There are writer-bloggers out there who are better than I am about developing an online community. There are any number of reasons why I’m not terribly accomplished at this, which is not really the point. The point is that they’re better and they do much more with their site and their readers than post 600 word folk tale variations for 50-some odd of you to read (for which I am immeasurably grateful, by the way).
This is where “Pitch Wars” comes in to play. It’s a contest run by Brenda Drake that is intended to help polish up writers’ query letters and first 250 words – basically, the parts that are going to grab an agent’s attention. Given that the whole point of the query letter is to get said agent to request your manuscript and reading your manuscript is the bare minimum that will be done before anyone will even think about offering representation, any and every kind of polish is a good and useful thing. (more…)
Then again, they’re not your friend, either.
Last week, Bookshelves of Doom alerted me to the fact that Simon & Schuster is discontinuing Richard Yancey’s Monstrumologist series, the news of which you might be expected to react with “Who? What?”
My background. Until two weeks ago, I’d never heard of Richard Yancey. I was looking for some good YA horror because I’m trying to add a certain level of creepy to Manuscript #2 and I wanted to see how others had done it. Gretchen over at Librarified sent me a list of possible titles (thanks!), Yancey’s was the novel I chose. I wasn’t blown away the way that many fans are (my review here), but it’s a good read and it’s very well told. It’s critically regarded. Here is Yancey’s tweet. (more…)
There is nothing bad about getting back to writing and frankly, I already mourn its imminent loss again as I pick up the next round of Things to Do. Last Sunday was when I sent out the latest draft of A Watchful Eye to some beta readers. Since then I’ve been overhauling book four and re-titling it – twice so far. I’m keeping the title to myself until I’m pretty sure it’s the right one. No – I’m pretty sure it’s the right one, this time. I’m keeping it to myself until I’m pretty positive. Or something.
Anyway – so far I’ve cut about fifteen pages, completely re-organized the narrative that I am keeping intact, and lo and behold – the story is much more interesting, the bad guys are much more dangerous, and it’s all coming together much better than it was in the previous draft.
You can see why, in the midst of this excitement and pain-staking work, I might find this post on marketing at All Indie Publishing a little, oh, what’s the word… disheartening. Lemee get this straight – you want me to market a book before I’ve even started it? Okay, where do I begin? A) I’m not so disciplined a writer that I know exactly how my five books are going to dovetail together. Hell, I wasn’t even sure how Eye was going to resolve until I got there. That’s because B) discovery is fun and exciting. Fine, fine – I accept the premise that I should at least be thinking about marketing already. But, damn.
Then there’s this from Anne Allen on how some agents are beginning to troll the e-book lists for selling authors. The problem with writing in the past (and this is similar to theater and film) is distribution. The writer (of plays, screenplays, or novels, in these cases) may have written a Masterpiece. Art, right? Well, here’s the thing – distribution tends to be more about business than art. The novelist has to convince the agent that s/he wants to represent said writer. Said agent has to convince an editor that this book can sell. Said editor has to convince a couple of committees…
And you thought after getting an agent the hard work was over?
This morning’s blog roll brings me my next gem, this time from D.L. Orton, guesting over at Pimp My Novel. I haven’t followed her links to check her math, but using the sources she found, she arrives at the following conclusion: “(T)he chances for a debut novel to see the light in any given year are: 1 in 15,625.” Ho-lee….
Meanwhile, Joe Konrath and his guests say – several times a week – screw publishers. Self-publish and keep more of the cut for yourselves. Konrath’s an evangelist, of course he’d say that.
So here’s the thing. Just like with music and movies, ye olde Intertubz are simplifying distribution. It’s a lot easier to get around the gatekeepers that publishers have put into place. And sure, that means there’s some real self-published crap out there – and of course, there’s some real “officially” published crap out there, too.
I remain torn about which route to go. But then, I’m only 1.3 books into 5, so I’ve got a little time to be thinking about this. You? Preferences for one or the other? Is prestige a big deal? Is it the imprimatur of Somebody Official? What?