Author Topic: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?  (Read 3290 times)  

Offline roslindale

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Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
« Reply #25 on: September 25, 2020, 06:28:50 pm »
Great question. I've been writing for 15 years, following the industry for about 10. Aside from my own writing goals/dreams, I've always been very interested in how authors find success. I started noticing early on that a lot of blockbuster books since the mid-2000's have been writers with very deep connections to the media industry. Gillian Flynn and E.L. James are some obvious examples, but there are many more. It makes sense because media, as well as a lot of other industries, has been converging rapidly. I'd lie if I said I don't think it's disappointing, and even unfair in some ways, but that's the business landscape we've been dealt.

Every industry has insiders and people with close connections to it, so it should be no surprise that publishing is the same. With so much content, agents and publishers have to be very cautious about what they greenlight. I could name a dozen recent debut "hopefuls" that crashed and burned (based on the bookscan numbers). For everyone who's struggling to find success, either in self- or trad publishing, I use these as examples of how nothing is guaranteed. As an agent friend of mine said, "It's better to not be published than to be poorly published."

New authors are definitely being launched, just check writers marketplace or the other industry journals. But I will say, it seems "nearly" impossible to find success the old fashioned way, i.e. write an amazing and marketable novel > query agents > get a book deal > launch. I mean, statistically, they have to occur, but I don't know anyone who has achieved success this way. My guess is that a lot of trad newbies either found or made connections into the business. A lot of people won't admit it, but if an agent knows and/or likes you, she is going to read your manuscript differently.


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    Offline alhawke

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    Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
    « Reply #26 on: September 25, 2020, 06:47:04 pm »
    As an agent friend of mine said, "It's better to not be published than to be poorly published."
    I think the worst possible downer is landing an agent, then a publishing deal, only to find your baby fall flat. All your dreams sunk. This an example of how brutal the biz can be. For anyone who's queried, querying agents is enough of a long painful process.

    Which is why I agree with :
    Perhaps you don't hear about new authors getting publishing deals because new authors don't even try. They have discovered it is far more lucrative and far less of a headache to do it themselves and let the readers decide if it will sell.


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    Offline Triceratops

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    Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
    « Reply #27 on: September 25, 2020, 08:23:51 pm »
    Great question. I've been writing for 15 years, following the industry for about 10. Aside from my own writing goals/dreams, I've always been very interested in how authors find success. I started noticing early on that a lot of blockbuster books since the mid-2000's have been writers with very deep connections to the media industry. Gillian Flynn and E.L. James are some obvious examples, but there are many more. It makes sense because media, as well as a lot of other industries, has been converging rapidly. I'd lie if I said I don't think it's disappointing, and even unfair in some ways, but that's the business landscape we've been dealt.

    Every industry has insiders and people with close connections to it, so it should be no surprise that publishing is the same. With so much content, agents and publishers have to be very cautious about what they greenlight. I could name a dozen recent debut "hopefuls" that crashed and burned (based on the bookscan numbers). For everyone who's struggling to find success, either in self- or trad publishing, I use these as examples of how nothing is guaranteed. As an agent friend of mine said, "It's better to not be published than to be poorly published."

    New authors are definitely being launched, just check writers marketplace or the other industry journals. But I will say, it seems "nearly" impossible to find success the old fashioned way, i.e. write an amazing and marketable novel > query agents > get a book deal > launch. I mean, statistically, they have to occur, but I don't know anyone who has achieved success this way. My guess is that a lot of trad newbies either found or made connections into the business. A lot of people won't admit it, but if an agent knows and/or likes you, she is going to read your manuscript differently.

    Chip Cheek earned an $800,000 advance for his agented Lit Fiction debut Cape May, from Macmillan, in 2017...

    Emma Cline made $333,333 for her agented Lit Fiction debut The Girls (+ 2 additional books) from Penguin Random House, in 2014...

    Imbolo Mbue, who identifies as Black, earned a million dollars' advance for his agented first book Behold The Dreamers published by Penguin Random House, in 2014...

    Lara Prescott earned earned a two million dollars' advance for her agented debut Literary Fiction book The Secrets We Kept, published by Penguin Random House...

