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"It is bad idea to publish, when . . . : Writers' Block Party • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

"It is bad idea to publish, when . . .

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Frank321
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"It is bad idea to publish, when . . .

Postby Frank321 » Fri Jun 24, 2016 12:41 pm

. . .the publication is really not likely to be noticed by anyone, but by publishing one is not going to be able to enter contests as an unpublished author." Is this True or False?

. . .when one is paying to be published, and likely --- It will not further ones career. Is this True or False? That is, how does one arrive at this decision?

. . .the publication gains the copyright to the piece, the right to resell the piece? Is this True or False? How does one avoid this trap?

In truth, exactly what kind of contract phrases must one be alert for in trying to further one's career? Also make money?

Anyone have any other similar questions?

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devildogwhite
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Re: "It is bad idea to publish, when . . .

Postby devildogwhite » Fri Jun 24, 2016 4:06 pm

The only one of these I can answer with certainty is never pay to have your book published. Big publishers will take a chance on your book because they believe in it, not because you offered them a generous stipend. If a company is asking for money to have your book published, you are being scammed. I can't speak for self publishing, though I did try it with KDP, and that also did not cost a dime.
There is no Miss Zarves. There is no nineteenth story. Sorry.

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Re: "It is bad idea to publish, when . . .

Postby DrG2 » Fri Jun 24, 2016 10:31 pm


Frank321
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Re: "It is bad idea to publish, when . . .

Postby Frank321 » Sat Jun 25, 2016 12:26 pm

There are contradictions to everything. Someone who paid to have his first book published, after no publisher was interested in his book, was John Grisham. I read his wife demanded that he move the pile of unsold books, so they ended up in the trunk of his car. He finally backed his car up and threw them into the river. At some point a person took one of those books to a publisher and said you should print things like this. So John Grisham's writing career began. However that was a different time. I have read some vanity publishers don't deliver even if one pays to have the book published. Always going back to to the author with a story and asking for more money. Now as the other poster pointed out, Publish on Demand is possible. I would feel that Amazon e-publishing would be great for someone with no contacts and no money. At least it establishes Copyright on a novel. However the ease of putting a novel on Amazon, coupled with today's writing software has led to a glut of what I call Spam Fiction.

Insofar as publishers not out to stab authors in the back, I point to the case of Tony Hillerman. He had a character in his books whom he killed off in one book, then spent a good bit of the text making it was very clear that the character was Dead. No chance of a "Reichenbach Falls," where writer Arthur Conan Doyle apparently allowed Sherlock Holmes to die, then much later Doyle allowed him to have escaped unharmed, because of the demand of the public. Doyle is also interesting to me in that he really wanted to write romance, I think something like we call 'pink ink' today to have publishers laugh at him.

Hillerman was on TV, when his fans asked him, "Why kill off one of our favorites." Tony talked about his relationship with his publisher, maybe one of you can jump in here with a more accurate version of what Hillerman said. It went something like this; He, as a highly successful author, asked his publisher to increase the percentage the publisher paid to Hillerman. Hillerman saying far less successful authors got paid a higher percentage in royalties. The publisher refused. Hillerman found out, as he started to go to another publisher, his current publisher was owed first refusal of one more book by Hillerman, and the contract actually specified that the publisher owned the all the rights to Hillerman's characters as they had been developed in previous books. Further Hillerman found out that the publisher was preparing to hire a group of writers to use Hillerman's characters in a series of new books. Also not surprisingly, the hired writers would make less money than Tony Hillerman did. When lawyers told Hillerman that he could never write about those characters again. Tony took it upon himself to keep his publisher from using his characters either. So he killed one of Tony's own favorite characters in a way that the publisher could not stop.

Not that either of the other posters are wrong, just there are exceptions to everything. Publishers have the upper hand in contracts. Writers must have money, which really only can come from selling a lot of books, which requires a publisher. Writers spend months writing a novel. Publishers have the pick of many novels. We are driven by our desperation, and no I do not think a first time or a few novels in the midst of the Amazon Spam Fiction is going to allow a writer to have a full time career in writing with a good lifestyle based upon that income alone. Although there is a shift away from bound books, the publishers seem to use that to get a bigger piece of the pie for themselves.

I suspect that it is probably true that the only hope is for writers to develop a standard contract, and demand all publishers accept the terms, or no one writer works for them. I guess a writers union. Like I think that is going to happen. LOL.

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Re: "It is bad idea to publish, when . . .

Postby shadowwalker » Sat Jun 25, 2016 1:32 pm

I think I'd like some sourcing for the Grisham and Hillerman things. The "trunk novel" story is something that nearly every author has had told about them, but I found nothing on Grisham's site or any other articles in a quick search that mentioned it. Only that it took some time before Wyndham (sp) picked it up. And I couldn't find anything about Hillerman's problems with publishers, but then I couldn't find out which character he killed off, either, so it may be it's on some site down on Google's search list.

In general, yes, publishers miss opportunities. They're made up of humans, after all. But there are also a lot of reasons other than that why a book doesn't get picked up right away and then becomes a good, if not best-seller.

