Human Behaviour, Human Nature, Humanity, information, Mistakes, Traditional publishing

What’s to Say Writing’s Glamorous?

In a few short minutes a contract was cancelled.

I was lucky to get out of a contract. My publisher, who was editing my novel MS felt too ill to concentrate and diligently work on it. The warning signs were there, but I was excited to be accepted by a traditional publisher after just turning down my first traditional contract. I wanted to be in that less-than-two percent. And I am, but with a price.

No matter how excited you are to get published by a traditional house, make sure you vet them the way they vet us. Actually, do this for self-publishing also.

Check their Web site for the year they started and how many books they have. This is more important than I initially thought. If they have few books compared to the length of time they’ve been publishing, they may be short staffed. Worse than that, you don’t know if anyone is being payed or if it’s a group of friends helping one another get the company going. Books, books and how many tell a story of their own. If no one is collecting a paycheque, the incentive likely isn’t the same. Who works hard and invests themselves for free? Even with the frail promise of a booming future business, most people are not driven if they have a job, and volunteer on the side.

If there are major delays in sending out a contract, keep looking for a publisher. Be aware, fully aware there may be delays in editing, too. There were delays with my MS, and it was frustrating to sit here in my writing lair hour after hour for weeks, then wait for months for a return.

Talking yourself into believing it’ll be okay, is not the way to start a contract or a publishing journey. Once you have a contract, in most cases you’re bound and there is nothing to be done but be at the mercy of your publisher.

I’m grateful my publisher is a fair person, and she wanted me to be happy when I was not. I lost eleven months, but I am on my way with a publisher who needs to be paid, but I get all the support of a traditional house. He was able to help me leave the contract, simply because he knows the publisher I was with. Moreover, he has paid staff.

Be vigilant with edits. Keep a copy of previous edits you’ve worked on. My publisher edited dramatically. Half pages at a time were deleted and her writing replaced mine. Her voice, her style, and ideas. My characters were doing things I never had them do, and they said what I didn’t have them say. She was showing me what I could do in trouble areas, but her text should have been alongside mine if it were to change so much. Had I not retained a copy, I would never have never been able to restore my work and edit in my own voice. I’m sure I would have had a nervous breakdown. I’m serious.

This is so recent, the knot in my neck is still pulling all the way to my shoulder blade.

My intention with traditional was to be accepted as it was important to me. I needed the risk-taking approval of a publisher. I’ve been accepted twice now with a query. I practised my query for a long time, then started getting action. If you are seeking traditional, ask questions. Ask how many are active on staff. Do they have volunteers? Ask how long edit rounds usually take. Ask what your gut prompts you to ask. It is your manuscript. It’s your slow return on book sales.

I have found since being accepted by a reputable publisher, one I will pay, that once the dust settles a bit and I can purchase books to sell, what I pay in is an investment with return as long as I don’t slack off in selling.

If your first book will be self-published, there’re contracts, so be vigilant. Take the time to study, what’s good and what’s not. Google will get you there, just type in bad authors’ contracts. The good authors’ contracts. Take the time to study, and hope you get a good publisher.

I studied hard. My downfall was trusting because this publisher I met in a writers’ group. I liked her. I still do. Keep personal feelings separate from business sense.

Good luck.

Thanks for reading

Advertisements
Standard
encouragement, Human Behaviour, information, Traditional publishing

Is it a Traditional Disappointment?

It can take years to write then publish a book or novel: practicing query letters, and years of learning about market needs, and looking for a traditional publisher. Conversely, one can write a book, choose to get professional editing and professional advice, then go ahead with a cover and choose a printer, then viola— a book on Amazon—in much less time.

It’s up to the author to agree or disagree if “good things take time.”

Notice traditional Web sites. How long have they been operating, and how many books do they have? Is the web site up to date? How do the reviews look? Do the reviews add up to how many books they have published? Any complaints? At times, complaints can come in the form of a review which isn’t detailed with accolades.

A traditional publisher should apply for the copyright. About fifteen percent goes to the author, which is fair considering copyright cost, printing, cover, editing, and typesetting costs, so make sure the contract doesn’t ask you to buy an amount of books as a requirement. It could be an option, but never a requirement. If it is an option, you shouldn’t have to pay full price for books, and be sure you’re not paying for these books to be printed. You should be paying for completed books. At cost would be ideal, but don’t expect it as these sales profits go to the publisher. If you’re selling the books you buy, expecting to receive royalties on these books is lofty. You get whatever profit you can gain. Look for these issues in the contract, and study as much as you can before signing one. Take it to a lawyer, be sure if you are not.

An author, it they’ve invested in their writing with schooling, workshop classes, and courses, works hard on a manuscript. Work just as hard on finding a way to publish, because that’s the end goal.

I don’t have a lot to say for self-publishing as I went he traditional route. But I will say this: with self-publishing you have more control over edits, since you are paying; however, with traditional publishing, you’re still paying as you are only gaining a minimal percentage of sales. Remember that and don’t be shy about keeping your “baby” in the clothes you sent it out in, with the same baby powder scent. Don’t be convinced your characters’ dialogue is all wrong, and have your say about retaining your voice, your influence, your expression, and your experience.

I’m in the middle of my edits now. My editor is not a bully, but has gotten carried away with inserting her voice in an attempt to show me what works well. I am not obligated to take this advice; however, extended deletions and additions in my work have been disruptive to me as well as time consuming to restore my work. Never delete your original manuscript! You’ll want it side by side with your edits. You’ll see good changes and unwelcome changes. We have to let go of an amount of our precious words, but you’ll know what shouldn’t be changed according to the rest of your story. Make sure consistencies, if you editor has not read your story first, are not going to be disrupted.

