Monday, July 19, 2010

Selling Your "Baby" and Making Choices

First, just for my info, what do you think of ads on blogs? No, I do not intend to place ads here! A friend is just setting up her own blog and we discussed them. I wondered how people feel about seeing ads when they visit a blog site. There are so many buttons of various types that I admit I don't pay much attention to ads one way or the other. How do you feel?

Now, on to selling your manuscript. We slave over a hot keyboard for months perfecting our latest work in progress. Finally, our critique partners say it's finished. In our hearts we know this is the best thing we've ever written. Then what?

If you already have an agent, you're fortunate. Your agent can tell you if the manuscript is marketable, if it needs tweaking, or if you need to spin it a little to meet current publisher demands. I've only had one agent, and she was so bad she almost killed my career. She's since been removed from RWA's list of approved agents. But I digress.

Say you do not have an agent, do you try for one or go it alone? If you opt to go on your own, several NY print publishers will let you query by email. A few even accept snail mail queries and manuscripts. With publishing costs increasing, however, the chance to break in with a major print house grows more and more slim. The lucrative contracts go to those writers with a proven fan base. Not without exception, of course. My friend Diana Crosby has managed to maintain good numbers at Zebra and her third book, HIS CONQUEST, will be released in November. 

A friend told me today, though, that Janet Evanovich wants fifty million (yep, that's right) for her next four Stephanie Plum books. I've no doubt her demand will be met because she has a huge fan base who will buy her books.

Those of us in the real world, though, have tough decisions to make. Do we wait for the perfect agent to send us to the perfect publisher or do we strike out on our own? I waited for a long time. In fact, I almost quit writing from discouragement.

Then a lovely group of women took me in and accepted me as one of their own. These are the women whose blog is Some of them talked about doing an anthology and most wanted it to be about the Civil War. I love nonfiction about the Civil War, but shy away from fiction in that era due to the nastiness of the slave issue. However, to be a good sport among my new friends, I agreed to participate. Then, some had to drop out due to other committments. In the end, six of us participated in the anthology, NORTHERN ROSES AND SOUTHERN BELLES. This experience introduced me to The Wild Rose Press. What lovely people with whom to work!

Okay, so here I found a press who (1) liked my work, (2) with whom I actually enjoyed working, and (3) who provided great covers. What more could I want, right? Only one important thing---The Wild Rose Press does not pay an advance. Sigh.  Oh, well, three out of four isn't bad.

The point here is that you have to make choices. Is it all about money, about satisfaction, about prestige, about having people read what you wrote?

When I began writing, I thought all I had to do was write a great story and the rest would take care of itself. Not so. I know many great writers who still have not been published.  I also thought the publisher took care of promotion. Wrong again, unless you're a major name.

Who takes care of my promotion? Me. My daughters help, my husband foots a lot of bills, but I plan my promotion and post on a gillion sites, write guest blogs, and appear wherever people will let me. Check for my latest guest blog. Am I making money? Not much. Do I enjoy writing? You bet I do.

Does that make it all worthwhile? I believe so, especially if occasionally someone tells me how much they enjoy my books. To quote MasterCard's commercial, "Priceless!"

Don't forget to leave a comment for my weekly prize drawing. Please include your email in your comment. 


katsrus said...

I don't mind ads as long as they don't take over the whole page. I really have learned a lot from differant authors. You know as a reader you just think all authors get a lot of money for their books. Well I have learned not so. I have been really been trying to support authors that are new or aren't as well known. Or if they ask me to post a review after I read their book. I am glad to do it. Just to help them out. I feel fortunite(spell?) to have found so many wonderful authors. Don't include in your giveaway cause I just won not to long ago.
Sue B

Marin Thomas said...


I'm glad you didn't quit writing--I love your books and right now am enjoying Out of the Blue! I loved the opening scene :-)

RT Top Pick
Dexter: Honorable Cowboy July 2010

Sheila Deeth said...

Lovely interesting article. I have ads on my squidoo site and have earned 29 cents in six months. I suspect it would be more hassle than it was worth to put them on my blog.

Loved your article.
sdeeth at msn dot com