Riding the Fence – Indecision at Your Own Peril

May 11, 2017

There’s something that’s been ricocheting around my pea-sized brain for a while, and it has to do with Riding the Fence…as in, “Do I wanna self-publish, or do I wanna go with a publisher?”

This makes my teeth itch, and I’ll tell you why.

Time Suck

I had an experience recently where the author was Riding the Fence about whether to self-pub or sign with a publisher. I was the lucky slob who drew the short stick.

I liked his book and made him an offer. But we gotta back up and count all the hours that I spent getting to that point to making the offer.

  • Reading his book proposal (1 hour)
  • Reading his manuscript – making copious notes on arc issues, organization, and further development (30 hours)
  • Discussing with marketing/sales teams and other publicity folks (8 hours)

So, going into this endeavor, I invested nearly 40 hours. Big deal; it’s what I do.

However…

He was expecting a six-figure advance. Yah, ain’t gonna happen. He didn’t have the story or platform to support such a fantasy. Depressed, he then tells me he’s considering self-pubbing.

WHAT?

Now I’m thinking voodoo dolls and sharp, pointy things. Nearly a week’s worth of my time is blown to bits.

Reality vs Fiction

Because he’s Ridin’ that Fence like a buckaroo, he asked me exactly what I could do for him and his book. Okay, I’m totally good with these questions, because authors should have a solid idea about what their potential publisher can do for them.

However…

Time spent writing numerous emails pointing out the Realities and Fiction of self publishing (16 hours)

After nearly three weeks hemming and hawing, he wrote to tell me he was self-publishing. Argh. Why in the HELL didn’t he decide this before he wasted all my time? This kind of stuff is so unnecessary.

It Ain’t About Just the Money

Publishing has drastically changed since the heyday of spending like drunken sailors. Publishers gotta work smart if they want to stay in business. We always plan for a book to do well, but the marketplace is a fickle mistress, and the best-laid plans may go awry. And they go awry for all kinds of reasons. Just to say, that they also go very right for all kinds of insane reasons, as well.

However…

  • Author platform was over-inflated
  • Genre Buyers don’t like the topic (that is a whole other post in itself)
  • Intended audience doesn’t respond

Huge advances makes only one person happy; the author (and his agent, if he has one). They get a nice payday regardless of the book selling well or tanking. The publisher eats it. In these uncertain times, advances had little choice but to go southward.

However, what a publisher CAN do is offer:

  • Superior editing and design work
  • National/international distribution
  • Marketing/promotion
  • Getting authors into industry book fairs and conferences
  • Sending review copies and media kits to industry reviewers and media

And that’s just a short list…and they do it all on their own dime.

The self published author is responsible for bankrolling the entire endeavor, and they often have no idea whether they’re getting a great editor or cover designer. They don’t realize their books won’t be reviewed or stocked on store shelves.

In simple terms, self-pubbed authors are a team of one, and they’re competing against publishers who do this for a living. Even as small as we are, we’re a team of hundreds…all who are devoted to selling our books to the widest marketplace.

So, sure, the advance offered to this particular author may have been less than he was expecting, but the cash outlay that we would have put into his book would have been in the tens of thousands…along with countless hours of professionals doing what they do best.

Do the Research

Let me say that I have no problem with those who want to self-pub. Heck, the marketplace is big enough for everyone to play in the sandbox. But don’t hedge your bets to a publisher by Ridin’ the Fence…”I’ll see what they offer me, then I’ll make up my mind.” That kind of attitude really sucks the jam out of my jelly doughnut.

Make up your mind about what kind of publishing options you want to pursue, and stick to it. Someone who isn’t sure will invariably find fault with the publisher for any little thing that happens.

Publishing is a partnership – a two-way street – and if one of those parties consistently rides the fence (“Damn, I shoulda self-pubbed…then I’d be rich and famous.”), then what chance does the committed party have in succeeding? And the self-pubbed author is rarely rich or famous.

Do the work and research ALL your options BEFORE you decide whether to stick your big toe into an editor’s front door. The more information you have, the better able you are to decide which option is best for you and your book. And you won’t waste anyone’s time.


More Warped Editor Humor – We’re a Sick Lot

May 10, 2017

BAHAHAHA! Um….sorry. I’m pathetic, I know this.


What do Jimmy Kimmel and Amanda Adams Have in Common?

May 2, 2017
Last night, Jimmy Kimmel got serious for a change, and discussed his son’s heart disease and emergency surgery. Jimmy has put a face on the reality that faces many parents – unsung heroes – who have battled their children’s heart disease for many years. Our author, Amanda Rose Adams is one such hero…heart warrior. Her gritty, honest story grabs at the throat and doesn’t let loose – so real is this problem.

Amanda Rose Adams knows first hand what brought America’s funny man Jimmy Kimmel to tears on Monday night. She also has a son named William who had his first open heart surgery as an infant performed by Dr. Vaughn Starnes at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Her book, HEART WARRIORS: A Family Faces Congenital Heart Disease (Behler Publications, 2012) reveals what it is like for families as they wait for their newborn child to survive open heart surgery and then face future surgeries. The Adams family knows what the Kimmel family is facing with Congenital Heart Disease, and they send their love and support. Read HEART WARRIORS to understand the rough road of CHD and the bright hope that leads the way for families of Heart Warriors.

