Traditional Publishing

publishingThere is a lot on this subject, so I’m only isolating one aspect of it for this entry. I will post more about the others later. This entry is on traditional publishing.

So, there is a difference between traditional publishing and self-publishing. Traditional publishing is having one of the publishing houses publish your book. Self-publishing is giving you the control over publishing your book.

Now, this relates to the route you are personally going. If you are writing a book based on local history or for a certain type of topic / people that would only draw minimum interests, then I would suggest the self-publishing route. However, if you want to go with a wider market, then the traditional publishing is the way to go.

The Cons:

  • Slow – on average a year and a half from the time you sign the contract until the book is available
  • Share the profits
  • 99.9% of the time, you need an agent
  • Locked into contracts (read the fine print!)

The Pros:

  • Free editing, design and marketing
  • Paid in advance (majority of the time)
  • Wider range of distribution channels
  • No upfront costs

 

Traditional publishing is harder to crack into. You’d think with all the books available on the market that it’s a free for all, but it’s not. This is my understanding of the process, or at least in the U.S.

  1. First off, you need an agent to speak with the traditional publishing houses. There is a very slight chance that they may talk to you directly, but most won’t even look at you if you don’t have an agent. There are different genres that an author really needs to pay attention to. When you seek out the agent, make sure that they FIT your genre. (Make sure the agent is a legit agent – no upfront costs. They get paid only when you get paid.)
  2. Then you submit your queries to the agents or give pitches to the agent at a conference. Then it’s a waiting game on if they are interested. If they are, they’ll requests the first fifty pages or your manuscript just to look at it. Then there’s another waiting span on if they decide to sign you or not. If they don’t like you, go to the next agent. There’s a bunch out there, so keep looking.
  3. When / If you get signed, then the agent takes the manuscript and has an editor go over your book. There are probably multiple revisions done before the agent starts pitching your book to the publishing houses.
  4. There is another waiting span of time before a contract may be offered. This is where you need to READ the contract. Pay close attention to the percentages of profits and the additional editions / revisions the publishers may hide in their fine print. (One example is that a author may get 75% (not actual figures, just an example) of the profits from the first printing, but the next printing the author may only get 25% – so they’ll print only 500 books in the first run, then 10,000 in the next to give themselves more profits.) Your agent is your go between. If there is something you don’t like, tell them. They are being paid to get what you want.
  5. More revisions are done to your book, then jacket designs, blurbs and so forth. This is also the time to watch your publisher. If they aren’t doing what you expected or agreeing to the contract – then cut ties and go back to your agent to start over again with the next publishers. Don’t expect a million dollar book deal. It’s possible, but too high an expectation to be realistic, especially if you’re a first time author.
  6. Finally your book is available. But that’s not the end. Now is the marketing. You need to market your book using your platform, book signings, giveaways (however many copies you can afford to give away), interviews, and whatever else your publisher has plan to market the book.
  7. During all of this, you should still be writing your next book. Don’t ever stop writing.

I’m still currently in the step two stage with the agency reviewing my first fifty pages, so I’m not knowledgeable on the rest. I’m on week five out of my eight to nine weeks wait.

L. R. Mauck

Advertisements

Weekend Challenge #5

challengeLayering challenge: Take your room with the odd element to it and now you can add the character to the room – the initial entry of the room, or if the character was sleeping on the couch and woke up, or fell through the attic floor into the room. (Noticing the odd element in the room will be next week’s focus.)

The character needs a reaction to the room. What does he/she think, see, smell, feel, hear, etc. No dialogue yet from the character.

For bonus points: post it to your blog.

The Bullying Curse

This was initially song lyrics I wrote for a book of mine, but it won’t fit within the context of the story. I wrote it after I read an article of a victim who took his own life because he couldn’t take the bullying any longer.

The Bullying Curse

By. L. R. Mauck

 

There was a time when I needed a friend

Just one who could offer a smile or word

Or see me without giving into the trend

Yes, a friend would have been preferred

Instead I was bullied, beaten, and abused

Worse, I was scared, hurt, and alone

My pleading ended in me being used

Or others ignoring my groan

But their words hurt like knives

Their fists drew my blood

Tell me, how was I to survive?

At night, my tears would flood

There was nothing left for them to take

I was hollowed on the inside

Except for this burning horrible ache

All that was left to do was to die

I didn’t think anyone would notice

I didn’t think anyone would care

I didn’t think anyone would fuss

I didn’t think anyone would despair

Tell me, what did you get

Did it make you strong?

From hurting the innocent?

Give you somewhere to belong?

Your words are useless now

Your insight is too late

My death is what you sow

I leave you in the hands of fate

Was it too hard to offer a hand?

