Login   Sign Up 


  • Publishing
    by Noblegoldies at 17:49 on 12 July 2007
    Hello everybody, I have just found your forum whilst exploring the internet for help with publishing work. I have just bred my Golden Retriever Brady for the last time and have kept a diary from start to finish. I have changed the concept by writing it through the eyes of Brady. I have tried to make it light hearted, entertaining and funny and people who have read snippets have found it hilarious. As i have nearly finished I'm not sure what the next step is. CAN ANYBODY HELP?

    Joules and Brady
  • Re: Publishing
    by Lammi at 10:55 on 13 July 2007
    Is it nearly finished as in you're near to the last page, or as in, you've polished it to within an inch of its life? How about posting some here to get some critical response?

    Welcome to the site, btw!

  • Re: Publishing
    by EmmaD at 12:42 on 13 July 2007
    Hi, Joules, and welcome to WW.

    As Kate says, have you nearly finished writing the first draft, or have you revised and polished it and revised it and changed your mind and polished it again? Without wanting to sound too depressing, it's very hard to get a first book published, and it needs to be in the best possible shape before you send it out into the world to try to find a publisher.

    Once it is, there are three possible routes:

    1) Find an agent. They know the market, know which publishers are likely to be interested, and when they submit will be more seriously read. If you're offered a deal they'll get you a better one, and go on being your interface between you and the booktrade. The downside is that it's very hard to get an agent to take your book on.

    2) Find a publisher yourself. This is even harder - many of the major publishers no longer take direct submissions, but only from agents. Small publishers, perhaps local ones, may be interested, but you need to do your research to find out which ones are worth trying: no one deals in every sort of book, even when they do say 'general'. The chances of your being offered a big advance are extremely small, and it can take ages to get a decision (though it drives them nuts if you keep chasing!)

    3) Self-publishing. This is where you do everything to do with publishing a book, as well as having writen it: editing, production, publicity, marketing, warehousing and distribution, sales, and so on. Traditionally that meant grappling with printers and typesetters and then warehousing several thousand copies in your back bedroom, before schlepping round bookshops to try to persuade them to stock it. There are honest companies who will help you with doing these things, not to be confused with vanity/subsidy publishers (see below). These days, though, with Print-on-demand technology and Amazon, you can upload your files online, and the books are printed and dispatched as you want them. (The upside is that you don't have to fork out thousands straight away. The downside is that the copies come out pretty expensive, and aren't always up to the standard of conventional printing.) I think most self-publishers agree that you don't make money, and it's very hard work. It helps if you're a natural salesperson and would enjoy doing it all yourself as a hobby, just for the pleasure of knowing a few hundred people are reading your book...

    The two traps to avoid at all costs are:

    1) Scam agents. Proper agents make their money by taking commission when they sell your book. Any agent asking for any fee before that is a villain. So is any agent who won't tell you what deals they've done in the last few months so that you can check the books exist. Any agent who offers to do editorial work (or suggests a 'sister company' who'll do it) for a fee is also to be avoided: real agents do that work for free, and recoup their costs when it sells.

    2) Vanity/subsidy publishers ask you for lots of money to 'publish' your book. Real publishers pay you, not the other way round, and you'll see their books in bookshops, on Amazon, and in review pages. Vanity publishers, on the other hand, promise great things they can't actually deliver: reviews, getting the book into bookshops. Often their productions standards are pretty low, too, and you'll have to buy copies from them, whereas you get 10-20 free copies from a conventional publisher.

    The thing these two kinds of villain have in common is that they're full of lavish and undiscriminating praise for your book, they pander to the vanity we all have that we've written something wonderful and the world just isn't recognising it, they explain carefully why just a little of your money will overcome all obstacles... Real publishers and agents, by contrast, will be encouraging and enthusiastic about your book, but also realistic how to improve it, and about what can and can't be done to sell it. Real printers will charge you an honest price for producing a decent book, and no more.

    The two bibles for getting-published info are The Writer's and Artist's Yearbook (known as WAAYB to its friends) and The Writer's Handbook. They both also have excellent articles on how to prepare your work, research where to send it (and where not to) and submit it in the accepted form.

    And do search WriteWords. There's tons of information in the forum archives, plus the directory, which has feedback from members. There's a wealth of experience, too, so just shout if you want to call on it!

  • Re: Publishing
    by Noblegoldies at 13:18 on 13 July 2007
    Thanks Kate and Emma for your responses. A few more diary entries and the basis of the book will be finished althou it will need to be edited etc. Wow emma what you detailed gives me alot to think about, i thought it would be tough going but i'm wondering now if the writing is the easiest bit!! The puppies and all the hard work there will be over this week end, so i can concentrate on all the "tweeking", read the books you advised and search every nuck and cranny of this writeword site. I will try and download, as you suggest kate, some of the rough copy to see what you think, I appreciate your responses thank you

  • Re: Publishing
    by debac at 13:31 on 13 July 2007
    Joules, the best thing to do if you want feedback on your book is to join one of the WriteWords groups. Pick the orange tab at the top which says Groups, if you haven't found it already, and browse to find the most suitable, then open and take a look, and if you like the look of it apply to join. Sorry if you know all this already.

