1. BruMeister

    BruMeister Member

    Apr 17, 2009
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    About getting published

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by BruMeister, Jul 3, 2009.

    Hello all. I'm currently writing my first novel. I'm far from finished, but I've a few questions.

    When I do finally finish my novel, do I look for a publisher? What about editors? Are editors part of the publishing company? Are "official" and "professional" editors completely necessary? How much would all of this cost me for a first time novel? Also, what about copyrighting?
  2. Banzai

    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

    Mar 31, 2007
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    Reading, UK
    *moved to Publishers forum*

    I'm not sure about editors, but in terms of copyright, you own the copyright to your story as soon as you create it. You will continue to own the rights to it once it is published, unless you sell those rights specifically.
  3. Torana

    Torana Contributor Contributor

    Mar 13, 2007
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    No. What you then do is spend a month or so editting your novel, if you have not done so already.

    Ultimately, it'd be great to get an editor before you submit, but there aren't many people I've met in the publishing world that have editors. Most of them edit their own work and then submit it, take on feedback from rejections/acceptances and try to improve on their work. It's all a huge learning curve.

    Most places you submit to will go through your work and tell you their thoughts on what they want changed and what needs working on. It is normally only vanity publishers that will publish your manuscript the way that you send it to them.

    It didn't cost my partner, Daniel I Russell, anything other than electricity and time to get his first novel published... and it isn't costing him anything to get his short stories published either, other than electricity and time. The only way it would cost is if you hired an agent or an editor, or were sending out a manuscript via snail mail. Publishers pay you, not the other way around. If they say you have to pay them, they are a scam and tell them where they can shove it.

    So long as you are submitting to a legitimate publisher, then you really don't need to copyright your work.
    You work will always remain your own property, but just be really careful when you read over contracts with a publisher, as to what you do accept. Make sure you agree with it all and if you have any concerns as to their contract terms, raise them with the publisher.

    Hope this helps a little. Best of luck.

    Others will probably have more advice they can give you that will help you more with your questions.
  4. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

    Nov 30, 2006
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    Ohio, USA
    To add to what Torana indicated:

    When seeking an agent, be very wary of any requiring reading fees or any other requests from money out of the author's pocket. On rare occasion expenses for postage might be appropriate, but this is increasingly rare.

    An agent earns roughly 10-15% of an author's advance and royalties for selling the novel to an editor at a major house and negotiating a contract superior to what the author could negotiate.

    The author gains the industry connections, and experience, and knowledge of contracts and how things work for the % earned by the agent. Thus, the incentive for the agent is to represent only those projects that are marketable (believes he/she can sell) to earn income. Not from charging would-be authors reading fees, submission fees and the like.

    Finding a quality agent to represent an author's work is not an easy task--but not an impossible one.

    As far as finding a publisher--any publisher which requires money from the author (which would include requiring an author to purchase copies of their novel) isn't a 'legitimate' publisher.

    The big concern now, BruMeister, would be for you to complete and polish your novel. That said, there's nothing wrong with looking ahead and start learning about the submission and publication process.

  5. Akraa

    Akraa New Member

    Jun 27, 2009
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    Editing your work is the largest part of the writing process. Simply drafting it is the easy part. Most editors at publishing houses won't even bother to read an unedited work, oftentimes it won't even make it onto their desk. If you plan to make a career of writing, honing your editing skills to a razor edge is a must.

    Once it makes it to the editor's desk, they will judge its merits as a story, and your skill as a writer, based upon the quality of your work. If they are willing to publish it, expect it to undergo another round of thorough editing and rewrites.

    If it costs you anything after you put it in the mail, unless you are submitting it to contests, you should not pay a cent, except for postage to send it off to the next name on the list after it's rejected. If you're sending it to a contest, expect to pay a 'reading fee'.
  6. Rei

    Rei Contributor Contributor

    Aug 2, 2008
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    How much will it cost you? Nothing but the paper, postage, and ink if you do things right. Agents do take a percentage of the sales, but that's not the same as spending your own money.
  7. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    May 19, 2007
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    Massachusetts, USA
    If your contest has any fees for entry, think "Scam."
  8. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    first, to set straight some misperceptions:

    you don't 'hire an agent' and it doesn't cost you a cent up front... legit agents only get paid a commission [usually 15%] after they 'sell' your work to a publisher...

    and your work IS copyrighted, from the moment it's completed and exists in a reproducible form, so you absolutely 'don't have to copyright your work' no matter what kind of publisher you're submitting to... the only thing that's done [by your publisher, after you get one] is to 'register' the already existing copyright...

    it's almost always a better idea to seek an agent and let her/him shop the work to publishers... they'll get you the best deal, help with negotiating details of the contract, and some will even help you improve the ms, before submitting it to publishers... basically, they'll hold your hand throughout the whole process...

    there are two major types of 'editors' working for the publishing firms...

    the first one to deal with your ms is the 'acquisitions' editor... those are the folks who read all the stuff that comes in and tell the head honchos to 'take this'... or who don't let it get any further than their 'round file'...

    the next type is the editor who works closely with the author, to make whatever changes and/or corrections they feel are needed, for the book to succeed...

    i don't know what you mean by 'official' but a pro should not be necessary, since writers should be able to do their own editing... the agents or publishers are not going to fix up a messy ms for you, so it must be as 'polished' as possible, before you submit it...

    and if you need to have someone else to do that polishing for you, it won't make economic sense to pay the hefty fees a good editor will charge, when there's so little chance your work will ever get published and repay the expense...

    if by all, you mean from the moment you finish the work, then here's a breakdown:

    if you opt to pay a good editor, it can cost you from hundreds, to several thousand, to edit and polish up an 80-100k novel...

    then, it will cost you whatever paper, ink, postage expenses it takes to find yourself an agent, if you go that route... ditto if you go straight to publishers... chances are you won't get either, so all that will be money down the drain...

    if you are lucky enough to get an agent, and the agent is lucky/good enough to snag a publisher, the agent's agreement may have a clause that says they'll add the cost of copies and mailing to their commission and you'll have to pay that, off the top of whatever the publisher pays you... which may well not be enough to cover all your expenses, much less make any profit...

    see what i said about this above... then study up and learn about it here: www.copyright.gov

    hope this helps... love and hugs, maia

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