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January 3, 2013
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HOW PUBLISHING WORKS: Your questions answered by folks in the industry.

:iconpinkymccoversong:
PinkyMcCoversong Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2013  Professional Writer
HI. You may not know this but there are several traditionally published authors in your midst. I'm one of them. And I'm hoping that some of the others here will help out with this thread. (Hello =vglory, `zebrazebrazebra, =futilitarian, ^neurotype.

I had a similar thread a while ago that is no longer post-on-able and I encourage you to take a look at it before asking your questions. But I know not everyone will and that's fine. Just don't blame me if I copy/paste. HERE IS THAT THREAD:
[link]

I'm bringing this up again because I'm seeing a combination of:
1. Questions about publishing strewn all about. (It would be more helpful in one place.)
2. Misinformation being spread through a) bad advice and b) rumors taken as gospel.
3. General negativity toward traditional publishing and traditionally published authors.

So, please, let's clear some stuff up! Let's get some information out there! I'm here to share my experience, and I know others will, too!

Here are some basic rules:

Do ask me (and other participating authors) about novels, poetry, authors, literary journals, agents, editors, resources, publicity and any of the bits and bobs that come with the job.

Do ask me (and others) about the publishing journey as an author/poet/starving artist, and ask about things an author does on his or her way to being published.

Don't slam living authors. Dead authors are fair game, but try not to be too tacky, okay?
Don't ask me about my personal finances, that's just rude.

CAVEAT: I know considerably less about self-publishing, but I can find a lot of information. There are a few folks on here who can, as well. SO! That.
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Devious Comments

:iconparth-makeo:
Parth-Makeo Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I have a question on publishing and i do not know if it's been asked many times over...

If I have a planned series (possibly spanning a couple books with 'generations' as well) but only typed up the first book and half of the second, would it be great to get the first book published BEFORE I finish the next books in the series or after i finished the second book and looked over it time and time again with a scheduled release. I ask this because one day I may plan to submit my series as a book or may go the extra mile and straight to video format. 

Books like Lord of the Rings, Eragon, Harry Potter and so on are series of books and I never really got into the mindset of how they got about the first book to publish with many more on the way or already done. Do they just say they have more books plan ahead of time or i will write more after first is published and popular enough?
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:iconmedegar:
Medegar Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2014
AFAIK, agents look for the proverbial best of both worlds --- a book that could potentially work as either a "standalone", or the first of a series. And why wouldn't they . . . that maximizes overall sales potential

The things that agents and publishers say don't always seem to make sense, but a lot of that is because any discussion of storylines they haven't even glanced at yet must necessarily deal in abstract concepts.

Unfortunately for authors, the market for fiction has a problem: overall, the demand for fiction is much smaller than the supply of fiction. Heck, the demand is even smaller than the supply of "excellent" fiction. 

The demand isn't getting lower because of price --- the price is falling. The demand is getting lower because the people who enjoy fiction often don't have enough TIME to find (let alone READ) all the fiction that's out there. Even if you were guaranteed to love 100% of the books you read, you'll probably never get to all the books you'd enjoy that are available in your lifetime. 

So it's tough. Most people in the industry are just doing the best they can, their way.  
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:iconpinkymccoversong:
PinkyMcCoversong Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2014  Professional Writer
There's a lot of information on series already tucked into the thread.  Take a look!
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:icondorianharper:
DorianHarper Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2014  Professional Writer
Vglory already basically answered the main part of your question, but I'll clarify a little bit more. You want to only query your first book and try to get a deal for that one first (and mention that it has series potential in your query letter if you'd like). Most times, series are created based on the demand of the book and how well it sells. If your first book bombs and doesn't sell well enough, chances are, your agent and publisher aren't going to invest all that time and money into other books for a series. It's always best to focus on your first book and query that one, with mention that it has series potential. Then, go from there :nod:
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:iconvglory:
vglory Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2014
If you want to publish book one I can think of no reason at all not to submit it for publication.  You would cover the series potential in the query letter.
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:iconparth-makeo:
Parth-Makeo Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Alright then. Thanks for the simple reply to my not needed to be complex answer :P

It just means I have to work on making the letter and then going back to edit the previous entries of my story before i try to publish it.
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:iconaillin1:
aillin1 Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2014   Writer
:icondragonspif: I won't make negative criticism of publishers, as I understand they are out to make a business and they generally make an honest business of it, however not all publishers (or film studios for that matter) are known for being entirely open to certain ideas.

George Lucas comes to mind... But I suppose his example is rather complicated.

