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  Topic: Getting a book Published, I'm going off half-cocked?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
BWE



Posts: 1896
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 12 2007,13:59   

I like to think I'm fully-cocked but I'm having some issues involved with the publishing industry.

Anyone out there with any experience in the mechanics of popular nonfiction publishing? I've got a lot of questions so I decided to start the topic and see what y'all know.

I know Lenny's done quite a few and a lot of you have published science related material. I figured this might be an interesting subject and, since I am busy working with an agent, -just to figure out if she wants to represent me is a goddam process by itself- and trying to invent a promotion plan and etc, it's timely for me.

Also, feel free to pm me if you like. E-mail or even telephone works too.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
C.J.O'Brien



Posts: 395
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 12 2007,14:15   

I'm sitting in the editorial offices of a prominent non-fiction publisher right now.

I also talk to people at a couple of literary agencies from time to time as well.

Pitch it!

(PM me if you want to talk via email.)

--------------
The is the beauty of being me- anything that any man does I can understand.
--Joe G

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10323
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 12 2007,14:30   

I'D LIKE TO OFFER MY SCREENPLAY:

"MEGACOPS" BY RICHTARD.

THE PREMISE...

DIRK IS A PLAY IT BY THE BOOK COP. HIS LIFE GETS TURNED UPSIDE DOWN WHEN HIS PARTNER (COP, NOT SEXUAL) GETS KILLED 1 DAY BEFORE RETIREMENT!!!!1. HE GETS A NEW PARTNER (COP, NOT SEXUAL) MITCH, WHO IS CRAYZEE OFF THE RAILS. THEY HAVE TO COMBINE TO OVERCOME A DRUGS KINGPIN OVERLORD (WHO ACTUALLY KILLED DIRK'S PARTNER [THE DEAD ONE, NOT MITCH] OOPS, SPOILER ALERT, PUT THAT BIT IN FRONT OF TEH OTHER BIT) AND ITS HARD AT FIRST FOR THEM AND THEY GET SHOUTED AT BY THE CAPTAIN AT FIRST AND HE MAKES THEM TURN IN THEY'RE BADGES BUT THEY GO ROGUE AND CAPTURE OR KILL THE DRUGS LORD AND IN THEY END THEY SORT OF GET ALONG.


WHATDYA THINK?

I AM AVAILABLE TO PLAY TEH PART OF MITCH. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED, CONTACT MY AGENT, WHO IS ALSO ME.

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
Henry J



Posts: 4112
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 12 2007,14:58   

"It was a dark and stormy night..."

  
Steviepinhead



Posts: 532
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 12 2007,15:07   

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."  But, fortunately, even a broken pocket watch dropped on a moor is right twice a day.

  
JohnW



Posts: 2319
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 12 2007,15:07   

This person has figured out how to get anything published, no matter how stupid or incoherent.  (As you're neither, you're way ahead.)  Why not drop her a line and ask her how she does it?

--------------
Math is just a language of reality. Its a waste of time to know it.
- Robert Byers

  
BWE



Posts: 1896
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 12 2007,15:26   

You laugh, yet the pocketwatch on the moor alerts no one at its two correct moments.

Denise represents the trouble with figuring out the industry: most of the participants don't do very well.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
guthrie



Posts: 696
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,04:56   

Is this in the UK or USA?

I would be interested as well, for various reasons.  

Should you approach an agent first, or send bits of manuscript straight to the publisher?


I know some published authors, (SF and F) and it shouldn't be hassle to work out if your potential agent really wants to represent you or not.  If you are having that much hassle, go elsewhere, there's quite a few more agents out there.

  
BWE



Posts: 1896
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,12:09   

Quote (guthrie @ Sep. 13 2007,04:56)
Is this in the UK or USA?

I would be interested as well, for various reasons.  

Should you approach an agent first, or send bits of manuscript straight to the publisher?


I know some published authors, (SF and F) and it shouldn't be hassle to work out if your potential agent really wants to represent you or not.  If you are having that much hassle, go elsewhere, there's quite a few more agents out there.

I'm in USA.

