1. Esaul
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    Esaul Member

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    Tor Fantasy

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Esaul, Nov 10, 2006.

    Curious to think that if I should set my goal for this publishing company or if I should aim a little lower. I've always dreamed of being published by them, but it is difficult to have that done at times.
     
  2. zerobytes
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    It really depends on your style here. From what I've read of rose and thorn they might not be your target publishers. This is the recommendation that I heard:
    after you finish your work give it to a few of your friends and family to review. After they praise you up and down ask them to complete the following question. This book was written in the tradition of ______________. And have them name an author or two. After you get several suggestions back take the authors that you were compared to most often and research their publishing companies. Send your manuscripts to them first! If one of them happens to be TOR then HECK YES you should. But if that doesn't come up as one of them don't kick yourself. If your goal is TOR then read several of their books so you know their market and write inside those confines (though I recommend the other technique). Good luck and we'll look for your book on the shelves
     
  3. Esaul
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    Esaul Member

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    I was hoping under the lines of BDW. I have read a good deal of books from Tor, mainly by Terry Godkind
     
  4. zerobytes
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    zerobytes Contributing Member

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    Then my guess is that your writing will probably fall in line with TOR's taste. Never hurts to submit to the big guys cuz really, what's the worst they can say? No? That's not too bad. And it gives you the opportunity to publish with someone else, sell a million copies, go NY Times bestseller and say "I told you so" :D
     
  5. Spherical Time
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    Spherical Time Contributing Member

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    I did that exact same thing. I love Tor books so much, I sent my book to them first. They didn't take it, but I don't really regret trying either.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    while i agree with the rest of your good advice, zero, i have to take issue with one part:

    it's never a good idea to have anyone you're related/close to or sleeping with critique your writing... in most cases, it's not even a good idea to let them read it!...

    why?... because they'll either lie and tell you it's wonderful even if it's garbage, or not know enough about good writing to be able to tell the difference...

    you need to have someone knowledgeable, but neutral, give you feedback on work you think is ready to be submitted... that's the only way you'll get 100% honest and valid feedback...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  7. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Tor accepts unsolicted manuscripts, which fewer and publishers seem to do these days. DAW and Baen (of the larger Fantasy/SF publishers still do along with Tor). They all also get thousands of submissions each year.

    If you don't try the big guys, you'll probably always wonder. Right? And while it's sitting, waiting its turn for a volunteer slush reader, checking to see if there's anything worthy of a closer look/to pass up the chain, you can be writing your next book.

    If at all possible, check out some of the nearby writers conferences (I know they cost $ to attend), and if they have an editor from Tor or other publishers you're interested in (or an agent you'd like to represent your work), see if they have pitch sessions. Sure, they cost a little bit more, but it is 10-15 minutes where your work is center stage.

    It does work. I went to a writers conference in Columbus, Ohio and had a pitch session with an Asst. Editor at Tor. He liked it well enough to request the first three chapters and synopsis proposal. About 4 months later, he replied, asking me to send the full manuscript to another editor in their house that handled the type of SF novel I'd written and to indicate in my cover letter that he requested I send it. They passed (15 months later) but I got some decent, specific feed back.

    Terry
     
  8. Spherical Time
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    Spherical Time Contributing Member

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    I wish I'd gotten that kind of feedback. Their form rejection is very terse.
     
  9. TWErvin2
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    Spherical Time,

    It is very unfortunate to get a form rejection. (I've gotten enough of those in my day). They are not very helpful, other than to signal that someone opened your submission package and stuffed a rejection into the SASE and sealed it, minimum. Really, that is likely not what happened.

    From my understanding, speaking with editors (rarely) and reading blogs and the like, they look, but often look very quickly (often volunteers). Any mansucript has to stand out, so maybe it takes some luck along with keen writing skill. But if you figure that Tor gets about 10,000 unsolicited submission packages a year (and that is a low ball based upon one editor's blog), if it took 2 minutes to scan the cover letter, skim the synopsis and look at the first page or two, then if rejected, stuff the envelope and seal it...that would equal in man-hour labor, two months'+ work (considering a 40 hour work week).

