Author Topic: Algonquin Books - anyone have experience with them?  (Read 3224 times)

Offline n.o. yousman

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 55
Algonquin Books - anyone have experience with them?
« on: July 18, 2014, 03:35:05 PM »
a couple months back, i submitted the first 15-20 pages of my novel to Algonquin Books and they replied back that they would like to see the whole manuscript, so i've been getting it ready.

i've checked them out thoroughly - their best-known book they published was "Water For Elephants" that came out back in 2006 and was then adapted into a Reese Witherspoon/Robert Pattinson romance flick.

i was just wondering if anyone else on here has experience with them and what kind of offers they make if they decide to publish?

hillwalker3000

  • Guest
Re: Algonquin Books - anyone have experience with them?
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2014, 06:18:19 PM »
I'd suggest you not look a gift horse in the mouth. If their pedigree is as good as you make out ('Water for Elephants' - wow) be grateful they showed an interest in your work and let fortune take its course.

H3K

Offline n.o. yousman

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 55
Re: Algonquin Books - anyone have experience with them?
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2014, 10:26:31 PM »
thanks, hillwalker. i'm definitely moving forward with them no matter what - just printed off the full manuscript today to get ready for sending. but i was hoping to find someone else who'd had experience with them in the past and could give me a "sneak peek" to what kind of offers they make.

Wolfe

  • Guest
Re: Algonquin Books - anyone have experience with them?
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2014, 03:43:23 PM »
Workman Publishing Company owns Algonquin Books. Neither is part of the Big Five in publishing. They're an independent press.

If you don't know what that means, I'll explain. Literary agents try to sell manuscripts to editors in the big houses and their imprints. If that fails, it's the end for most novels. Few agents will sell to or woo editors at small or independent presses.

The payout for author and agent is small outside the Big Five. Often, too small for the effort. Also, the promotion is just as small. Hopefuls that sell to small or independent presses must do their own promotion. And pray word-of-mouth, as with Gruen's Water for Elephants, will lead to bigger benefits. That's not to say small or independent presses are bad, but you won't see the revenue or advances a big house can offer.

On top of all that, it appears you've shopped your manuscript or pages without an agent. Right now, you're putting the dream before the reality. But let's say the acquisition editors love your work.

Their job will be to pay you as little as possible so the company earns most of the profits. And, unless you know publishing rights like an agent, those editors will try to take you for a ride should they offer a contract.

That's the business for you.

The amount you could get is as little as $100 or as much as $5000, but don't expect the latter. In publishing, authors don't like to talk about their checks. But, we tell hopefuls not to quit their day job for a reason.

Still, let me give you hope. You may hit the jackpot and reap the rewards with royalties. Even sell the movie rights. On that note, Gruen's agent sold two books earlier. Her original publisher rejected Water. So, despite everything, the agent wooed Algonquin Books anyway.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Good luck with your manuscript.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2014, 07:18:51 PM by Wolfe »

Jo Bannister

  • Guest
Re: Algonquin Books - anyone have experience with them?
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2014, 11:44:26 AM »
Good advice from H3k and Wolfe both.  Don't expect to retire on the profits, however good the book.  It does happen...but not very often.

On the other hand, if as I imagine you're fairly new to the business, you're probably not expecting to make a killing.  You're hoping to get your foot in the door.  You want to see something you've written in print, with a legitimate publisher, because there's always the possibility that this may lead on to better things.  To build up a track record, first you have to get onto the track.

So maybe the scale of any offer isn't the most important thing.  If they're willing to publish you, and have enough faith in the book to offer to give you money for it rather than the other way round, I'd jump at it.  Think of it as a bit of a loss leader - if this one does OK, earns out and leaves the publishers with a small profit, you can be a bit tougher next time round.

The only thing I would suggest is to hold out for a percentage payment rather than a flat-rate offer.  That way, if by any chance the thing goes global, you're going to hold a piece of the action.  However small your percentage is, the bigger the action, the bigger the payout.  Don't swap that possibility, however remote, for what might look like a nice little cheque in return for all your rights.

Anyway, best of luck.


Offline n.o. yousman

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 55
Re: Algonquin Books - anyone have experience with them?
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2014, 02:38:16 PM »
thanks for the feedback.

this sounds consistent with everything else i've researched. the only reason i'm shopping without an agent is because this opportunity came up, and honestly, i didn't expect anything to come of it without an agent. i've queried a lot of agents and haven't been accepted yet (poor me). and let's face it, Algonquin can still reject the full manuscript once they read through it.

i don't expect a big pay out at all or plan on quitting the day job. and i'm fully prepared to do my own marketing and even have a marketing plan written up in the event that they do publish.

i kind of like the idea of publishing with an indie house first - makes me feel like more of a hipster than what i am, i guess.

thanks for the input and advice - very much appreciated.

Offline Gyppo

  • Esteemed Contributor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 72244
  • I've been writing ever since I realised I could.
Re: Algonquin Books - anyone have experience with them?
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2014, 04:29:14 PM »
I wish you well with your book.  But may I ask why don't you use the shift lock key? 

It isn't a stylistic choice, whatever some pretentious souls may tell you.

Gyppo
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

Offline n.o. yousman

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 55
Re: Algonquin Books - anyone have experience with them?
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2014, 10:23:27 AM »
just because i've written this way for years when i write personal items. when i write-write, i use actual, real-life capitals. sometimes i even punctuate correctly too. sometimes.

Jo Bannister

  • Guest
Re: Algonquin Books - anyone have experience with them?
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2014, 02:10:19 PM »
What a pity you don't consider the readers (and writers) here worthy of your best work.

Wolfe

  • Guest
Re: Algonquin Books - anyone have experience with them?
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2014, 02:20:19 PM »
What a pity you don't consider the readers (and writers) here worthy of your best work.

Not to derail, but Jo is correct. Please note I took a great deal of time to write, edit, and tighten my response. It would be very respectful to your peers here, your fellow writers, if you also gave as much effort too.

It also trains your mind to always give your best whenever you write. Here, there, or anywhere.

Just something to consider.

Offline n.o. yousman

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 55
Re: Algonquin Books - anyone have experience with them?
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2014, 04:06:56 PM »
consider it considered. i am, after all, still new to this forum, but i've already been impressed with the amount of knowledge and skill present, especially from those of you who have been around for a while. i certainly didn't intend to imply i don't consider those here worthy of my best writing. that would be silly, of course. but i will admit i tend to think less about what i'm saying/how i say it in an email or comment than i do on a narrative page. either way, i hope i didn't offend, but if i did, i apologize. thanks for the constructive feedback - it has been very helpful.