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Old 05-21-2012, 06:59 AM   #16
mr ploppy
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Yes but as a reader, how do I know that you as a writer is actually good? (Yes, by reading them, but that takes time I could have spent reading a supposedly excellent book.)

The problem with self-publishing is that while there are excellent works being written, some people's horrible first drafts are also being published.

.
I can tell within a few paragraphs of the sample if it's a horrible first draft or not.
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:25 AM   #17
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I can tell within a few paragraphs of the sample if it's a horrible first draft or not.
Agreed in general. I've also read any number of TPB's that have a killer opening and turn to sh*t real fast...
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:15 AM   #18
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Here's my analogy: For years, the American automakers blew off the concerns about the environment and, determined to make money, invented the SUV, marketed the livin' hell out of 'em, and pretended there was no pollution or environmental damage. And even though they now try to sell hybrids and electrics, I remember their past behavior well, and have decided that they are not worthy of my money... nor anyone else that I can steer away from them.
Are you saying you avoid buying from American car makers? Seems harsh. Curiously the SUV market is still pretty robust.

http://moneyland.time.com/2012/05/18...les-hot-again/

As for JAK - pretty sure I covered this in an earlier thread. Almost all employees are exploited, but the alternative is not better wages, it's not getting paid at all.

In general, writing novels is one of the least rewarding things you can do, monetarily. Most novels provide a return on time invested in them that amounts to cents per hour. Almost any part time job would pay you better. Baby-sitting in return for pizza and a lift home pays better.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:16 AM   #19
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I can't say that I've ever considered following a publisher, and it's very rare that I know who edited a book (I've only ever seen that listed on rare indie publications). I certainly do follow authors - which, I imagine, is why publishers/agents are happy to push already published authors but are so reluctant to look at new authors.

This.

I have read 100's of books, and I do not think I could name all of the Big6 never mind tell you if I liked them. I do not even think about any editor until I started writing and learning about the process. In my experience, and that includes everyone I know offline... people follow authors, not publishers. For example Tom Clancy is an author whom I enjoy. So if I am in a book store looking for a book and see his name, I will stop and grab the book to check it out. I could not tell you without a Google search who his publisher is. I HIGHLY doubt the vast majority of his readers could, otherwise books in stores would be organized by publisher and not sorted by author.

I do not see publishers as gatekeepers of quality/etc, no more then do I see Walmart as such. Publishers have tremendous choice in what to put out and they put out what they think will SELL not what they think is GOOD. They are in business to make a profit, not to distribute stories to entertain people.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:55 AM   #20
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Here's my analogy: For years, the American automakers blew off the concerns about the environment and, determined to make money, invented the SUV, marketed the livin' hell out of 'em, and pretended there was no pollution or environmental damage. And even though they now try to sell hybrids and electrics, I remember their past behavior well, and have decided that they are not worthy of my money... nor anyone else that I can steer away from them.
Do you steer people away from all car makers and from cars altogether? What about those Toyota SUVs -- especially those giant ones that dwarf my car -- and the BMW SUV and the Honda SUV and the Kia SUV and all the other SUVs and pickup trucks manufactured by non-American automakers. We shouldn't forget the mother/father of SUVs, the Land Rover, which I am certain wasn't American made .

Why pick on the American automaker for wanting to sell vehicles that consumers wanted to buy and for wanting to make a profit. Seems to me that is exactly the argument that is being made on behalf of Amazon: it wants to sell the ebooks that consumers want to buy at the price consumers want to pay so it can make a profit selling them to consumers.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:55 AM   #21
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I can't say that I've ever considered following a publisher,
I used to buy a lot of NEL (New English Library) books, that was how I discovered James Herbert and Guy Smith among others. More recently I've bought most of what Pulp Press put out, and if Cherry Red Books do end up going ahead with their new line of pulp fiction books I'll probably buy those too. But I would guess most of the publisher-loyalty lies in romance or comics/graphic novels.
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:04 AM   #22
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And along this line....there is some interesting stuff from Delphi in repackaging public domain works:

http://delphiclassics.com/shop/
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Old 05-21-2012, 11:16 AM   #23
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Are you saying you avoid buying from American car makers? Seems harsh. Curiously the SUV market is still pretty robust.