    Sally Franson earned $290,000 for her agented debut book in the "Women's" genre, called A Lady's Guide To Selling Out, published by Penguin Random House, in 2016...

    Zakiya Dalila Harris, who identifies as Black, earned a million dollars' advance for her debut thriller The Other Black Girl, published by Simon & Schuster, in 2020...

    Want more? Check here, all the numbers are self-reported:

    Source:
    docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Xsx6rKJtafa8f_prlYYD3zRxaXYVDaPXbasvt_iA2vA

    Some of those authors may have had industry / media connections, but some certainly did not.

    Respectfully, there are two problems with your argument. One, it's not true. Two, it propagates a kind of "don't bother even trying, it's all inside baseball" message, a message that just might discourage an impressionable and understandably anxious newbie.

    There are no secret societies, in trad or indie publishing. An author's personal connections can offer advantages to getting agented, sure. But the best odds of success come from the usual stuff: work hard, stay calm, publish regularly and don't give up.

    Edit: numbers.
    « Last Edit: September 26, 2020, 05:24:08 pm by Triceratops »

    Offline NikOK

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    Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
    « Reply #28 on: September 26, 2020, 05:28:21 am »
    I mean, I do think that part to maybe most of the trend has less to do with a publisher saying, screw you you're not connected, and more to do with the 2000s push to hyper efficiency in a lot of industries.  It's just not efficient for them to chase great books.  I'd bet anything that the big publishers have a spreadsheet somewhere that breaks down the numbers.  If this author has X twitter followers, then they will turn a profit.  If they have a youtube channel that is X popular, then we make money.  And, it's hard to throw shade at the author because they did something to get what they got.

    The real problem to me is what it means for the future.  I think we already seeing the end results of efficiency at all costs in the movie industry.  There's a reason that they are rehashing so many ideas from the 80s and 90s in movies.  Most studios are one bomb away from going under, so they need every movie to get by.  If you know that the next terminator movie will do alright, then why risk something new and exciting when you can't really accept any risk at all?  I don't think that books are as bad, largely because it costs a lot less to do a major book than a major movie, but if both industries have the same goals and the same mindset, then the same leeching of creativity in favor of certainty will happen over time.

    So, like with a lot of things in the world, I have a hard time thinking that this person or this business is trying to screw me over.  But I can sure look at the system as a whole and think, wow, that's a mess.

    I don't know, it's just the impression I got back when I was talking to publishers.  They weren't a jerk to me, but I realized pretty fast that they didn't see the book the same as I did.  Their people look at marketability and nothing else.  They may or may not even like to read books, but they love to scrutinize marketability.  So a push towards people with connections is somewhat natural because connections are a form of marketing.

    Heh, all in all, it's kinda a bummer, but I like to think about why it might be a bummer sometimes.

    Offline CassieL

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    Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
    « Reply #29 on: September 26, 2020, 06:27:42 am »
    If this author has X twitter followers, then they will turn a profit.  If they have a youtube channel that is X popular, then we make money.

    This may have been true five years ago but I think since then they've realized that "people who like to hear someone wittily describe their breakfast or share pictures of their cat" doesn't translate into someone who will pay $29 for that new release hardcover. There was a point where agents were heavy on encouraging social media participation but in the last year or two I've really seen them back off on that.

    What trade publishing is looking for is often different from what you can succeed with in self publishing. They want well-written stories that are also new in some way so that readers will pay close to $30 for that book by an author they've never heard of. In self-publishing you can make a good living publishing reader comfort food for cheap prices if you find your audience and publish often enough. But in trade pub they're always looking for the next JK Rowling, Hunger Games, Gone Girl, Woman in the Window (which was a debut by the way) breakout hit that will carry their whole list. To be that a book has to offer something the other 10,000 books that are submitted each year don't.

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    Offline NikOK

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    Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
    « Reply #30 on: September 26, 2020, 06:34:30 am »
    This may have been true five years ago but I think since then they've realized that "people who like to hear someone wittily describe their breakfast or share pictures of their cat" doesn't translate into someone who will pay $29 for that new release hardcover. There was a point where agents were heavy on encouraging social media participation but in the last year or two I've really seen them back off on that.

