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Anyone on here had a book published? - 19/1/2008 11:23:16 PM   
HIM


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From: Star Trekkin', across the universe
My girlfriend is currenty writing her first novel and is looking to get it published eventually. She's always loved writing with a passion and has had numerous poems published so she's no hack. I don't want to give anything away about the book (for obvious reasons as it's not even finished) but it's aimed at the young adult market i.e. His Dark Materials, Harry Potter, The Old Kingdom etc...

So does anyone have any advice?
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RE: Anyone on here had a book published? - 19/1/2008 11:29:36 PM   
Funkyrae


Posts: 20419
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Just stick a pin in a map
Yep!  Contact these people

New Writers UK.

That's my mum on the front, Karen Wright.  She runs a community for new writers looking for assistance in all matters, from moral rights to writing for film.  The lot.  They run a literary festival around Nottingham every September.  This year they'll be at the Council Offices there.

Your girlfriend can't go wrong in talking to them.


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RE: Anyone on here had a book published? - 19/1/2008 11:33:56 PM   
Wilbert


Posts: 9511
Joined: 5/10/2005
From: Dublin: Ireland

quote:

ORIGINAL: HIM

My girlfriend is currenty writing her first novel and is looking to get it published eventually. She's always loved writing with a passion and has had numerous poems published so she's no hack. I don't want to give anything away about the book (for obvious reasons as it's not even finished) but it's aimed at the young adult market i.e. His Dark Materials, Harry Potter, The Old Kingdom etc...

So does anyone have any advice?



Just to keep going. She'll probably be able to wallpaper a room in her house with rejection letters one day but you never know, it may happen for her and she'll get published one day.

I have a friend who has been published in the young childrens literature world and it's taken her a long time. She's doing really well now and onto her 6th book. All selling very well.

The thing to remember though is that for every success there are thousands of people who never get published. It kind of is like winning the lottery.

As long as she doesn't pin her every hope on success she'll be fine.

She should get an agent (very easily said, not so easily done) because the vast majority of publishers do not accept material unless it comes via an agent.

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RE: Anyone on here had a book published? - 20/1/2008 10:24:53 AM   
Tech_Noir

 

Posts: 20199
Joined: 12/10/2005
There's loads of literary agents you can try, I remember seeing a few that were specifically looking for children's books.

Just UK google literary agents.

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RE: Anyone on here had a book published? - 20/1/2008 10:25:53 AM   
curve


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Get a literary agent rather than just sending out the manuscript to publishers.

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RE: Anyone on here had a book published? - 20/1/2008 12:48:08 PM   
kathryn2

 

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Joined: 24/4/2006
Yes, get an agent - try to find one that has a good track record with Children's/YA authors (it's all about networking and relationships, you see - you want to be with someone who has the right contacts). But definitely, get an agent, don't bother trying to submit directly to the big publishing houses. The smaller, independent, specialist publishers might actually read manuscripts sent on spec, but most of the others don't bother.

Also, talk to other writers! Aspiring and published - there's plenty of LJ groups around now, and lots of published authors share advice and encouragement. Go to some creative writing courses, if you can.

Most of all, keep working, it often takes writers a long time to break through and get their first book published. At the same time - be honest with yourself. Some of that work may have to be ruthless re-writing, if what you've got isn't actually very good or original.

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RE: Anyone on here had a book published? - 29/1/2008 10:01:44 PM   
Funkyrae


Posts: 20419
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Just stick a pin in a map
Just be aware that getting an agent is a nightmare.  Most good agents receive somewhere in the region of about 1,500 manuscripts a day out of which they only look at around 1 or 2 %.  There's a lot of talent going to waste there.

Publishing isn't the end of the matter either.  Most mainstream publishers will only give you about 7% on the first 50,000 copies of the book, rising to 10% after the 50,000 mark.  What they also don't tell you is that you'll still have to arrange your own marketing and publicising. 

Those positions in the weekly book chart as published in Smiths, Waterstones etc. are all paid for by the publishers and come out of the writer's royalties.

Those stands that have books by the till, once again, all paid for by the publishers at the writer's expense.  Your girlfriend should seriously look into other avenues, even Neil Gaiman is saying that self-publishing is the way forward and with places like Amazon and Play opening up the market for booksales, it's worth looking into.


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RE: Anyone on here had a book published? - 13/2/2008 10:46:00 AM   
ANARKY

 

Posts: 103
Joined: 30/9/2005
Iím in the middle of writing my first book as well.
The publishing world seems full of disappointment, and yet, many of us just see what JK did and think, maybe, just maybe... and so we write and keep our fingers crossed.