    Realistically, the number of quality manuscripts in that mountain is a small percentage, and the open slots that they have for new authors (competing for slots in the publishing schedule for established/stong selling authors), is very few. How much is it worth it for a publisher to employ someone to take the time to read and critique, and type out a letter explaining? I am sure that they would love to. Time/finances definately prohibit it.

    Unfortunately, more and more publishers are going to agented only or even restricted submission windows. (And some would argue it's easier to submit and get a publisher than an agent)

    That is why I suggested above, attending at least one writers conference and get a pitch session. There, you are only one of maybe 50 writers with that editor/agent that weekend and you have your 10 minutes (give or take) to show your stuff.

    I know conferences can be expensive, and travel and work/family is another issue. It is just something to consider.

    A coworker of mine went to a pitch session as well at a different conference and got the attention of a major agent (she reps several YA best sellers). He (my coworker) was the only one that weekend that she even considered taking on. And after several rewrites (and 14 months later) she took him on, and two weeks ago began sending his manuscript out to major publishers. (In many ways he's a much more creative writer than me).

    Is it a guarentee that the agent can sell his work? Nope. But he has a good shot.

    I know I was vague about the specific agent and details about my coworker and his work, but it's not my place to discuss in detail what's going on in his career/efforts...but I'll let you all know when he has a book deal :D . (positive thining)

    Terry
     
  10. Spherical Time
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    Spherical Time Contributing Member

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    I've been wondering if agents are the way to go. You're right though, Tor probably gets around 10,000 submissions a year. Perhaps I must have someone pitch my work to get it noticed.

    The worst part though, is that I know that my beginnings are not particularly great. I'm perfectly aware of that, and it's something that I work on. But it also means that when people read two pages, you're not going to accept me as a client or talent.

    And as for conferences, there are two things that make that unrealistic for me now. The first is that I've got a broken neck, and so I don't get out much.

    The other is that even when I get back up and around, I work a minimum wage job in a small out-of-the-way town in the Southwest. Conferences are more than expensive for me, they're something I'd have to save up for a couple of years for.

    But I don't disagree that they're important though. They are, more than likely, my only chance at being published and a slim one at that. Which is too bad, because that's pretty much the only thing that I've wanted to do with my life.

    That is off the point though. I would still recommend for people to try to submit to Tor. They might as well take the chance, and if they're talented and lucky, they may succeed. I certainly don't regret submitting to Tor. Feedback or no.
     
  11. TWErvin2
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    Spherical Time,

    Physical ailments can add to the difficulty, I agree. Finances can as well. I live in the middle of nowhere Ohio. I drove a couple of hours to attend one day of a conference in Columbus, Ohio. A bigger city, but not one of the major national conferences. Still, more local ones occasionally have some name agents and editors you might have an interest in. (A different conference, same city for my coworker mentioned earlier).

    Although I attended decent sessions while at the conference, I went with one purpose. Meet with a Tor editor.

    Most of the information garnered at the general sessions by editors, authors and agents was helpful and interesting, but most of the information could've been learned online, reading a few good books, etc.

    Another option is to hang out places (when not writing) like Baen's Bar (the forum for Baen Books). Their editors and authors frequent the place. There are other forums too, and being a regular reader and thoughtful commentor on some blogs, might get your name noticed out there as well.

    Being professional, thoughtful, asking interesting questions and such could make a difference and open doors. Not a guarentee, of course. And even if it doesn't, you learn a lot of things about writing and publishing. It all takes time. In addition, writer fourms such as this are where new writers and authors early in their career learn the basics and share information, and grow with the group.

    Unfortunately, if you cannot pitch, then you'll definately have to work on the first chapter or two of your novel(s), like you said.

    Another option is to try smaller publishers to try to make a name and build up a number of readers who'd look forward to purchasing your next book. In the end, it is about money as much as (maybe more) than art. In theory, good story telling (the art) will result in good sales (the money).

    But I think it was said earlier, no reason not trying with the big houses first. You never know. You cannot succeed if you do not submit.

    Terry
     
  12. Spherical Time
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    Spherical Time Contributing Member

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    Sorry, but it seems to me like you're in about the same place that I am, perhaps a little farther on, since you've actually been to some of the conferences.

    You're right, those all seem like valid suggestions, although I'm loath to self publish. As Mr. Brust mentioned in the interview I did with him up above, writers are supposed to sign on the back of the checks.
     
