Monday, September 19, 2011

All My Brain Learning - For Your Enjoyment


I created a spreadsheet of places to submit my would-be novel to recently. I put all the big publishing houses on there and several mid-sized houses along with a couple of small ones. I didn’t go overboard, I just put up a dozen or so. Putting them all together like that, complete with notes that indicate their submission guidelines made for interesting reading. I learned a few things that way.

·         Several big houses are open to direct submissions

Tor is famous for it, but others that I thought requested agented submissions only a few years ago said no such thing now. I wonder if a lot of new talent is forgoing traditional publishing in hopes of making a name for themselves doing it on their own? Those traditional publishers are making it a bit easier perhaps?

·         No one likes simultaneous submissions.

That one confuses me, as I thought it was more or less accepted that when you submitted a novel to a house that you would have it at other places as well. Again, I wonder if this is the publisher trying to prevent a bidding war, those rare occasions when an agent makes a first sale for an author sometimes that novel will have received offers from numerous houses, and really drive that advance way up – I don’t think they want to do that. I guess it’s the price you pay for dealing with a large corporation.

·         Some of them are the same people.

Anyone who spends more than a few minutes looking at imprints of large houses knows this. But what I didn’t expect to see is imprints for the same parent company that appear to be covering the exact same genre… what gives? Look at DAW and ACE for example. Different editors, different submission guidelines, same address, same market. Weird.

·         Some places still demand hard copy submissions.

Seriously. Print and send. I can think only that they believe it will dissuade people who aren’t serious, I guess. I wanted to save money the last time I printed out a hard copy of my novel to do an editing pass so I went to Staples to have them do it… they charged $30. I told them nevermind. I’ll do it myself.

I could pay $7 and send it to Lulu or something and get my copy that way. Complete with a cool cover. Regardless, it’s stupid to insist on getting a hard copy. When I’m waffling on what I want to do with my stuff, making me jump through all these submission hoops gets tiring, especially if I can see no logic in it.

But I do have options, I may submit first to the places that have the simplest submission guidelines… then wait, and wait, and wait. Until finally, after another six months or so I get another rejection… You know, it could take years to make the rounds that way.

So I’ve been formulating a plan. I have two universes I will play in. One will be a universe set aside for attempts at traditional publishing and the second will be reserved for my self-publishing efforts. I’ll try to put my best foot forward for both, but still keep them separate.

I’ll let you know how that goes.

12 comments:

Laila Knight said...

Oh, I don't envy you the submission process at all. And how can they expect us to not submit to more than one agency? They take long enough to reply. We'd be at it forever. I submitted in paper when I first started...so glad for electronic submissions though. Good luck. :)

Rogue Mutt said...

Yeah I never get the "simultaneous submissions" thing. How are they going to know? Are they going to call every other publisher and ask if they got this manuscript in? First come, first serve is what I say. And those publishers who require paper are idiots. It's not like Email is expensive--it's FREE through Hotmail or Yahoo or Gmail! But maybe they're so cheap they'd rather you spend $10 to print it than them, though they get a bulk discount on buying paper I'm sure. In the end it's just a confusing labyrinth designed to confound us all.

kimmullican said...

Birds of a feather - these people do talk to one another and socialize. They will find out, and I've read the horror stories.

Kudos to you for making a run at traditional publishing. I didn't even bother trying this time...but I'm a control freak and being in control of my own destiny works for me. But one published novel won't do, you need to have back list titles and such. Traditional Publishing Houses know how to market effectively, but they only do it if they think you'll sell a shit load of books.

Good luck my friend!

Kim Mullican said...

@Rogue - dude, you have a crap load of blogs - if I were going to follow one, which would you recommend?

Tonja said...

Good luck. Sounds like you have a good plan.

Munk said...

Great analysis. Thanks for describing your experiences.

Huntress said...

Great post! Sometimes I think the fantasy I write is more akin to reality than this world of publishing.

Rogue Mutt said...

@Kim, my main blog is my Wordpress blog: http://roguemutt.wordpress.com

The Blogger ones I use to post stories for editing and posterity. The complete list of those is on the Rogue Mutt Archives at: http://roguemuttarchives.blogspot.com

Michael Offutt said...

Thanks for doing the hard work and pointing these out Rusty.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hey Rusty! Send to multiple places. No simultaneous submissions is more of a guideline than a rule...

Danette said...

The gods of publishing know all and see all. They have all the cards and we are just the pawns who go about meagerly begging for crumbs from their tables. It's so annoying (understatement or sarcasm- depending on my mood). I send stuff in, wait months for an answer and then, after all that time it comes back with no explanation no comment- just thanks but no thanks. I've wasted a year and a half but what else can you do? Self-publishing is not for me I don't think...

Andrew said...

Of course, some of the big publishers won't even look at you if you've done any self-publishing. I think it makes them consider you a risk. After all, if Rowling can venture into self-publishing, what's to stop eveyone else from doing it?