    This could definitely be very true.  I haven't kept up on things in a while.  I think it was about 6-7 years ago when I was really looking at what was being published and where, so you have a way better perspective on this than I do.  Appreciate the update on what's up these days  :D

    Offline Corvid

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    Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
    « Reply #31 on: September 26, 2020, 11:20:44 am »
    This could definitely be very true.  I haven't kept up on things in a while.  I think it was about 6-7 years ago when I was really looking at what was being published and where, so you have a way better perspective on this than I do.  Appreciate the update on what's up these days  :D

    I think you were right to point out everything's all a push toward maximum efficiency with few exceptions. It's accelerating. The accountants run the show now more than ever.


    Offline chrisstevenson

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    Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
    « Reply #32 on: September 26, 2020, 12:51:02 pm »
    Absolutely agree that the accountants and the marketing departments have huge, huge pull and probably make up most of the determinations as to what hits the shelves and what doesn't. I CAN imagine an intricate spreadsheet where they do deep probes on an author's social platform, websites, blogs, displays sites, FB and Twitter numbers, not to mention credits and publishing history which show ranks and sales.
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    Offline MMSN

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    Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
    « Reply #33 on: September 26, 2020, 02:13:41 pm »
    An editor at Amazon sent this rejection letter to an author back in 2018. In terms of explaining 'the real reasons we didn't select you' I think it's brutally spot on. From what I've read in agent-interviews, one of the first thing they do when considering a new author is check out their internet presence.

    "This is an excellent book, and you are hands-down one of the best writers who've ever submitted to Scout. The quality of the prose, the smart, insightful, and sensitive character development, and the gutsy plot blew us away. But with respect, we don't get the impression that you're enthusiastic about self-marketing, and in our experience, Lit-Fic novels require a lot of marketing hustle on the author's part to be commercially successful. We're basing this impression on your fairly minimal web presence, the lack of reader reviews for your previously published books, and that this book's marketing assets do not accurately reflect what the novel is about (more on this below). The hard and deeply unfair reality of book marketing is that it's much easier to sell a lesser-quality novel that has excellent marketing assets and strategy supporting it, than it is to sell a superior quality book that has a less slick marketing strategy supporting it. For this book to be commercially successful, we think that you've got to do one or both of the following:
    1.      Invest more money in your marketing, and become a student of effective book marketing strategies. And/or,
    2.      Work with an agent or publisher who can provide you with marketing expertise and resources.
    We understand that finding an agent or publisher is not easy, and that even with an agent or publisher, that there is no guarantee that the book will be commercially successful. But while this book is not a great fit for us, we feel that it could be a great fit for another publisher, and we think that it might be worth your while to consider not self-publishing the book at this time, and to try to find an agent or publisher for it, if you haven't already done so. But if you don't want to do that, or if you've already exhausted traditional publishing avenues, then we feel that your best course of action would be to commit yourself to learning how book selling works in much the same way that you've committed yourself to mastering the craft of writing."

    Offline Jena H

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    Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
    « Reply #34 on: September 26, 2020, 04:55:15 pm »
    An editor at Amazon sent this rejection letter to an author back in 2018. In terms of explaining 'the real reasons we didn't select you' I think it's brutally spot on. From what I've read in agent-interviews, one of the first thing they do when considering a new author is check out their internet presence.

    "This is an excellent book, and you are hands-down one of the best writers who've ever submitted to Scout. The quality of the prose, the smart, insightful, and sensitive character development, and the gutsy plot blew us away. But with respect, we don't get the impression that you're enthusiastic about self-marketing, and in our experience, Lit-Fic novels require a lot of marketing hustle on the author's part to be commercially successful. We're basing this impression on your fairly minimal web presence, the lack of reader reviews for your previously published books, and that this book's marketing assets do not accurately reflect what the novel is about (more on this below). The hard and deeply unfair reality of book marketing is that it's much easier to sell a lesser-quality novel that has excellent marketing assets and strategy supporting it, than it is to sell a superior quality book that has a less slick marketing strategy supporting it. For this book to be commercially successful, we think that you've got to do one or both of the following:
    1.      Invest more money in your marketing, and become a student of effective book marketing strategies. And/or,
    2.      Work with an agent or publisher who can provide you with marketing expertise and resources.