  13. TWErvin2
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    Spherical Time,

    Self publishing is not an option for me, either. When I indicated trying small publishers, that does not mean self publishing. Mundania Press and Twilight Times Books, for example, are reputable small publishing houses that are not self publishing houses. Even so, Mundania gets 100 or so submissions a month and when Twilight Times is open for submissions, they get hundreds in their short window of opportunity.

    Terry
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    getting an agent is the best way to go, spherical... especially for someone like yourself who can't go to the places where you can meet publishers in the flesh...

    but if your writing is as bad as you're making it out to be, why don't you work on improving it first?... neither agents nor editors will be liable to take on a writer whose work isn't publishable quality... so, if your dream is to be published, seems to me you need to come down from the clouds, chain yourself to your computer or typewriter, and work on your stuff till it is...

    have you had anyone knowledgable [that's not related or in love with you] take a look at it to see if it's ready to be submitted?... and, if not, tell you what needs to be done to get it there?...

    my best advice is to do that first... then start looking for an agent, if/when the work is ready to be seen...
     
  15. Spherical Time
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    Spherical Time Contributing Member

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    Whoops. First, let me apologize to you, T.W. When you said small press, I guess I had a mind freeze for a moment and I confused small presses with self-publishing. Not one of my best moments. I'm going to agree with you, and try to shut up to to retain what's left of my dignity.

    And to mamma, I didn't mean to imply that my writing is quite that bad. It's not something that I've slung carelessly together, and I think I have a pretty good grasp on the plot and characters. However, I also know that it's not brilliant enough to stand out among ten thousand submissions.

    It doesn't help that I write epics. Ever since I was a child, my writing has tended on the long side. For comparison, my work is most like Michelle West or Julian May. Their work can be slow to get into, and mine is as well.

    I think that the action and the ideas are there, but not on the first page. Chapter 2 is great, but I haven't yet managed to figure out how to really make chapter 1 really stand out as interesting when mostly it's necessary characterization of the main characters.

    At the moment, I don't have that necessary outside view. My best friend and his girlfriend were my readers, but about two months ago, they broke up and I was caught in the crossfire. Neither is willing to take a look at it, but at least both are talking to me again.

    I know you do reviewing, but I don't remember what your requirements are. I'm pretty sure that I can't send you something in which someone dies, which bars me from asking you to take a look at it.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if they die from natural causes or an accident, it's no problem... what i don't do is help with any work that has violent content... that is, where any fellow creature is harmed on purpose, by a sentient being...

    if yours is free of that, i'll be glad to take a look at it...

    hugs, maia
     
  17. Spherical Time
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    Spherical Time Contributing Member

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    Yeah, I'd have to not send you chapter 2, which is the section that has the most work in it. It's not a particularly happy story, and it involves the careless disregard of human life.

    Thank you for the offer though. If I could send it to you without upsetting you, I would in a heartbeat.
     
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if there's any intentional violence in that work, i won't be able to help you with it... but if you just want an assessment of your writing quality, you can send me a violence-free excerpt that you consider to be a fair example of your best writing and i can at least give you some feedback on your writing in general...

    email me for sending details... m
     
  19. Spherical Time
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    Spherical Time Contributing Member

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    I can't remember if I've asked you this before, and I certainly don't want to offend you, but may I ask why you don't read things with violence?

    After all, we're not in perfect world, and violence is an intrinsic part of our lives. It occurs around us everyday, if we see it or not.

    One of the reasons that I included it in my writing is because I think that it's an accurate reflection on the careless disregard in this world that I mentioned earlier. To leave it out for me would have been to ignore the reality of the situation of my characters.
     
  20. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i've certainly been asked the question many times before by various and sundry, but it's no offense... however, i never said i don't read fiction with violent content, only that i won't help people to write more of it...

    of course it is/does... which is exactly why i won't help folks use violence to entertain!...

    that's your decision... mine is to not help you do it... when an evil becomes so all-pervading as to infect every part of human life, even our leisure and play time, using it to entertain only trivializes it, making it acceptable as something no one can change and can in fact enjoy... and i will not be a part of or help contribute to that dynamic...

    hugs, maia
     
  21. zerobytes
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    Out of curiosity, where do you draw the line on violence and action Mammamaia?
     

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