1. Solaris2020
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    Solaris2020 New Member

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    New Author needs Guidance

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Solaris2020, Oct 20, 2015.

    Hello friends,

    I am hoping to publish my first book soon and I need some advice from our more experienced brothers and sisters.

    I have many questions in regards to publishing, and would also gladly hear any extra advice you may have.


    1- Who are the biggest publishers that deal with books of a political nature?

    2- Do these publishers have offices in Australia/Sydney

    3- I am hoping this book will be very successful. Do you advise that I get an agent? Why? And how much will it cost me?

    4- What can I expect in terms of advance if the book is extremely high quality?

    5- I wish to publish anonymously, under a ‘nom de plume’ (False name). What do I need to know about this?

    6- Is it possible to control the price of the book? If the publisher wants to sell for $10 and pay me $1, could I ask him to sell for $15 and pay me $6?


    I will have more questions, and perhaps follow up questions based on your answers.

    Thank you for your time.

    Solaris
     
  2. Solaris2020
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    Solaris2020 New Member

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    Sorry, I forgot one question

    7- When does one expect to see an income from the book?
     
  3. Moth
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    Moth Active Member

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    Most - if not all - of those questions can be answered through google searches and research.

    1 & 2 - Google is your friend.
    3 - Yes. If you're going the traditional publishing route, an agent is a must. They are essentially the middle-men between writers and publishes, with all the contacts and industry know-how. They'll take a cut out of the book's sales, if an agent asks for money up front then alarm bells should be ringing.
    4 & 5- Google is your friend.
    6 - No. If you want that control, you'll have to self-publish.
    7 - Dependent on your contract and publishing firm. Don't be expecting a paycheck every week, though. More likely is two checks a year, from what I've seen.

    Disclaimer: I have yet to have a book published, so I may be completely wrong. The above is what I've gathered in my own research.

    This is really stuff you should be looking into in-depth yourself, homework isn't fun but we've all gotta do it.

    Good luck!
     
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  4. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is not specific advice on publishing, but more general advice. If I were you I would get some people I know and trust to read the book and give opinions on it. From you post, it seems you are very confident that it's of very high quality. But, sometimes people are too close to books (or other things) that they have created and are unable to objectively evaluate it.

    Also, even classic books that have sold by the bucketload were still rejected by agents and publishers many, many, times. I've only got your original post to go on, but I'm concerned that you might believe that the task of finding an agent/publisher is easier than it is in real life.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2015
  5. theoriginalmonsterman
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    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Social media is the best way to advertise nowadays. If you're popular on Twitter or Facebook you can post asking if anyone is interested in purchasing your book. Maybe even offer a sale on your book on the social media you use. Or find someone who is a popular book reviewer and give them a free copy and ask if they can review to try and help boost sales. There's plenty of ways to advertise, but you have to be willing to reach out.
     
  6. Solaris2020
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    Solaris2020 New Member

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    Thank you kindly for your responses.

    I believe I will begin my quest by searching for an agent, hopefully in Sydney.


    What should I search for in google? And what is the exact title of the agent?

    Google search: ‘literary agent Sydney’?
     
  7. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Realism check.

    1/, 3/ & 4/ I can't see a book of a political nature knocking Twilight out of the best-seller lists. I very much doubt that it'll be worthy of an advance.

    5/ A book of non-fiction tends to need an author of note to support its validity. e.g., who's going to buy a cookbook by somebody who isn't , and never has been, a celebrity chef? If you're chair of politics at Macquarie University, that would give your book some weight. If you're John Doe of no stated abode...?
     
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  8. Solaris2020
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    Solaris2020 New Member

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    What do you know about me or the subject of my book?

    Your self esteem so low you need to put others down to feel good about yourself?
     
  9. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, Solaris, you said you plan to publish under a pen name. That means that, regardless of your real world qualifications, you'll be publishing as "John Doe of no stated abode". Which means you're going to have a really hard time selling non-fiction. There are lots of people out there with political opinions, and quite a few of them are willing to put a lot of time into backing up their ideas. But most of the time the public (and publishers) are looking for acknowledged experts with an established platform.

    So if you do have real-world credentials, you should really try to find a way to write under your real name and credentials. Alternatively, you could start trying to establish a web presence even as an anonymous person, and then the followers of your blog or whatever would become your platform.
     
  10. Solaris2020
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    Solaris2020 New Member

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    Dear friends,

    Would it cause me any problems or inconveniences if I were to contact an agent in New York instead of my native Sydney (Australia)?

    Thanks
     
  11. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is your book Australian in nature, and are you likely to be looking for an Australian publisher? If so, it would make sense to go with an Australian agent. But if you think you're writing for an American or global audience, there shouldn't be a problem working with an American agent (I'm Canadian and my agent is in NY and it's not an issue).
     
  12. Solaris2020
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    Solaris2020 New Member

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    Thank you, this has been very informative.

    If anyone has anything else to offer, please do so.

    Best wishes to all
     
  13. Solaris2020
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    Solaris2020 New Member

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    Dear Friends

    Sorry if this question seems silly,

    but does one ask one's agent to sign a confidentiality agreement before forwarding one's manuscript?

    Does the risk exist of the agent or publisher stealing the writer's work or ideas?

    Thanks and best wishes
     
  14. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, one does not.

    If you've done your homework and found a reputable agent, you don't need to worry about any sort of theft and it would be insulting and amateurish to ask for the agent to sign anything. If you haven't done your homework and found a reputable agent - do your homework!
     
