Sunday, December 29, 2013

3 Publishers Looking for Authors

Until quite recently, it was nearly impossible for writers to submit their manuscripts to publishers without an agent. The success of self-published ebooks has changed all that. Even big publishing houses now have mechanisms in place for writers to submit ebooks without a middle man.

Small publishing houses, on the other hand, have always been open to direct submissions, which means if you write for a niche market, it is not difficult to find a publisher.

Here are three specialty publishers that accept manuscripts directly from authors. (Make sure you read their guidelines carefully. If you don't follow them your submission will be rejected.)

Note: You can find over 100 publishers accepting unagented manuscripts here: Publishers Accepting Unagented Manuscripts

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Mission Statement: It is our mission to publish and distribute quality, nonfiction books for adult readers seeking practical information to improve themselves in careers, college, finance, parenting, retirement, spirituality, and other related topics. We strive to deliver well-written, comprehensive books that inform, advise, and educate the reader.

Categories:
  • Business
  • Career
  • Job Search
  • HR & Work Place Issues
  • College Preparation Small Business/Entrepreneurship
  • Motivation/Self-Help
  • Management
  • Marketing/Sales
  • Negotiation
  • Study Aids
  • Reference
Submission Guidelines: Authors may submit a completed manuscript or a full proposal. Please read the submission policy HERE.


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Mission Statement: Our goal is to publish books that help teachers and parents enrich the lives of children from birth through age eight. We strive to make our books useful for teachers at all levels of experience, as well as for parents, caregivers, and anyone interested in working with children. The staff at Gryphon House cares deeply about children and about teaching them appropriately and positively. We also believe that spending time with children is a valuable and fun thing to do. Our books reflect these beliefs.

Note: Gryphon House does not publish children's books at all.

Submission Guidelines: Gryphon House prefers to receive a letter of inquiry and/or a proposal, rather than the entire manuscript. That means you don't have to wait until you've completed your book to send it to us. Click HERE for complete submission guidelines.

Your proposal should include:
  • The proposed title
  • The purpose of the book
  • Table of contents
  • Introductory material
  • 20-40 sample pages of the actual book

In addition, please describe the book, including the intended audience, why teachers will want to buy it, how it is different from other similar books already published, and what qualifications you possess that make you the appropriate person to write the book. If you have a writing sample that demonstrates that you write clear, compelling prose, please include it with your letter.

Send all materials to:

Acquisitions
Gryphon House, Inc.
PO Box 10
Lewisville, NC 27023

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Mission Statement: Our mission is to create picture books that come from life experiences, elegant imagination, and the deep down passion in our hearts. We want each Ripple Grove Press book to enlighten a child’s mind with fun and wonder. We look for stories that flow word to word, where we cannot wait to read the next line. We search for art that complements the narrative; whichever medium is used, we look to create magic that shines on each page. 

We are looking for picture driven stories for children aged 2-6. Please do not send early readers, middle grade, or YA manuscripts. No religious or holiday themed stories.

Submission Guidelines: Ripple Grove accepts submissions by mail and email, as attachments.

Submit a cover letter including a summary of your story, an age range for the audience, a brief biography of yourself, and contact information. Please submit your manuscript as a PDF attachment.

Send PDFs to submit@ripplegrovepress.com.

If submitting by mail include a SASE to have your materials returned.

Send submissions to:
Ripple Grove Press
Attn: Submissions
PO Box 491
Hubbardston, MA 01452

Please allow 3 months to review your submission. Click HERE for complete submission guidelines.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

3 Literary Agents Seeking New Clients

These three literary agents have opened their doors to new clients. As always, visit the website of their agencies, check their list of clients, check the publishers they work with, and read all submission requirements carefully before contacting. (Click on the name of the agent, or their agency, for more information.) To check an agent's history (for possible complaints) go to Editors and Preditors.