My own process has been a bit convoluted. Last spring I thought everything was together and I had an agent. As things moved forward problems surfaced that made me rethink my approach.

In August, a good friend's mother (who managed to do quite well with a nonfiction book) looked at my project and got me in touch with her agent. The agent expressed interest so I sent her some sample chapters. She read them and asked about my platform.

Quote
Dear [BWE]: Thanks for sending the material to me so quickly.  I’ve read it with much interest, [...] How would they know about it?  A question we ask ourselves in this business every day.   Maybe if I knew more about you and your ‘platform’ as we call it.[...]


Platform as she used it means my pre-existing national audience.

I assembled a proposal and fedexed it overnight to New York to arrive the Friday before Labor Day. In accordance with Peter's Principle, Her offices were closed and it didn't arrive till Tuesday but she didn't get it till Wed. and she was too busy to get to it at all last week. (More correspondence)

People who've seen it so far say I need an agent to help negotiate a deal and a publisher who will help me market the book.

The agent is busy for a few more days and might not get back to me this week. I'm getting antsy and I'm feeling a bit clueless about whether I'm proceeding correctly.

What I've figured out so far is that the bulk of the material available about the industry and how to work within it is designed to confound idiots so they won't send crap to agents and publishers. The reason I'm nervous is that I'm confounded.

The reviews so far have been raves so my confidence in the material is high. Whether the book warrants high confidence is another thing altogether i suppose, but I have to proceed as if it does.

The proposal part depends on how the publisher wants to market it. I could take several different approaches so my confidence in the one I took is slightly less than my confidence in the book itself. That's kind of the crux of my problem: pitching it so the publisher or agent understands that it's open-ended in terms of the market and approach.

Does that make sense?

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Bob O'H



Posts: 1994
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,13:43   

Quote
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."

...so they called it The Independent.

Bob (stealing from ISIHAC)

--------------
It is fun to dip into the various threads to watch cluelessness at work in the hands of the confident exponent. - Soapy Sam (so say we all)

   
guthrie



Posts: 696
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,14:35   

Yes, that kind of makes sense, but it's way outside my area of experience.

  
Steviepinhead



Posts: 532
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,15:34   

BWE:
Quote
the pocketwatch on the moor alerts no one at its two correct moments.

Knowing BWE, there's probably a deeper meaning that I'm missing, but actually the broken watch does "alert" observers as to its two correct moments (we're hearkening back to Paley, so we're talking an old-fashioned analog watch with numbers up to twelve and hands): whatever time the poor watch broke at, and is displayed in "frozen" form on its face for all to see, will be the "correct" time at that self-same displayed time both morning and evening (p.m. and a.m., unless the watch stopped right at twelve, in which case, noon and midnight).

Of course, you'd only know when those times came around if you had another, unbroken chronometer.  Which maybe is what BWE meant...?  Hmmm.

Anyway, it's those two times which would then be the best of times (because the watch is then, transitorily, correct) and the worst of times (because the watch is still broken, and serves no practical purpose as a chronometer, though it might still make an excellent paperweight, keepsake, reflecting device, or pellet for a slingshot...

In short, even poorly-adapted items, viewed from one context, may be pre- or -ex-apted (or even well-adapted, as for example the watch crystal might be for use as a pince-nez...) for some other context.

  
Steviepinhead



Posts: 532
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,15:45   

I've never tried to get a book published or sell a short story or article (though my son is a freelance journalist, that's a bit of a different animal from book publishing, I gather).

If I'm reading this right, it sounds like BWE thought he had a deal and an agent last spring, but "problems surfaced" and, whilst he was re-thinking, the friend's mom (or somebody "published," at any rate) recommended the name of a new agent, who BWE now perceives to be less-than-fully on-board.

But the new agent's only been involved recently, and the three-day weekend has stretched out the flow of communications.  

I'm thinking a wee bit more patience with the new agent may be in order, or at least an attempt to not carry over the impatience resulting from last spring's snafu over to the new agent.

