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At a Loose End

July 26, 2011

I probably should have written this story slower because I finished it so fast that now I don’t really have anything in place to do next.  But it was one of those situations like when you see a chocolate cake (or whatever you prefer) sitting on the counter and tell yourself, “I’m just going to have one piece” and the next thing you know the whole thing is gone.  Some things are just too good to go slow.

Looking at my summer writing goals, I was thinking of doing a second draft of this, but now I’m not sure.  I already did that first draft (plus 25% of one before it) and before that I used many of the same characters in this, which was based off of this…so you get the idea (if you click the links) that the concept is a bit played out and so maybe it’s time to look for something else.

Maybe it’s time to put my plan of selling out into action.  Anyone have any ideas they’ve thought of but don’t feel like writing?  We can go halfsies on the profits–if any.

While I scramble to think of something, this week I’m looking for a small publisher for this.  There’s probably a better way of searching, but I figured since I was going to Preditors and Editors anyway to see who’s a scammer and who isn’t, I might as well just troll their listings and look for potential targets.  I’ve sent to four or five.  I got rejected by one a week or so ago.  Apparently small publishers use form letters too, maybe so that they feel important.

This search makes me just as grumpy as looking for an agent.  Some of these small publishers are such pricks it’s unbelievable.  One says in their submission guidelines that their process is a test and if you don’t follow it exactly you fail.  What is this, a frat induction?  You going to get the wooden paddles out?  Or maybe I should climb on a motorcycle and try to jump over fourteen buses and a flaming hoop.

And some of them have this outmoded stuff about formatting.  I could see when people were submitting by paper that it might be a big deal to stress that you want Times New Roman font instead of Comic Sans, but now that we have Email and I’m just attaching the file, what difference does it make?  You want it in Times New Roman, just Control-A, select the font drop down, and scroll to TNR.  Same for margins and headers/footers and so forth.  Why make a Federal case out of it?

Because we’re busy!  Sure, you’re probably running your firm out of your mom’s garage.  I get that.  But I’m busy too.  I’ve got twenty other publishers to send to and all their crap to deal with.  Which brings me to the “exclusivity.”  Look, don’t say you’re going to take six months to get to it and then demand exclusivity.  I’m supposed to just sit there for six months waiting for you with my thumb up my ass?  Get real.

The thing is, I’d put up with all that shit if it were Random House.  I’d cut off my thumb and sew it up in my ass if it were Random House.  You’re not Random House!  You just have some crappy website and if I’m lucky you can get my book on Amazon, though it’d probably be just as cheap to use CreateSpace or Lulu and do it myself.  It’s not like Thumb Up My Ass Productions (or whoever it is) has some vast global marketing network.  If I’m lucky they have a Twitter account with 20 followers and 10 friends on Facebook they can use.

But as I said before, there’s the illusion of quality if you have someone else publish it instead of self-publishing it.  I suppose I’ll have to try and play ball, but can’t these guys drop the delusions of grandeur?  I know it makes you feel like a big wheel, but you’re not.

I should just start my own publishing company, though not Thumb Up My Ass Productions because that would only attract a certain kind of clientele.  Then I can feel important too.  Or I’ll just buy a Dodge Stratus.

I know in one entry I was griping about critiques.  I think it goes without saying that before you question someone’s facts you should probably make sure you’re right.  See this example:

“I don’t know of any diner open 24 hours a day so right away I’m skeptical of your details. ”

My immediate thought was, Really?  You haven’t heard of Denny’s?  Maybe this person lives in Australia or something where they don’t have that.  But she sounds like a real ass in phrasing it like this because in decrying my research she neglected to her own.

If you’re going to question a 24-hour diner, you do it like this:  “Are there 24 hours diners?  I don’t have any around me, but maybe they have them somewhere else?”  See, now it’s a question and doesn’t have the pompous “I’m skeptical” thing going on.  I do stuff like that a lot because on Critique Circle anyway you get people from Britain, Australia, etc. so I’m not always up on things in those countries, so I try to phrase it as a question instead of making a statement and sounding like a jerk.

Yes, it’s lessons in etiquette from the grumpy bulldog!  Actually that could be a fun nonfiction book:  The Grumpy Bulldog’s Guide to Manners.  First lesson:  don’t use the expression “Thumb up my ass.”

Second lesson:  when I post about my dead cat, don’t say, “Thanks for sharing.”  Can’t you be bothered to look at a line or two and come up with the just as generic but slightly more sensitive, “Sorry about your cat”?  I hate those dickheads on Gather who just cruise around posting those kind of comments because they want points but don’t want to bother reading anything.  Point weasels!  Mr. Pagel should know what I’m referring to.

That is all.

PS:  And then to invalidate the first few paragraphs of this post I thought of a different take on that story, which is this.


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  1. The small publishers I’ve been impressed with are Mundania Press, Double Dragon Press, and Rhemalda Publishing. I sent my sci-fi novel to Double Dragon and Mundania. Mundania rejected it but Double Dragon hasn’t said yay or nay yet. They are very slow and are only looking for books that will be published for their 2013 catalog (which would suit me just fine). I’m in no hurry. I’d really like to be picked up by Double Dragon because they come so strongly recommended by Piers Anthony (an author I respect).