When I was being undermanned

Was it too hard to listen to me?

When I wanted to break free

All I wanted was a friend

Did you not see my pain?

In the wake of their gain

Did you not see my eyes?

As the light started to die

However, this was my end

My mother stands at my stone

Wishing in her heart she wasn’t alone

The world is not changing the bullying curse

Because it needs to start with you first

Character Personality Traits

According to Write Your Novel in a Month by Jeff Gerke there are sixteen temperaments (See chart below). The sixteen that are listed does not mean that everyone fits perfectly inside those sixteen little bubbles. They don’t. The character’s growth and background influences those temperaments and thought processes.

Several personality traits include, but not limited to:

  • Caring
  • Purposeful
  • Idealistic
  • Observant
  • Activist
  • Leader
  • Decisive
  • Meaningful
  • Responsible
  • Quiet
  • Tolerant
  • Flexible
  • Generous
  • Attention seeking
  • Easily bored
  • Planner
  • Enthusiastic
  • Off-putting
  • Spontaneous
  • Competitive

Even if two characters in the book has the same traits, their reactions may differ – where a police officer may be willing to step in front of a gun to protect, another may rather take the person at risk and hide them away in safety from that same gun. Both are brave. Both step into the line of fire, but their reactions are different.

What I personally suggest to you is to make the character different from you. It does become easier writing as if you were the character, but it’s not challenging. If you are laid back and easy going, make your character impatient and short-tempered. Not only will it push you as a writer and it will also give your character a voice in their own story. Explore those avenues the character may take you. If it doesn’t work, delete what’s not working. If you write multiple stand-alone books with different characters but all of the characters are the same as you, it’ll become boring for the readers to read. They can already mentally pick your story ending. You will not have a good fan base. You need to push your limits.

If you need somewhere to start, decide first if the character is an introvert or an extrovert. What may surprise you is that your character’s personality may take you on a different route from your outline. If your character is really good, scrape your original outline and create a new one base off the path your book is going. I have done this several times and it makes for a more interesting story. In fact, I won’t even bother with outlines yet until the book has a good few chapters started. That way I get to know my characters and their surroundings first.

Another suggestion: to make the character more interesting – make their one of their personality traits a flaw.

personality

L. R. Mauck

Platforms

write2A writer’s platform is basically any social means to get visibility for the author. The hard part is taking that risk to put yourself out there. There are several ways to build platforms.

  • blogs
  • social media: facebook, twitter, instagram, etc.
  • writer’s conferences
  • writer groups
  • guest authors in magazines or other blogs
  • attend book store signings
  • build email lists
  • friends, family, coworkers, church family, etc
  • business cards

Experts will say do all of these above. I’ll say, do what you can manage and feel comfortable doing. I personally don’t like social media, so I’ve chosen to create a blog. I’m not activity marketing myself on here yet. I’m waiting until I’m more confident before I do.

So, start small. Start with the free options first. Once you start building more interest with followers or likes, then you can add one of the other options.

Agents themselves shouldn’t requests physical copies of your following, but they may ask where you stand on a platform. It helps with marketing your book. The larger the following, the more likely an agent and publisher would be interested in taking on your work. This is for your own personal marketing. Once your book is available, you should market it regardless of the publishers marketing strategies. The more that see the book, the more interest it will draw.

I’m still starting out on my platform. If there’s any additional suggestions or helpful insight I learn along the way, I’ll share it with you.

There are websites to help and books available:

L. R. Mauck

Challenge Response #4

This is the character that I’ve created for the 4th weekend challenge.

The main character is female. I’m thinking late teens in age (not concrete). Shy and quiet. King’s daughter. The second child to the throne. Obedient to her father’s commands and to her position expectations and requirements (to serve for her country).

Physical traits: Long dark hair, normally pulled up. Willowy and pale. Brown eyes. Short.

As you can see, I don’t have her in the room yet. This is just the basics to build from.

L. R. Mauck

Weekend Challenge #4

Continuing the layering challenge: Take your room with the odd element to it, and create a character.

challengeThe challenge is that I want this character to have a flaw. I don’t care if he/she is missing a finger, a leg, or if it’s a personality flaw – depressed, naive, judgement, short temper, etc. Again: be creative.

Length: The character doesn’t necessary need to be physically inserted into the room just yet. You need to think of the character and how that character will interact with the room. If need be just make out a separate paragraph describing the character traits, and the flaw.

For bonus points: post it to your blog.

Also, sorry for not posting yesterday. I fell on my treadmill the night before and really wasn’t feeling up to doing much yesterday. Yesterday’s topic was to be about writers platforms. I’ll try writing about that soon.

L. R. Mauck