Book Chat 7: White & Lindsay/How I Got Published
BuffySquirrel said...I thought there were way too many thriller/suspense/mystery/crime authors. Like, almost all of them!
Evil Editor said...So, did they try to get authors other than mystery/thriller authors, and get few responses? Or did they mostly just contact m/t authors?
Kiersten said...I was wondering that, too. And if your success story consists of, "My dad is best friends with Tom Clancy," can we beat you with the book?
Evil Editor said...Perhaps these essays were solicited at a mystery writers convention.
Sylvia said...It was very biased towards thrillers, wasn't it.
Kiersten said....Are the authors coming, EE? Because I'm not in a nice mood. But if they're coming, I'll filter better.)
Evil Editor said....I contacted the guy who won the auction twice with no response.
BuffySquirrel said...I thought this was a great resource book, but as a book group book it's not so great. Who wants to sit down and read a dip-in book cover to cover?
Evil Editor said...He did state in the book that the idea was to show that most successful authors take forever to find that success. So to some extent, the more the merrier. But so many were so similar, it's a case where less would have been more, I think.
Evil Editor said...If you send out 150 requests to authors to contribute, are you ethically required to use them all if they all respond?
Dave said...I wouldn't. But the Authors did.
Evil Editor said...I suppose if I wrote to an author and asked her to contribute a 1500-word essay, I wouldn't have the guts to tell her, sorry, yours didn't make the cut, but these other 150 did.
Robin S. said...I think once they asked for contributions- turning people away would've been bad form. I agree.
Kiersten said...I went through and read all of their sections. Utterly unuseful. And the section on writing synopses was a joke. A few of the author blurbs that I read were good, but mostly they just reinforce that there is no one way to get published. Clearly. Unless your dad is best friends with Tom Clancy. Which, unfortunately, my dad is not.
Robin S. said...I like the anecdotes - each one is about as long as I am on the______ in the morning. Fill in the blank.
Dave F. said...I was lucky to have short chunks of time this month and so I read one or two at a time. But now, they are all a blur.
BuffySquirrel said...I thought the advice by the authors wasn't much use, too. But then that was partly because it was so US-centric.
Kiersten said...It's true, probably not, EE. There was one I liked and that I actually took something from (and granted, I haven't read more than a third of them so far). Page 150, Dayenu. The guy basically says decide now what you will be happy with--actually finishing a manuscript, just getting published, getting on such and such a list, etc., and when that happens, let yourself be happy instead of always thinking, well, yeah, that happened, but this didn't... I thought that was the best piece of advice in the whole book!
Robin S. said...I agree, Sylvia. It makes for nice (fill in the blank) reading.
Evil Editor said...There was variety in the first 20 or 30. Then a loooooong streak of almost all mystery/thriller until I almost quit, but the last 50 pages had some interesting ones. I read most of it during TV commercials.
Robin S. said...EE, what did you think of the synopsis advice? (Page 79).
Kiersten said...I don't know about EE, but really, I thought it was terrible. A girl in my writer's group had a better system on her blog, and she's twenty-four, never been published. Was that really the best they could do?
BuffySquirrel said...Reading the synopsis advice, I thought, these guys are trying to achieve the impossible--making the synopsis interesting. Even agents admit they're dead dull.
sylvia said...The synopsis thing said something like: We read dozens of books - here's what they agree on! The wording just sounds dodgy to me. Obviously you read dozens of books, it's called research.
Evil Editor said...Every editor has a different idea about how to do a synopsis. And a query. They seem to think one paragraph about your plot is plenty, so apparently many editors think so too. I want more than that.
Kiersten said...Robin, this is the best method I've seen for writing a synopsis so far. http://betweenfactandfiction.blogspot.com/2008/09/how-to-write-synopsis.html
And that's a good point, EE. Nothing is standard. I sent out three different queries, got requests and rejections from all of them.
sylvia said...I found the lack of order disconcerting. I'm happy to simply read other people's experience as a "get off your arse and do something" motivator but one would be about writing, the next about queries, one about patience and then dealing with bookstores. You had no real means of knowing what was coming next, or choosing something "inspirational" that suited.
Robin S. said...That's true, Sylvia. I hadn't thought of that - an order would've been nice - so you could go to the section you wanted to read.
Dave said....I agree Sylvia, there didn't seem to be any attempt to put like advice together or to limit the number of letters that were similar.