Edits are necessary. Grammar, punctuation, some copy editing for awkward sentences, but remember this, no matter who you agree to for publishing your manuscript with, it is still your manuscript. It takes courage to send out query letters and manuscripts, so retain that courage when you’re in the middle of edits.

They All Wore Black is my novel manuscript. I don’t have a release date as of yet:

A traumatized, hushed-up family is struggling to learn it’s okay to cry out.

Brad Fadden trudges with his head down and his guard up. His deviant father died, but Brad aches with raw secrets. Haunting memories. His haggard mother is reticent about it. His protective sister fled eight years before because of it.
       It’s 1988. Ganja, cocaine, pills—easy scores. Even so, fifteen-year-old Brad cannot subdue his crippling emotions. He’s off to harass his dead father’s socially inept boozing pal who guards the pivotal truth. The fearful sot may be the only one who knows it
     A peculiar old man intermittently appears to caution Brad about addictions and prying. He’s left to think he’s hallucinating, but he won’t stop getting high and prying. They say, The truth will set you free. They’re wrong.

(Names of characters of fictional, and it is a pure coincidence if they resemble real people.)

 https://www.facebook.com/PennersPen88/

Thanks for reading.

Standard
Human Nature, Traditional publishing

Delivery Jitters

It takes years, seemingly half a lifetime, to see that prick of daylight, subtle light, not enough to accost the eye’s delicate lens.

The final “perfect” word on a novel manuscript doesn’t mean a celebration of tinkling ice in a celebratory drink. Not so fast. Well, perhaps maybe one, but if the said story is going to shipped off, it’s the query or cover letter and proposal package that leaves the bleeding bald spots on the scalp, the rock hard shoulder and neck muscles, and the mind divided between real life and the life of being hunched over a keyboard with non fiction facts, or characters who have become living beings.

But a writer’s life is real, it’s hard and it’s tedious. Spouses who like to read still don’t, and really can’t fathom the work behind so much as a short paragraph, the all important bio. The brief 50 words or less to sum up our existence.

They don’t know that alliteration, even unintended, isn’t allowed. They’re in the dark about the cover or query letter. The light of knowledge doesn’t reach them: how much information goes into the allotted one page, cut short by the proper to and from addresses and date, the short but oh-so- carefully loaded paragraphs, all to conform with the standard etiquette. They, those unsuspecting spouses and partners we live with, say they understand, yet they don’t understand what they’re saying they understand. It’s possible they’re trying to connect with us, soothe our nerves. And it really isn’t helping, is it? We need feedback, a fresh perspective —a writing fairy to whip up the all important everything that goes with a proposal or submission.

It’s the writer’s life to live, eat, nod off and guzzle coffee at our keyboard in solitude with our craft. And it seems best this way. Leave out the spouse unless we’re finished with the full-out pounding heart, like a stamping machine, the delivery jitters of hitting the send button or dropping the package into a mailbox.

“Oh that’s good, honey,” they’ll say.

Writing is a life of solitude. If it weren’t for writers’ groups, we may end up babbling softly, incessantly at our pets. Pets understand. Maybe our soft and sometimes loud murmurs of frustration are actually the solution to solitude.

I sent my submission yesterday. I don’t know how long it will take to grow back pulled hair. Or when my neck and shoulder muscles will unknot. When I will hear back from the medium-sized publishing house, but I figuratively went in with my little boots and kicked around a few big chairs. Because  sometimes courage will pay off.

Maybe “They All Wore Black” will noticed. For the love of words, I hope so.

I’ll post about my novel when I realize in my whole mind that it won’t be as submission, just a share.

Thanks for reading.

Standard
Humour, Traditional publishing

Glorified Forced Rest

IT MAKES ME PACE

I have a lack of understanding for ‘just wait a while longer.’ It’s glorified forced rest, that’s all. It’s the rest that comes before the task so large, you kinda wish you never stopped waiting. So, yeah, I must chill while I wait for a yes or no. I think I know what makes my cats feel anxious when I’ve got their food bag in one hand the phone in the other. As soon as I hang up from Madame Garrulous, they’ll get fed. And they wait….

But I’m waaaiting to hear back from a publisher. I don’t want to be an Indie author, I want the challenge of the process of traditional publishing. See, where I went wrong in the first place was to ask God for more patience. Well it turns out He doesn’t just hand it over. He sends trials to build the skill. So anyway, I was under the influence of God when I decided to send out a realistic drama-type novel. It isn’t for the faint of heart, it’s hardboiled, and so is mental illness. It’s also dark, and funny, and meaningful.  Coach House Books, a small press in Toronto, did send a note to say it’s in their reading queue, and it was going to be about six months. We’re just a tad past that, and I believe they’re good for their word. I have a 100-word synopsis handy, I’ll drop it in here and if you want, you can help me wait for that cat kibble to drop in the dish, so to speak.  Would you mind? Waiting. It makes me pace.

Thank God for this rest, I suppose. People I hardly know think it’s going to make its way, so I’ll be complaining about the task soon enough maybe. Here’s the synopsis:

THEY ALL WORE BLACK
Lynn P. Penner

Fifteen-year-old Brad Fadden trudges with his head down and his guard up. His unassertive mother didn’t stop it, and she’s fearfully reticent about it. His protective sister fled at the age of sixteen because of it, and the family’s raw scars spread far beyond what their clothes cover. It’s 1988; ganja, cocaine—whatever—easy snag for minors. Even so, Brad’s illusion of escape does not squelch resentments and suspicions which compel him to harass his freshly dead, psychopathic father’s socially inept boozing pal to exhume the guarded, pivotal truth. The truth will set you free, they say. They’re wrong.

Careful what you ask God for. 😉 Thanks for reading~

Standard