    We understand that finding an agent or publisher is not easy, and that even with an agent or publisher, that there is no guarantee that the book will be commercially successful. But while this book is not a great fit for us, we feel that it could be a great fit for another publisher, and we think that it might be worth your while to consider not self-publishing the book at this time, and to try to find an agent or publisher for it, if you haven't already done so. But if you don't want to do that, or if you've already exhausted traditional publishing avenues, then we feel that your best course of action would be to commit yourself to learning how book selling works in much the same way that you've committed yourself to mastering the craft of writing."

    Well, that's not depressing at all.  ::)  Many writers don't have either an education in marketing, or money to sink into marketing (assuming they can find someone reliable to assist them), or an agent.  As I discovered many years ago, it's just as difficult to gain an agent's interest as it is to catch a publisher's eye.

    Having said that, the advice is good.  After all, if it weren't for some shrewd (and relentless) marketing, where would James Patterson be today?
    Jena

    Offline markpauloleksiw

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    Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
    « Reply #35 on: September 27, 2020, 12:24:41 pm »
    If you look at the 6 and 7 figures deals given to newbie authors, there are some interesting observations.

    A good portion hit best seller lists BUT...that is a bit misleading because with those huge advances comes a tremendous marketing push.  I looked a bit further at reader reaction and the biggest sample size is Goodreads.  A staggering portion of these books were not very well received by the public at large...meaning they bought them but, gave them wishy washy review. Cape May being rated a 3 with thousands of reviews.  Now many highly promoted books on Goodreads get a lot of build up of high review scores...so it is really odd (barring some controversy) for a highly marketing book to have such mediocre reviews.

    And while these are "newbie" authors...the vast majority were well known within the writing community having published short stories etc... So these deals generally did not come out of left field. They had resumes which highlights how hard it is for an unknown to get that big deal from traditional publishing.

    So the deals are going to authors who can be "marketed" and can self-market. Notice, the quality of the work is not primary.

    A common request on social media from literary agents is something like this..."I want a novel that is like ....insert name of novel..."  So much for originality. It is looking for what they believe will sell based on recent success.

    I don't think the big five actually really understand "why" certain novels are successful/popular, instead they take the path of ..."let's copy what worked".

    Mark


    Offline alhawke

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    Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
    « Reply #36 on: September 27, 2020, 01:14:47 pm »

    So the deals are going to authors who can be "marketed" and can self-market. Notice, the quality of the work is not primary.

    Yeah, I think agents just pick the books they like. There's no real science behind it. This is so hard for beginning writers. Think of all the good stuff that will never be published because the authors didn't want to take the time to learn how to market and self publish on their own. Agents and publishers are looking for "passable" writing. What's more important to them, I'd think, is their perception of a perfect fit with the market. But you can't blame them. It's a business.

    But I hate it when I hear agents say they want to find authors who have a presence on social media before working with them. That hints at marketing. If an author's good at marketing, they don't really need an agent so much, do they? It's a cart before the horse thing.



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    Offline Triceratops

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    Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
    « Reply #37 on: September 27, 2020, 07:38:29 pm »
    A few thoughts...

    An editor at Amazon sent this rejection letter to an author back in 2018. In terms of explaining 'the real reasons we didn't select you' I think it's brutally spot on. From what I've read in agent-interviews, one of the first thing they do when considering a new author is check out their internet presence.

    "This is an excellent book, and you are hands-down one of the best writers who've ever submitted to Scout. The quality of the prose, the smart, insightful, and sensitive character development, and the gutsy plot blew us away. But with respect, we don't get the impression that you're enthusiastic about self-marketing, and in our experience, Lit-Fic novels require a lot of marketing hustle on the author's part to be commercially successful. We're basing this impression on your fairly minimal web presence, the lack of reader reviews for your previously published books, and that this book's marketing assets do not accurately reflect what the novel is about (more on this below). The hard and deeply unfair reality of book marketing is that it's much easier to sell a lesser-quality novel that has excellent marketing assets and strategy supporting it, than it is to sell a superior quality book that has a less slick marketing strategy supporting it. For this book to be commercially successful, we think that you've got to do one or both of the following:
    1.      Invest more money in your marketing, and become a student of effective book marketing strategies. And/or,
    2.      Work with an agent or publisher who can provide you with marketing expertise and resources.
    We understand that finding an agent or publisher is not easy, and that even with an agent or publisher, that there is no guarantee that the book will be commercially successful. But while this book is not a great fit for us, we feel that it could be a great fit for another publisher, and we think that it might be worth your while to consider not self-publishing the book at this time, and to try to find an agent or publisher for it, if you haven't already done so. But if you don't want to do that, or if you've already exhausted traditional publishing avenues, then we feel that your best course of action would be to commit yourself to learning how book selling works in much the same way that you've committed yourself to mastering the craft of writing."
    [bolding mine]