Kiersten said...Wait--WAIT--So if I want to get published, I'm not supposed to give up??? NOW I get it! Wow! I'm so gonna get published!
Dave F. said...I will tell y'all, and this is coming from a person who had to be organized, the novel and short fiction world is horribly disorganized.
BuffySquirrel said...Some of us regard that disorganisation as their only chance!
Dave F. said...Well the writing world does not need the structure that I used in my life as engineer. But it is startlingly haphazard and capricious. That isn't bad. BTW
BuffySquirrel said...I'd be grateful to anyone who put the stuff from the various sites I read into an accessible, portable form ;).
Dave F. said...I wonder if the authors were so overwhelmed with the number of responses, that they didn't categorize them or sort them. They just loaded them all into the book to fatten the pages? That's a question, and not an opinion.
sylvia said...I want a book that says being disorganised is my only chance.
Robin S. said...I think maybe this book is geared to absolute beginners who need to read about write-ers more than about writi-ng. More to the point, who aren't quite ready to be writing yet, and are still in the early stages of giving themselves permission to do so. I think this is supposed to be inspirational to newbies. Also, I think the editors wanted to have a book published.
Evil Editor said...It's geared toward those who are getting discouraged with their growing pile of rejections.
BuffySquirrel said...I wanted to strangle the "motivational speaker" who congratulated folk on their rejections.
Kiersten said...My growing pile of rejections makes me all happy inside.
Dave F. said...I'm not sure which motivation is better:
1) I'm going to write a Pulitzer prize best seller.
2) I just enjoy writing for myself.
Robin S. said...Rejection hurts, even if it's a nice one.
BuffySquirrel said...2 is achievable. Setting goals that rely only on yourself is probably less disheartening.
Dave F. said...A famous review of Tchaikovsky's brilliant first violin concerto was that it was music that "STINKS TO THE EAR!" Now that is discouraging!
BuffySquirrel said...Also biologically implausible.
Kiersten said...Honestly, the stories of 398 rejections just make me really, really tired.
BuffySquirrel said...There are worse things than rejections and bad reviews.
Robin S. said...I really enjoyed Christopher Moore's thingie, and Dave Barry.
Evil Editor said...I remember liking J.A. Konrath's. There were five or six that had a piece of advice that was original, but most were Don't give up.
BuffySquirrel said...Konrath came across better than he usually does telling that story.
Kiersten said...And the guy who small-pressed, and then won all the awards and went with bigger presses and was unhappy? He seemed a little...cranky. Dude, you won awards, you got published. Be happy.
Dave said...Keirsten, that's a person who wanted to be a success but didn't know what success meant. When they reached their goal, they found it wasn't as good as what they expected.
sylvia said...The self-publishing woman who said, did it because I had to but wouldn't recommend it other than last resort, I thought was quite good. Brutally honest.
freddie said...Actually, I think there were two women (so far) who were self-published. I especially liked the woman who realized she had a "big ass." Her first agent was Wicked Witch of the East. That was something I found rather interesting. I hear all the time that agents are no fun to deal with, but my experiences with them so far has been great. Except my only experiences with them are on blogs.
Kiersten said...Did anyone else read the woman who was an alcoholic and then when she was recovering wrote some short stories, and lied in her letter and said she was writing a novel, then got a two book deal off of it? Good for her for recovery. Still kind of annoying.
Evil Editor said...The alcoholic who tried to kill herself? Someone else lied, sort of, making fancy stationery and claiming to be someone else.
sylvia said...What about the guy who posted his story out and an agent came back and said I won't represent you unless you hire one of my editors for $6000 ?!
Kiersten said...Oh, yeah, Sylvia! Isn't that a HUGE red flag?? I was surprised they printed that.
BuffySquirrel said...Yeah, the $6000 dollar story was amazing. I find the recommendations about writers' conferences really annoying because They Don't Have Them Where I Live!
Dave F. said...I won't represent you unless you hire one of my editors for $6000. Run away. Run away very fast. You might need an editor... but you pick and pay the editor. AND, not as a condition of a contract offer. It you pay then I will give... bad, bad, bad.
BuffySquirrel said...At least that agent did sell the book. Imagine being $6000 plus out of pocket, and no sale.... I did wonder how much of the book really was the author's, after they paid two people to work on it.
Kiersten said...Yeah, but that's just SO shady, and something a lot of beginning writers wouldn't know.
sylvia said...There were a couple people who paid editors to work with them, and that was cool. But that story really did make me think: how many scammers will now link to that and say, "See? Common practice."
