The Dark Side of Having a Lit Agent

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I recently read an interesting article from Kristine Kathryn Rusch (a Hugo winning SF author). As an unagented author this is something that is not currently on my radar: having to deal with agents embezzling money from me, but it is a problem, according to many authors. according to Rusch, it is more common at the bigger, most respected agencies than anywhere else.

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Small Publishers: Pros and Cons

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We’re continuing our conversation about small publishing houses. This week: Pros and Cons.

Let’s start with the pros. Chiefly, as a smaller publisher, they ought to have a greater vested interest in you as an author. If you are just another cog in the machine, chances are, you are with a vanity publisher masquerading as a real publisher.

Secondly, they are in business and want to stay that way—that said they want you to succeed and they’re going to try their hardest to stay afloat—when you make money, so do they… that’s how this business is supposed to work.

Perhaps the biggest Pro is that they are more likely to publish books that are outside current norms, risky, or difficult to read, and thus represent unlikely commercial ventures for larger publishers who only want to produce commercial gold.

Small publishers play a vital role in the development of materials that may end up going to larger publishers in the future. Essentially, this is the minor leagues of the publishing world. Just like in pro sports, many big-leaguers spend some time learning the ropes and being developed before they get called up. Click Read More for the Cons.

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Small Publishers and Ethics

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This month, we’re going to have an honest talk about small publishing houses. The good, bad, and ugly.

Every writer starts with a dream: get published, have their books on shelves across America, and be famous/die rich. Or some version of that… nevermind that bookstore chains are dropping dead left and right. As we wade deeper into the literary community, that dream tends to wither and shrink and we cry out, “my book is worthy—why won’t someone give it an honest read?”

Market saturation and competition means that publishers don’t care about good stories. They are a business. They care about SELLABLE stories; it’s all about the cash flow for them. It may sound heartless, and it is. It’s also good business… apparently business is good. Continue reading Small Publishers and Ethics

10 Ways to Make Your Own Opportunities

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I wrote a while back about a guy who quit Facebook because he didn’t like my advice about what he needed to do if he wanted to be successful as an author. He wanted to just release his book quietly and take a chance that he somehow got rich and famous. Being an author, however, is about more than just the writing. Click Read More to get ten ways you can force opportunities to come your way.

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A Strategic Book Launch Timeline From the Pros

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Have you ever released an indie book and thought, “I should have put some strategic effort into the launch,” or wished you could plan better for a strong opening sales rank? Click Read More to hear some thoughts from professionals that I wish I’d heeded with my last several books.

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Book Covers: The Last Thing Writers Think About but the First Thing Readers See

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I’m a broken record. Yeah, I know. But let’s talk about the most important aspect of your marketing for a moment: the book cover. I’ve been toying with the idea for a year now of opening a small, regional publishing house, sort of a micropress hybrid… the main reason for this? the amount of really bad book covers that I see on books put out by small, traditional publishers.

The fact is people judge books by the cover. It is your very first opportunity to say something about the book—your first introduction—and it speaks volumes and on a pass/fail basis. Think of a bookstore shelf like a formal party; if you wear torn sweatpants and forgot to shower and do your hair when everyone else is in tuxedoes and evening gowns you are not going to make it past the bouncer. Your book might need to freshen up and see a tailor. Continue reading Book Covers: The Last Thing Writers Think About but the First Thing Readers See