New here.....

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2007
New here.....
8
Fri, 02-05-2010 - 2:04pm

Okay, so I am Alison and I am new to the board.


My iVillage Message Board quest began 4 years ago when I was desperate to meet other women who were having difficulty conceiving.

Alison

My Blog

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2004
In reply to: aray2005
Fri, 02-05-2010 - 3:52pm

Welcome! Judy will drop in here soon enough with the welcome mat.

Self-publishing: Get seriously informed on self-publishing before making a decision. A lot of people jump in expecting that magic will happen, and then sell only twenty copies (and everyone thinks theirs will be different). Also, always remember that the self-publisher's customer is the author who will be paying for the self-publishing, so read past the marketing materials that have extravagant promises (just like reading past the front label of a box of cereal that promises healthy, but is half a box of sugar).

A place to start is Writer Beware: http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/pod/ Writer Beware is one of the watchdog groups who tries to protect writers from getting scammed, so it's well-worth the read.

There are very few publishers who take unsolicited manuscripts, and more than likely any manuscript sent to them would be returned unopened. Most require you to go through an agent first, which means polishing your manuscript, writing a query, and writing a synopsis. A lot of the agents are blogging, and reading the blogs will give you a lot of insight into how the industry works. You'll pick up tips on how to do queries and synopsis, and things not to do. One agent blog is here: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/ Just hit his sidebar column for more agent blogs.

The big thing is to really take your time. People often get excited at the thought of being PUBLISHED that they jump at anything and end up scammed. Being published is not something that will happen fast.

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Writing Blog |

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
In reply to: aray2005
Fri, 02-05-2010 - 6:54pm

Welcome to The Writing Life, Alison!


So you're ready to take your writing seriously, eh? Looks as if you've been serious a few times before. Congratulations on all your successes!


There's a lot more research ahead of you. Besides checking out self publishing, you'd do well to investigate traditional publishers. Some of them won't accept unsolicited manuscripts at all in which case you'd be best to find yourself an agent. Some want a query before they'll agree to look at your book. Everyone seems to want something

JudyB






Avatar for avihockey
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: aray2005
Sat, 02-06-2010 - 9:01am

Welcome Alison!

You've found another warm, welcoming and helpful iVillage board here. Congratulations on your previous writing successes. Those achievements will certainly make it easier as you ease back into the writing game.

I'm one of the gentle writers with lots of questions, because, like you, I'm just starting to get serious about my writing. That said, I haven't heard great things (at all!) about self-publishing. Because of that, I'm planning to go down the long, winding traditional road to publication. To me, it's worth the time.

If you don't find me asking, what are you looking to publish? Do you have a completed manuscript?

We're all working on very different projects here and it's always fun to compare notes and update each other on our progress. I find it inspiring and I'm happy to have you joining us!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2007
In reply to: aray2005
Sat, 02-06-2010 - 5:47pm

Thank you all for the warm welcome!


What is a gentle writer?

Alison

My Blog

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-03-2004
In reply to: aray2005
Sat, 02-06-2010 - 8:20pm

Money always flows to the writer. You do not pay an agent. If you find any that charge reading fees, stay away from there. No reputable agent will charge reading fees.

Where to find agents: http://www.querytracker.net/index.php Make sure you check the agents out on Preditors and Editors (links will be in query tracker) to confirm that they are legit. P&E is like Consumer Reports--it's a list of all publishers and agents, with various ratings. You can also read writer comments are all the agents here: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/

Be wary of any very new agents or publishing companies that suddenly turn up. I ran across a start up publishing company that had been around for about a month. When I read the credentials of the people running it, not one of them had worked in the publishing industry. They were all unpublished writers who started their own company to publish themselves. You want an agent or members of a publishing company to have worked in places that you recognize. That means they know how the business works and have contacts.

Also check out the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrations. Not sure what the requirements for membership are now--the glut of self-publishing has made it more difficult for unpublished (or those not yet published in the genre/category) to become members.

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Writing Blog |

Avatar for avihockey
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
In reply to: aray2005
Sun, 02-07-2010 - 12:28pm

I think it's probably Judy who first coined the term gentle writers on the board. From my understanding of it, it's a sweet little title for those of us who can't imagine not writing and who make our way through life hammering away at the keyboard, trying to get our words and thoughts in the right order.

Children's books? How fun! I have a lot of experience reading children's books, but no experience writing them. You add yet another dimension to the writing projects being tackled on this board. Judy's working on a cookbook, Linda works primarily on urban fantasy and I'm writing a literary novel. ("Literary novel" sounds pretty high-falooting, but I'm not sure what else to call it -- it's a "people" story with some historical elements.)

Agents are the employment agencies of the publishing world. You present them with your potential product, they evaluate it to determine whether or not they think they can sell it. Since your success goes hand in hand with their success, they're not going to take you on as a client unless they think they can help you sell your work. Just as employment agencies make it their business to know and research the trends in potential job markets for you, agents have more inside knowledge of publishers than the average beginner author does. And just as you want to prove yourself employable and dependable when you ask an employment agency to find a job for you, you want to present the best product possible when you go agent hunting. You also need to make sure you look for an agent who's likely to be interested in your particular project. You wouldn't show up at the construction employment agency if you knew your skills lay more in administrative assistant work.

I have yet to embark on the agent hunt; I'm still in the revision stages of my project. And like you, I find it all a little intimidating. But there are many knowledgeable writers on this board to call upon when you hit roadblocks (always check out Linda's links -- she knows what she's talking about!) and I think if we stick together, we'll figure it all out.

Whatever you decide to do when it comes to publication, don't forget to keep working on your next project. :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
In reply to: aray2005
Sun, 02-07-2010 - 1:17pm

You are a gentle writer, Alison. So is everyone on The Writing Life. It's a term I sort of borrowed from Isaac Asimov. He used to call readers of his non-fiction gentle readers. I liked that - so I swiped it. Using someone else's words, if done carefully and properly, can be legal - especially if it's done with love and I loved Ike, Asimov that is. He was my absolute favorite dirty old man. That's another story.


Your picture books sound fascinating. The fact that you wrote the first one when you were in first grade and your kids enjoy it and it still makes you laugh tells me you might just have a mini-classic on your hands. It would be a shame not to share that with the world. The serious subject of the second book shouldn't scare anyone. It's a fact of life. In fact, I'm going through it right now. I probably could use that book right now since I seem to be doing a great many childish things lately.


Yes, Alison, I love it when ideas just appear out of the blue. That might explain why I'm working on three cookbooks, a series of picture books, a mystery series, and a few speculative fiction pieces. Talk about totally different! ;-)


Linda gave you some good advice and pointers about looking for an agent. Agents do make money and they make it from you as a percentage of the fees you earn from the sales of your books. Obviously, the more money they can negotiate for you, the more they will make. It's in their best interests to make you successful.


The entrepreneur in you can come out strong when you market your work (yes, the lion's share of marketing will be yours). You may be an agent's and a publisher's dream!

JudyB







JudyB






iVillage Member
Registered: 02-27-2010
In reply to: aray2005
Sun, 02-28-2010 - 12:09pm

Thirteen years of trying to deal with agents and publishers.