Thursday, January 11, 2007

Sobol bad; S&S Good! (Or, No Agent Necessary)

Stop the POD presses!

Simon and Schuster has announced a new [real, respectable, noble] contest (right on the heels of the rightfully failed Sobol fiasco) where the Touchstone imprint will review unpublished works for publication (fiction only) via a new contest.

The winner will get:

  • A real publishing contract;
  • $5,000;
  • Guaranteed promotion for the title from Borders

In other words, the winner will get a lot more than most authors get for a debut novel, especially the attention at Borders (I am assuming "promotion" means it will be noticeable in some way.) Now, as for how they will vet all of these entries? Who cares, really. It's not the writer's problem. As far as I can tell, this is a free contest supported by a major publisher.

Saddened because you went POD and blew your chance? Worry not. The eligibility goes like this:

Authors who have not previously published a full length book (excluding self published and vanity press) are eligible to compete in the First Chapters Writing Competition.

Simon & Schuster is waiting with open arms! (And they better big the big, meaty kind; I get about 100 submissions a week--and I ain't no Simon and Schuster.)

Don't just take my word for it (though, come to think of it, why aren't you?)

If you haven't read Daniel Scott Buck's THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH yet . . . well, then unplug your TV for a while, dude. Anyway, here is one more reason to trust that it is an awesome book: 3AM Magazine gave Daniel's book Novel of the Year 2006.

Many of you asked about acquiring a cool cover for your novel after the Chris Meeks post. If you want to visit the site of the dude who created those covers (and many more), then check out his cover page.

For a little inside scoop on one of the coolest literary agents out there, check out PubGuy's blog, where he has some Q&A with Jeff Kleinman (of Folio). Ever since I read THE MEMORY OF RUNNING, Jeff has been sort of a hero to me.

Also interesting is (at the bottom) the mention of the book sales of Christopher G. Moore (not to be confused with Christopher Moore, which apparently many readers were) and how they spiked when the books were paired up on the X/Y program at Amazon.

By the way, has anyone ever made money using the Buy X/Get Y program? $750 is pretty stiff. I'd love to hear a success story, if there is one.

And, in reference to the library issues I blogged about a few posts ago, check out these responses on the Wall Street Journal site. I hope we never forget the value of the library system. Discarding/reducing it would be tantamount to shutting down the Department of the Interior.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

From a frown to Crown: A POD success story.

Thinking POD is a costly waste of time? Well, you got the costly part right. But the waste of time? Not always. More and more I am getting emails from folks who went the POD route, only to later have his or her book snatched up by a New York house. A few days ago, I received this email from Frank Fuller and he graciously allowed me share:

Since you blog about PODs, we thought you'd be interested in a POD success. We wrote our political satire The Department of Homeland Decency: Decency Rules and Regulations Manual in 2005 and were unable to sell it. So last February we published it ourselves here in Minnesota, using Bookmobile, a division of Prism Publishing in Minneapolis. We designed the book but had a designer from Prism do the cover.

In summer, an agent who had turned it down a year earlier, saw it, liked it, contacted us and said she thought she could sell it. Two weeks ago we signed a contract with Crown. Their paperback imprint Three Rivers Press will be publishing it.

My wife and I both have backgrounds in writing and satire, which may have made this project easier. I was a newspaper editor for years and my wife works in advertising and theater. We have both written weekly newspaper columns and written humor for radio.

POD publishing can work, as you point out regularly. People who think they have some talent and ideas, if they can't sell their book to a publisher, should give it a try and see what happens.

Crown/Three Rivers, for those of you not in the know, is part of the Random House empire--so they managed to go from the bottom to the top in one quick move. If you are curious about Frank and Sue Fuller's book, you can check it out here on Amazon and snag what will eventually be a rare copy.


Also, check out the post from Josie Brown via MJ Rose's blog. (You should be reading this every Wednesday.) She offers up some statistics that shed light on why it is so hard being a midlist author--or any author, for that matter. Think getting published by a commercial publisher will get you in the "brick-and-mortar" stores? Guess again. In the majority of cases, according to Josie, you are lucky to get in to 19% of the stores. And with Amazon's online sales approaching 10% (just Amazon, mind you) the playing field is shifting. Or at least getting muddier.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sobol Contest Dies (or, Here Is Your $85 Refund)

Sweet justice prevails.

Mt favorite part: Only about 1,000 manuscripts were received. Word of mouth worked!

The AP has the bigger story.