1. J.H
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    J.H New Member

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    I've Been Contacted by a Publisher... Help!

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by J.H, Mar 29, 2011.

    Hi everyone,

    I recently started writing an episodic piece about my time as an unlicensed boxer when I was 14 - 18 years old for Sabotage Times.

    I've only finished the first two halves but it's been getting some good feedback. I'm not sure if anyone here would like the writing style or the content, or any of it for that matter, but that's not why I'm posting.

    Basically off the back of the two posts above and some other work, a publisher has contacted me. It's only small time but they're interested in published my boxing articles as an ebook, I'd get paid as well.

    I honestly have no experience at all with this sort of thing and just wondered if anyone could give me some advice? Perhaps any do's and don'ts?

    I'm under no illusion that I'm an amazing writer and that I'm going to write a best seller, but I enjoy writing and like to think I'm okay at it. Potentially making money off of it is a massive bonus for me so I'd just like a little advice if that's possible. Perhaps questions I should maybe ask?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    You said they're small time, but are they reputable? Maybe you should try contacting an agent? Or do they only want you if you don't have one?
     
  3. J.H
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    J.H New Member

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    Yes, they're definitely reputable but I have no clue about the agent thing I will ask them.

    I am very new to the business side of literature and have no clue where the best place to find an agent is.
     
  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Check various websites with respect to this publisher (Absolute Write's Writer Beware and Background Checks, Preditors & Editors, Writer's Beware, etc.).

    As far as agents go, many may not represent you for a small ebook publisher. If you cannot find one to represent you, you may be able to hire a literary attorney to review and help negotiate a contract on a one time fee basis.

    I know it's very exciting, and it's good that you're being careful. Do your research, well benond posting here and possibly other forums, etc.). Wishing you the very best! Let us know how it goes.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    who's the publisher?...

    will they pay you for your book, or are they asking for any kind of fee from you?
     
  6. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wow, congratulations!!! that's great. :) I wish you the best of luck with this project.
     
  7. MidnightPhoenix
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    MidnightPhoenix Contributing Member

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    congratulations:) I wish everything goes alright for you.
     
  8. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Agents aren't so necessary in the UK, and if there are such things as 'literary attorneys' I've never heard of them. I got my family solicitor to cast an eye over the first contract I signed to check I wasn't committing to something like giving up the rights on characters etc. Check the company is reputable, getting a bankers reference if necessary, and don't pay them anything. Even an 'editing fee' or any other fancy name for getting money off you. Ask for copies of other books they've done and get references from authors if you are still worried.
     
  9. Finhorn
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    Finhorn Senior Member

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    First, Congratz!

    If you haven't resolved this, the question boils done to a legal term called "rights." As someone who's worked for a small publisher I offer this advice. Email them and ask your questions. They probably know that it's your first time selling something. The plan is for you to get paid (by them) and them to get paid for showing off your work. It's a win-win so they have no incentive to screw you. If they ever ask you for money, turn them down. It's a scam.

    One of the questions you should ask is what rights are selling and for how long? Commonly for short stories and small publisher, you sell print and online rights for 1 year. This means that for the next year they can print or post the material however they want, as long as they include your name and don't change your writing. During this time you cannot post it, or resell it. Additionally they can not sell the rights to someone else.

    Printed copies can continue to be sold after this year, but a new printing can not be done. Small presses will often also ask for permission to use it once at some time within the next 10 years in an anthology of their own making. This doesn't grantee that the'll use it but they have the choice if they want to.

    In exchange for all that they're going to give you a one time payment.

    Less reputable presses will ask you to sell the story to them forever. They then can do whatever they want with it, whenever.

    One more note because it may be important. Magazines, especially online ones, buy all rights forever. If your publisher wants the story for a magazine format them wanting it forever doesn't make them less reputable. This comes from the olden days before quick internet communication where a writer would write one article and sell it to five places at the same time. Then the places all look like they stole it and it's bad for everyone.

    I wouldn't bother with an agent or a lawyer. Both are going to cost you far more than it's worth even if you can find one willing to take on a single short story. I hear you need to be looking at selling 50,000 copies of a book before you really need either. None of the people I ever reviewed or accepted work from ever had agents.
     
