Author Topic: Publishing: myth or fact?  (Read 1071 times)

Offline Jezzica85

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 251
Publishing: myth or fact?
« on: July 09, 2007, 01:51:53 AM »
Hi everybody,
Something I've always been curious about when it comes to publishing books, it seems like there are two schools of thought on almost every publishing "must do" and "must don't." I've been dreaming of publishing my work forever, and even though I'm nowhere near done with my best manuscript yet, I'd kind of like to know, just on a general basis, what I should expect if I finally decide to jump in and try writing as a second career (I'm in college for bioinformatics right now, and that's what I really want to do, but I LOVE writing, and I think it would be great to see something come out of my years of labor).

So, here's what I've heard. Please tell me--are all these things fact or myth?
1.   You have no chance of being published if you don't get an agent.

2.   Agents cost a lot of money, at least $500, and publishing costs even more than that.

3.   It takes at least a year for you to ever see your work in print, even if you get accepted by a publisher.

4.   First-time writers have almost no chance unless their stories are brilliant.

5.   Writing one book means you have to enter into a contact, writing a certain number of other books in a specified time frame. So, as soon as you're published, writing becomes your job and you have to work by other people's schedules.

6.    When you get published, you sign all your rights away, and you don't even own your own work anymore.

7.    It's almost impossible to find a reputable agent or publisher as a first-time writer.

8.    To even be considered for publication, a manuscript has to have a synopsis of a certain length and references.

9.    No matter how good the story, if a publisher thinks it won't sell, it won't accept the manuscript.

10.   You run the risk of having someone steal your work by going through the traditional publishing route.

Again, these are all things that I've heard. I have no idea if they're all true, all baloney, or somewhere in the middle. Any clarification on this would be great!

Thank you!
Jezzica85
I always thought a fictional character was just that--completely your imagination. Now, I know better. Think about this--your most treasured characters, whether you realize it or not, are everything you dream for yourself. That's the real beauty of writing.

Offline Hmmm

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 228
  • Visual depiction of writer's block.
Re: Publishing: myth or fact?
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2007, 02:14:16 AM »
Quote
1.   You have no chance of being published if you don't get an agent.

No, because you can research publishers and find out whether they publish the kind of work that you've written, whether they specialise in that area, and contact them to ask them about it as well.

Quote
2.   Agents cost a lot of money, at least $500, and publishing costs even more than that.

No, not necessarily. A lot of agents will read and comment before deciding whether to represent you for no charge. Agents, correct me if I am wrong published novelists here who have an agent, take a cut of your commission.

Publishing costs a lot of money, but it wouldn't be you paying that. It's the publisher and all the work that goes into preparing a book for sale, not to mention the marketing and probably a bit of, how can I put this, I'll pay you if you review this in (insert tabloid). Who knows, but publishing can cost a lot.

Then again not necessarily, even if you self published. Take a look at lulu.com and booksurgepublishing.com.

Quote
3.   It takes at least a year for you to ever see your work in print, even if you get accepted by a publisher.

I've heard that one too. This may only be true for fiction. In computing and technology where things move really fast, it's the opposite. You're books will be on the shelves "yesterday." I don't know the answer to this question generally. I've heard you can expect to wait 12 to 18 months between the time you submit a manuscript and see your book in the bookshops.

Quote
4.   First-time writers have almost no chance unless their stories are brilliant.

No. I am living proof. My fiction wasn't brilliant at all and it was published in a newspaper when I was 14 years old. They expected younger writers and they didn't expect brilliance; it was a feature in the paper by young teenagers for young teenagers.

Look for these kinds of things, also look for places where you may be published without payment. It's good practice and you can get a lot of feedback.

Quote
5.   Writing one book means you have to enter into a contact, writing a certain number of other books in a specified time frame. So, as soon as you're published, writing becomes your job and you have to work by other people's schedules.

I can't answer that... I think, and I am only speculating here, that if the publisher likes your work they will offer you a contract, and it's up to you whether you accept it or reject it.

Quote
6.    When you get published, you sign all your rights away, and you don't even own your own work anymore.

Copyright reverts back to you after a certain period of time. But not all publishers are the same and you can enter into a contract, that is, you make up your own law essentially (showing myself as a former law student!) and copyright can remain with you or not, or revert back to you sooner than standard copyright law.

Quote
7.    It's almost impossible to find a reputable agent or publisher as a first-time writer.

Maybe. Depends on how good your research skills are.

Quote
8.    To even be considered for publication, a manuscript has to have a synopsis of a certain length and references.

Probably, but references? I doubt references. But a synopsis, of a certain length (different publishers will want synopses of different lengths) probably. You should ask them.

Quote
9.    No matter how good the story, if a publisher thinks it won't sell, it won't accept the manuscript.

Probably. Bottom line. Publishing is a business like any other.

Quote
10.   You run the risk of having someone steal your work by going through the traditional publishing route.

I've never heard of this. Maybe you do run the risk of that all the time. But I can't see how someone could easily steal your work and publish it as their own.

Quote
Again, these are all things that I've heard. I have no idea if they're all true, all baloney, or somewhere in the middle. Any clarification on this would be great!

Me neither! I could see a few things in there, so undoubtedly published writers will correct me if I'm wrong.

From my limited experience, being a journalist and writer (published), but not a published novelist.
The complete works of George Orwell; books, essays, biography and more: george-orwell.org.

Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media. (Search Google and find the Wikipedia entry, and grab the DVD)