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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!
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Location: Loveland Ohio

Post by theredsoldier » Thu August 20th, 2009, 1:11 pm

[quote=""Divia""]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?[/quote]

Odd you shouldsay that... Not all the time, but on several occasions I've told someone I write historical fiction and they get all giddy and excited and tell me they love reading historical fiction more than anything else. Then I tell them it is a story about soldiers in the Soviet Union in WWII, and their faces fall. If I prod them along as to what they normally read I usually get the response of "something about the tudors".

I do think there there IS some truth to that -due to recent movies and books, there are a lot of people who are an od paradox - they want something exactly like the tudors, but not so exact that it's the same old boring thing, but not so differant that they don't understand it.

When I find somone who says they are a "historical fiction buff" at a store or signing, I'd say this is true about 1/3 of the time.
WWII Eastern Front Action Novel
Stalingrad, as only the Russian soldier could know... available now

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Post by boswellbaxter » Thu August 20th, 2009, 1:25 pm

[quote=""stu1883""]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?[/quote]

Do you mean for published or unpublished novels? Writer's Digest offers several competitions (I believe they're open to non-US residents):


I think sites like Absolute Write give information about other competitions for novels in manuscript form.
Susan Higginbotham
Coming in October: The Woodvilles


maggie anton
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Post by maggie anton » Mon November 30th, 2009, 9:00 am

[quote=""Divia""]I thought about this the other day and I have no answer. So I thought I'd ask. How do some self published books catch the eyes of publishers? Why is their book suddenly marketable when before it wasn't? :confused: [/quote]
After my literary agent couldn't find a publisher for the first volume of my historical trilogy, RASHI'S DAUGHTERS, I formed my own small press and published BOOK I - JOHEVED myself. Eighteen months later, after speaking to over 100 Jewish and women's groups, we'd gone through 6 printings and 25,000 copies sold. Then the big NY companies came calling. and I ended up selling the series to Plume Books [division of Penguin]. They did BOOK II - MIRIAM in 2007 [now in 9th printing] and BOOK III-RACHEL [the final volume] in August 2009.

So lightening does strike, but only after a whole lot of work.
Maggie Anton

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Post by michellemoran » Mon November 30th, 2009, 9:12 pm

Like Maggie points out, it takes a lot of books sold before NY publishers will sit up and take notice. Elle Newmark had a huge virtual party for her self-published book. A week later she had an agent, and after that a seven figure deal. It takes an enormous amount of effort on the self-pubbed author's part, but the payoff can be huge!
Last edited by michellemoran on Mon November 30th, 2009, 10:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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