Saturday, December 1, 2018

Debut Authors Lost and Brutal Rejection

Here's a question I ran across in my writing forum that I thought I could answer. It seemed relevant. There was also a mention about rejection comments from agents and publishers being all over the place and contradictory. So I guess this might be a double-barreled answer of sorts.

I wonder if the closing of YA to debut (somewhat) is part of the diversity problems people were discussing on Twitter. Eg the publishers hiring sensitivity writings on staff to fix the books by their established authors, rather that buying new/debut and actually diverse authors.

This could very well be since a brand name is a pretty difficult position to establish for a new writer. There is an extended time factor too, in getting a new author shiny enough to be seen in the crowded marketplace. You know, it's like keeping the status quo and going with the established author rather than taking a risk on an outsider. Publishers will test the financial math between the two--in addition to comparing their work ethics and the speed by which they can act on revisions and editing. A 'one in the hand is better than two in the bush' theory. An old stable mate would be less risky than an agent to introduce a talented newbie. 

I'm sure we all know how it goes...the editors are very polite and attentive to agents above other submissions. By default, I'm sure that 95% of editors okay the full sub. I can't remember ever having my agent tell me that she sent a partial out to any of the big houses, unless it was very specific--but that would be a terrible time killer. Now, the short query and synopsis also goes, whether your agent is using yours or they have touched them up, cut them down and made improvements, what have you. 

Here's the clincher, the editor or agent can cut the book off at the knees by reading the opening query and full synopses. It's true they asked for the full--that is DEFAULT. It's really none of your or your agent's business how a publishing house processes their material. The misunderstanding here is that nearly everyone might believe that they have had their full rejected. Hmmm...?

When you get your rejection comments back from your agent (and you should always ask for them), look for phrases like "I don't think this will sell at this time." "It's too long." It's too short. "The plot seems weak." "I couldn't get a clear picture of the MC." "I don't think this is commercial enough." "We have something similar." "Sorry, but this is not a good fit." "I wouldn't know how to sell this." And myriads of other general/stock phrases. We all know we've been read (at least partially) when the comments come in about characters, motivation, POV shifts, plot analysis, style and other such specifics. So NEVER blame you or your story because you have stacked up lots of rejections. It's very likely that under half of your submission fulls have not been read through from page one to the end. In fact, it's damn near a certainty. 

The deluge of manuscripts that a publisher has to weed through is astronomical. I've been in several large publishing houses and witnessed the operations dozens of times. If you've worked for a publisher as an editor, intern or first reader, you know what kind of pressure you were under to "clean house" because you've gotten loaded up. "Reject faster!" cries the publisher. They don't look for what's right. They are on the lookout for what's wrong.

There is another kind of rejection, but it's kind of rare. It's a skip-through, where the editor flips into three or four different parts of the book and reads a page or two from each section. (matter of fact, they start off this way). They're generally looking for flat material--nothing is happening--it's all casual dialogue, etc. Once in a very blue moon it will be because of bad writing (your agent would have caught this). They'll stop right there--whamo--they won't break open the first chapter.

So take heart. We've all had rejections because of economizing. It's the business. It's not you. The right editor and the timing is crucial--more important than you think. Of course, you'll have to have that knockout book! 

Red-shifting outta here,


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Double Back-Scratch-Marketing Boost (Short Message)

 I'm going to get right to it:

I’m willing to swap e-book purchases to improve sluggish ranks (never done it before). I have a new erotic romance/thriller that just hit and it’s lagging a bit—enormous genre size. I also missed my pre-order. I know that most of you are writers and might be going through the same trepidation I am. It is a little more brutal out there than I've ever seen it. If you've gone from feeling like you were a guppy in a lake, you just might be a smelt in the ocean now, that's if you've noticed something amiss like lack of sales and reviews.

I like science fiction, fantasy, horror, thrillers, young adult, paranormal and romance. If you’re interested, see below. I have to warn you, my book is kind of flaming hot in places. A pixel princess double-dog-dared me to write a contemporary romance. She said every book I wrote was gooshy sweet. I guffawed and agreed. Then she said, "I triple-dog-dare-ya to write an erotic one." I had to hit the books for that. My agent took hold of it when it was finished and told me what I had here was good, even great, but it was a romantic comedy. I thought I'd screwed the sex scenes up and embarrassed myself--I believed it was an erotic romance. My publisher said it was a romantic thriller--cut, edit print and fade to black. Yeah, we bashed heads. It got done, though. 

Before I had any notion about swapping buys with electronic author buds, I invested in ads for the first time in 28 years. Several FB boosts, the monthly Twitter run and the Smart Bitches--Trashy books monthly package. 

This is Guerrilla Warfare for Writers. You would think the Warrior on point would know the right direction and what the hell he was doing. Major fail. Nothing worked. That's the writing life.

Comment to me on here or take the discrete route and email me at:

Red-shifting outta here...