About Katie Reed: Katie obtained her Bachelor’s in English from California State University, Sacramento, but the most enlightening part of her college career was her internship with Andrea Hurst & Associates. There she discovered her passion for being part of the process that connects compelling stories with book-hungry readers. Katie is looking for stories that demand to be read, having characters that transcend the page and remain in her thoughts long after the book has been closed. She represents all areas of young adult and adult fiction and nonfiction, with a special interest in YA and fantasy. Katie resides in the small town of Durham, California with her incredible husband, her joyful son, and Snoodles, her loyal cat. Besides her addiction to reading, she is also a diehard Miami Heat fan and obsessed with all things Disney.

What she is seeking:

All areas of YA fiction, particularly:
Commercial, with a compelling hook and a protagonist who battles real life teen issues
Science fiction (soft)
Fantasy

Commercial and Literary Adult Fiction in the following genres:
Book Club Women’s Fiction
Science Fiction (soft)
Fantasy
Suspense/Thriller
Contemporary Romance

Nonfiction in the following genres:
Memoir/Biography with a strong platform
Self-help
Crafts/How-to
Inspirational
True Crime (I would prefer to avoid this unless it is high profile and current)
Parenting

How to contact her: katie [at] andreahurst.com. Put “Query” in the subject line of your query. “Please include your query in the body of the email–no attachments. Do not send proposals, sample chapters or manuscripts unless specifically requested by an agent. They will not be opened or returned. Please indicate if you are simultaneously submitting to other agents. Give us some time to respond—in busy periods [or the holiday season] this may take several weeks.”

*****





About Jordy Albert: Jordy Albert is a Literary Agent and co-founder of The Booker Albert Literary Agency. She holds a B.A. in English from Pennsylvania State University, and a M.A. from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. She has worked with Marisa Corvisiero during her time at the L. Perkins Agency and the Corvisiero Literary Agency. Jordy also works as a freelance editor/PR Director. She enjoys studying languages (French/Japanese), spends time teaching herself how to knit, is a HUGE fan of Doctor Who, and loves dogs.

What she is seeking: Middle Grade - contemporary, fantasy, action/adventure, or historical. Young adult - open to pretty much any genre; however, she's looking especially for YA that has a very strong romantic element-or which romance plays an integral part in the plot). New Adult romance and adult romance (again, open to pretty much any genre).

Please do not send poetry or short stories.

How to contact her: E-mail Jordy at jordy@thebookeralbertagency.com


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About John Weber: John Weber grew up in the Midwest where Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin meet on the
Mississippi. His undergraduate degree is Resource Conservation from the School of Forestry at the University of Montana and a Master’s degree in Computer Science at Northwest Missouri State University. He has spent most of his professional life in education, the last 22 years in higher education administration in information technology. His last position was Assistant Vice-President of Information Technology at Southeast Missouri State University.He currently lives in Copan Ruians Honduras where he is Director of Secondary and College Preparatory Programs at Escuela Mayatan, a private bilingual school in the mountains near the border of Guatemala.

What he is seeking: John Weber is looking for middle grade and young adult stories with universal themes told in unique settings, which show developing and changing relationships between characters. Because of his science/math/computer science background, he is interested in realistic historical fiction using current technology and projecting technology into the future. He is also wants well-researched science fiction, with no fantasy elements where science forms the foundation of progressive societies in the future.

John is no longer accepting children's picture books, fantasy, science fiction, poetry, and submissions from authors who are currently incarcerated. He is especially eager for non-fiction, African-American fiction, Latino fiction and non-fiction, young adult fiction, women’s fiction and non-fiction, and prescriptive non-fiction.

How to contact him: Serendipity Literary Agency uses an online contact form. Please read their submission instructions before contacting.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

What Do Authors Want?

Not too long ago, Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest conducted an enlightening survey of 5,000 authors - "What Authors Want: A Survey of Authors to Understand Their Priorities in the Self-Publishing Era."

The survey was prompted by the enormous jump in revenues from self-published books. The migration of authors to epublishing, and of the book-reading public, which took advantage of the accessibility of low-priced self-published ebooks, took a huge bite out of the traditional publishing market, leaving, as the report put it, "publishers ... scrambling to explain to authors, agents and the rest of the world how they add value to the publishing process."