http://moneyland.time.com/2012/05/18...les-hot-again/
Yes, I'll admit outright to avoiding them. I steer in any other direction. I sneer at their commercials. I deride their spokesmodels. To me, they deserve my ire for consipring to sell over-polluting old pickup truck technology dressed up in Corinthian leather to unthinking American lemmings, whilst (and at the same time) buying off the government to allow them to skirt environmental regulations and waste our oil reserves at a rate fast enough to assure our grandchildren would have to seriously consider a world without gasoline.

But that's just me.

And without reading the Moneyland article, I'll just say that a number of people I know work for car dealerships, and they all tell me about the flood of people turning in their old trucks and big SUVs and looking for hybrid and crossover trade-ins.

Anyway, enough stuff.

EDIT: Okay, I looked at the article, and I see its flaw: It describes the newer vehicles out there as SUVs (those are trucks) when what they really are, are crossovers (large cars--mostly what we dinosaurs used to call station wagons--deal, kiddies). The article does indicate that drivers are swapping the old SUVs for "newer SUVs", which are primarily the crossovers. This matches what I've heard from those in the industry, as well as the evidence that buyers are snatching up hybrids of all shapes and sizes, but mostly Priuses, as fast as they can land on American shores.

BTW: My wife and I are taking my new Prius C on a road trip to NYC this weekend. Can't wait!

Okay, I'm done.

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Old 05-21-2012, 11:51 AM   #24
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Do you steer people away from all car makers and from cars altogether?...
Actually, I do try to encourage use of public transportation and bicycling, as I do myself whenever I can (I use a commuter train and fold-up bicycle to get to work). Also, I realize that there are many non-American SUV makers. But the American Big Three, to be blunt, started it. And when foreign automakers were starting to build economy cars, the Big Three avoided that market as long as possible, then only paid lip-service to it when they had to.

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Why pick on the American automaker for wanting to sell vehicles that consumers wanted to buy...
Americans didn't know what an SUV was, much less that they wanted one... until the Big Three employed Madison Avenue marketers to portray them in commercials with their usual "look rich, look sexy, look better than your neighbors" panache, and Americans swallowed the bait whole.

And don't forget, Americans were screaming for economy cars before the SUV. The American automakers could've made a great profit off of those; but they chose to make a greater profit on cheaper-to-make vehicles with lousy mileage and greater polluters instead.

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Seems to me that is exactly the argument that is being made on behalf of Amazon: it wants to sell the ebooks that consumers want to buy at the price consumers want to pay so it can make a profit selling them to consumers.
No one is denying Amazon the right to make a profit, of course. Whether they are selling "the ebooks consumers want to buy at the price consumers want to pay" is debatable. But Amazon is as capable as any big company to whitewash their products and sales to make themselves look good... which isn't too different from what the Big Three automakers did to sell SUVs. I reserve the right to apply my BS-detectors to any advertising or promotion I hear.

Last edited by Steven Lyle Jordan; 05-21-2012 at 11:55 AM.
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:22 PM   #25
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I also considered whether there was some indirect benefit to writers by having a gatekeeper regulate the market (like De Beers and the diamond market?). The gatekeepers make sure the market is not flooded so my book, if I do get past the gates, may be more likely to get its share of the buyers dollars. But instead Konrath makes me wonder if this regulation is part of publishers' way of exploiting writers. If I get past the gatekeeper once I have a better chance a second time - but if I make too much of a fuss about the working conditions then they threaten to consign me back to the slush pile.
Allowing your product to trickle out, thereby keeping prices high, may be a suitable strategy for something like a diamond, which is available only in easily-limited quantities, sold simply as a pretty bauble, and not valued for its actual beneficial assets. It obviously works for the diamond industry.