Maybe it's time to "clarify" (as they say at all those "communications" seminars): Dear new agent, do you really want to be/are you interested in acting as MY agent?  If you just got involved in this as a favor to friend's mom (or whoever) and aren't really motivated to move forward with my project, please let me know...   If you are motivated, what's our next step?

Something like that.

If it turns out that the new agent isn't all that motivated, just take her semi-favorable response as more positive feedback, milk her for any references to agents working in more appropriate markets, and move on.

But what the hell do I know (see first sentence and don't read the rest this time through...)?

  
Steviepinhead



Posts: 532
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,15:47   

BWE:
Quote
I like to think I'm fully-cocked

Ah!  No wonder you found my little "shortcomings" snippet so non-threatening.

  
BWE



Posts: 1896
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,16:28   

Ah Mr. Pinhead, the deep meaning was indeed rather shallow. Simply that without a functioning timepiece, no one would know when the broken one was accurate.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
Steviepinhead



Posts: 532
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,16:38   

I pinheadedly stumbled across that thought about halfway through my reflections above.

A gotcha moment.  

But nice of you not to rub it in.  I've done enough marinating already!

  
BWE



Posts: 1896
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,17:49   

Quote (Steviepinhead @ Sep. 13 2007,15:47)
BWE:
 
Quote
I like to think I'm fully-cocked

Ah!  No wonder you found my little "shortcomings" snippet so non-threatening.

Well, speculation is the mother of religion ... as, er,... they say.

Quote (the pinhead-savant @ .,.)


If I'm reading this right, it sounds like BWE thought he had a deal and an agent last spring, but "problems surfaced" and, whilst he was re-thinking, the friend's mom (or somebody "published," at any rate) recommended the name of a new agent, who BWE now perceives to be less-than-fully on-board.
More that I don't know if it should be taking her a week and a half to get back to me after correspondence was already underway.

Quote
But the new agent's only been involved recently, and the three-day weekend has stretched out the flow of communications.  

I'm thinking a wee bit more patience with the new agent may be in order, or at least an attempt to not carry over the impatience resulting from last spring's snafu over to the new agent.

Question: what constitutes a long time in this industry?  
You might be right. I just want to get it right and I feel a bit like I'm flying blind.

As opposed to flying blind-drunk which doesn't bother me at all.

Quote
Maybe it's time to "clarify" (as they say at all those "communications" seminars): Dear new agent, do you really want to be/are you interested in acting as MY agent?  If you just got involved in this as a favor to friend's mom (or whoever) and aren't really motivated to move forward with my project, please let me know...   If you are motivated, what's our next step?

Something like that.

If it turns out that the new agent isn't all that motivated, just take her semi-favorable response as more positive feedback, milk her for any references to agents working in more appropriate markets, and move on.

References being the key I am discovering.

Quote
But what the hell do I know (see first sentence and don't read the rest this time through...)?

Through rose colored glasses?

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
jupiter



Posts: 97
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,19:14   

Quote (BWE @ Sep. 13 2007,12:09)
What I've figured out so far is that the bulk of the material available about the industry and how to work within it is designed to confound idiots so they won't send crap to agents and publishers. The reason I'm nervous is that I'm confounded.

The reviews so far have been raves so my confidence in the material is high. Whether the book warrants high confidence is another thing altogether i suppose, but I have to proceed as if it does.

The proposal part depends on how the publisher wants to market it. I could take several different approaches so my confidence in the one I took is slightly less than my confidence in the book itself. That's kind of the crux of my problem: pitching it so the publisher or agent understands that it's open-ended in terms of the market and approach.

Does that make sense?

OMG! I can has expertise!

To take things in reverse order:

1. I'm not sure why you haven't made this open-endedness part of the proposal. The agents and editors I work with lovelovelove proposals that show some flexibility and market savvy.

2. Don't be confounded. You are not the idiots they're defending against. Take a look at this post, "On the Getting of Agents," from the excellent Making Light blog.

  
ck1



Posts: 65
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,19:24   

BWE,  Can you say anything about the general subject of your book?  Just curious.

  
heddle



Posts: 124
Joined: Nov. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,19:53   

Getting your book published is very cool. Let me tell you why.