Explanations demand research. The input of 5,000 writers provided information useful to the publishing industry (which, for some reason, does not already understand what writers want). More to the point, it provided useful information to writers - especially aspiring authors, who, hopefully will one day join the ranks of the published.

Four types of authors

Of the 5,000 authors who participated in the survey, 90% wrote fiction. The writers had completed an average of roughly six manuscripts, and were currently working on their next book, which means they took their work seriously on the whole.

The survey identified four types of authors:
  1. aspiring authors, who have not yet published 
  2. traditionally published authors, who have only published their books with traditional publishers 
  3. self-published authors, who have only self-published
  4. hybrid authors, who have both traditionally published and self-published their work.
Of the four groups, published authors had completed an average of roughly nine manuscripts, while aspiring authors had completed only two. Not surprisingly, published authors also garnered the greatest income.

Priorities: Why do writers publish their work?

What was most interesting about this survey was the way the priorities, and subsequent behavior, of these four groups sorted out.



Dana Beth Weinberg, in her fascinating analysis of self-publishing, wrote that "emotions run high when writers and publishers debate the merits of self-publishing." Although many writers like to believe that the debate centers around income (traditional publishing houses are notorious for the tiny percentages they allot to writers), or perhaps artistic control, a brief look at the survey results gives a different picture.

The principal motivation behind an aspiring author's desire for publication is not money, or fame - it is personal satisfaction. They wish to publish their writing to fulfill a lifelong ambition ("living the dream"). Self-published writers don't differ much from aspiring authors, but they have a greater drive to share a personal experience.

Hybrid authors have the most interest in making money. This is not a surprise; those who self-publish and have the backing of a publishing house can reap the benefit of higher royalties from self-published ebooks, as well as enjoying the wide print distribution offered by a publisher. Those who take the traditional route are primarily interested in building their careers. For these writers, having a pedigree is more important than raking in big bucks.

Priorities determine behavior

Because each group of writers has a unique set of priorities, they approach the business of writing using entirely different strategies. For example, if a writer's desire is to build a career, it will be crucial to build a platform - to become known. (Of course, this is the area agents and publishers are most concerned about. If you are well known, marketing and promotion are that much easier.)

Aspiring writers spend relatively little time on building a platform, in part because they have no idea what the publishing world is really like, but in part because their motivation for writing is strictly personal. Aspiring writers are, in that regard, similar to aspiring mothers. Women looking forward to having their first baby seldom envision life with a teenager.

Here are some key ways in which the groups differed:

1) Published authors are far ahead of aspiring writers when it comes to social media and self-promotion:
  • 54% of published authors post writing-related Tweets on Twitter versus
  • 30% for aspiring authors
  • 66% of published authors have an author or book page on Facebook versus 18% for aspiring authors
  • 52% of published authors maintain an author presence on Goodreads versus 10% for aspiring authors
  • 24% pin writing-related items on Pinterest versus 14% for aspiring authors
  • 59% of published authors write a blog relating to either their books or writing versus 37% for aspiring authors.
2) Their increased efforts have led to increased results in terms of platform building:
  • Published authors have, on average, 1,271 more Twitter followers
  • Published authors have, on average, 715 more “likes” on their Facebook fan pages
  • Published authors have, on average, 277 more friends on Facebook
  • Published authors have, on average 176 more followers of their boards on Pinterest
  • Published authors get, on average, 2,012 more visits per month on their blogs

Attitudes and platitudes

The report not only revealed a striking, if expected difference, in the priorities and behavior of published versus aspiring authors. It also showed some important differences in attitude.

According to the report,
"While self-published authors seem to be fairly invested and in favor of the institution of self-publishing and traditionally published authors seem to be slightly more wary of self publishing and invested in and in favor of the world of traditional publishing, hybrid authors-those who have done both self- and traditional publishing-are mostly in favor of self-publishing and critical of traditional publishers, even more so than the self-publishing group."