I'm not sure that's a viable strategy for literature, or, for that matter, any entertainment media. Although entertainment media and jewelry share the aspect of being non-essential consumer products, originally controlled by a small conglomeration of organizations, the chief difference between them now is that entertainment media can be created by almost literally anyone, making such gatekeeping impossible (or, if it was more effective in the past, it is much less effective now thanks to digital media).
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Old 05-22-2012, 12:23 AM   #26
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Neither system is perfect, but because the public system has more people involved - it seems to me - there is perhaps more of a chance that good books will eventually show through. A lot of this is still working itself out, but it does appear that the gatekeeper role assumed by the publishers is not one they can claim uncontested victory over.
If your taste is aligned with the majority, sure. But there are also those satisfied with certain gatekeepers.


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From what I read about trying to get published - and I've read a lot from a lot of different sources - it seems to me that publishers and agents have trouble dealing with the volume manuscripts they get. If you want I can find quotes for you suggesting that getting published is who you know rather than what you know, and that manuscripts may be rejected on the first page (or even before). I even have a published book here telling me how important it is to get the name of the person that will receive your manuscript so you can address them by name.

If I can believe such claims, then I cannot necessarily believe that a novel was rejected because it wasn't right for the publisher or business model, but may have been rejected simply because they didn't have time to look further, or because that particular first page didn't sit well with the acquisitions editor assigned. As the rejected author you (may) never get to find out why you were rejected, or how close your manuscript may have come to being accepted. And none of this gives me a whole lot of faith in the traditional publishing system, especially not when an alternative is becoming viable.
Yes, they have trouble with the volume they receive but they're not afraid of "flooding the market" which was your previous entry.

If they did not follow submission guidelines, yes, they will be rejected, regardless of the manuscript's quality. (Of course it begs the question, do you want to read a writer who can't read/follow instructions?)

I'm not against self-publishing (and have self-published a few times myself), but there's been some ridiculous claims such as "returning a published author to the slush pile". There's no such hierarchy. Either your manuscript is submitted by an agent, or it's in the slush pile.
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Old 05-22-2012, 12:31 AM   #27
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Agreed in general. I've also read any number of TPB's that have a killer opening and turn to sh*t real fast...
And there are those in which it takes quite some time to develop momentum.
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Old 05-22-2012, 12:32 AM   #28
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This.

I have read 100's of books, and I do not think I could name all of the Big6 never mind tell you if I liked them.
Some readers are aware of publisher brand. For example Penguin Classics or Library of America.

Even independent publishers like Angry Robot Books have made a name for themselves due to their brand.

Does it apply to everyone? Definitely not. But it does matter to some readers.
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Old 05-22-2012, 02:58 AM   #29
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If they did not follow submission guidelines, yes, they will be rejected, regardless of the manuscript's quality. (Of course it begs the question, do you want to read a writer who can't read/follow instructions?)
You probably wouldn't believe the number of authors who post here at MR who are seemingly completely incapable of following our instructions concerning promotion.
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Old 05-22-2012, 05:38 AM   #30
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[...]Yes, they have trouble with the volume they receive but they're not afraid of "flooding the market" which was your previous entry.
You may note that I did have a "?" on that bracketed sentence, I was trying to indicate that it was not an entirely apt analogy - I need more smilies .

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If they did not follow submission guidelines, yes, they will be rejected, regardless of the manuscript's quality. (Of course it begs the question, do you want to read a writer who can't read/follow instructions?)
You imply that the only reason why submissions are ever rejected without full review by the acquisitions editor would be that the author did not "follow submission guidelines". What makes you so certain it never happens for other reasons?

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I'm not against self-publishing (and have self-published a few times myself), but there's been some ridiculous claims such as "returning a published author to the slush pile". There's no such hierarchy. Either your manuscript is submitted by an agent, or it's in the slush pile.
You are absolutely right, the idea of returning an author to the slush pile was rather ridiculous. Why would they bother? If they didn't want anything to do with the author there is another, more appropriate, receptacle.
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