Tuesday, August 11, 2009
This is How NOT to Get Published
Authors: Read this carefully, and learn what NOT to do.
I swear some authors really don't want to be published.
A short time ago an author named Berryman, a retired Navy Cmdr. (and all of you know how much we respect those who serve our country) sent us an email submission. He followed our submission guidelines (as he should have) and told us about a manuscript he was writing on a handful of U.S. citizens who fought with the Royal Navy in WWII.
This might be an interesting topic for some people, but I know what topics will sell well in our market space, and what will not--and it takes me about 60 seconds to make that general determination. Rather than ignore him or just say "no thanks," I tried to offer help, introduce him to social networking, and show him ways to get noticed. People actually get published that way.
We get several submissions each day. We intentionally publish about 18 books a year. Do the math on the acceptance ratio.
What follows is, verbatim, my reply to Mr. Berryman, followed by his response (seriously, you can't make this stuff up):
Dear Mr. Berryman,
Thank you for taking the time to query us on your manuscript. We appreciate your interest in our program.
There are so many outstanding proposals and completed manuscripts available today that it is very difficult to select which to publish. Many deserve to be published, and yours looks very interesting. Unfortunately, we intentionally publish a limited number of titles each year, and your proposal/subject is not what we are seeking at this time.
Given your work as an author, I strongly urge you do the following (although not 1 in 10 authors will follow this worthwhile advice): First, bookmark our publishing and marketing blogs at www.savasbeatie.blogspot.com and www.savasbeatiemarketing.blogspot.com, and become a fan of our Facebook page at http://is.gd/1al1D. These sites offer sound insights, media and author news, and other valuable information. They are also read by many publishers, agents, editors, other authors, all on the lookout for potential new projects. You get the idea. If you really want to get noticed and get published, routinely post insightful comments, observations, and news. In other words, contribute to the conversation.
Second, sign up for our free monthly e-letter Libri Novus, which is quite good and informative, as is our in-depth website at www.savasbeatie.com. Go to the website and enter your email and sign up. Watch what other authors are doing, how they are doing it, and how they are becoming successful.
Remember--you are now in the "no" game. Be persistent, follow submission guidelines, get active and get interconnected on the Internet, and keep working at getting published. Good things will develop, but it often takes a lot of time. The publishing world has changed, and you must change with it.
I wish you the best of luck in your efforts.
This is what Mr. Berryman sent back to me:
How absurd. Form responses. You're a scam. A complete fraud. Manuscript submissions to your website are a bait for some other agenda. I'm 70 and fell for it. Shame on me. Stick it in your ear Ted, you patronizing son of a bitch.
Cmdr, US Navy retired
So . . . Savas Beatie is a scam. A fraud. (And he insults my mother. Does he think he is still in boot camp?) I guess we really don't sell books around the world, place them with national book clubs, and have authors on national TV and radio.
I work with a wide variety of agents, authors, publishers, media people, and others who are on the lookout for potential manuscripts. In fact, I had an email saved to recommend this to a British military publisher in the UK who might be interested. I have since deleted that email.
Mr. Berryman, the publishing world is a very small place. May I suggest you actually THANK acquisition editors who take the time to reply to you (since 99% of them do not), and instead of telling them to stuff it, ask them for further assistance and be humble.
Of course, what you did was prove to me that I made the right choice, since authors and publishers need to actually GET ALONG.
My God, what are these retired Navy guys drinking? This is the second one like this in less than twelve months.
Remember this gem?