Sunday, 26 August 2012

Publishing Migraine!

There are times in a person's life when unusual things happen. Sometimes they only result in giving you one massive migraine! Such has been my week.

Since my last post, regarding my dilemma as to whether I should self-publish or go traditional, things have developed in the most extraordinary way.
Firstly, the well-known publishing consultant who was happy to charge me $1800 for editing and manuscript assessment, is now willing to lower her price to $1000. On top of that, she'd like to send my manuscript - together with her proposal - to forty US publishers, all for the same price! Since I don't have a chance of being published in my own country (Australia) as my manuscript is over 100,000 words, she thinks I have a much better chance in the States.

I was flabbergasted - for want of a better word - that she's willing to do that for me. Yes, I know she's gaining me as a client and it's all business, but does that mean she has faith in my book? Is this a good deal, and dare I trust her with my baby - my manuscript?

Secondly, I entered my book into a competition sponsored by the RWA (Romance Writers of Australia) but run by an English Publishing company. They're looking for 'The Next Best Australian Author."
Now, the amazing thing is, their guidelines specify it has to be work of fiction, set in Australia and one of the voices must be from the male protagonist's POV.
It's as if this competition was made specifically for me!
So, I sent in my synopsis and author bio. Within a few days, their asking for my entire manuscript. I'm on the short list!
Once again, I'm flabbergasted.

Now, I have wait till December for the winner to be announced.

In the meanwhile, what about the manuscript edit and those forty US publishers? What if one of them offers me a publishing deal before then? And what about CS? It's supposed to be released as an ebook on Kindle by September. Do I put them on hold?

I distinctly feel a migraine coming on!

If anyone has any brilliant ideas, please let me know.


Donya Lynne said...

First of all, congratulations on the contest! :) Way to go!

As to your self-pub or publisher dilemma: I am wary of anyone wanting to charge you to do this work. I live in the States, so my perspective will be much different than yours, as I don't know how things work in Australia, but I have not paid anyone other than my cover artist and my assistant to do anything with my manuscripts. I self-publish, and I'm VERY happy with the results, which are better than if I had gone through a publisher. You can find good editors for much less, and you can learn how to market your books to publishers by purchasing a Writer's Market book, thus saving you hundreds of dollars. I would be interested to know which US publishers she would solicit for your book and how she plans on doing that, because 1) if she approaches e-publishers, that's something you can do; 2) if she approaches the wrong publishers who either aren't taking submissions right now or who don't print your genres, that's a waste of your time; 3) Most US publishers only take submissions from agents. If she's not an agent, your manuscript won't even make it past the door; 4) Each publisher requires submissions be made in precise ways. She will need to know how each publisher receives them and prepare each submission package to their specifications (some want synopses; some want first chapters only; some want both; some want just a letter; etc.). As the author, you would have to work closely with her to prepare those submission packages.

If you self-publish, you don't have to worry about all that right now, still gain valuable publishing experience and credentials through contests, and save your money.

I hope that helps. Good luck! :)

Donya Lynne said...

First of all, congratulations on the contest! That's awesome!

Now, about your other question/dilemma. I would be wary of anyone wanting to charge you that much money, especially since she lowered the price. This sounds a bit like a scam to me. If her services are worth $1800, then she wouldn't lower her fee to $1000 but still offer to do more for you.

I live in the States, so my POV will be how I learned things here. I'm not sure how things work in Australia. My questions to this person would be: Which US publishers will you be approaching? How will you approach them? Why? Are you an agent?

You don't want her simply approaching e-publishers, because that's something you can do for free...and it sounds like you want print publishers. Also, if she's not an agent, your manuscript won't make it past the door. Most US publishers only accept submissions from agents, not authors. What's more, each publisher has specific requirements for how they accept submissions. Some want chapters, others want synopses, still others want both, others want something else. She would need to work closely with you to prepare each submission, because you don't want her writing your synopses, etc.

If you self publish, you will gain a lot of industry experience, can beef up your credentials with contests, and can use that to catch the eye of an agent or publisher over time.

I'll leave you with this: I've studied pretty extensively how to get published through traditional means, and one of the things I've heard more than once is that a credible agent or representative won't make you pay up front for their services. They earn a percentage after your book gets published, which is why agents only take on clients they think have potential to sell.

Good luck!

Tima Maria said...

Hi Donya,
Thanks for those insightful comments. You've certainly given me food for thought! There are so many options theses days, it creates more anxiety trying to make the right decision. The editor in question is head of a well-known publishing consultancy here, with important contacts. That's why she's so expensive.
I'll definitely be finding out the names of those US publishers and checking them out for myself before signing anything. At the moment I want to see how far I go in this competition. If I don't win, then I'll probably self-publish. It was my original aim, after all. I have a great cover artist I don't want to lose, and I've already asked her to create another fantastic image for my second up-coming book.
I'm really tempted to find another editor, through the NSW Writers Centre and save myself a lot of money.
Thanks, Donya, and all the best to you too.

Diane said...

Dear Tima,
I have been away (I am still away), and I only just now caught up with your blog. Regarding the American publishers, I tend to feel the same as Donya. How well do you know this woman? After all, she may feel that $1000 is better than nothing when you knocked back the $1800 'deal'. As I said before, book publication is all about making money - oftentimes for all the wrong people.Whatever happens to your book, the woman will still her $1000.

Being short-listed for the English book competition is great, and we will keep our fingers crossed. I assume that there are no strings (with hidden costs) in this particular scenario? I do, however, appreciate your dilemma regarding the English competition, the American publishers and CS.

As long as you still own the copyright, then I can't see the problem with you going ahead with CS while waiting for the results of the competition. Perhaps you need to run your intentions past the competition committee?


Tima Maria said...

Hi Dianne,

Thanks for the concern. The publishing consultant I'm referring to is very well known and has an excellent reputation. She's charging for editing my manuscript and then sending it on to various US publishers with her recommendation.
As for the UK publisher, they're 'Choclit' and they too have a good reputation. But, as you say, while I'm waiting for the result, I'm still going ahead with CS.