The reasons for the critical attitude of those authors who had opted for both routes - traditional and self- publication can be chalked up to experience. The vast majority of writers who publish their work through traditional publishing houses receive very little compensation for their work. Their royalties seldom exceed their advances, and publishers - as a rule - spend very little time and energy promoting works by authors who are not already famous. In short, they get a raw deal. And if they wish to devote themselves to a career as writers, they have no choice but go hybrid.

The writers of this report consider the critical attitude of hybrid authors towards the publishing industry to be "unreasonably" bitter, perhaps due to "some slight they experienced at the hand of a publisher." This has more than a grain of truth to it, not because authors are unreasonable in their quest for recognition, and perhaps even reimbursement for their efforts, but because publishing houses treat authors - at least the non-famous ones - the same way dairy farmers treat their cows. 

The good news, according to this report is that "aspiring writers still believe in publishers' ability to help them. It’s not too late for publishers to improve their services to authors to attract and retain the next generation of best-selling authors."

The question is, will those aspiring writers turn into embittered authors once they get published? My guess is that they will. While it's not too late for publishers to treat authors with a modicum of respect, it's also not very likely.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Literary Chocolate

I ran across this interesting article not too long ago and it merely confirmed what we all know. Chocolate is an aphrodisiac. What we didn't know was that subliminal scents can sell books, and that these odors can be genre-specific. Chocolate, obviously, helps sell romance novels.

It doesn't take a great leap of the imagination to come up with scents that would sell other genres. What scent do you think would induce someone to buy a mystery novel - blood? Gunpowder?

Smell is our most powerfully evocative sense. An article like this tempts me to speculate whether it would be possible to develop book covers that release certain aromas.

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Chocolate: The Scent That Could Save Struggling Bookstores

Inquisitr, July 21, 2013

Can the smell of chocolate really help save a struggling bookstore? Belgian researchers report the enticing aroma of chocolate inspired bookstore shoppers to stick around longer, and boosted sales of certain genres.

Writing in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, a research team led by Lieve Doucé of Hasselt University describes a 10-day experiment conducted in a general-interest bookstore in Belgium.

Great news for independent booksellers striving to keep their shops profitable in an Amazon-dominated marketplace. Researchers in Belgium have discovered a simple, inexpensive way to keep customers in the store longer and, quite possibly, boost sales.

They report shoppers are more likely to engage in leisurely browsing—and ultimately purchase books in certain popular genres, including romance novels—if the store is infused with the scent of chocolate.

For approximately half of its open-for-business hours (either morning or afternoon, depending upon the specific day), the scent of chocolate was dispersed into the store from two locations. The smell was subtle enough that it wasn’t immediately noticeable, but strong enough so that it could be instantly identified once it was pointed out.

Researchers tracked the actions of every fifth customer to enter the store—a total of 201 people. They report that when the scent was activated, shoppers showed a greater tendency to take their time, check out a variety of titles, and/or chat with an employee.

In addition, when the aroma was present, shoppers were less likely to search out one specific book and take it directly to the cash register. Something about the store’s environment made them want to hang out a bit longer than they perhaps had planned.

They report sales for books in the first category increased by an impressive 40 percent when the chocolate smell was in the air. Perhaps even more encouragingly, those in the second category also rose, by a more modest but still substantial 22 percent, over the hours when the store was scentless.

Interestingly, the customers were more likely to check out the crime thrillers and history volumes when the aroma was absent. The scent of chocolate apparently steered people away from those genres.

These results lead the authors to offer some practical advice: “Retailers can make use of pleasant ambient scents to improve the store environment, leading consumers to explore the store.” Ideally, they add, the scents should be congruent with the merchandise on sale—say, the salty smell of the sea for a surf shop

It’s certainly worth a try for hard-pressed independent bookstores—or even for a certain struggling chain. Indeed, the customer-pleasing power of chocolate might even inspire thoughts of a merger. Who wouldn’t want to shop at Barnes and Nestlés?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Copyrights Generate More Than $1 Trillion

The International Intellectual Property Alliance released a report in November analyzing the contribution of intellectual copyrights to the U.S. economy. Last year copyrights for music, games, books, newspapers, videos, software and other creative products generated more than $1 trillion. Foreign sales of creative products were more than double those of pharmaceuticals or agriculture.

