1. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    Publishing process? Do I have this right?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by SeverinR, Oct 5, 2011.

    Went to a publishing class last night given by an agent.

    The process send Querry letter, wait for reply,
    send a brief info packet
    and a third mailing includes sample chapters.

    get a contract(if your lucky)

    All this without a single word written for the story?

    From my pov, I have never been able to write a book report without reading the book. Well at least a very good one. How do you estimate how long the book will be if you haven't written it yet?

    Do writers actually wait to write until they have a contract, or do they write the book then send the querry letters out?

    It seems very weird to me to sign a contract with only a couple chapters written.
     
  2. dave_c
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    dave_c Active Member

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    from what i have read about publishing for your first book you almost always have to have written it before you can sell it. otherwise your basically walking upto the published and saying "i can right, me, gimme monee". you have no proven track record for reliability, or skill as a writer.
    however people who have already proven themselves can be contracted with little more than a pitch. im pretty sure king, card or jordan will write their books under contract rather than writing it then selling it.

    i think the key was in where you said they ask for "and a third mailing including sample chapters" you would have to have written the story (or a significant percentage of one) in order to give sample chapters, no?

    im no pro, im just repeating what i have read in books on writing.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, you need to have the book completed before you start querying.
     
  4. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    The agent said you can do most of the submission without ever writing a word, I guess he was speaking
    hypothetically.

    Because I have over ten books started but inactive, if I had submitted the ideas I would be preasured to work on them. I admit the motivation fell off when another took...another couple others took over.

    Even if I was a published author, I don't think I could submit without having the book finished.
     
  5. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I believe it varies. For fiction, you really have to have a completed work to get serious consideration. The only exception I know of is if you are an established published author. For nonfiction, though, it is not uncommon to submit a book proposal before the book is actually written.

    The fact that you went to a publishing class with ten unfinished projects suggests that you may be putting the cart before the horse. Get a first draft completed of your most promising project, then go back and edit and re-edit until you've polished it into something you can submit with confidence, then start the query process.

    Good luck.
     
  6. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd be scared to death to query before the book was finished - what do you tell the agent if they ask for a full? "Let me get back to you..." ?
     
  7. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    The agent had to be talking about nonfiction. There is no way an agent with any brains would suggest querying a novel you haven't written or for that matter one you haven't finished.
     
  8. Raki
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    Raki Contributing Member

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    Yea, from what I've read, it's a pretty commonplace concept with nonfiction. I've never heard of it being done this way with fiction though, at least not with an unestablished writer.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto about the agent referring only to non-fiction with that info... or else the so-called agent was more clueless than the audience...

    that said, the 3-step process as you state the agent presented it makes little sense... if one is querying [1 'r' not 2] a publisher directly, what you send next is only what is requested, if the query interested them enough to want to see more... and i've never heard of one asking for 'a brief info packet'... what is most generally asked for is a 'book proposal'... and that is not 'brief' by any stretch of the imagination... it will also include sample chapters...

    it's also odd that an agent would advise writers to go directly to publishers instead of first trying to get an agent to represent their book, since most of the big-name presses won't accept unagented queries and it's almost always best to have an agent do the submitting and negotiating for you, as they can get you a better deal...

    so i wouldn't rely on anything that 'agent' told you and i hope you didn't have to pay for that class...

    if you want info on how to put together a non-fiction book proposal, you can email me for tips from the pros... if you're writing fiction, finish a book [preferably more than one] and then see if you can get a good agent to take it on...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     

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