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PUBLISHERS AND PERCEPTIONS


AVAILABLE IN HARDBACK PAPERBACK AND EBOOK . SIGNED COPIES AVAILABLE.

AVAILABLE IN HARDBACK PAPERBACK AND EBOOK . SIGNED COPIES AVAILABLE.

Do you bet? How much money would you put down on a 5000-1 chance of hitting paydirt? $1000? $5000? $50,000?

You’ve written a book and it took you perhaps a year to get the story down. You’ve done your best to edit it, (but you are a writer not an editor). Now you feel ready to submit it to publishers or publisher’s agents.

We’ll put aside the knock-backs. Rejection is going to be a part of your life from now on.

Then, one day you get THAT letter, that yahoo moment. You are going to get published, and what’s more, there is money mentioned. Three, four, even five 0’s. A publisher loved your book, and soon it will be on the bookshelves, featured in the New York Times, and the trade journals. You’ve got editors, maybe even a whole team of them just for you.

The advance is huge. Let’s imagine say, $50,000 and you are floating on air. They want you to do a promotional tour, staying at nice hotels, and having dinner with people you need to be seen hanging out with. You made it. You are an author, and every time you pass a bookstore you duck inside to touch and feel your book sitting alongside Stephen King and Dean Koontz.

You buy a nice car, put a deposit on a house, splash out on a few bottles of bubbly to share with your new friends. You are going to be rich. And famous!

With all the hustle and bustle and hype, you’ve sold 100,000 copies, but now your publisher is pushing you for the follow up book. He needs it fast to capitalise on your first monster success. Behind the scenes there is a veritable army of souls working their tails off just for you.

You spent a year on the first book, but the pressure is on. They want your next book in three months and you haven’t even sat down at the word processor yet. Too busy shaking hands and signing books, and waking up in strange hotels.

And then come the first tiny ‘suggestions’. The suggestions become pleas, the pleas become exhortations, and finally the exhortations become threats.

“But” you say, “ I’ve sold 100k copies. Sure, sales are falling off a bit, but I don’t have time to write!”

Fact is, a publisher took a gamble. Their ‘investment’ in you probably adds up to over $100k+ and sales haven’t paid all those wages. It’s on you now.

Your agent introduces you to a marketing guy, who introduces you to one or more ‘writers on demand’.

“Let’s be honest.” They say, through their shiny marketing smiles. You don’t really believe James Patterson has written 140 novels single-handed do you? It’s teamwork. Lots of the biggest name authors in the world don’t actually sit down and write every word! Don’t be so naïve! Think VC Andrews (she died long ago and still manages to put books out on the shelves). That’s not to mention Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler (whoops I just did!)

And that is the business of writing bulk best-sellers. Publishers call it co-operation or ‘contribution’. It’s a money business and the riches come to those who ‘co-operate’. You might just as well fit an earpiece to your head and phone it in like Patterson does, (or is that Clancy? I get mixed up these days. If I said I had just read the latest Grant Blackwood book, you might say ‘who?’ Oh I’m so sorry, I meant Tom Clancy, (or was that Clive Cussler?)

It’s no different with bloggers either. It’s a ‘write on demand’ world.

Just for information though, I write all my own blogs. I write all my own novels. But then, I’m not a corporate writer churning out books to fill up the airport bookshelves. I’m just a little novelist with a few books out. I really did write my latest novel myself. The Girl From Kosovo was never a shared (co-operative) job, and neither is the Butterfly Effect, due out as soon as I can get up to date with all the blogs I write for other people.

No one would ever buy the stuff I ghostwrite if I put MY name on it. For one, I’m a bloke who writes erotic fiction and romance for the chick lit crowd. (Doesn’t mean to say you haven’t read any.)

Celebrity books, and blogs promoting a person or a brand are perfectly acceptable in the busy lives of people in the public eye; that’s how we writers on demand make our daily bread. But if you are a writer struggling with your first (or second, or even third) novel, don’t worry, or feel inferior, or wonder why publishers keep rejecting you. Just look at the bestseller stacks in your local bookshop with new eyes. And NEVER feel bad that you may never have a bestseller.

Better to pay for the services of good editors, spend a few thousand if you have faith, or you are a bit of a gambler and go for a fair deal for services. (Beware the charlatans. It should NEVER cost you as much as you think it will. ) Subscribe to worthy digital publications like writersweekly, and learn the ropes of how to publish and make money doing it.

I could make a list of all the ‘service providers’ to avoid, because I know pretty much all of them by reputation. Best if I just say that there is one I know, from experience and reputation, that won’t rob you blind. If you self-publish, you’re not going to get that big advance, but neither are you going to have to pay it back. I’d rather spend a couple of thousand betting on myself. An individual, hard -working writer won’t make millions, not unless he or she gets VERY lucky and lands a movie deal or gets picked out of the pack by a publisher who can turn them into a corporation. Don’t get sucked in by publishers or perceptions.

AND if you do decide to go the self-publishing way, try Booklocker.

Authors note: Other than authors specifically mentioned no other authors mentioned here are, to the best of my knowledge, using ‘contributing’ authors. Mr King, and Mr Koontz are personal heroes. The author has NO AFFILIATION with, or agreements with Booklocker. This article was not commissioned by them, nor suggested by them.

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  1. July 12, 2013 at 7:00 am

    I loved this piece darling. Explains beautifully what’s happening to the world today. You write with your middle finger stuck up in the air…always! haha. That’s what I love about you most. And that bit about Stephen King and Dean Koontz…well my opinion is that Stevie boy is still on the up and up, dear constant reader…but I don’t think for one moment that Koontz doesn’t have help! I mean the man hasn’t changed his bio for 20 years, and his tone has changed lately…only in a subtle way but I can tell. I reckon he’s handed over the reins to a spectre or two…and if there was a 5000 to 1 bet on it – I’d put my entire week’s earnings from Copify on it!

    Just something to vent about: I got an email from ‘the new content delivery manager’ for Copify…that site I write for that earns me on average about $80 per week. Annie Gouk. Annie Gouk told me that I must NOT CAPITALISE MY HEADINGS. And I made a mistake by saying ‘their’ instead of there’…and when I went back to check..I had indeed said ‘their’ because their’ was the correct word. She told me to watch my spelling!!
    FUCK ME! I am so sick and tired of 20 something snotty nosed smart arsed kids with fancy titles telling me what to do. I HATE being rapped across the knuckles by someone fresh out of the womb who couldn’t write a 550 word article – (for $9.90) to save her fucking life!

    And now I have been asked by a guy I wrote some web copy for on his photography website to figure out why his mate at http://32degreesbuilding com.au doesn’t even rank anwhere on Google when people type in ‘extensions’ and he’s asked me to write him some proper SEO copy. And he’s just emailed me again to fix up another mate of his who has an accountancy practice with engaging, award winning copy.
    It’s all too much of a brain drain, but I can’t say no to anything because I can’t afford to. And one of these things will lead to something bigger, I’m convinced of it…so I have to stick with it and trudge through the cess pit of literary sewage till it does.

    Hols rang me today…sick again. She is constantly sick. ‘I need my mamma’ she says. I told her to get her ass on a bus and come up here, but it’s all too hard for her. Normally I would have dropped everything and driven down, but then it’s not appreciated that I just ‘turn up at the flat’, as Kate has pointed out to me, so I feel uncomfortable being there.

    My turn to wallow and feel fucking depressed. I just want to go away. Australia ALWAYS depresses me. I never feel completely happy or free when I m here. Sorry to be a whingeing fuck.
    Love you madly
    xxxxxxx x x

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