Warning: Illegal string offset 'sidebar_change' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 4

Warning: Illegal string offset 'sb_primary' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 5

Warning: Illegal string offset 'sb_secondary' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 6

Warning: Illegal string offset 'sidebar_swap' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 7

Warning: Illegal string offset 'sl_pos' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 9

Warning: Illegal string offset 'primary_width' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 10

Warning: Illegal string offset 'secondary_width' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 11

Warning: Illegal string offset 'special_width' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 12

Warning: Illegal string offset 'back_change' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 15

Warning: Illegal string offset 'background_color' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 16

Warning: Illegal string offset 'background_url' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 17

Warning: Illegal string offset 'background_repeat' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 18

Warning: Illegal string offset 'header_change' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 19

Warning: Illegal string offset 'header2_change' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 20

Warning: Illegal string offset 'header_url' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 21

Warning: Illegal string offset 'header_position' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 22

Warning: Illegal string offset 'header_position2' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 23

Warning: Illegal string offset 'header_url2' in /home2/melindas/public_html/wp-content/themes/ms7/includes/tt_meta.php on line 24

How Things Work

This may seem like simplistic advice to many people, but it’s odd how many folks don’t understand how publishing actually works or is supposed to work.  So I turned to my friend, John Jarrold for help and advice on how to approach this. Here is the statement he sent me:

“A very basic point for new writers: the money only flows one way in professional, mainstream publishing (or in small press publishing) – FROM the publisher, TO the author. If you are paying for editing, that is a vanity press. If you are paying for marketing, that is a vanity press. If you are paying for cover artwork, that is a vanity press. If you are paying for ANYTHING, that is a vanity press. You will never see your books in bookshops. They make money from what you pay them – and by you, your family and friends buying copies. That is not the definition of a published author by any yardstick I have used over fifteen years as a publisher with Orbit, Random House and Simon & Schuster and ten years as a literary agent…”

These misconceptions are not limited by age, background or occupation.  A friend of mine who is a scientist at Los Alamos National Labs, and has sold four novels to Tor Books was asked by a colleague (a man with a Ph.D in a hard science) “How much did you have to pay to have your book published?”  Ian tried to explain that he paid nothing.  The publisher paid him, and handled marketing, publicity, distribution, promotion, etc. etc.

Personally, I think this rush to self-publish is not the wisest choice.  I have seen friends of mine who are published, and established writers use ebooks as a way to return out of print works back to circulation, and that has worked out decently for some of them.  But remember, they are established, known writers, these books had already been edited and proofed, and these people have a following.  None of them are taking this route for their new works.  They are going back to the traditional publishers to sell these books.

There is a reason there are gatekeepers, and there’s a reason we don’t publish our first novels.  Because almost uniformly they suck.  I have a couple of trunk novels that will never see the light of day, and I hope are burned upon my death.  I keep them around to mine them for ideas now that I have learned how to write, but my first attempts were terrible, and didn’t deserve to be published.  Thank god the possibility of self-publishing an electronic version wasn’t available to me.  I might have taken it, and had to endure the knowledge that these books were going to float around the internet forever.

I am frequently approached by people on line to read and perhaps blurb their novel.  This is difficult for me because I am also a Hollywood writer/producer, and the dangers of being accused of lifting an idea are very high for me.  When I point this out, and say that I can only look at books that are sent to me by a publisher for comment I am frequently told, “Oh, but I have a publisher.”  Then I Google this publisher, and I discover that they are, in fact, a company that handles self-published authors.  

I can’t read these books.  Because I have no protection. I can’t receive a book in hard copy or electronic copy directly from an author.  Any request for a blurb from me must come from a publisher to my agent, and then to me.  If an author wishes to approach me they must go through my literary agent, and she will make the determination if this is a traditional publisher, and then query me regarding my time or interest in said book.  I am represented by the Pimlico Agency.

I apologize for having to take this stance, but given the explosion of self-published, uploaded books I feel I have no choice.  There is a useful article in defense of traditional publishing that can be found here if you want more information.

Thank you for your understanding.

One Response to How Things Work

  • There’s a saying about media (expressing an analysis I first encountered back around 1980 in a Marxist analysis of broadcasting, of all places): If you don’t pay, you’re not the customer, you’re the product. You seem to have reversed it for aspiring authors: If you pay, you’re not the product, you’re the customer. . . .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Appearances
Social Media
Friend me on FacebookFollow me on Twitter