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How many of you have tried to use a publisher for your work? I've done so a little over 2 weeks ago and it took me a whole day to get everything together and in order, only to stumble over the pitch and the exposé. If you-- like me-- have never even seen such a thing, let me tell you that this sucks. More than the writing and editing itself.

I had three different versions for this, each in varying length, until I finally found one that I thought was perfect. To the point but explanatory, short but well-rounded, blah.

 

Now I'm kind of stumbling through the publishing world, waiting for their judgment on my work and finding out that most other publishers don't want to hear from me if I already sent my work to someone else and haven't got a reply yet. But how long do I have to wait for an answer, until it's okay to say "welp, they obviously don't want it"? I know that two weeks are not enough time and that I should wait at least a month, but how much time should I let pass until it's okay to ask if everything is alright? Or shouldn't I ask that and just silently tuck my tail and move on?

 

Please share your experiences!

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When I first sent a story to a publisher it was for an anthology call.

 

I think the hardest part was writing the story description (aka synopsis). I ended up looking up on google 'how to write a detailed synopsis'. A few links came up and I was able to use them as a guide.

 

I heard back immediately to say my submission had been received and it also gave me a rough time estimate on how long I could expect to wait for a yes or no.

 

I have checked out other publishers and a few said something like 'if you do not hear from us within xx weeks, please assume you have been unsuccessful' others did say to please be patient and they reply to all submissions. I suppose it's swings and roundabouts. :)

 

Good luck with your work :hug:

Edited by Cazpedroso
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Most publishers will tell you on their website how long a response will take. With Dreamspinner Press, which is who I've published with, it's usually an 8 week turnaround. If you haven't heard from them by then, then I'd suggest sending an email asking about your submission.

 

And you're right. The majority of publishers don't accept already submitted work, because they don't want to put the time into reading it and making a decision only to have you go with a different publisher. Regardless of whether it's accepted or not, the publisher should contact you. If it's accepted, great, but if it's not, that is when other publishers will allow you to submit to them.

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That's actually a requirement for Dreamspinner because they don't accept "concurrent submissions" meaning they will not read/review for contracting any manuscript that is being shopped with other publishers (unless it's already been rejected). If the publisher you subbed to doesn't have a review window published with their submission requirements it wouldn't hurt to wait one month and simply send in a polite email asking what that timeframe is. Most publishers are active in the author/reading community and they're not these 'from on high' authority figures that many new-to-publishing authors expect.

 

A few tips to get through those awful blurb and synopsis chores:

 

1. Read other story blurbs in the genre you wrote to see how others are phrased (most of these are a collaboration between the publisher's editor and the author, so it's a good representative of what they'd like to see). It helps if you have read the eBook as well so you can get an idea of how much it represents the story and how much it leaves for readers.

 

2. Speaking of leaving things for readers, do not treat the blurb as the synopsis. If you 'tell all' then the reader isn't looking forward to any surprise except the ending, and typically that's a happily ever after so it's not really a mystery. The blurb is suppose to sell some of the high points or specific elements of the story and make a reader go, "Oh, I want to know what happens when...?" so they buy it.

 

3. For your synopsis think of the story arc. What are the high points of the story that make it what it is? Also consider the main elements of the beginning, middle, end. Those are what you should share. Don't get bogged down in detail and try to remain within 1-2 pages. I prefer to just do one.

 

4. Publishers have MASSIVE quantities of submissions, and the blurb and synopsis give them their first impression of A) how you write (edit these just as vigorously as you do  your manuscript!) B ) how you market yourself and your work (most publishers don't do a ton of marketing beyond sending out your eBook to reviewers, so you'll need to focus on that yourself).

 

One final bit of advice... start marketing YOU now by creating a "brand". Do you have a website or blog? Get one that features your name or something very close to it (mine is Cia's Stories for example) that will make it easy to find if someone searches for you specifically. Set up graphics that you can make common across the board (no nudity usually), then use it on social media as well. Post stuff on your blog and start attracting a readership. Free fiction is a great way to draw readers in, especially if you post regularly (I am part of a group called the Wednesday Briefers who use weekly delivered prompts to write a 500-1k flash piece that we all post on our blogs and then link to each participating author each week, for example). Invite other authors to your blog, especially published ones, as they'll often reciprocate. Join author groups on Goodreads. Join author groups on Facebook. Follow published authors you like on Twitter (many follow back). Use these elements on a regular basis.

 

Being a published author is a ton of work outside of just writing and editing. It's all about putting you and your book out there, because no one else is going to do it for you--and you need to begin well before you near the release dates. At least this helps to give you something to do when you're waiting for an answer from a publisher, lol.