Contracts are two-way streets, and yes, there are "standard" contracts. Once you get that in your hands - or, hopefully, in the hands of your agent who knows the business end of publishing much better than most authors - you begin negotiating. Publishers expect that. Yes, there are deal killers on both sides, but it's not "take it or leave it" on the whole contract. Why would a publisher want to stab a money-making author in the back? Perhaps the author is being unreasonable; perhaps the author signed a contract s/he shouldn't have. Again, there are many reasons authors don't get everything they want - but I don't know of anyone doing business with anyone else who does.
"It seems rather like wanting to be ... a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip." - Roger Zelazny

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Re: "It is bad idea to publish, when . . .

Postby Frank321 » Sun Jun 26, 2016 8:25 am

It is a good thing that Shadow Walker came along and pushed for fact checking. I am wrong on both counts, or half wrong.

The story about John Grisham self Publishing is apparently, in truth wrong, but the story of his self publishing is reported in several places on the internet. Seems the first publisher of his first book was a real publisher, however, at some point Grisham bought a bunch of copies from the same publisher, and tried to sell them himself. I recall the story from watching an interview of Grisham, and miss understood self published with Grisham apparently having a lot of copies he paid for, and trying to sell them.

I found some interesting links to show some interesting associated reporting on self Publishing, and myths. However, given that the forum is under attack by spammers, and my desire to stay in good graces with the forum moderators, I will not post them. I always thought self publishing, while it still exists, had a different context in previous eras. Today any of us can self publish with Amazon without spending a lot of money up front.

My memory of Hillerman killing off a major character is completely wrong, and was based upon some interview I watched on TV. Likely it was another author, Or I was then in an alternate dimension. Hillerman used the same publisher (although the publisher may have changed names) and his daughter, Anne Hillerman, has books with the same main characters. More to the point of my failing memory, looking on the internet today, she uses the same publisher her father did.

I watched an online interview with John Grisham that was done in 2015. He mentioned the closing of many bookstores in the US recently (I am now gun shy about quoting numbers.) The ratio of sales of E-Texts versus paper books has changed in recent years. When asked Grisham said something interesting about Royalties of E-Books. He said, he personally did very well and implied he felt his Royalty rate was fair to him, most authors did not get enough for the Royalties of their books. Grisham, a lawyer, uses a lawyer to help create his legal contracts with the lawyers at the publisher. He said it was a very thick document. As of now, I get the impression most of the arguments for his contract has been settled in his previous books, and so he just takes the word of his lawyer and agent it is correct, and signs it. At the end of the interview,the interviewer asked if he had any advice for new writers, and Grisham said, "Get an Agent."

For me, my first thought in starting this thread was that one is an unpublished writer only once. As a new comer, I am not sure if the rules of being unpublished means being completely unpublished, or just being unknown. Also whether it is of much interest to worry about using one's one moment as unpublished in a contest much matters. Not all contests being equal in the effect they might have on the future of a writer.

I felt for a newcomer, such as myself, that before looking for an Agent, one must have in hand a completed manuscript, as well as the obligatory submission package of first chapters, outline. I would be curious to know if Grishams comment of, "Get an Agent." is an expression of his early experience in trying to place his manuscript with a publisher without an agent, or if he had an agent all along.

Grishams comment of many writers do not get enough of a percentage in Royalties describes the difficulty a newcomer will have in doing a contract with a publisher, and his closing of comment of get an agent.

There is another side, I never thought of, those who mention the names of those successful self published authors, also go on to try and sell some kind of service or link to a vanity press. Personally I would never use a vanity press, I do not have the money and I know how easy it is to fail. So I never thought of that angle.

I would be glad if shadow walker could come by and correct me some more. This is very instructive.
Last edited by Frank321 on Sun Jun 26, 2016 8:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "It is bad idea to publish, when . . .

Postby cynicalwanderer » Sun Jun 26, 2016 8:32 am

The thriller author Matthew Reilly has a fairly cool rags to riches story, of self-publishing his first book, Contest, through a vanity publisher and then driving around and bargaining with every bookstore in town to try him out with shelf space. At one point, someone even stole his car with half of his print run in the boot and he lost the lot. Eventually though, a proper publisher took notice - of both his book and his dedication to promoting it - and he got his big break.

As inspiring as all that sounds, though, it's pretty rare. While it's certainly not impossible to make it on your own, you're better off following the established path to publication.
"I've stopped giving advice. Even when people ask for it, they resent getting it." -Ross Macdonald.

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shadowwalker
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Re: "It is bad idea to publish, when . . .

Postby shadowwalker » Sun Jun 26, 2016 12:46 pm

"It seems rather like wanting to be ... a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip." - Roger Zelazny

It's really not that hard. Just tell me a story.

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Re: "It is bad idea to publish, when . . .

Postby James A. Ritchie » Sun Jun 26, 2016 5:30 pm


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Re: "It is bad idea to publish, when . . .

Postby James A. Ritchie » Sun Jun 26, 2016 6:08 pm


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