    Two things about this:

    A. it's Amazon, so they want more traffic on their site, not necessarily more sales for you. Their interests and your interests are not necessarily the same. Plus the 'Zon treats marketing like a religion, anyway.

    B. Amazon's response here concerns a novel of literary fiction. It is not a stretch to assume that if you write romance, or thrillers, or westerns, or anything other than lit fic, this you-need-more-marketing advice might not apply.

    If you look at the 6 and 7 figures deals given to newbie authors, there are some interesting observations.

    A good portion hit best seller lists BUT...that is a bit misleading because with those huge advances comes a tremendous marketing push.  I looked a bit further at reader reaction and the biggest sample size is Goodreads.  A staggering portion of these books were not very well received by the public at large...meaning they bought them but, gave them wishy washy review. Cape May being rated a 3 with thousands of reviews.  Now many highly promoted books on Goodreads get a lot of build up of high review scores...so it is really odd (barring some controversy) for a highly marketing book to have such mediocre reviews.

    And while these are "newbie" authors...the vast majority were well known within the writing community having published short stories etc... So these deals generally did not come out of left field. They had resumes which highlights how hard it is for an unknown to get that big deal from traditional publishing.

    So the deals are going to authors who can be "marketed" and can self-market. Notice, the quality of the work is not primary.

    A common request on social media from literary agents is something like this..."I want a novel that is like ....insert name of novel..."  So much for originality. It is looking for what they believe will sell based on recent success.

    I don't think the big five actually really understand "why" certain novels are successful/popular, instead they take the path of ..."let's copy what worked".

    Mark

    The original question was, are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore? And the evidence seems to say yes.

    As to if those new authors are getting to bestseller status, that's a different question.

    And if some of the big-book-deal newbie books are getting good reviews? Another issue again.

    So the deals are going to authors who can be "marketed" and can self-market. Notice, the quality of the work is not primary.

    I at random chose one author from the short list I posted above, a few replies up. Lara Prescott seems to have gotten the biggest payday, with a $2,000,000 advance. Turns out she had had a political kind of career in D.C., and then got sick of it. She decided to go back to school to get an MFA. In Austin while earning her MFA, she saw a writing contest, and entered the first 25 pages of what she hoped would be a novel. She didn't win. But an agent saw her work and hired her.

    Then in the last year of her MFA, she gave the agent her manuscript. The agent managed to spark a bidding war between big publishing houses, and Lara Scott got the  $2,000,000 advance. As far as I can tell, she had no significant web presence at that time.

    That doesn't prove that all debut authors who get six- and seven-figure deals have zero web presence. But it does prove that you don't have to have a blog and a YouTube channel and 50,000 Instagram subscribers to get a debut publishing deal.

    Why are so many folks around here convinced that there's some kind of secret to making it big? I don't understand. Why can't just writing a really good book be the main thing, and sometimes the only thing, that matters?

    Offline Corvid

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    Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
    « Reply #38 on: September 27, 2020, 10:07:19 pm »

    Why are so many folks around here convinced that there's some kind of secret to making it big? I don't understand. Why can't just writing a really good book be the main thing, and sometimes the only thing, that matters?

    I don't think anyone's suggesting it's a secret. Doesn't take much digging to find the forest for the trees. And, once you do you realize writing a really good book more often than not is not the main thing - let alone the only thing - that matters.

    Agents and publishers back-fill the idea of a book or an author's quality AFTER they've put a push behind it to try and make it a bestseller, which comes AFTER the bean counters have weighed in to say the book/author has a decent-to-good chance of earning-out, leading to said book/author being signed.