 

If you want an idea of what I mean, check out my blog: Cia's Stories and some of the blogs I feature/follow in the right side column for an example of the types of posts, extra material, promotion happenings, etc... as well as layout, look, graphics, stuff like that.

 

Good luck!

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One final bit of advice... start marketing YOU now by creating a "brand". Do you have a website or blog? Get one that features your name or something very close to it (mine is Cia's Stories for example) that will make it easy to find if someone searches for you specifically. Set up graphics that you can make common across the board (no nudity usually), then use it on social media as well. Post stuff on your blog and start attracting a readership. Free fiction is a great way to draw readers in, especially if you post regularly (I am part of a group called the Wednesday Briefers who use weekly delivered prompts to write a 500-1k flash piece that we all post on our blogs and then link to each participating author each week, for example). Invite other authors to your blog, especially published ones, as they'll often reciprocate. Join author groups on Goodreads. Join author groups on Facebook. Follow published authors you like on Twitter (many follow back). Use these elements on a regular basis.

 

Being a published author is a ton of work outside of just writing and editing. It's all about putting you and your book out there, because no one else is going to do it for you--and you need to begin well before you near the release dates. At least this helps to give you something to do when you're waiting for an answer from a publisher, lol.

 

If you want an idea of what I mean, check out my blog: Cia's Stories and some of the blogs I feature/follow in the right side column for an example of the types of posts, extra material, promotion happenings, etc... as well as layout, look, graphics, stuff like that.

 

Good luck!

 

 

I don't even want to think about self-marketing, oh god, the horror! I don't do twitter, I tried and failed so hard, I still got bruises from back then. And that blogging thing, Christ Almighty, I haven't even decided on a good pen name! Since this kind of has to do with publishers, publishing and the likes, let me take a moment to regurgitate all the stuff that has been plaguing me since I started seriously thinking about that stuff. Call it 'a slice of my life':

 

Okay, so, my real name has letters in it that aren't even found on 95% of the world's keyboards. Pronunciation? Hahaha, how do I even describe it without audio support?

Which means, I should choose a pen name. A good pen name. But I like my name! And all my ideas sound stupid or Rosemary Pilcher-esque, that won't fly with violence.

But I need a pen name before I try blogging and stuff in earnest. And I should probably change all my official nicknames to that pen name, or something close to it. And my blog, that should have my name, too. And I'll need a new twitter account (that I probz won't use).

 

What do you even write about on your blog? I'm flabbergasted by yours, Cia, and those of every other author I've visited. How can you write so much and so regularly about other things, other authors, stuff? Do I have to be that... erks, social? Are monthly updates okay, or should an author aspire for weekly/twice-weekly/daily blog posts? What kind of topics are okay for a 'person of public interest', which every author becomes at some point? What's the ratio for personal stuff versus writer's stuff?

 

My cheek ist starting to twitch at this point :D

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I can't help you with the pen name issue, since I use my own, but I get it. I know a lot of authors who do use one. Biggest thing is to make sure you don't choose a name too close to one already popular in the industry. I often think those people do that to capitalize on their popularity by coming up in general searches and it drives me crazy.

 

A lot of the more well-known authors don't post all that often and yet a lot of bloggers post far more often than I do. And yes, it's very important to start connecting with other authors because then their audience has the potential to become your fans as well--because, frankly, when you first start out you don't have fans because just like with eBooks, there are tons of blogs out there and the odds readers who like your content just stumbling on your blog are slim. Another good thing to do is sign up as a blog tour host with sites like Creative Minds, Goddess Fish, etc... because those are easy ways to get readers who follow those promos (they usually have contests) to visit your blog and they might like your content.

 

I try to do one to two promos a month, or eBook reviews for a tour or on my own, 4-5 pieces of flash fiction, and then a variety of posts. You can do something fun that relates to a story or writing in general, join in blog events like Feature and Follow Friday, Throwback Thursday, etc... Another good thing to do is to use banners/images/etc... to create visual appeal. Just remember to ALWAYS own the images you use or have legally obtained stock or art that has a creative commons license. You don't want to violate copyright law and be sued, which is a risk you take if you just copy images off the internet.

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Since you're looking to enter the publishing world, I thought this article might be helpful: The Author's Guide to Book Marketing Part 1 by Matt Kaye. I already follow a lot of his tips, especially when it comes to finding places to ask to help promote or review my book without having to resort to paying an eBook promotion company. More time-consuming on my end but cheaper.

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Thank you, Cia! My bookmarks are exploding right now :)

I've found a pen-name, so I'm on my way to self-marketing, although I'll never be able to be as active as you. I'm just too fond of my alone time, I guess.

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