    Once you're a member of a group you can upload work for that group and you're much more likely to get a response of feedback than if you're not in a group, in which case you're quite unlikely to get feedback. It's also fun and companionable being in a group.



    Maybe look at the groups called General Non-Fiction, Memoirs, and Humour/Comedy. Others may have better suggestions about the right group for you.
  • Re: Publishing
    by Noblegoldies at 13:43 on 13 July 2007
    Thanks Deb,

    Just looking on Amazon at the 2 books that Emma advised. The recommendations seem to be steering towards the WAAYB. Think i will try and get to a bookshop so i can look over them myself.

    I will certainly give it some thought about joining a group, at the moment i am doing the month free trial.

  • Re: Publishing
    by NMott at 23:27 on 13 July 2007
    In case no-one's mentioned it above, you might consider splitting it up into articles and submitting it to the specialist dog magazines. I met someone who has a lot of her stories about her dogs published that way.

    - NaomiM
  • Re: Publishing
    by EmmaD at 11:01 on 14 July 2007
    No, I hadn't thought of that - great idea, Naomi.

  • Re: Publishing
    by Dee at 11:54 on 14 July 2007
    Joules, welcome to WW.

    You’ve had lots of good advice already, so all I can add is to repeat the suggestion to post some of your writing on here. It’s a sad fact that, in general, family and friends are not your best critics. You want honest unbiased advice from fellow writers, and there are plenty of members here with lots of experience of giving good feedback.

    Incidentally, the 2008 edition of WAAYB is due out at the beginning of August, so it would be worth hanging on for that.

    Good luck

    ps - if you need any help finding your way round the site, give Nik Perring or me a shout - we're here to help.
  • Re: Publishing
    by EmmaD at 12:15 on 14 July 2007
    I notice the 2008 edition of WAAYB is said to have a code inside each copy which gives access to the website, which is a great idea, and makes it well worth waiting till August, as Dee suggests. It and Writers Handbook are much the best complete listings, but inevitably they go out of date. Either way, it's always best to check current info on the website of anywhere you're planning to submit.

  • Re: Publishing
    by Noblegoldies at 11:37 on 15 July 2007
    Wow guys,

    Thanks for all your info and advice, am very gradteful.

    I like the idea of getting intouch with doggy mags naomi, would you advise speaking to them or writing.

    I agree that letting family and friends read my manuscript is not in my best interests and so i will download some of it here for your perusal as you guys obviously seem to know what your talking about.

    I had noticed on amazon that there was an 2008 WAAYB so yes i will wait until Aug to get hold of a copy.

    The other thing is, if a publisher is interested do they edit your works etc as my punctuation sucks!!!! if i get an idea in my head i just have to write quickly before it vanishes!!!

  • Re: Publishing
    by EmmaD at 12:17 on 15 July 2007
    If you get a publishing contract your work should be copy-edited, when punctuation and spelling and all sorts of other things are checked and sorted out. But in order to get that contract, it is important that your work looks its best. For one thing, punctuation that's really non-standard means that your work won't be read the way you want it to be. For another, fairly or unfairly, a manuscript littered with mistakes of spelling or punctuation does make agents and editors think the writer hasn't bothered to get the dull, necessary things right, and they're not interested in writers who (they think) can't be bothered with the basics.

    if i get an idea in my head i just have to write quickly before it vanishes!!!

    Of course: for many writers things worrying about correctnesses that don't come naturally gets in the way of pinning down what they want to say. Sorting out the punctuation comes with the next stage of revising. Eats, Shoots and Leaves is good on such things, and WW is a mine of help and advice.

  • Re: Publishing
    by NMott at 12:46 on 15 July 2007
    I like the idea of getting intouch with doggy mags naomi, would you advise speaking to them or writing.

    See if they have a website, in which case they wil probably have a page with their submission guidelines. Often they have submission guidelines printed in the magazine. If you can't find them by either route, then I would advise phoning. Make sure that if they specify a word count you don't exceed that - they are limited by page size and are more likely to reject it out right than edit it down for you.

    The other thing is, if a publisher is interested do they edit your works etc as my punctuation sucks!!!!

    Others could probably answer this better than me - like Jem, who has her stories published in womans magazines. But it is worth asking the magazine if you phone (or email) their submissions department/features editor. If you have to pay someone to proof-read it before submitting, you would probably end up out of pocket.

    - NaomiM
  • Re: Publishing
    by Dee at 12:58 on 15 July 2007
    Joules, as Emma says, a publisher will proof-read your ms, but it’s considered unprofessional to submit something you know needs editing. Punctuation is part of writing, just as much as words are. If you're not sure how to use it – learn! Eats, Shoots and Leaves is a very readable introduction, but one of the best ways to learn is to read as much as you can and study how other writers use punctuation.

    i just have to write quickly before it vanishes!!!

    Most of us do that. But then we go back later and edit – restructure the sentences, choose more appropriate words, check the spelling, grammar, punctuation… there’s a lot of work involved after you’ve got the initial idea down on paper.