    If you want the skinny on small publishers, go to Piers Anthony’s website (link on my blog left hand side). He has done a ton of research on all small publishers in the nation and writes very frankly on their means of doing business. Some of what he has to say is not very nice but it’s still funny.

    Links to Extraordinary Books by Mundania Press, Double Dragon, and Rhemalda are on my right-hand sidebar. Additionally, I was eyeballing this publisher called White Wolf (also a link on my sidebar) and I put this other publisher called Damnation Books there because they seem to have a really active P.R. Department that attends conventions plus they bought the online magazine Realms of Fantasy and could advertise books there. All of these have easy submission guidelines except for Double Dragon. It took me a day to get the submission to Double Dragon right because you have to take out all tabs etc. I found out how powerful Microsoft Word is for doing that (removing and inserting stuff).

    With the demise of Borders I think that the small publishers are going to be in a better position than they were before. There’s less shelf space for books so the big guys are going to be trying to cram the shelves at Barnes and Noble with guaranteed wins. I think this kinda squeezes out the little guy like you and me mutt (unfortunately). Plus I’m seeing more and more that agents are kind of choosing to close up shop.

    I got a rejection letter yesterday on my agent search that said essentially that they are really close to closing up shop and aren’t taking any more clients. I only sent out like fourteen or so and still have to hear back from about 8.

    Rhemalda Publishing is one that is on my radar but I’ve never sent anything in. Boy they do a lot of work for their authors. Amber Argyle and Michelle Davidson Argyle are both published through them (they live in Utah) and this company does ARC’s just like the big guys, both print books and ebooks, does impressive cover art, has a magazine that they advertise on, is active on twitter and other social networks, etc.

    • Rhemalda was following me on Twitter so I checked P&E and they come as “Not Recommended.” Now I’m curious why that is.

    • I was also going to suggest looking at WiDo Publishing. They were begging for submissions on Twitter a few weeks ago and they’re based in Salt Lake too I think. Of course they rejected mine, proving beggars can be choosy. P&E doesn’t have any warnings on them, so that’s a plus.

    • It’s a “small publisher” according to P&E.

      It looks like from searching for info about Rhemalda that the consensus on Absolute Write is that they’re new and kind of clueless about the business. At the end of the thread was someone who’s publishing with them and says they’re nice, but her book doesn’t come out until August 1, so take that with a grain of salt.

      Yeesh, it’s such a minefield out there!

      • The ARCs that they produced for Amber and Michelle are absolutely amazing. Plus their editing has been really good (I looked through a few sample chapters that Amber posted on her book “Witch Song”). I think that Rhemelda is being talked about by people that don’t have much experience with them. All I can say is that from knowing and following those two authors for months now…I think they are damn cool. They even visited with Amber and Michelle in person and those two authors blogged about it.

        Things that Michelle said they expect: 1) It’s mandatory to do a book signing on your release day and it’s up to you to set it up. She said her first release day jamboree was done out of the back of her car but now she’s gotten friendly with a bookstore that will help her out. 2) You are responsible for much of your own book sales. Honestly, number 2 is more and more a “given” even with the big publishers. They just aren’t standing behind authors like they used to so that they can report more profit to the stockholders.

      • You’d think it would behoove the big publishers to stand behind their authors more so that they can sell more books and make more money. But I guess if they can have me hustle and spending my advance to do what they should be doing then it’s win-win for them.

  2. The nice thing about having a publisher rather than self-publishing is that they can get past the awkwardness of self promotion. For example, I’ve no idea how difficult it would be to get a booth at a comic con nor what process to go through. A publisher could do all that for you and all you have to do is show up. Plus it’d be kind of embarrassing if you weren’t associated with a publisher. Tons of people would see your little booth and wonder what leg you would have to stand on as far as just being a person representing yourself on the comic con floor as opposed to a whole YA panel like that arranged by Harper Teen for the promotion of its authors. Also they provide the ARCs to giveaway free and ship them to you free, etc. Of course Harper Teen is a big traditional publisher so probably less of that is seen in small publishers.

  3. You two need to do a joint blog.

    Did someone really reject a book because they didn’t think there were 24 hour diners? I don’t know that I’ve ever even NOTICED that. Can’t there be 24-hour diners in your fictional world? Did that “Next” book get rejected because no Texas buildings have ever been the subject of a terrorist attack?

    Sounds like you got a person that’s a jerk.

    I admire your dedication in continuing to seek publishers. I’m still editing a novel I wrote (I edit about 10 pages a month) and I may send that to a publisher, but if what you say is true, why bother?

    As for having a booth at a Con, I’ve actually thought about that — not ComicCon, but something around here. Then I decided that I don’t want to use my money to do that, so there you go.

    But I am going to have a window at my health club, in September, promoting my books and blogs. It’s free. So I’ll see if that doesn’t push me into Grisham-esque heights of sales.

    • The diner thing was just a critiquer on Critique Circle. The book publisher just sent a form rejection.

      But see now if you go to a publisher who wants a “marketing plan” you can show them all your blogs and also say, “I also have a window at my health club.”

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