Submit to an Agent or Publisher? Its the age old question and neither avenue is wrong. With the way the publishing world is going (in thatís its getting harder and harder to get published and stay published) there does seem to be an argument for self-publishing. Thereís been a revolution in the Music and Film industry with the digital revolution, and I think the Publishing industry might well be next.

Obviously I'd love to submit my work (once its finished) and get a hefty advance and some nice royalties, but I have to be realistic, 60% of Authors don't make a full time living of writing after all. Thatís if you even get published to begin with anyway.

I have my fingers crossed!

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RE: Anyone on here had a book published? - 13/2/2008 1:22:43 PM   
kathryn2

 

Posts: 1513
Joined: 24/4/2006
quote:

ORIGINAL: Funkyrae

Publishing isn't the end of the matter either.  Most mainstream publishers will only give you about 7% on the first 50,000 copies of the book, rising to 10% after the 50,000 mark.  What they also don't tell you is that you'll still have to arrange your own marketing and publicising. 

Those positions in the weekly book chart as published in Smiths, Waterstones etc. are all paid for by the publishers and come out of the writer's royalties.

Those stands that have books by the till, once again, all paid for by the publishers at the writer's expense.  Your girlfriend should seriously look into other avenues, even Neil Gaiman is saying that self-publishing is the way forward and with places like Amazon and Play opening up the market for booksales, it's worth looking into.



It's true that you can make a better margin through self-publishing and selling your book directly,
and some writers have been very successful in doing this, but relatively few. You don't get the same kind of editorial help when you self-publish as when you work with a traditional publisher. As someone who works in the production department of an academic publisher (journals, not books, but the principle is the same) I can tell you it is amazing what authors fail to spot or manage to leave out in their manuscripts - things which are immediately obvious to a copyeditor. Even established authors benefit hugely from good editorial assistance.

And I know a fair few people working in marketing and publicity departments that would argue with the 'arrange your own marketing and publicising' comment! 

By the way, marketing refers to advertising activities that are paid for (i.e. adverts, those 3 for 2 offers and chart places, etc), while publicity is advertising you don't have to pay for (reviews, signings/readings, features, interviews, competitions). Yes, that does mean that authors will be asked to appear on radio and TV, go to signings and conventions, do readings, and perhaps write the odd article for a newspaper or magazine. It helps hugely if you actually have something interesting to write or talk about, and contacts to exploit.

Marketing costs will have to be factored in to the book's budget, and depending on your contract - whether your royalty is on the gross or net sale value (don't forget, bookshops buy at a discount on the cover price) - may impact on how much money you get.

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RE: Anyone on here had a book published? - 13/2/2008 10:21:36 PM   
Funkyrae


Posts: 20419
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Just stick a pin in a map
Depends on the deal you have with the company that helps you self-publish.  Reputable companies such as Authorhouse and Discovered Authors have packages that include proof reading and copy editing.  It's a well known fact that most writers can't write.  They have the imagination but need the extra help with certain aspects.

I'm by no means decrying what mainstream publishers do, but when it comes to marketing etc. while they have teams working on that aspect, it's only in relation to their established authors that they know they will make money on.  It's a rarity to find a publisher that will promote a first time author that hasn't sold a large quantity on word of mouth.


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RE: Anyone on here had a book published? - 14/2/2008 1:38:20 PM   
kathryn2

 

Posts: 1513
Joined: 24/4/2006
quote:

ORIGINAL: Funkyrae

I'm by no means decrying what mainstream publishers do, but when it comes to marketing etc. while they have teams working on that aspect, it's only in relation to their established authors that they know they will make money on.  It's a rarity to find a publisher that will promote a first time author that hasn't sold a large quantity on word of mouth.



It's the way the market works - people in general aren't interested in new authors who haven't sold
many books yet. Like I said, 'publicity' is free advertising - people are only going to give it to you if they think their audience will be interested.

Seriously, my friend who works in a publicity department (and who the other day won an award for her work on the Alex James campaign) says that with the smaller books, she can send out hundreds of review copies, email every radio station and newspaper, including the tiny little ones where the author lives, and still get no-one who interested in doing a review or an interview or even a 'local author' feature. She can arrange readings/signing in libraries or bookshops, but then it is just embarrassing when no-one turns up to them. She admits this is sometimes because the books aren't that good, or don't look that interesting, or the authors don't have anything interesting to say.

She has learned to record all of her hard work, so that when the author says 'you haven't promoted my book' she can show them exactly how much she has done.