  10. J.H
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    J.H New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    Sorry I completely forgot I'd posted.

    The ePublisher doesn't want any money up front or anything like that but has gone a bit quiet. I've had so many emails and interest in the piece though that I'm thinking maybe I should go for something more than just an eBook. I know it's ambitious but I'm surprised at the amount of good feedback I'm getting. Or maybe I could try releasing it myself... I'm usnure.

    Thanks Finhorn, that's a huge help! What would you advise I do next?

    P.S. Part Three for anyone who's interested.
     
  11. J.H
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    J.H New Member

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    Also I just wondered who the most reputable eBook publishers were? And are there any decent publishers that specialise in short stories?
     
  12. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Short stories are normally published in magazines and anthologies. New authors are unlikely to get a publisher to publish a collection of their short stories, so if you're interested in that publishing route you should use www.duotrope.com to find magazines and open-submission anthologies suited to your writing, and your stories.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i believe amazon publishes e-stories...
     
  14. Finhorn
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    Finhorn Senior Member

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    Give your poor publisher a little time :) Maybe someone got sick. Maybe you are long-term planning to them so the're not in a hurry to hook you. If you're ready to move on however, I agree with Banzai. Duotrope is a great site. It's a good place to start and sounds like it may be your best bet. Just make sure that when you send it out the recipient knows it's a serial and dual-submitted.

    Amazon does publish eBooks but you have to have the formatting done (keeping sentences and paragraphs on the same page, and other things that make it look professional). After 6ish months if you haven't been able to do enough marketing to sell enough copies, they drop it.

    If your serious about trying to sell it as a book, first quit publishing parts of it. A publisher isn't going to want to try and sell something that readers can get for free. Second, finish it. To stand alone each segment is going to have to connect to the others (like a book). You're looking for at very very least 50,000 words though 80,000 is much better. Once it's done query publishers and agents.
     
  15. J.H
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    J.H New Member

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    Thanks for all the help guys that's great!

    Yeah the publisher got in touch again, I get 65% royalties is that good?
     
  16. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    While authors sometimes focus on the royalties with respect to the contents of a publishing contract, if you have no clue about publishing contracts, you need more assistance that can be provided here--professional assistance...either that or you really need to study up before signing anything.

    That said, to answer to your question--65% can be good or maybe not so good in the context of the entire contract. Beyond that, getting say, 65% of selling 100 copies over a year is much different than getting 50% of say, 1500 copies sold over a year. Or getting 40% of cover price of say 5000 copies over a year--and what will the cover price be? Of course 65% of 10,000 copies would be even better...but only you can figure out what's reasonable to expect--thorugh research. What is the publisher's track record, and what will they do to make your novel not only 'available', but noticed--think marketing?
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if you can't get an agent, at least have a literary attorney look over that contract before you sign it...
     
  18. glenpalmer
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    glenpalmer New Member

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    Hey J.H,

    Looks like there is a lot of support out there for you.
    Getting published as an e-book is certainly great, but why just go for e-books when you can have both digital and print. I would certainly ask the publisher if you can do it in print as well. If not, try traditional publishers. Get a copy of the Writers Yearbook, available on Amazon or any good bookshop. Get a few addresses and the name of their editors, then write a simple cover note - if you need help with that, just ask, then send 3 sample chapters to them, rinse and repeat.
    If you don't have any luck with that, there is always the self-publishing route. A lot of people will frown at that suggestion, but you will have total control of the whole process and nowadays, with social networking going so strong, you can get your message out quite easily and for free.
    If you need any help, just ask.

    Hope this helps somewhat.
     
  19. J.H
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    J.H New Member

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    Thanks Glen, this is exactly what I've planned to do. The ebook thing seemed like a good idea at the time, but I've had so much support and praise over the Unlicensed Boxing series that I've been advised by some editors to write out a few proper chapters and send it around.

    I might not be the most experienced writer but I seem to be doing something right so I just thought why not. It might never go anywhere but I can try.

    The Confessions of an Unlicensed Boxer series is almost finished, if you'd like to read the other parts it can all be found here.
     
  20. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the more you make it available to be read for free, the less attractive it will be to any paying press...
     

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