I simply wonder if every author, no matter of their moral ideals or expression, can be published because of the implied moral stigma of the industry. But as I said, "implied". So would you consider that most publishers suffer from a moral stigma that could lead to some authors being given the cold shoulder?
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:iconvglory:
vglory Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2014
I publish with publishers I respect, and they have accepted my material without reservation.  So I can't say I have experienced any angst about the issues you raise.
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:iconaillin1:
aillin1 Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2014   Writer
Oh, by no means do I want to bring negative image on all publishers. I just hear so much about stigma, and it really is a psychological issue in human period to evolve in a society of stigmas. But yes, respect for one's "investors" is indeed something that doesn't surprise me. I wouldn't publish with someone I don't respect.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
The only authors I've seen who complain about that are ones who rushed into a contract with a publisher without making sure it was the terms or the setup they wanted.

In short, the people who didn't do their homework.
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:iconaillin1:
aillin1 Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2014   Writer
I was... not referring to a contract... I was referring to publishers just refusing to even give your work a second glance on the basis that they feel it is estrange or ideologically sensitive. I am simply wondering if that happens often.
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:iconvglory:
vglory Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2014
i.e. the author did not so their homework and sent that publisher a kind of manuscript that they are not interested in.  There are literally thousands of presses that love to publish transgressive and taboo stuff so long as it is not illegal (and more than a few that publish stuff that technically is illegal).  It is just that most of them are not known for producing bestsellers.
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(1 Reply)
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Why would you send work to a publisher if they say they will not take sensitive material, or if their booklist shows a clear leaning towards morality/away from controversy?]

If it happens often, it's careless writers who don't know how to act like professionals.
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(1 Reply)
:iconaillin1:
aillin1 Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2014   Writer
I actually wish to ask about something related to a post I recently answered for someone in this same thread.

I was unsure about one thing in the publishing process (or more specifically the criteria of) that pertains to an important social aspect of my province, and that is bilingualism. What exactly passes for a work of creative fiction to be "acceptable" if the dialogue is alternating frequently between two languages.

I ask this because the setting of my science fiction novel is that same province, and I take authenticity in science fiction very seriously, as well I want to project the image of my homeland accurately and properly.

Would publishers be open to that idea? I am not asking about the concept of creative license. I know I can do whatever I want with my work. I am asking if most publishers would publish something like that in the US.
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:iconpinkymccoversong:
PinkyMcCoversong Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2014  Professional Writer
I don't think a US publisher would publish something that was written in two languages in this style, because most Americans aren't bilingual.
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:iconaillin1:
aillin1 Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2014   Writer
It's translated for the primary language group, only in a unique format. I understand its riskee, however I've been told it's not uncommon.
Thank you for answering, I appreciate getting a second opinion.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Rushdie does it plenty. So does Burgess, and no doubt others.
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:iconaillin1:
aillin1 Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014   Writer
Very well. Thank you, ma'am.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Is there some kind of problem here?
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:iconaillin1:
aillin1 Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014   Writer
*Confused*  No. I'm showing gratitude for your reply... Are you unaccustomed to formal etiquette? I'm sorry to imply something was wrong, I just meant to be polite.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I was wondering if there was an issue since I only addressed part of your inquiry. If there isn't, no worries.
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:iconaillin1:
aillin1 Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014   Writer
No. It's fine. I simply wanted to know how common it was for the style.
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:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I've been reading stuff about querying agents and submitting to publisher and whatnot when it occurred to me that most of the stuff I'm reading about come from American sources. I live in Canada. Canadian advice on querying and publishing talk about essentially the same process and stuff, but they make references to mostly Canadian agencies and publishers. My question is this: what are the limitations, if any, in querying agents/soliciting with publishers across the border? Further, are there any known benefits or detriments to publishing nationally or internationally, especially (if such answers are obtainable) in a Canadian-American situation? (Or do you know of other legal bits and bobs that I should be keeping an eye out with regard to this stuff?)

PS: Happy belated one-year birthday to this tread.
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:iconpinkymccoversong:
PinkyMcCoversong Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2014  Professional Writer
You probably want to be looking at a US agent.  Most of the Canadian authors I know are published by US houses or Candian small presses.  Most of the big houses are in the US and a US agent will have access to them.
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:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Good to know. Thanks! :)
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:iconpinkymccoversong:
PinkyMcCoversong Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2014  Professional Writer
Sure thing!  I'm sure there are wonderful Canadian agents, and I guess it depends on the path you're looking for.  If you're writing books that you think are going to do better ONLY with a Canadian audience (for example, a picture book about hockey is going to do way better in Canada than in most of the US, or if you're writing books that primarily take place in Canada), you might want to try pitching to Canadian small presses on your own.  But if you think your books have more of a universal appeal, definitely approach US agents.  Agents aren't concerned with where the author is from. They're concerned with the quality of the work and whether it will sell.
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:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm writing a general fantasy for a general audience. It's not Canadian specific. :) It's good to know that there's no restriction on where the author comes from.
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:iconaillin1:
aillin1 Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2014   Writer
Well, as far as I know, most Canadian agents and publishers are in Montréal, my home city.
Do you live in Montréal? Also if you're bilingual, I'd be very careful about using English AND French in the same book. I am not sure whether American publishers are open to that idea or not (of course, creative license is creative license, but that doesn't mean they have to publish you if they don't like the work.) but I think some Montréal publishers might be more open to the idea.