    To someone outside the industry's backrooms simply listening to "advice" at conferences and the like, you get the illusion sold to you that the quality of the book is paramount, when it's only one small factor, but hey, they gotta keep people submitting. Truth is, any good agent or big house can take a 'meh' manuscript and polish it into 'good enough' shape. Pretty much everyone knows underwhelming prose and/or plotting can still top the lists.

    So, the reasons for a big signing usually involve other factors.

    The agents and publishers invent adoration, they may even reach the point where they believe their own fawning praise for a given property - but, it's easy to fall over yourself loving a thing when your very livelihood depends on that thing succeeding. Having spent a fair number of years in the music business and around label types you recognize this behavior for what it is. An entire industry built on falseness and insecurity, ruled over by suits ruthlessly pursuing efficiency, and sure profits.

    The amount an executive loves you and "believes in you" is exactly commensurate with what you're capable of bringing to them, beyond a finished manuscript, that is.

    Yes, of course, there will be exceptions, but no point in fronting the false notion that outliers comprise the actual modus operandi in its totality for an entire industry.


    Offline ShayneRutherford

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    Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
    « Reply #39 on: September 27, 2020, 10:16:56 pm »
    Why are so many folks around here convinced that there's some kind of secret to making it big? I don't understand. Why can't just writing a really good book be the main thing, and sometimes the only thing, that matters?

    Because if there isn't some secret, that means authors who haven't succeeded are doing something wrong.
             

    Offline Doglover

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    Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
    « Reply #40 on: September 27, 2020, 11:00:58 pm »

    I don't think the big five actually really understand "why" certain novels are successful/popular, instead they take the path of ..."let's copy what worked".

    Mark


    And that's exactly what happens in the indie community as well. When Fifty Shades of Grey hit the big time, as huge percentage of indie authors were flooding us with smut. When Harry Potter arrived everyone was writing wizards and the rest. Newbies will even copy a website that is doing well; I saw one that was copied exactly, even the name was almost identical.

    None of these people, including the trad publishers, seem to realise that once it's been done, it's been done. I wasn't born when Gone with the Wind hit the bestsellers lists, but I haven't seen anything copying it. I suppose it's a new thing because of the lack of imagination.

    Anyway, I still hold to my principle: if you want a job done properly, do it yourself.


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    Offline ShayneRutherford

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    Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
    « Reply #41 on: September 28, 2020, 02:08:43 am »
    None of these people, including the trad publishers, seem to realise that once it's been done, it's been done.

    That only matters if people care that it's been done before. And since most people seem to want more of what they've enjoyed before, that probably doesn't matter.


    I wasn't born when Gone with the Wind hit the bestsellers lists, but I haven't seen anything copying it. I suppose it's a new thing because of the lack of imagination.

    I think it's more that indies aren't limited to a schedule the way traditional publishing is, so they can jump on an opportunity and get a book published quickly in order to take advantage of the hype of something popular.
             

    Offline Doglover

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    Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
    « Reply #42 on: September 28, 2020, 02:20:42 am »


    I think it's more that indies aren't limited to a schedule the way traditional publishing is, so they can jump on an opportunity and get a book published quickly in order to take advantage of the hype of something popular.

    That is very true. When I first approached a publisher with my historical fiction/romance novel, I was told nobody wanted historical fiction. A year later, by the time they would have got round to publishing, HF was popular and the publishers all wanted it. They take so long about everything, the book they accepted in January will be out of date before it hits the shelves.


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    Offline markpauloleksiw

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    Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
    « Reply #43 on: September 28, 2020, 07:33:02 am »
    Let's not forget there has been a great purge of editors over the past few years. The trads now rely heavily on literary agents to do the sales push.

    Literary agencies are overwhelmed and often the first screening is done by someone with very little experience other than in social media.

    A few years ago I participated in a few pitch things on twitter with other authors and some of the projects I heard were amazingly original and guess what...they went nowhere because they did not line up with anything that "sells"... I found that really sad and wondered how many great young writers are being bypassed.

    Mark

    Offline ShayneRutherford

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    Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
    « Reply #44 on: September 28, 2020, 12:40:03 pm »
    A few years ago I participated in a few pitch things on twitter with other authors and some of the projects I heard were amazingly original and guess what...they went nowhere because they did not line up with anything that "sells"... I found that really sad and wondered how many great young writers are being bypassed.