One time I was on a plane, on a work-related trip. Guess who was sitting next to me? A really hawt asian chick--and she was reading my book and laughing. (Yes, it's supposed to be funny.)

Before you knew it, the plane landed, as shortly thereafter we were in my hotel room, where she spent the night with me.

True story.

--------------
Mysticism is a rational enterprise. Religion is not. The mystic has recognized something about the nature of consciousness prior to thought, and this recognition is susceptible to rational discussion. The mystic has reason for what he believes, and these reasons are empirical. --Sam Harris

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,20:00   

Quote (heddle @ Sep. 14 2007,03:53)
Getting your book published is very cool. Let me tell you why.

One time I was on a plane, on a work-related trip. Guess who was sitting next to me? A really hawt asian chick--and she was reading my book and laughing. (Yes, it's supposed to be funny.)

Before you knew it, the plane landed, as shortly thereafter we were in my hotel room, where she spent the night with me.

True story.

Wow Heddle just wow, wow, wow your the MAN!!@@#~!!QW@#@~

Bwhwhwhwhwhwhhhahahahahahahahahahhahaha

.....In all seriousness though, sleeping with someone with such poor literay taste doesn't actually count as sex... in my book. But bragging about it YEAH!!!twentytwo11

--------------
The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
heddle



Posts: 124
Joined: Nov. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,20:04   

Well, I guess I forgot to mention that the hawt asian chick is my wife who was accompanying me on that trip.

--------------
Mysticism is a rational enterprise. Religion is not. The mystic has recognized something about the nature of consciousness prior to thought, and this recognition is susceptible to rational discussion. The mystic has reason for what he believes, and these reasons are empirical. --Sam Harris

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10323
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,20:09   

Quote (heddle @ Sep. 13 2007,20:04)
Well, I guess I forgot to mention that the hawt asian chick is my wife who was accompanying me on that trip.

Booo!

I was hoping for some Jesus-frowning type hedonism!

--------------
"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,20:29   

Heddle remind me never to be in the same country as you.

Well at least now she has an excuse for her taste in fiction.

--------------
The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,20:31   

Quote (Richardthughes @ Sep. 14 2007,04:09)
Quote (heddle @ Sep. 13 2007,20:04)
Well, I guess I forgot to mention that the hawt asian chick is my wife who was accompanying me on that trip.

Booo!

I was hoping for some Jesus-frowning type hedonism!

I think that was, as far as H. was concerned.

--------------
The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
k.e



Posts: 1948
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,20:35   

Anyway Asians are all very nice and there are a wide variety of them that can keep you amused for quite a while but you've never been F***ed until you've had an Eskimo just ask D.T. They can suck the marrow out of your spine.

--------------
The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions.These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilisations, doubters, disintegrators, deicides.Haldane

   
stevestory



Posts: 9026
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,21:34   

K.E., I love your posts, but try to keep it a bit more PG please.

   
BWE



Posts: 1896
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,21:51   

Quote (ck1 @ Sep. 13 2007,19:24)
BWE,  Can you say anything about the general subject of your book?  Just curious.

I don't know. It's about religion and technology.

But of course, it's a bit humorous.  :p

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
BWE



Posts: 1896
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,22:53   

Quote (stevestory @ Sep. 13 2007,21:34)
K.E., I love your posts, but try to keep it a bit more PG please.

I don't get it steve. Can you explain what wasn't PG about that? Was it that word with the asterisks? ;)

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
stevestory



Posts: 9026
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 13 2007,22:57   

Quote (BWE @ Sep. 13 2007,23:53)
Quote (stevestory @ Sep. 13 2007,21:34)
K.E., I love your posts, but try to keep it a bit more PG please.

I don't get it steve. Can you explain what wasn't PG about that? Was it that word with the asterisks? ;)

A year ago when I became moderator someone advised me to make moderation flippant and unpredictable to keep people on their toes. I can't say I followed that strategy, but others might say that about me. In general let's keep references to BJ's on the Bathroom Wall. That's all, really.

   
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