What does this mean? In part, the rapid growth of copyrighted material is a reflection of the Information Age. But, it also indicates the value people place, not just on knowledge, but on entertainment. A large chunk of the copyright industry relies on the sale and distribution of copyright-protected movies, games, music, and radio and television programming.

Those of us who write books are in there somewhere.

The report’s key findings:

• Copyright Industries Contribute Significantly to US Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

In 2012, the value added by the core copyright industries to US GDP exceeded $1 trillion for the first time, accounting for nearly 6.5% of the US economy

The value added by the total copyright industries to GDP exceeded $1.7 trillion, accounting for 11.25% of the US economy. (Total copyright industries include those which are "partial copyright," "non-dedicated support" and "interdependent industries.")

• Copyright Industries Employ Millions of Workers in Good Paying Jobs

The core copyright industries employed nearly 5.4 million workers in 2012, accounting for 4% of the entire US workforce, and 4.8% of total private employment in the US

The annual 2012 compensation paid to core copyright workers - $85,644 - far exceeds the average annual compensation paid to all US workers ($64,594), amounting to a 33% "compensation premium" over the average US annual wage

The total copyright industries employed more than 11.1 million workers in 2012, accounting for 8.35% of all US employment, or 10% (9.99%) of all private employment nationally. The average annual compensation paid to employees of the total copyright industries in 2012, $75,926, exceeds the US average annual wage by 18%

• Copyright Industries' Real Growth Rates Outpace the Rest of the US Economy

During the period 2009-2012, the core copyright industries grew at an aggregate annual rate of 4.7%, more than twice as much as the entire US economy. The average annual growth rate of the entire US economy over the same period was only 2.1%

During the same period, the total copyright industries grew at an annual rate of 4.99%

• Copyright Industries Contribute Significantly to Foreign Sales and Exports, Outperforming Many Major US Industry Sectors

Sales of select US copyright sectors in overseas markets amounted to $142 billion in 2012, a significant increase over previous years

As a comparison, the foreign sales of select copyright industry sectors exceed foreign sales of other major US industries including aerospace exports ($106 billion), US agricultural exports ($70.1 billion), food ($64.7 billion) and pharmaceuticals and medicines ($50.9 billion).

Read the full article HERE.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Authors Guild

I can't stress enough the importance of joining writing organizations. I've been a member of the Authors Guild since the start of my writing career. The Guild is at the top of my list, because they do so much for us. The letter below, by Richard Russo, describes some of the issues the Authors Guild has tackled in this rapidly changing publishing climate.

But there are other organizations as well, those specifically for your genre as well as those which represent your general interests as a professional. These organizations not only offer writers news, information, and valuable resources, they are essential components of your resume. Agents and publishers alike want to know that authors take their work seriously - and this includes membership in professional societies.

These posts include links to national organizations for specific genres:

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An Open Letter to My Fellow Authors

By Richard Russo

It’s all changing, right before our eyes. Not just publishing, but the writing life itself, our ability to make a living from authorship. Even in the best of times, which these are not, most writers have to supplement their writing incomes by teaching, or throwing up sheet-rock, or cage fighting. It wasn’t always so, but for the last two decades I’ve lived the life most writers dream of: I write novels and stories, as well as the occasional screenplay, and every now and then I hit the road for a week or two and give talks. In short, I’m one of the blessed, and not just in terms of my occupation. My health is good, my children grown, their educations paid for. I’m sixty-four, which sucks, but it also means that nothing that happens in publishing—for good or ill—is going to affect me nearly as much as it affects younger writers, especially those who haven’t made their names yet. Even if the e-price of my next novel is $1.99, I won’t have to go back to cage fighting.