    It doesn't really matter how 'great' a writer is if there aren't enough people who will buy their books.
             

    Offline Shane Lochlann Black

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    Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
    « Reply #45 on: September 28, 2020, 12:59:45 pm »
    The Internet relentlessly punishes creativity. Unless you write superheroes who are homicidal psychopaths. Then you're at the top of the charts.  The Internet loves it some unprovoked first degree murder with a side of convulsions and blood smears. 

    Otherwise, your book had better look and read exactly like the robot expects, or you're going to be working the napkin station at Burger King.  I think about 20 years ago someone called it "cutting off your air supply." Interesting choice of words, dontcha think? 

    There is a better than average chance our culture is as dead as a bag full of hammers. Why? In a world controlled by AI that has nothing to go on but past sales data, new ideas will never get sunlight or oxygen. In fact, there are acres and acres of computers working 24 hours a day to make sure of it.

    So enjoy writing the same book over and over again. Until the robot replaces you with itself.
    « Last Edit: September 28, 2020, 01:02:57 pm by Shane Lochlann Black »

    Offline GeneDoucette

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    Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
    « Reply #46 on: September 28, 2020, 02:12:43 pm »
    I'm not on board with the oft-repeated assertion that writing a good book is only a small part of it. It's a kind of important part, or rather, it's the FIRST important part in a string of important parts. More critically, it's just about the only thing the author can control.

    I think the problem might be with the word "good", which is deeply subjective. Try this: write a book people enjoy reading. An agent and a publisher can't do anything with a book that people don't enjoy reading, regardless of how technically well-assembled it is. Likewise, a poorly structured "bad" book that's an enjoyable read can go far.

    I'm thinking it's not difficult to teach someone how to write technically well. It's very difficult, if not impossible, to teach them to write something the reader enjoys.

    I'm also not on board with the 'publishers have ceded gatekeeping to agents' idea. Admittedly, I speak as a sample size of one, but I'm on my second trad pub contract (I'm a hybrid these days) and I don't currently HAVE an agent.
    « Last Edit: September 28, 2020, 04:59:00 pm by GeneDoucette »

    Offline chrisstevenson

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    Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
    « Reply #47 on: September 28, 2020, 02:28:55 pm »
    It doesn't really matter how 'great' a writer is if there aren't enough people who will buy their books.

    I put it to y'alls opinion: Have we not reached the "supply has out-clipsed the demand" threshold? Or are we close enough, in that it is beginning to take effect?
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    Offline markpauloleksiw

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    Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
    « Reply #48 on: September 29, 2020, 08:46:22 am »
    I have been arguing for a while that there is market place saturation...at a very significant level.

    So many new series,so many freebies etc....at some point readers can only take so much.

    My view is that there is sweet spot for something different (and if I knew what it was, I would be counting my money instead of being on these boards).

    As pointed out, the bots don't handle cross-genres very well.

    Mark

    Offline ShayneRutherford

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    Re: Are any new authors getting publishing deals anymore?
    « Reply #49 on: September 29, 2020, 12:50:31 pm »
    I put it to y'alls opinion: Have we not reached the "supply has out-clipsed the demand" threshold? Or are we close enough, in that it is beginning to take effect?

    If you're talking about manuscript supply vs agent/publisher demand, we crossed that threshold a long time ago. If you're referring to marketplace demand, I think that's more of a grey area. For one thing, the supply of new readers is growing. And for another, unlike selling cars, for example, publishing isn't a zero-sum game. Just because a reader bought a romance or a mystery last week doesn't mean they can't buy another one this week and next week and every week after that.

    There's also the fact that, just because the marketplace may be saturated, that doesn't mean that it's saturated with your competition. I used to read slush for a small press. Every time we opened to subs we would get inundated with manuscripts from hopeful authors. But hopeful doesn't mean competent. Of the submissions we'd get, probably a good 75% could barely string a coherent paragraph together, never mind a whole story, and they were riddled with errors. And I'd be willing to bet that most of them, after they were rejected, got published on Amazon. But those books are not your competition.
             

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