, I can hardly wait to get home to try it out. Oh, and to see my husband, of course (oops).

Marc, squids? lol, did you mean quid? Or did I miss out on some new oceanic shark based monetary slang while I've been away?

2NN's. Of course we care. I care enough to be envious.

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Panda in Chief said...

Re: previous comment: if this isn't spam, I'm not sure what is.
Or maybe it's a novel excerpt.