AUTHORS! Why do you write?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Edit and Organize BEFORE Submitting Your Manuscript

I have written about this in a variety of ways, but think it is worthwhile to mention again--especially since I received several emails over the past two weeks seeking my assistance in this regard.

It is very difficult to get published in the traditional fashion these days, and it is not getting any easier. Did you know that the vast majority of manuscripts are turned down without being read or if they are examined, they receive  no more than a casual 60-second glance before being tossed aside?

Why?

Because a high percentage of manuscripts are not properly organized and edited BEFORE they land in the hands of agents or acquisition editors who are desperately looking for quality work.

If you have a manuscript on a topic agents and publishers are seeking, you're halfway home. It is at that point when authors make the mistake of submitting what they believe is a solid manuscript for review. Guess what? Acquisition editors and agents see "solid" manuscripts day in and day out. (I sure do and we are a small independent company.)

Agents and editors are not seeking "solid" manuscripts. They are looking for manuscripts that GRAB them and demand that they keep reading. I would guess 95% of the manuscripts floating around out there don't grab anyone.

As a result, decent manuscripts are often--to an editor's eye--poorly organized and/or have too many grammatical issues to encourage someone with little time to continue reading them. They are not crafted to immediately catch someone's attention, first with a cover letter, and then with the main body of work submitted. Make that mistake once, and forget landing a publishing contract with that company.

I routinely consult and provide editing services for authors, agents, publishers, ghost writers, etc. worldwide. Many "good" manuscripts are sent to us for "help," but often only after they have been seen and rejected over and over again. Why burn bridges and then seek help?

Seek help before you submit your work, polish it up, and increase your odds of at least being read. You can't get published unless someone is willing to read your work.

Click here if you need to email me.

--tps

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Reader Feedback on e-Book Pricing

A reader to a different blog commented thusly:

Kelly said (in part): I think you may be missing the biggest price point issue for consumers — the price of the mass market paperback. Publishers need to give readers a reason to pay more for an e-book.
Well worth reading the reply. Click here to do so.

--tps

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Letter from Macmillian re: Amazon

To: Macmillan Authors and Illustrators

cc: Literary Agents
From: John Sargent

I am sorry I have been silent since Saturday. We have been in constant discussions with Amazon since then. Things have moved far enough that hopefully this is the last time I will be writing to you on this subject.

Over the last few years we have been deeply concerned about the pricing of electronic books. That pricing, combined with the traditional business model we were using, was creating a market that we believe was fundamentally unbalanced. In the last three weeks, from a standing start we have moved to a new business model. We will make less money on the sale of e books, but we will have a stable and rational market. To repeat myself from last Sunday's letter, we will now have a business model that will ensure our intellectual property will be available digitally through many channels, at a price that is both fair to the consumer and that allows those who create and publish it to be fairly compensated.

We have also started discussions with all our other partners in the digital book world. While there is still lots of work to be done, they have all agreed to move to the agency model.

And now on to royalties. Three or four weeks ago, we began discussions with the Author's Guild on their concerns about our new royalty terms. We indicated then that we would be flexible and that we were prepared to move to a higher rate for digital books. In ongoing discussions with our major agents at the beginning of this week, we began informing them of our new terms. The change to an agency model will bring about yet another round of discussion on royalties, and we look forward to solving this next step in the puzzle with you.

A word about Amazon. This has been a very difficult time. Many of you are wondering what has taken so long for Amazon and Macmillan to reach a conclusion. I want to assure you that Amazon has been working very, very hard and always in good faith to find a way forward with us. Though we do not always agree, I remain full of admiration and respect for them. Both of us look forward to being back in business as usual.

And a salute to the bricks and mortar retailers who sell your books in their stores and on their related websites. Their support for you, and us, has been remarkable over the last week. From large chains to small independents, they committed to working harder than ever to help your books find your readers.

Lastly, my deepest thanks to you, our authors and illustrators. Macmillan and Amazon as corporations had our differences that needed to be resolved. You are the ones whose books lost their buy buttons. And yet you have continued to be terrifically supportive of us and of what we are trying to accomplish. It is a great joy to be your publisher.

I cannot tell you when we will resume business as usual with Amazon, and needless to say I can promise nothing on the buy buttons. You can tell by the tone of this letter though that I feel the time is getting near to hand.

All best,

John

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

HarperCollins Levels its Big Guns Against Amazon

Another publishing/media giant, Rupert Murdoch (HarperCollins) has weighed in on Amazon's pricing policies. This is in the end good news for everyone, buyers included in the long run. Without a foundational price point that allows widespread survival, there will be precious little left to sell down the road, and what is available will be produced by fewer and fewer publishers.

Read more here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010