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  15. Solaris2020
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    Solaris2020 New Member

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    Thank you very much
     
  16. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Solaris,

    I can only answer some of your questions I'm afraid. First if you've found an agent to submit to who is reputable, you don't need to worry about confidentiality etc. But make sure that if you do get representation you check them out. Who are they? Who else have they published? Are they listed in Writers Beware etc. And above all else remember the golden rule for authors. Monies always flow to the writer. If they even think of charging you a fee - reading fee / photocopying etc etc - run.

    Second, no problems with getting overseas representation, in fact it may be the best way to go. But agents will charge higher comission for overseas authors.

    As to advances - no idea. If the books of exceptional quality and they are absolutely convinced it'll sell, you may be looking at 10K plus. But if you publish under a pen name that'll knock it back a bit. It means not only are you a new author but you have no name to sell to the public. See Leno would sell and get a massive commission whatever he wrote. Joe Blogs has to push shit uphill and hope there's a soft landing on the other side.

    Next payments. Traditionally agents / publishers will give an advance of some sort and you'll only get paid anything else if the book sells over that. Estimates vary but at a guess half of all trade pubbed authors never see a pay check after the advance. If your book does sell, you'll be looking at checks maybe quarterly or six monthly.

    As for book pricing - No. Under the trade system the author has almost no say in that. You get what they give you I'm afraid. Stephen King et al may be an exception. But not the rest.

    If you go indie you price your book and have total control over everything - but you'll have to fork out expenses in advance - editing / cover design etc.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  17. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, fees associated with submitting the MS may be passed along to the author, even by reputable agents. So photocopying the MS, shipping it to publishers, etc. may end up being billed to the author. Most submissions these days are done electronically so these fees aren't generally an issue, but many agent contracts still have a line to allow the possibility of charging for these fees. It's the fees for agent time (reading fees, etc.) that are red flags.
    - see https://www.sfwa.org/fees/ for more details.

    @psychotick Do you have a source for this? I'm not American and have an American agent, and I pay standard commission. I can't really see a justification for agents charging more, as I don't think their job is any more difficult...

    ETA: And just in terms of a little more clarity - agents don't publish people, and they don't give advances.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
  18. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    BayView, first up No. Reputable agents should charge no up front fees. And any others they do charge regardless of whether they may legitimate or not, should come out of earnings / royalties. Here's Writer's Beware on the subject:

    http://www.victoriastrauss.com/advice/writer-beware/

    As for commissions, my source is my experience from when I was submitting. I'm a kiwi and so I paid careful attention to the fees / commissions quoted. Most sites charged a lower commission 10 - 15% for authors from their own country - usually the US, compared to the commission for international authors 15 - 20%. Though it's been a while I suspect most agents will still follow this practice. Simply check out the sites for yourself.

    And last, I just lumped agents / publishers together because for most things in regards to this post they are the same. Technically agents may not "pay" an author, but in most situations they actually do - accepting the full commission from the publisher and then passing along what they don't keep including the advances. That's how it normally used to work.

    If things have changed I don't know, and quite frankly since I became an indie and started earning money from my writing, I don't care.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  19. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, if you're going to offer information to others, you should care, I think?

    So, just for clarity - we agree that some fees are fine - it's just the upfront ones (reading fees, etc) that are a problem? Writer Beware is part of SFWA and is run by Victoria Strauss, so the link you provided is to the same source as the link I provided, just in a different iteration. And both pages have some version of the line "a reputable agents will pass on only unusual expenses (expenses incurred on the client’s behalf over and above the ordinary cost of doing business, such as photocopying, postage, long-distance calls, Fed Ex, etc.)" So it seems like they're saying the same thing - maybe I'm just confused by you saying "No" - I took it to mean disagreement with me, but maybe you were disagreeing with your earlier statement that writers should run from all fees, including photocopying?

    In terms of the higher commissions-- Is it possible you were looking at the commissions for overseas sales rather than overseas clients? That would make the 5% difference make sense. I mean, it's hard for me to prove a negative (that no agents anywhere charge more for overseas clients) but I really don't think it's industry standard - when I was querying agents, it was never mentioned, and I spoke to several different agents before signing.
     
  20. Solaris2020
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    Solaris2020 New Member

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    http://www.tridentmediagroup.com/contact-us

    Commission:

    Our standard literary agency commission rate is 15% for sales in North America and 20% for foreign sales (in some of the small foreign markets outside North America the commission rate is 25%). The commission rate for film and TV sales is 15%
     
  21. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, that's for sales. Like, if they sell something to a North American publisher, regardless of where the author lives, they charge 15%. If they sell something to a non-North American publisher, regardless of where the author lives, they charge 25%. It's fairly standard to have different sales rates, but it's based on where the publisher is, not where the author lives.
     
  22. Annihilation
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    Annihilation Active Member

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    I'm trying to do my homework too. But how/where do I find an agent? Do I go on Google and type up "agents in phoenix" or something?
     
  23. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Querytracker.com is a good starting point - you can narrow your search by genre and a few other criteria. Agentquery.com is similar. I've only used the first, so I can't really compare and say which is best.

    Then once you have a list of potentials, you can go to their websites and look for red flags (reading fees, non-standard fees, few clients or few books sold, etc.). Check out the discussion at the "Bewares and Background Checks" section of absolutewrite.com and the ratings at pred-ed.com. When you're really serious, buy a subscription to Publishers' Marketplace (it's expensive, but you'll only need it for a couple months, hopefully) and search through their records of who's sold what to whom for how much. (Not all publishers/agents send their deals to the Marketplace, so it's not failproof, but it's still valuable).

    That'll give you a pretty good list to start from. Once you get an agent's interest you need to do a more exhaustive search before signing anything (speaking to existing clients, etc.), but there's no point going that far until you've got their interest.
     
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  24. Annihilation
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    Annihilation Active Member

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    Thanks, I'll definitely keep this in mind at all times.
     

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