Looking for answers

Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2011 10:30 am
I'm new to the writing world. I only need professional advice on what I may need to do.

I am writing a story based on what I went through a few years ago. It's not completed as of yet and that's because of two reasons. One is that I am having a difficult time emotionally putting my experience into words. Two is that I need to know if my work is being done in vain or not. What I went through is something that I wouldn't wish on anyone. To sum it all up, I almost lost my life at the hands of the person that was supposed to protect it. It's not so much that it happened as much it was the way it happened.

So, I need advice on publishers. Is having an agent the better way to go? If it is, who do I trust? Do I need money up front as some have told me? If yes, how much? So you see, I have many questions.

I'd really appreciate any help. Thanks.

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Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2011 12:55 pm
All I can tell you (and I worked in the IT section of a major publisher) is that publishers are flooded with manuscripts every year. An agent is not strictly necessary, but they will get a manuscript to hit the top (or near) of the pile. But keep in mind that the vast majority of agents, because they are sticking their reputation on the line every time they recommend a manuscript, will not take just anyone. For writers with no experience, they need, usually, some sort of independent fame (this is why Snooki will get a book deal if she doesn't have one already. Same with Angela Merkel) or some sort of incredibly compelling story/writing ability (JK Rowling). It is not impossible, but it is a steep climb.

And, seriously -- and I have no idea if they take MS -- you might want to look into Amazon. They are endeavoring to bypass traditional publishers. I have no idea how they're getting their writers. Perhaps that's a viable alternative these days.
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2011 02:38 pm
Many people write books without ever seeing them pubished. I don't mean to discourage you, but it's the truth.

An agent would be helpful in getting your foot in the door. But an agent is not essential.

You don't "need" money upfront, but many writers ask for an advance. If you're going to ask for money (if you get that far), I suggest you first ask for a grant rather than an advance. A grant is money paid to you outright. An advance is an advance on your royalties. The former is money in your pocket; the latter is iffy. The publisher may say no to the grant, but it's worth asking.

Good luck.
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Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2011 02:41 pm
Amazon gets many books from self publishers, such as Lulu.
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Reply Wed 16 Nov, 2011 05:42 am
Finding a publisher that will assume the expense of printing and marketing your book is a long shot. And not worth it.

First, unless you're conducting this project for cathartic reasons, determine if you have a market for the subject. You can do this by doing a keyword search and then conducting a modest PPC campaign that attracts people who may be interested in your subject. The headlines might read "Free Book on (subject) Abuse" Click here to learn more. Then the visitor could be taken to a page that asks them a question about what they would want to know about the subject. If you had a budget of let's say $200 and you could get your clicks down to 20 cents each, you could have 1000 responses. That would be great. From that info you could develop the content and the title of the book while being true to your life lessons for others to benefit from. Then, I would self publish the book. I have several high profile friends who had their books published so they could say "Yeah, a publisher accepted my manuscript". It gives them a sense of validation. That they're writing is worthy. In reality, the publisher looked at the topic, the title, the credentials and the marketplace and took a gamble: "will this book sell based on these factors?" That's all they care about. "Will this book sell?"

You have to understand that publishing your story is only part of the equation and in contrast to marketing your book, it's a small part. I would first determine your budget for marketing your book. Self publishing is the easy part. EDIT: MODERATOR: LINK REMOVED Bill
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