Monday, May 2, 2011

Understanding the Publishing World

To understand the publishing world we need to also have an understanding of patience: It takes time to learn and practise writing, to write a novel, to polish it, edit it, and rewrite it. It takes time to query, time for agents to wade through the submissions, to read your novel, to find a market. It takes time for a publisher to consider your novel. It takes time to develop a marketing strategy, to print it, and to promote it.

To understand the publishing world we need to also have an understanding of professionalism: It’s a business. If we want to be a part of this business then we need to remember this and show professionalism at all times. Because this is a business, agents and publishers want our best work. It’s in our best interest to show flexibility and consider any suggested changes. They are experienced professionals. They know what they are doing. Although our novels are our babies, we have to let them go so they’ll blossom.

To understand the publishing world we need to also have an understanding of hard work. This is not an easy profession. Nothing is guaranteed. We can’t guarantee success, we can’t guarantee a sustainable income. We do, however, increase our chances if we work hard and continue to work hard. The pressures only increase when we are accepted for publication.

What surprised you most when you started learning about the publishing world?

36 comments:

  1. I think finding out just how little the writer gets if a movie is made from their book came as a big surprise. God bless you Lynda and may you become one of the world's formost authors. Geoff.

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  2. How ruthless it is!! LOL!! Definitely not for the easily fazed!

    Take care
    x

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  3. On the agent side, I guess I never expected the incredible efforts agents often make with unpublished authors. Through contests, blog interviews, their own blogs, and participation in things like the free conference, WriteOnCon, a lot of them are really trying to help us. They want good submissions, and they're willing to offer advice.

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  4. I think the patience surprised me at first.
    Also I was surprised by how much I had to learn. When I started I wrote a couple things and sent them to magazines in hopes of publication. Now I look back at those early writings and I see how far I've come.

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  5. On the publication side, the number of people who have to say "yes" was a surprise. At first I thought the agent would submit to an editor, and they would say yes or no, and that would be it (woops!).When I learned how many meetings and approvals have to take place, it made the process sound that much more daunting.

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  6. Ah, I understand the patience thing all too well. Sometimes it takes more than half a year from the day I finish a translation to the day it gets published.

    What surprised me most when I started working in publishing? The answer is grave and simple: the amount of truly horrible and bad books which get published and which become bestsellers even though they present utter trash :(

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  7. What surprised me? Besides everything? The audience outside of my genre that appeared after my book was released, and the generosity of (most) fellow writers and authors to help another.
    Oh, and that so many want a sequel! The pressure...

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  8. Good points, Lynda. The thing that most surprised me was when I learned that no matter how good a book I wrote, if agents/publishers didn't think they could 'sell' it, it wouldn't be published.

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  9. Great points! I was surprised by so much because even though I've always loved books and writing, I'd never thought of doing it for publication. The journey is long - but I'm loving how much I've learned and grown. Here's to learning enough! :)

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  10. I agree with your list. I think I've been prepared for the hard work and have tried to be professional. But I wasn't prepared for the patience. It's a long journey.

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  11. I was really naive when it came to the publishing world. I had no idea what I was getting into. And to make matters worse, now the publishing world is changing dramatically and all the rules are different.

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  12. Geoff, yeah writers get the least out of everyone for their books -- or so it seems.

    Old Kitty, I agree it's not for those who give up easily.

    Jess, yeah, that's a great point. Many agents work so hard to help us. It's truly wonderful. And yes, the need for approvals and meetings is crazy yet necessary.

    Carrie, hehe yeah, the amount we need to learn is staggering. Plus I don't think we ever stop learning too.

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  13. Dezzy, yep, it's not something we want to do if we're in a rush. Oh, and SOMEone must have liked those published books you mentioned. One man's trash is another man's treasure. ;)

    Alex, yes, the generosity in the writing community is astounding. So...where's that sequel of yours? *giggle* ;)

    J L Campbell, yeah that's a hard one.

    Jemi, yep it's a long, long journey. One worth taking, though.

    Theresa, learning patience is a struggle ;)

    Clarissa, hahaha yeah, I'm finding that too. Sigh.

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  14. I loved learning the pros and cons of E-Publishing.

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  15. Thanks for the interesting perspective on getting published.

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  16. Well said, Lynda. The thing that has surprised me the most is how willing other writers are to help you. Even though I feel like I'm on a long uphill journey, I know there are dozens of people out there supporting me!

    Ellie Garratt

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  17. I realized this a while ago, but how truly subjective rejections are.

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  18. I think the length of time from start to finish. Sooooo long!

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  19. I think the waiting surprised me. I knew there was waiting involved, but months of waiting at a time seems excessive.

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  20. Yep, the waiting, waiting, waiting. How staggeringly long each step is toward publication! And how insanely long a writer can work on the same 200-400 pages, over and over. ;o)

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  21. It's been said many times but I'll add my voice to the chorus: the waiting.

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  22. The generosity of other writers for which I'm so grateful.

    And discovering that the real work began after getting a contract. Getting the agent and a contract signal a new beginning. Not an ending.

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  23. Great post, and I totally agree. I think the biggest learning curve for me has been how subjective the industry is. Like modelling, it's truly based on first impressions.

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  24. this is a great post, Lynda! I was most surprised how LONG the waits are. I have a new definition of time now, thanks to this endeavor!

    I mean, I knew it took time to get a book published, but I never expected YEARS! :D <3

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  25. Las Vegas, e-publishing is a whole other world, though it still requires patience, professionalism and hard work.

    Nas, hope you liked

    Ellie, yes, the generosity of writers is astounding and wonderful.

    Laura, yes! Great point.

    Terri, hehee it is, isn't it.

    Angela :)

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  26. John, it does seem excessive, but when you know what goes on behind the scenes, I'm surprised it's not longer ;)

    Carol, and over and over ;)

    Suze, hehehe. It's a big factor.

    Karen, :)

    M Pax, absolutely. The real pressures start once that contract is signed.

    D U Okonkwo, in a way it's good it's so subjective because that means a rejection isn't the end of the world.

    LTM, exactly. Plus many friends and family don't understand this concept so it makes it all harder.

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  27. The first thing that comes to mind is the mind-blowing amount of work that goes into writing a novel. And how long it takes, even after it's written, to query and wait to hear back and make revisions and wait to hear again, and that's just for an agent, not even to get a published book. Patience is indeed a must!

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  28. When I first started really learning about the ins and outs of publishing itself, what surprised me most was how cynical it was. That bestsellers lists were predetermined and everything depended on how much money was spent on promoting the book.

    Jai

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  29. Susan, mind-blowing? Yes! patience? urgh...yes. ;)

    Jai, yep it can be a tad depressing, but I try not to think about that.

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  30. Lots surprised me, Lynda. The long wait for editors to reply to submissions (especially in India). Another long wait to see the books published, if they are accepted in the first place. And the tiny amount of money that goes by the name of royalty ;)

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  31. Good advice that doesn't just apply to the publishing world. This goes for many worthwhile things in the business world or other things we seek in life.


    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  32. Rachna, yep, all that time and so little to show for it. Hhehehe. We ARE crazy aren't we? ;)

    Lee, so very true.

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  33. It surprised me how sloooow everything goes. I'm so glad I went indie. My books are out now (and even making me a little money!), when I'm sure it would have been 2012 or later (if I was lucky enough to sell them to a publisher) if I'd gone the traditional route.

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  34. Lindsay, yeah it's painfully slow. That's one of the aspects of epublishing that's so appealing--so much faster!

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