BuffySquirrel said...The scammers and the pay-to-publish people would no doubt seize upon that with glee, yeah.
sylvia said...Did anyone mind that a bunch of the stories were straight from the author's website? I was surprised that it didn't bug me.
Evil Editor said...Is How I Got Published an accurate title? I expected more advice on how these people did it, but many just gave biographical info. I sent it here, I sent it there, finally X bought it, six years later it was published. What Led to Me Getting my Thriller Published is more accurate
Robin S. said...No- I think the title should be more like "our stories - or, how we write..."
BuffySquirrel said...Maybe "How I Didn't Give Up" (or I Wouldn't Be in this Book).
Robin S. said...Ha! I like Buff's better.
Dave F. said...I first thought this was going to be exactly what the title said, but you are right, it turned into cheerleading and how-to. It wasn't what I did years ago.
BuffySquirrel said...It's a great title for selling the book.
sylvia said..."How I got Published" is the wrong question, I agree. Buffy's title is perfect :)
Kiersten said...The Tom Clancy Connection
Other People Who Sometimes Had to Work for It"
sylvia said...That's why the synopsis chapter etc was needed - to justify the title. Although that's the fault of the author's for answering it wrong ;)
BuffySquirrel said...You can only get away with lying about writing a novel if you can write really really fast....
BuffySquirrel said...I thought the book had some nuggets of good advice throughout. I think as a dip-in book for when you're feeling demotivated, it definitely has a place on the writer's shelf.
sylvia said...Several anecdotes made me smile. It'd make a good daily inspirational email type thing. :)
Robin S. said...A wonderful book for beginning writers, nervous about making it as writers.
Dave F. said...Remember, guys and girls, a non-fiction book is completed after the query is accepted. Why didn't we hear the authors stories? Or did I miss that in the book?
Robin S. said...EE, can you look at the big print on page 123? What do you think about that?
Evil Editor said...Robin, I thought that writer was showing sour grapes. There's no telling what will stand the test of time.
BuffySquirrel said...It mostly isn't going to be the stuff that's written to stand the test of time, though.
Kiersten said...I like how they emphasized finding writers' groups and going to conferences. Because really, that helps so much at every stage.
BuffySquirrel said...The authors made some references to how they got the book published. Something about pitching it before they had the contributors lined up, no? Or did I dream that part?
Dave F. said...There's a whole lot of advice out there that seems to forget everyone is different and not everything works for each author.
Robin S. said...I think an editor who gets you and gets your voice is worth anything - but what if they don't, and they mess you up? OK- I have trust issues, people, but even so, there's merit to that. Not EVERYONE is gonna 'get' you.
BuffySquirrel said...I don't think I've read a single book that was referenced in the "How I Got Published" book. Is that a record?
Evil Editor said...The only author I've read is Dave Barry, who has written some very funny books. His interview wasn't funny. I was disappointed.
Robin S. said...Buff, I hadn't thought about what you said - but you're right. Other than a tiny tad of Dave Barry and some Christopher Moore (The Island of the Sequined Love Nun- go read it!) I haven't read them either.
Robin S. said...Well, JB just got home from golf and the Blondster is out for the night, so I'd better go have my salad and stuff. Anyway, thanks for doing these, EE. Bye you guys!
freddie said...Oh yeah. One thing that's getting on my nerves in How I Got Published are the essays that the authors of the book intersperse throughout. I don't know why, but that's bugging me.
Kiersten said...Freddie, I read all of those first, and was kind of annoyed at how not-very-helpful they were. Of course, at this point, I've read everything there is to be read, so short of "here is the exact five step program you need to undertake to guarantee getting published," I guess I wouldn't find much that I thought was very helpful or new.
Evil Editor said...It's not that helpful a book except in drilling into your head that you won't be successful overnight.
Kiersten said...Except you, Freddie. YOU will be successful overnight.
freddie said...Bless you, Kiersten.
Evil Editor said...Those are in the book because the other authors just talked about themselves, and not how to get published.
freddie said... OMG - that is so true!! I did like the one from the guy who was a waiter and had the offer from Disney. If only!
Dave F. said...And they still haven't made the movie. That field is worse than novel writing. There are so few movies and so many scripts.
freddie said...That's true, Dave, but at least the scriptwriters still get paid if the movie is even optioned. That's about all I'd care about at this point. "Look, I don't give a s#$% if it gets made. Send me the effing check!"