Still, if it turns out that I’ve enjoyed the best the writing life has to offer, that those who follow, even the most brilliant, will have to settle for less, that won’t make me happy and I suspect it won’t cheer other writers who’ve been as fortunate as I. It’s these writers, in particular, that I’m addressing here. Not everyone believes, as I do, that the writing life is endangered by the downward pressure of e-book pricing, by the relentless, ongoing erosion of copyright protection, by the scorched-earth capitalism of companies like Google and Amazon, by spineless publishers who won’t stand up to them, by the “information wants to be free” crowd who believe that art should be cheap or free and treated as a commodity, by internet search engines who are all too happy to direct people to on-line sites that sell pirated (read “stolen”) books, and even by militant librarians who see no reason why they shouldn’t be able to “lend” our e-books without restriction. But those of us who are alarmed by these trends have a duty, I think, to defend and protect the writing life that’s been good to us, not just on behalf of younger writers who will not have our advantages if we don’t, but also on behalf of readers, whose imaginative lives will be diminished if authorship becomes untenable as a profession.

I know, I know. Some insist that there’s never been a better time to be an author. Self-publishing has democratized the process, they argue, and authors can now earn royalties of up to seventy percent, where once we had to settle for what traditional publishers told us was our share. Anecdotal evidence is marshaled in support of this view (statistical evidence to follow). Those of us who are alarmed, we’re told, are, well, alarmists. Time will tell who’s right, but surely it can’t be a good idea for writers to stand on the sidelines while our collective fate is decided by others. Especially when we consider who those others are. Entities like Google and Apple and Amazon are rich and powerful enough to influence governments, and every day they demonstrate their willingness to wield that enormous power. Books and authors are a tiny but not insignificant part of the larger battle being waged between these companies, a battleground that includes the movie, music, and newspaper industries. I think it’s fair to say that to a greater or lesser degree, those other industries have all gotten their asses kicked, just as we’re getting ours kicked now. And not just in the courts. Somehow, we’re even losing the war for hearts and minds. When we defend copyright, we’re seen as greedy. When we justly sue, we’re seen as litigious. When we attempt to defend the physical book and stores that sell them, we’re seen as Luddites. Our altruism, when we’re able to summon it, is too often seen as self-serving.

But here’s the thing. What the Apples and Googles and Amazons and Netflixes of the world all have in common (in addition to their quest for world domination), is that they’re all starved for content, and for that they need us. Which means we have a say in all this. Everything in the digital age may feel new and may seem to operate under new rules, but the conversation about the relationship between art and commerce is age-old, and artists must be part of it. To that end we’d do well to speak with one voice, though it’s here we demonstrate our greatest weakness. Writers are notoriously independent cusses, hard to wrangle. We spend our mostly solitary days filling up blank pieces of paper with words. We must like it that way, or we wouldn’t do it. But while it’s pretty to think that our odd way of life will endure, there’s no guarantee. The writing life is ours to defend. Protecting it also happens to be the mission of the Authors Guild, which I myself did not join until last year, when the light switch in my cave finally got tripped. Are you a member? If not, please consider becoming one. We’re badly outgunned and in need of reinforcements. If the writing life has done well by you, as it has by me, here’s your chance to return the favor. Do it now, because there’s such a thing as being too late.

Richard Russo
December 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

How Much Money Do Self-Published Authors Actually Make?

Nothing makes me happier than a bar graph. (Although pie charts also stir my soul.) Dana Beth Weinberg, who has a Ph.D. from Harvard University and is Professor of Sociology at Queens College, has made my day with - not just a bar graph - but an analysis!

You can either read her article and weep, or, like a sensible person, you can decide to cover all your bets. Keep your day job, self-publish, AND hound agents until one of them takes pity on you and sells your manuscript to Random/Penguin.