I'm doing that because my book involves setting in Quèbec. So in order to be accurate, the dialogue must be done in English and sometimes in French. I've worked out a way to use the narrative to translate without being tedious, whilst also protecting this authenticity. There is a lot of alternation between the two, simply because I am bilingual Quèbecer and that is how we are. We switch between English and French in conversation as if it is the same language. True bilingualism works that way from childhood, ideally. It's how you teach children to speak perfectly in multiple languages. Given the nature of this book as a science fiction, my attention to authenticity and detail is extreme serious to me.

Anyway, I would keep vGlory's advice in mind, America is a large market.
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:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
No, I don't live in Quebec and I can hardly speak a word of French. My book also doesn't pertain to any local traditions so there's no reason for me to be employing French in it anyway.
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:iconaillin1:
aillin1 Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014   Writer
All right. I just thought I'd ask. I am interested in other authors who may be trying to make bilingual books.
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:iconvglory:
vglory Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2014
American is a bigger market and completely open to foreign authors.  So unless you work is in the Canadian literary tradition I would go straight for US agents or publishers.
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:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
That's good to know. Thanks.
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:iconvglory:
vglory Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2014
Apologies for the typos :)
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:iconjustmango:
justMANGO Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
No worries. :)
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:iconmelancholycyborg1:
MelancholyCyborg1 Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
My boyfriend is thinking about publishing his first novel in a 5 book series but just can't seem to fins ways of contacting them and is also scared that he will be ignored as he is only 16 [as am I]. I saw your thread and thought I may as well ask about it on his behalf.
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:iconpinkymccoversong:
PinkyMcCoversong Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014  Professional Writer
Read through the thread -- there's a lot of info already here.  If you have questions afterward, go ahead and ask.
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:iconmelancholycyborg1:
MelancholyCyborg1 Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I will. Thanks
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:iconvglory:
vglory Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014
At that age he will need to insure his parents will countersign any contract.  Beyond that, age is not a particular obstacle.

Beyond that I assume he is trying to query publishers.  Once you choose appropriate publishers the relevant information is usually on their websites.
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:iconmelancholycyborg1:
MelancholyCyborg1 Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
He hasn't approached a single publisher, he's a bit scared that he will be rejected. I can understand, he is slightly autistic.
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:iconvglory:
vglory Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014
Rejection is almost inevitably part of the process.  He should not submit until he is ready for that.  He might start with work he is less in vested in.  Short stories or poetry perhaps.
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:iconmelancholycyborg1:
MelancholyCyborg1 Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
He doesn't write those kinds of things. He only writes novels. I think I'm about the only one who believes he can do it.
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:iconvglory:
vglory Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014
He can write what he chooses to write.  If he will only write forms he will not submit, then he will not achieve publication until something changes.  If he submits and rejection traumtises him so that he will not submit again, likewise. Writing something short is a way out of that bind.
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:iconmelancholycyborg1:
MelancholyCyborg1 Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thank you. I believe he can achieve his dream but whether or not he manages to achieve is not up to me.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
TBH I'm wondering what you're looking for, as a supporter rather than the person who has to take action, too. Something you can tell him? A way you can help?
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(1 Reply)
:iconvglory:
vglory Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014
Then what is this thread about?  You just wanted to share it and have people not comment?
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(1 Reply)
:iconcontrastedconception:
contrastedconception Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2013  Student Writer
How would somebody be able to contact publishers without necessarily living in the same area? I'm from a small community but I write a lot, and I was hoping to get published at some point in time.
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:iconpinkymccoversong:
PinkyMcCoversong Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2013  Professional Writer
Email!
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:iconcontrastedconception:
contrastedconception Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2013  Student Writer
Really? That's all?
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:iconpinkymccoversong:
PinkyMcCoversong Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2013  Professional Writer
Well you asked how to contact people.  That's how you contact people in the industry.  It doesn't matter where you live.

But read through this thread.  There's a lot of information here that might answer some of your questions.
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:iconcontrastedconception:
contrastedconception Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2013  Student Writer
Thank you, I really appreciate that.
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