You organise a signing for Alex James, and a million people turn up. It's so much easier, and you get so much more return on your work, with a well-known author.

And 'marketing' actually costs money - so if you're looking at your marketing budget for the year, who are you going to spend money on? The well-known author who is going to sell a lot of books, or the new author who no-one has heard of? Unless the book by the new author is especially good, interesting or captures the current zeitgeist somehow, you're not going to spend a lot of money on it.


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RE: Anyone on here had a book published? - 14/2/2008 7:22:34 PM   
SN

 

Posts: 18
Joined: 27/8/2006
I'm a self-published author and while it is absolutely true that publicity is extremely difficult to generate, if you are persistent and imaginative you can get results. For example I have been fortunate to have my book 'The Map of the Known World' featured in local papers and also I was interviewed live on BBC Radio Suffolk. This was all the result of sending some press releases in which I tried to present an 'angle' of interest for journalists, namely the fact that the book was largely written during lunchbreaks at work and in the evenings - this hopefully gave the newspapers and the radio a decent 'hook' for the story.

I appreciate that this is probably fairly small beans compared to what a marketing department at a large publisher can achieve but it did result in some positive publicity and some increased sales.

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RE: Anyone on here had a book published? - 14/2/2008 10:04:43 PM   
Funkyrae


Posts: 20419
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Just stick a pin in a map
I'm not disagreeing with you at all Kathryn2.  I know that it's the way the market works and I do appreciate that.  It's just that there are too many people out there who think that getting a book published is the end of the story when it's only the beginning.

My mother's a self-published author and while she's by no means a bestselling writer she is gathering a lot of interest but it's been through sheer hard work and determination.  Getting herself into schools and libraries, organising interviews with local radio stations and papers.  She's also the Chair of New Writer's UK who give information to first time authors on the kind of things they need to know, not just in relation to self-publishing but legal matters, marketing aspects etc.

SN good to hear you're doing well on that front yourself.  It's by no means an easy ride but one hell of an accomplishment.


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RE: Anyone on here had a book published? - 15/2/2008 9:59:24 AM   
kathryn2

 

Posts: 1513
Joined: 24/4/2006
quote:

ORIGINAL: Funkyrae

It's just that there are too many people out there who think that getting a book published is the end of the story when it's only the beginning.



This I completely agree with!

That's why it is amusing when newspapers talk about the latest hot young authors getting huge advances - an advance is an advance on royalties, not a lottery win, your book still has to earn that amount of money through sales, which can take years. And if it doesn't sell, and isn't going to earn that huge advance, they may end up paying the money back to the publisher. That actually happened to Frank McCourt, with his sequal to Angela's Ashes.

There's no point writing and publishing a book if you can't sell it.

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RE: Anyone on here had a book published? - 4/7/2010 6:48:53 PM   
Vadersville


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I've self-published on a very small scale and its done well so far, but what does that prove; that I have lots of friends and family? Well, I have actually sold a fair amount to people I don't know, but, I'm unsure of where to take it next.

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RE: Anyone on here had a book published? - 14/7/2010 1:18:40 AM   
Charby

 

Posts: 4
Joined: 14/7/2010
I've been considering writing a novel for years now and even have a plot mapped out but have been fairly disheartened by how difficult it can be to get a book published, and as all of you have said, even getting something published doesn't guarantee success. I often stand in a book shop and look at just how many books there are there that probably won't ever be bought and it makes me wonder if writing my own would be worth the effort. I'm very impressed by those of you who said that you've done it though even if you haven't got the recognition that you undoubtedly deserve.

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RE: Anyone on here had a book published? - 14/7/2010 9:13:41 AM   
clownfoot


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Writing. Novels. Sucks. Balls.

I will finish mine someday though. Someday...

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RE: Anyone on here had a book published? - 31/7/2010 8:30:19 PM   
Sumintelligentguy


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My friend is commissioning editor for a publishing company - and the one thing she advises is....avoid fantasy.

She said she reads so much and hardly anyone can get it right. Writers fail to create a balance between the completely made up and the relatable.

So yeah, just avoid fantasy.

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RE: Anyone on here had a book published? - 2/8/2010 1:00:24 PM   
MOTH

 

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I wrote a chapter for a book which got published. Wrote it, amended it upon review, sent it to publishers, no probs.

Sadly, it was a scientific review of a topic about a hundred people in the world care about, in a book with several chapters devoted to various aspects of same obscure topic, which costs the princely sum of £137 (hardback). I don't even have a copy myself!

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