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The Self-Publishing Debate: A Social Scientist Separates Fact from Fiction (Part 3 of 3)

By Dana Beth Weinberg



Not surprisingly, most aspiring authors in the sample reported no annual income from their writing. About 19% of self-published authors in the sample also reported no annual income from their writing, compared to 6% of traditionally published authors and only 3% of hybrid authors. While most of the survey respondents clustered at the lower end of the income distribution, some authors did report earning $200,000 or more from their writing, the highest income choice on the survey:  less than one percent (0.6%) of self-published authors, 4.5% of traditionally published authors, and 6.7% of hybrid authors who reported on their income. (In the chart, I have collapsed the top categories to $100,000 or more for better visibility. These aggregated category represents 1.8% of self-published authors, 8.8% of traditionally published authors, and 13.2% of hybrid authors.)

Self-published authors in the sample earned a median income in the range of $1 to $4,999, while traditionally published authors had a median writing income of $5,000 to $9,999, and hybrid authors earned a median income of $15,000 to $19,999. Comparing authors with the same number of manuscripts (analysis not shown), there is a strong similarity in income between hybrid and traditional authors, but hybrid authors outperformed their self-published counterparts on earnings.

Read the full article HERE. Really, I insist.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Fear, Guilt, Shame, Self-Loathing, and Doubt - Anybody Up for Writing a Novel?

Before I launch into a diatribe about romantic delusions, disheveled writers (that would be Franzen), and the general role of mythology regarding the life of the Escriteur, let me just say that if Franzen feels self-doubt, it is completely warranted. (Have you read Freedom? Tell the truth, now - did you actually like it?) 

Does this mean your beloved novel is a piece of crap, and that you should quit right now before you follow in Franzen's footsteps?

No, keep writing. And keep revising. And make sure that you've given your finished manuscript to the most critical readers on earth, and that they have drawn blood.

Writing is not about self-doubt, or guilt, or shame - it's about discipline. And discipline involves pain.

Embrace it.

OK, now that I've gotten that off my chest, this is what I think about the whole insecure, suffering artist shtick: It gets old very quickly, especially when you have to support a family, diaper babies, and make sure they don't drink and drive when you have finally finished weaning them.

If you want to be a writer, in all likelihood you will be poor for a very long time. But, by god, if you've got something to say, you should just go ahead and say it - without all the guilt and shame and self-doubt and badly needed counseling of writers who have been hugged by Oprah. 

Do your work as best you can, and don't waste time gazing in the mirror.
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Literary self-loathing: How Jonathan Franzen, Elizabeth Gilbert and more keep it at bay

By Michele Filgate, Salon, Dec 1, 2013

Self-loathing is in the writer’s blood. When you’re an artist of any kind, there’s no certainty that what you’re working on won’t be a complete failure. But when writers reach a certain level of fame, when they make Oprah’s Book Club or the cover of Time magazine, surely they don’t struggle with the same massive insecurities we lesser known writers face?

The answer, of course, is that it’s human nature to struggle with oneself. That icky feeling of discontent we often experience is what sometimes inspires the best art.

“I experience shame and self-reproach more or less continually,” Jonathan Franzen (author of “Freedom”) told me. “The only way to deal with it is to keep trying to immerse myself in the fictional dream and hope that good sentences come out of that.  Once there are good sentences on the page, I can feel a loyalty to them and start following their logic, and take refuge from myself.”

I love the idea of the writer taking refuge from who he is by putting words on the page. Writing, in fact, provides a much needed escape or confrontation with our worst emotions.  It’s just so hard to get to that blissful place where the words are all that matters.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the vicious trap of self-defeat. My bedroom is the most organized when I’m on deadline. Is there anything more uncomfortable than staring at a blank page and knowing that you have to fill it with not only words, but words that matter? It’s far easier to walk away from the laptop, to alphabetize the piles of books on my floor, to call a friend and complain about my lack of productivity, to check Twitter and post an inspirational quote about literature or writing. To declare to your followers that you are writing, even when you’ve only written a few sentences and deleted them. The irony, of course, is that what’s uncomfortable is not writing. And the majority of writers spend many hours of their waking lives not writing — whether they’re doing their day jobs or tending to parental duties or just avoiding it. So most of a writer’s life is ridden with guilt.