And the rub? The American Heart Association rarely allots funds to pediatric heart disease.
Amanda’s OB/GYN was blunt and suggested an abortion when they discovered Liam had only half a heart. She refused, and Liam has become a bright light in a very long, tough tunnel. Heart disease strikes millions, and many don’t know where to turn…which is why I fell in love with this book. Amanda has written a bible for what every parent, relative, and friend of someone struggling with pediatric heart disease. If you want answers, blunt conversation, and a sense of community, then HEART WARRIORS really needs to be next to your table.

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Comp Titles: How to Take the Jam Out of My Jelly Doughnut

April 25, 2017

Is there anything worse than getting a doughnut that doesn’t have enough jelly? It’s one of life’s tragedies, and the struggle is real. If I order a jelly doughnut, then please make sure there’s all sorts of gloppy, oozy jelly in there. So much the better if it dribbles down my chin. Pure. Bliss.

How to take that jam outta my jelly doughtnut? Well…

Tell me that your book has no book comparisons. Continue the blight by insisting you’re breaking “new ground.” Bless your heart. Maybe you are breaking new territory, but I can assure you that someone has done it before you…to some degree…which would be a title comparison.

I don’t ask for title comps for my health. I need them when I’m talking to my sales teams, bookstores, book fairs, basically anyone with a pulse. I. Need. Them. All publishers do, in fact. It’s a part of navigating this nutty biz.

Failure to do your part in providing important info pegs you as a Noob (someone who doesn’t know what they don’t know…and doesn’t care), or plain lazy. It tells me that you aren’t in touch with your competition – and yes, Mrs. Wigglesnort, there is always competition. Worse, is that I won’t take you seriously. If you insist you have zero competition, then I have to wonder about the veracity of your manuscript. It’s a matter of dominoes, and once they start to fall, it’s hard to win the game.

Competition is tough, tough, tough in the lit world, and you’re looking for reasons to engage us, not repel us. Make sure you submit a winning jelly doughnut. Know your competition. Read your competition.

 


Noob Alert

April 24, 2017
Dear Prospective Authors,
Please, please, please refrain from sending me your cover art in your query letters. You need to spend time telling me how amazing your story is, and why I must have it. This kind of thing shows you as being a noob – someone who doesn’t know what they don’t know…and they don’t care.
I avoid noobs.

Happy Launch Day, Kristin Jarvis Adams!

April 4, 2017

Today is the magic day that THE CHICKEN WHO SAVED US is officially launched to the world. Many have actually already read this amazing story and couldn’t put it down. And with good reason. How many stories do we hear about a young man who’s autistic, and instead of adopting the usual puppy or cat, chooses an Araucana chicken to be his best friend?

But it doesn’t stop there. Andrew and Frightful had a bond that surpassed the usual channels of friendship. Frightful was Andrews mouthpiece when he was frightened of a world that was too loud, too fast, too confusing to handle. And when Andrew’s life was hanging by a string, it was Frightful who became the beacon of light for the entire family.

I’ve never laughed and cried and cheered so much during the editing process. I’ve read this manuscript a million times, and I still tear up and giggle like an idiot because, yah, that’s how charming and engaging and visual Kristin’s writing is. This is a story of heroics on so many levels that I found myself wanting to don a cape and paint a red A and F on my forehead.

Here is the press release:

A few words whispered by an autistic boy to a chicken may have ultimately saved his life.

When Kristin Adams heard her eight-year-old son, Andrew, talking to his pet chicken, it was nothing out of the ordinary. Many people with autism have a special ability to relate to animals, and Andrew and the chicken he named Frightful were best friends. But what Andrew said to his chicken one day stunned Adams.

“I think my body is trying to kill me,” he told Frightful.

That confession, from a boy to his chicken, catapulted Andrew’s family and medical community into action: To discover and destroy the unseen monster that was claiming his life—a disease so painful and obscure that his medical team had no idea how to treat it.

 This beautiful, fierce, and refreshingly honest memoir takes readers on a mother’s journey through the complex landscape of modern medicine to discover the healing bond between a boy and Frightful, the chicken who saves them all.

Autism affects 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls, leaving a staggering number of families to navigate this mysterious inner world. Andrew’s incredible relationship with Frightful highlights the current research that demonstrates how significant the human/animal bond is in aiding children and adults with disabilities. Through the love of a chicken and the heroics of doctors worldwide, Andrew developed the will to live and a desire to fight for a life he had never known: a life without pain.

Huge congrats, Kristin. You rock.


More Publishy Humor…

March 16, 2017

…at the expense of my adorable granddaughter. I’m sure my daughter will send out a hit team to hunt me down. In the meantime, yes, dear author…you need to be edited.

File Mar 16, 4 16 51 PM


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