Just for giggles, before I continue on with different series chapters, I figured it would be a good time to be clear on how I stand on some areas we are talking about here in the comments. There seemed to be some confusion and since my opinions are changing with the events in publishing, as every writer should, I figured it was time to update.
Up until not so long ago, I went on and on about writers not handling agents correctly and letting agents control a writer’s career. At that time I had no problem with a writer hiring an agent, if they went into the relationship with their eyes open. I talked about all this in many chapters of Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing.
That was then.
Now, May, 2011, I think all writers should avoid agents at all costs.
Agents do not fit into this new world at all and are quickly becoming the foremen of a buggy whip factory. The agents, especially in the large agencies, have brought in horrid agency contracts that actually take writer’s book rights. Agents can’t sell a book any better than a writer can going directly to editors, and they are not needed to negotiate contracts with the rise of IP Lawyers who charge reasonably instead of taking 15%. (Not even counting the question of non-lawyer agents giving legal advice.)
A myth is growing that indie writers need agents to do overseas contracts or Hollywood contracts and that’s a complete myth. Agents, as they have a want to do these days, will stop most of those deal by sheer incompetence or stupidity. Indie writers who do their own Hollywood contracts with IP Lawyers or overseas contracts on their own make more deals and better deals.
Also, the agents who are moving to being publishers (which are quite a few) are taking more and more rights from writers and charging more and more. And they know less about the process than the writers they pretend to help. Avoid them at all costs no matter what Joe Konrath says about “estributor” or whatever he calls the new agent hybrid. I agree with Joe about most things these days except this one topic. He’s wrong and giving dangerous advice on that aspect. And not even doing it himself.
How I believe now: Avoid Agents At All Costs. ALL OF THEM.
Indie Publishing vs Traditional (Legacy) Publishing
I have said from moment one that a writer should do both. I still think that, but my method of how to do both has now changed.
This is only for novels!!!! (Short fiction you must mail to a magazine before publishing yourself.)
Now: I believe that the moment a writer finishes a new book, (a writer of any level) the writer should get the book up electronically and then get the book into POD. Get the book earning for you as quickly as possible. Just good business.
Second, if you feel the book fits into traditional publishing and you are afraid to try some of the aspects I talked about in “Thinking Like a Publisher” to get your book into bookstores, then take your POD book, add a cover letter, a three or four page synopsis, and a #10 SASE and mail it flat rate priority mail to a traditional editor. (Or better yet, five of them at a time.)
That’s right, mail your POD book, a synopsis of your book, a cover letter with your credits and what you are offering in terms, and a #10 SASE for their response. That is your submission package.
And for heaven’s sake, if your book is making decent indie sales, calculate the amount you might make over ten years as an indie publisher and then don’t take less than that amount in an offer from a traditional publisher. (And you don’t need an agent to do any of this. Get an IP Lawyer to help you with the contract.)
How I Believe Now: Indie Publish First, Then Send POD to Traditional (legacy) Publishers
Traditional (Legacy) Publishing Vanishing
I think the idea that traditional publishing will vanish just silly. Period. However, I have no doubt that traditional publishing will have problems, and so much has to change. And some companies will collapse and fail along the way. And new ones will rise up. But if you are banking on the multi-billion dollar business of traditional publishing going away, you are going to be sadly mistaken I’m afraid. However, it will change and in some areas change dramatically over the next ten years.
Indie publishing is here to stay and will keep growing. Writers will never release the control they have attained in the last two years and that aspect will also change many practices in traditional publishing. I now believe every writer needs to be indie publishing. Learn it now, folks. Don’t trust others to do it for you.
Nope, not given up, just been crazy the last two months and have done very little on the challenge, even though still writing just fine. However, after this workshop in May is done, I’ll be firing on the challenge all the way to July 1st since my other writing deadlines are done for the moment. I want to see how many stories I can have up by July 1st to see how far behind I am going into the second half of the year.
Stay turned. I also have a Poker Boy novel to serialize.
So many people are confused by pen names, so let me be clear on my opinion on pen names here. None of this has changed.
— Use a pen name to keep your readers clear on which genre you are writing in. Erotica vs sweet romance vs horror. Might want to have pen names on all three.
— No issue in cross promoting your pen names. Trust your readers. If they have read one of your sweet romances and wonder what your erotic stories would be like, they will try them. Just be clear.
— Copyright is set under your real identity no matter what name you write it under. Go pick up the Copyright Handbook and learn what you are licensing.
Do I have more chapters to write in “Think Like a Publisher,” “The New World of Publishing,” and “Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing?” Yes, as topics come up. I have a number of “Think Like a Publisher” chapters planned, but always interested in topics.
Kris and I have decided we will be doing a few workshops next spring again. Why? Because we still feel a few are needed, plus the Denise Little workshop is just far too much fun. So if interested in the workshops we do here, watch for my announcement in July for next spring. And if you want to learn how to write blurbs, pitches, and tags, there is still room in that workshop in July. Check the workshop page for details.
And that’s it for now.
Thanks for all the great comments and support. It sure keeps this place lively.