If you aren't already incapacitated by guilt, and/or nausea, you can read the rest of this article HERE.

Monday, December 2, 2013

3 Publishers That Accept Manuscripts Directly from Authors

Small publishers are more apt to accept manuscripts directly from writers than large publishing houses. Generally, this is because they have very few books on their lists, and are eager for more. And in some cases, the publisher may have a narrow focus that warrants a more open submissions policy.

If you are thinking of submitting to a small publisher, always check to see what they have published, and by whom. See if they have a catalog, and check online to see if there have been any complaints.

(Preditors and Editors is a good source of information.)
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BlazeVOX [books] BlazeVOX [books] is an independent small press publisher located in Buffalo, New York. It began in 1999 as a college project. To date, BlazeVOX has published 280 books and over 1000 writers in their online journal and other publishing outlets. Their authors include Bill Berkson, Anne Waldman, Clayton Eschleman, Lee Ann Brown, Tom Clark, Ray Federman, Barbara Henning, Michael Boughn, Gloria Frym, Ron Silliman and Steve McCaffery.

What they are looking for: From the website: "BlazeVOX [books]presents innovative fictions and wide ranging fields of contemporary poetry. Our books push at the frontiers of what is possible with our innovative poetry, fiction and select non-fiction and literary criticism. Our fundamental mission is to disseminate poetry, through print and digital media, both within academic spheres and to society at large."

How to submit: BlazeVOX has a year-round open submission period. Potential authors should submit via e-mail to editor@blazevox.org or use the online submission form. All submissions will be reviewed and the author will receive feedback.

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Filbert Publishing. Filbert is a very small, Print on Demand (POD) publisher located in Kandiyohi, Minnesota. Most of their titles consist of how-tos for freelance writers (many of which were written by the editor). They have only four novels and three nonfiction titles on their list. Essentially, this publisher is just one step up from doing it yourself. But, if you'd rather have a publisher's backing than self-publish, this is one avenue you can take. They release all books initially as ebooks. Don't expect an advance.

What they are looking for: From the website: "We really like to publish books that creative people can use to help them make a living following their dream. This includes books on marketing, books that encourage living a full life, freelancing, we’ll consider a fairly wide range of subjects under this umbrella. We also will also give consideration to books on healthy living, and plant based cooking. Make sure your cookbook has a strong hook. We’ve got a few awesome books in this category on the horizon and are anxious to extend that line."

How to submit:  Potential authors should send an e-mail with a query, synopsis, and manuscript information. Read guidelines HERE.
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Rio Nuevo Publishers. Rio Nuevo is a non-fiction only publishing house located in Tucson, Arizona. They focus exclusively on the American West. Their list of publications includes 69 back titles and 13 new titles. Be sure to look at their catalog when visiting their site. (This is how a small publisher's catalog should look!)

What they are looking for: From the website: "At Rio Nuevo Publishers we present the best of the West in words and pictures. Our award-winning books focus on arts and crafts, cooking, history, gardening, memoir, Native America, nature, spirituality, and travel."
Founded in 1999, Rio Nuevo Publishers is an independent regional press and family business owned by Ross Humphreys and Susan Lowell, located on the west bank of the Santa Cruz River in the historic heart of Tucson, Arizona. Our new building stands on the site of a former brickyard close to the home Susan’s family built in Arizona Territory a century ago. Instead of bricks we now make books as bright and beautiful as the West itself.

How to submit: Queries may be sent via e-mail to info@rionuevo.com or by post to: Acquisitions, Rio Nuevo Publishers, PO Box 5250, Tucson, AZ 85703. Do not send email attachments. Your snail mail query should include a SASE. Read guidelines HERE.
Rio Nuevo Publishers
PO Box 5250
Tucson, AZ 85703 - See more at: http://www.rionuevo.com/authors.php#sthash.GD1e1E67.dpuf
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