Time to start pitching the novel!

I’m feeling ready, like a runner who’s trained for months for a marathon. It’s time to put out my feelers and start pitching my novel to publishers and agents.

Photo courtesy flickr user David Paul Ohmer.
Photo courtesy flickr user David Paul Ohmer.

I have some rewrites on the horizon from the feedback I get from beta readers but those will happen fairly quickly, I think. Also, chances are high that even with a successful pitch, I’ll still get a list of things that require rewrites. I’m cool with that.

I hear some of your questions, “but Nathan, why would you submit to agents or publishers when you could self publish and retain control of your work?” I hear you, dear reader, I do. And over the last couple of years of reading opinions on blogs, twitter, reddit and news sites, my answer is this: while publishers have become somewhat diminished by the rise of self publishing they are still behemoths in the market place. Yes there are self pub success stories like Hugh Howey out there, but I believe that he represents the grazing edge of a very keen blade. His success is astonishing and invigorating. It’s also enormously unique to him being at the right place at the right time with the perfect content. While I may get that lucky (and I’m not diminishing his talent by saying that), expecting to duplicate his performance would be foolish on my part.

Undoubtedly, self publishing is a rising star in the industry. People are finding lots of success without the help of agents or publishers. There may come a moment in the near future, after I’ve collected enough rejections to sink my canoe when I’ll decide to go ahead and release my novel as a self pub. But I want to give the traditional way a shot before I do.

Some of the best success stories that I hear about are from those folks who are using the hybrid model of publishing right now. This is the direction I will likely try to take, where I release some things on my own and some things through a publisher. In my head, this approach just makes the most sense.

What are your thoughts? Are you getting ready to pitch? Have you foresworn traditional publishers? Am I way off base?

UK’s Profile Books publisher Andrew Franklin craps on self-pub

This is my first time reading about independent publisher Andrew Franklin of the UK-based Profile Books, and boy does he sound like a treat to work with. In a recent publisher’s conference he was quoted as saying,

“The overwhelming majority [of self-published books] are terrible—unutterable rubbish,” Franklin said. “They don’t enhance anything in the world.”

He went on to say,

“these books come out and are met with a deathly silence, so the principal experience of self-publishing is one of disappointment.”

Considering that this guy also heads up an organization called the Independent Alliance, which represents a number of indie publisher, it doesn’t seem like a very good group to associate with if your aspirations are to be heard or understood as an independent writer.

Morning Cuppa – 04/25/13 – Wikipedia and women novelists! Literary agents! Happy birthday Juliette!

Today is my partner, Juliette’s birthday, happy 34 baby!

  • Looks like there’s been a shit storm on Wikipedia as some of the site’s editors have made the interesting choice of removing women from the American Novelists page to a subpage of American Women Novelists. The reasoning is that the original page was getting too crowded and they were trying to place authors in subpages where possible. Then someone had the genius idea to remove all the women, leaving an American Novelists page that is only populated by men. The linked Guardian article says that Wikipedia’s volunteer editors have begun moving them back today.
  • In case you weren’t aware, I’m no expert on the field of publishing. I work in one quadrant of it, far away from the novels and authors that I usually discuss here. A lot of my posts here are sharing and documenting for myself what the themes in the industry seem to be so that when that magical day comes when I feel confident enough to let my books out into the wild, I’ll have some idea of the shape of things. So here’s a counterpoint from Will Weaver on Huffington about why agents are still a necessary thing. (via Passive Voice)
  • Forbes asks the question, are self-pub authors control freaks?

Morning Cuppa – 04/21/13 – Hemlock Grove! Jose Canseco! Deadbeat publishers!

This weekend I began reading Brian Jacques’ Redwall, the novel that launched his epic fantasy series involving mice, rats, badgers and other sorts of small woodland creatures. I’ve never read any of his books before but after slogging through a couple of none-too-inspired books recently, it’s refreshing to be back reading an author who actually enjoys the subjects of his book.

  • Have you watched any of Netflix’s new series Hemlock Grove? I still haven’t found the time but it’s starting to sound like the initial reviews may be proving out. Lauren Davis over on io9 says that, “in fact, it’s sometimes downright boring.” I didn’t read the full spoiler-filled review but it’s already got me wishing that it had come together better.
  • Dean Wesley-Smith is documenting his day to day ghost writing of a novel. It’s a fun look into someone’s novel writing process in general. When I see that he wrote 7600 words in his first day, it’s a little stunning, but hey this is his full time gig.
  • Amy Chavez details 10 points that may indicate you’re being taken for a ride by your publisher. (via Passive Voice)

    8. They shun Amazon sales because they don’t make as much money as they do selling the book on their own website, where they are charging US$11.00 for domestic shipping on a 220-page, 10.4 oz book.

    9. They say it is not in their “business model” to get your book into major bookstores. (See numbers three and eight.)

    10. They eventually admit that they did not get your book reviewed by any major reviewers, including Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal.

    Her conclusion after the affair: “Next time, I’ll self-publish.”
    This sort of experience really begs the question, are traditional publishers digging their own graves?

It wouldn’t be Sunday without some funnies:

Morning Cuppa – 03/22/13 – PAX! Piracy! Publishing!

A glorious Friday to all of you, hope that you’re gearing up for a rewarding weekend, whatever that means for you.

  • As I may have mentioned yesterday, I’m a bit jelly that my buds are currently PAX-ing it up without me in Boston right now. Thankfully, I can catch a vid stream of all the events and check out the line up via Twitch!
  • Simon & Schuster will share their stats on internet piracy with their agents and authors now. I think it’d be hard to quantify true numbers, but they state that they will, “provide information about the number of infringements identified and takedown notices sent to infringing sites, success rates in removing infringements, the types of sites where infringement is occurring, the specific urls and geographic distribution of sites where unauthorized copies are offered and more.”
  • Passive Voice has an excerpt about self publishing and how the tables have turned and the industry is now being lead by cool new indie authors who are making their own rules.