Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

How do some self published books get picked up by big publishers?

Got a question/comment about the business of writing or about the publishing industry? Here's your place to post it!
User avatar
Divia
Bibliomaniac
Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

Postby Divia » Sun June 21st, 2009, 7:49 pm

Wow. This is interesting. :) Thanks everyone.
News, views, and reviews on books and graphic novels for young adult.
http://yabookmarks.blogspot.com/

User avatar
Libby
Avid Reader
Location: Lancashire
Contact:

Postby Libby » Sun June 21st, 2009, 8:29 pm

"boswellbaxter" wrote:I didn't get one until I'd signed contracts for the reissues of my first two books.


So do you think it's helpful to have an agent after you've sold the books yourself? I'm currently wondering if I need an agent.

This a very interesting thread by the way. I think it shows that the success of a book is gradually moving towards being decided by readers rather than publishers.
By Loyalty Bound - the story of the mistress of Richard III.

http://www.elizabethashworth.com

User avatar
Divia
Bibliomaniac
Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

Postby Divia » Sun June 21st, 2009, 9:02 pm

"Libby" wrote:This a very interesting thread by the way. I think it shows that the success of a book is gradually moving towards being decided by readers rather than publishers.



Which is the way it should be. I mean how many more tudor novels can be crammed down our throats because the publishers think thats what we want. I remember one panel at the HFC that said famous people and a setting in England is what people want. Blah. What about ancient history? American? India? Russia?
News, views, and reviews on books and graphic novels for young adult.

http://yabookmarks.blogspot.com/

Celia Hayes
Reader
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Contact:

Postby Celia Hayes » Sun June 21st, 2009, 10:06 pm

"Libby Cone" wrote:I tried to get an agent, but nobody was interested in the queries I sent out, and after the book was picked up by Duckworth, no agent wanted it because I guess they would get no "credit" for having found a publisher. My attorney, whose specialty is contracts, did all the negotiations for me. I hope this book does well so I can get an agent to represent my subsequent works.


In one of the discussion threads at the IAG, we kicked around some of the stories about agents and how an author of a POD book might get some serious interest from an agent, once they had sold so many copies of it, through their own efforts. IIRC, the quantity involved was fairly substantial for a POD book (3,000? 30,000?) and the reaction of one of our members was classic - if she had managed on her own to sell that many copies of her book, and it was still selling very well, then what did she need an agent for, exactly? :rolleyes:
Last edited by Celia Hayes on Sun June 21st, 2009, 10:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Celia Hayes
www.celiahayes.com

User avatar
boswellbaxter
Bibliomaniac
Location: North Carolina
Contact:

Postby boswellbaxter » Sun June 21st, 2009, 10:49 pm

"Libby" wrote:So do you think it's helpful to have an agent after you've sold the books yourself? I'm currently wondering if I need an agent.

This a very interesting thread by the way. I think it shows that the success of a book is gradually moving towards being decided by readers rather than publishers.


I think one would be helpful, especially for things such as foreign rights. That's why I decided to get an agent when I finished my third novel.
Susan Higginbotham
Coming in October: The Woodvilles


http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/
http://www.susanhigginbotham.com/blog/

Libby Cone
Scribbler
Location: Philadelphia PA
Contact:

Agents

Postby Libby Cone » Mon June 22nd, 2009, 11:32 am

I see features such as Amazon Rising Stars that I think an agent might have more access to. Though, in the end, if you don't do things yourself, they do not get done. I was on Amazon's case for weeks to restore my book's ranking. I'm all over the Web every day, making sure that the book's blurb is correct, that the correct edition is listed, that my name is spelled correctly, etc.

Chatterbox
Bibliophile
Location: New York

Postby Chatterbox » Mon June 22nd, 2009, 7:26 pm

An agent has connections you don't. Even if you've found a publisher for your novel yourself, if you haven't already signed a multi-book deal, having an agent will help you make sure that you are tapping every possible source of interest for your book, even some you may not be aware of. Their job is to schmooze with publishers constantly, and so they know what kind of book each is looking for. They can matchmake, create a bidding battle for a potentially good book, help you navigate the publisher/writer relationship. A good agent is your ally and will earn every penny of that 15%, and more.

Nell_Gavin
Scribbler

Postby Nell_Gavin » Mon July 6th, 2009, 2:12 pm

Sales. Some authors just know how to pick a topic that intrigues readers, and combine that with the ability to market the book. I suspect publishers troll through Amazon looking for self-published books with high sales rankings. Or, they do if they're smart.

I know one author who got a contract with a major publisher because she was selling the heck out of her self-published book. She contacted book clubs, and sold them on selecting her book, then offered a drawing with a $25 money order as a prize to a lucky book club reader. Things like that. She had a lot of imagination and was tireless.

The sad part about that story was that she didn't do well with the publisher, who placed her book in a minor genre that limited sales, and where it didn't belong, then didn't market her book at all. She ended up suing. She sold far more books as an independent.
Last edited by Nell_Gavin on Mon July 6th, 2009, 2:18 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Nell_Gavin
Scribbler

Postby Nell_Gavin » Mon July 6th, 2009, 2:32 pm

"Libby Cone" wrote:I tried to get an agent, but nobody was interested in the queries I sent out, and after the book was picked up by Duckworth, no agent wanted it because I guess they would get no "credit" for having found a publisher. My attorney, whose specialty is contracts, did all the negotiations for me. I hope this book does well so I can get an agent to represent my subsequent works.


You don't need an agent until you have something to sell. And even then, it's tough. I had to have three movie option offers and a translation offer before agents gave me the time of day. And even then, I had to have another author intercede for me with her agent. It's easier to find a publisher.

If someone contacts you with a movie option offer, or a translation offer (these come out of the blue), that's when you start contacting agents.

For those who are not already published, send your manuscript off to literary competitions before you start sending off query letters to agents or publishers. If you win or place it's gold, and will grease the wheels, so to speak, by giving your work credibility. If you don't win or place, most competitions provide you with feedback, which you can use to fine-tune the manuscript before you send it off to the next one.

User avatar
stu1883
Avid Reader
Location: I live in Bristol, England with my wife Nicki & our kittens Boomer & Magic
Contact:

Comment re Literary Competitions

Postby stu1883 » Thu August 20th, 2009, 4:09 am

"Nell_Gavin" wrote:For those who are not already published, send your manuscript off to literary competitions before you start sending off query letters to agents or publishers. If you win or place it's gold, and will grease the wheels, so to speak, by giving your work credibility. If you don't win or place, most competitions provide you with feedback, which you can use to fine-tune the manuscript before you send it off to the next one.



I have heard of competitions for poetry and short stories, but the only ones I have heard regarding novels were things like the Booker & the Pulitzer, where can these competitions be found?


Return to “The Writing Business”