solace_aderyn: (Default)

This came up today when I was going through the submissions.

We’ve had two works on exactly the same subject in as many days. Both are quite well written, with very similar content and even a similar style.

But I’ve only passed one on for further consideration. Why?

Because one has been written by two sisters, while the other has been co-written by someone with a PhD in the subject.

From whom would you buy?

This is why, when you submit – and especially with non-fiction – you should include an author biography that makes you shine, succinctly detailing your achievements and suitability to write the idea. Even if the idea is amazing and doesn’t come up that often, you may very well be asked to help promote the work in whatever way possible. We look at the author as well as the work when considering.

There are no original ideas, only original executions. With this in mind, you must find the confidence to sell yourself as much as your work.

solace_aderyn: (Default)
It’s been a Rejection Collection day, where I’ve broken a grand total of 26 hearts.

Well, that’s a touch dramatic. In reality it’s been ok in terms of sending them off, but it still stings a little bit; my inner writer is anticipating that not everyone will accept the news, no matter how nicely it was worded. Past the Submission(s) of the Days, there are many more I haven’t mentioned where the time and effort – and sometimes, there’s been a lot – have shone through. What becomes hard is when despite that they’re just not right for us. Often not good enough.

Every page you send, every email where you beg to be reconsidered, and every one of you who thanks me for considering... I read them all. I promise you.

Had a hitting home moment again, as I sent the last “no” away: I was handed my business cards. They’re blue and white, and they don’t have my father’s surname, only my dad’s.

Feeling like a professional. Adult. Very strange.
solace_aderyn: (Default)
Ooh, this is a good one:

"This might seem a strange question - but do I need to complete my MA in order to be taken seriously as a writer?"

My reply:

"Hi Author!

"It's actually a really good question; in short, it depends on your idea. Many of our existing authors are taken on due to a variety of factors, and while academic ability does play a part in more of our scientifically-oriented works, other works we do are often accepted on either an incredibly good idea, or, more often, an author's profile. A yoga teacher with fifteen years' experience will be much more credible than someone who's been going to classes for three.

"With thanks and kind regards,

Solace Aderyn
Editorial Assistant
MBS Publisher"
solace_aderyn: (Default)
I have eighty rejections, and I’m very happy to add you to the pile without a further read.

Yes, YOU, Author Who’s Called Every Monday for a month. There’s a reason I told you six to eight weeks.

Growl rowl grumble...
solace_aderyn: (Default)
Every so often I get letters from authors who think their work is better than everyone else’s, and that a rejection means that a) I haven’t read it, or b) I have read it, but I must read it again to appreciate its wondrous quality.

Of course I can’t say “Look, I’m sorry, but your work is substandard”, as much as I’d like to sometimes. But, what I can do is give that author two pages stating precisely what they need to do: leave it, and try somewhere else. I don’t just disregard submissions – I do read them all – but, by and large, the chances aren’t great. We take ten from eight hundred. Repeat: 10 out of 800. Likewise, because there are so many submissions, it’s likely the author will get a standard rejection letter.

If you get one of the two page letters from me, read it carefully. It’s the best advice I can give to you and, if your work and attitude are poor, sometimes the most attention you’ll ever get from a busy industry that doesn’t like whiners, bullshitters, or people who can’t take “no” for an answer.
solace_aderyn: (Default)
Well, technically there is no such thing as a typical day, as more often than not there are deadlines to be met NOW, but generally it’s like this.

In at 9.30, check emails and post: at the moment, for example, there’s a fair few from authors, as I’m the first point of contact for them till my boss gets back from holiday. I rarely get contacted by agents: the majority of them are smart enough to head straight to my boss, who has the final say on any submission anyway. If you have an agent, and they’ve contacted me, it’s not a good sign for you.

Anyway, as well as existing authors, I get on average 3-5 from hopeful authors too. These are immediately placed in the Submissions folder to be looked at later on in the day.

About 10.30-11: shift to various tasks through the day. These can consist of:

Contracts: making sure everyone has payments up to date, depending on how far their manuscript has got
Arranging gratis copies
Creating advance information sheets on titles
Writing cover copy
Suggesting rewrites
Updating author details: photos, contact details, etc. And no, I won’t give out Esteemed Author’s Address, no matter how much of a fan you are.
General tidying up (though this is rare now)
Circulating cover for opinions/approval
Anything else that people need help with, and that I can do

2.30: break. Yep, I take lunch late. At first it was because I simply kept forgetting, and now I’ve settled into a routine. Today, I haven’t shifted from my desk once, as it’s been a Busy Day. It’s a bizarre world where you can be completely exhausted and yet still feel your ass grow.

3-5.30: My submissions time. It’s becoming apparent that 2 hours a day isn’t enough to spend on them, however, and this is probably going to expand.

I also occasionally volunteer for events that the publisher offers, though this is rare for an assistant to do.
solace_aderyn: (Default)

I’ve had a few calls from prospective authors asking, in short, what part of their work they need to send in their work so we can publish it. Not consider – publish.

 

The short answer is nothing – not without looking to see whether your work is right for us, anyway. A publisher cannot take on everything that’s submitted: it costs thousands of pounds to publish a book, and we need to know we’ll at least get that money back if not more. We are a profit making industry, and the risk takers are few. The only guaranteed way to get your work published is to do it yourself. If you approach any commercial publisher, it’s more likely than not that you’ll be rejected, especially if the book is completely the wrong subject for that publisher. You don’t send a military history book to a children’s publisher; likewise, we are an adult non-fiction publisher, and don’t accept fiction or children’s work unless the author has a VERY long history with us.

 

Our odds? Well, I’ve received 140 submissions since I started here at the end of May. Only two stand any chance of publication by us, and only one has had the green light to be published.

 

Depending on the company, these odds may vary, but can be even higher – and we’re one of the dwindling few that take on unsolicited. To improve your odds, do one of the following before even thinking about submitting:

 

1) Get an agent.

2) Do your research.

3) Get your work the best you can.

 

Good luck...

solace_aderyn: (thinking)
Taken from an author asking for advice, and my reply. As always, details are confidential, and any advice is my opinion alone.

----------------------------

I self-published my first title... I'm working on my 2nd and 3rd books now.

So far, I've been told:

1. Find an editor with good contacts with agents and publishers.
2. Find an agent with good contacts with editors and publishers.
3. Forget about it and keep building my platform and publicity.

When you're considering new titles, who do you generally work with? Agents? Editors? A combination of the two?

 

Are there particular agents or editors you prefer working with?

My reply: )

 
solace_aderyn: (Default)
 There are a few stages from first sending off a manuscript and seeing it on the shelf, and many authors aren’t aware of them. While the exact stages and names of these stages vary from publisher to publisher, the basic process is listed below to give you a clearer idea.

 

And then that’s it. Once its release date is decided, it finally goes on the shelves, to be loved, hated, bought and sold, and it’s pure luck from here on in. This is why I say you need to develop a thick skin: not just from the initial critics of your work, but also from the critics should it hit the shelves. Publishing a work is very much a labour of love, and those who can turn your idea into something anyone can access certainly do love their work, but it can be very, very difficult for authors. But keep your chin up. It's difficult for us too. It is a tough journey that you choose to undertake with us, but oh my, it’s also a fun one, and it has power, genius and magic in it.

 

“And even if everything were to turn out the opposite of what I imagine, no malice could ever obscure the glory of having kindled this endeavour.”

-  Cervantes, Don Quixote

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