Gary Hurtubise

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Tag: novel

Offer of Publication: I reject you!

(or, 5 reasons why that offer might just not <gulp> be for you)

 

So I’ve been a bit quiet for the last few months, mainly because I didn’t know how to address the topic of this post.  Let’s set the scenario, work through the list, then we’ll debrief afterwards, shall we?

Situation: your manuscript, which you’ve been shopping around for going-on two years, finally has an offer of publication!  Yay!  But what’s that you say?  You aren’t immediately sending a reply with the subject heading: “Yes, Yes, Yes!!!”?!?

Well… why not?

(now here’s the list)

5 Reasons Why You Might Reject That Offer of Publication

5.       Your book will only be available via POD (Print-On-Demand).

Whoops – you’ll be published, but not in the traditional sense.  No books to show for your work.  That being said, if your offer of publication comes from a small-press publisher, I get the sense that this is pretty much how things operate nowadays.  And considering how many people are reading their books via e-readers, it’s really no wonder.

 

4.       You’ll have to do all the marketing for your book, yourself.

If you do not already possess, like, ten thousand friends on <enter social media platform here>, and have a faithful following on Amazon or Goodreads, this could mean the death of your book before it even breathes its first papery breath.  Marketing?  Isn’t that the publisher’s responsibility?  Well… again – in today’s market, I’m learning that most publishers are expecting authors to shoulder at least a portion of their own marketing.

 

3.       No advance (what? no money up front?!)

Nope.  Yet again, unless you are offered a deal with one of the large houses, the likelihood of seeing money before your book is published is very low.  In fact, if you decide to work with a hybrid publishing agency, you’ll be giving them money, and not the other way around!

Hey – let’s say you did get with one of the big publishers.  You’re still only looking at $5000.  Yep, that’s it.  Long gone are the days of $400 000 advances (believe it or not, this is what Stephen King got for his first book, back in the 1970’s!)…

 

2.       You’re afraid that the publisher’s brand is not a good fit with how you want to be perceived as a writer.

You write country-western-actions, but the publisher is known more for cozy-mysteries.  Will that ‘typecast’ you as a cozy-mystery writer for the rest of your career?  If you’re a seasoned author already, probably not (though people might scratch their heads when reading the spine of your next book).  But as a not-yet-published author?  I think this is a very relevant concern.

 

1.        The ‘suggested’ changes to your story that are conditional upon publication make you feel: _______ (fill-in: sad, mad, uncomfortable, scared, confused, etc.).

You’ve poured your blood, sweat and tears into this baby (ie: manuscript) – whether it’s your first or your fifth.  When some stranger tells you your baby is cute, but could be much cuter if you rearrange her face, change her clothes, and re-attach her arms and legs in different positions… hmmm.  That’s hard to swallow.

 

 

And there you have it.  Five reasons why you might say: “thanks, but no thanks”.

Wait!  Before you decide to say those words, realize that the state of publishing today is very different than, say, pre-internet days.  Paper-versions of books are ever so slowly slipping away.  Authors are being asked to shoulder more and more of the burden and responsibility for their books, for less and less money.  Writing is now more a labour of love, rather than labour for cash.  And if you ain’t lovin’ it, regardless of the hassle, you’re probably wasting your time.

Ok.  So, are any of the above reasons legitimate excuses to walk away from an offer of publication?

Numbers 5, 4, and 3 are, in my opinion, simply the realities of the publishing game as of 2017.  You don’t have to like it; just suck it up (if being published is what you truly want).

Numbers 1 & 2, though, are legitimate reasons to hesitate before signing on the dotted line.  You are trying to develop your brand here (especially with your first novel!!).  If your story no longer reflects the vision you had for it, or is presented on a platform that doesn’t fit with your goals, you are doing yourself a disfavour, and could end up damaging your chances for that second book (or any books after that).

And if you haven’t guessed by now, yes – I’ve chosen to reject an offer of publication of my novel “Darksea”.

“Why,” you ask?

Well… see above.  That’s all I’m gonna say.  😛

 

Ok.  That was a bit of a heavy post.  I’ll try to keep things lighter with my next one!

Don’t dismay!  Keep submitting those queries!!

Darksea: A Winner at the 2016 Ozma Awards!

So as it turned out, I was unable to make it out to Bellingham, Washington to attend the 2016 Ozma Awards Ceremony and Chanticleer Author’s Conference (life and stuff got in the way, sadly).  As such, I figured that my lack of attendance would negate any chance I had of winning (not being too sure how these types of awards work…).

Glumly, I watched the first weekend of April go by, waving my chance at winning goodbye.

And forgot about the whole thing…

…(Silly me!)

On a whim, I checked out the Chanticleer website tonight and came across this little bit of news:

How about that?!

The First In Category award winners are to receive a complimentary book review from Chanticleer, as well as a bunch of other promotional items.  And now I can say that my (as of yet unpublished) novel is an award winner!  Priceless.  😀

Thank you to Chanticleer Book Reviews for providing a platform for me to have my manuscript reviewed.  I’m feeling that much closer to turning Darksea into a real book – and me into a real author!   (Reject me now, literary agents!!)

Congratulations to Christopher, Elisabeth, Vijay, Raven, Nicole and Murray for their category wins, and especially to Vijay, for also winning the Ozma Grand Prize!

 

NaNoWriMo… here we go again!

nanowrimo_crest

Get involved!                    Get writing!

I’ve been on a two-month hiatus from writing my fiction – life and work getting in the way as they always seem to do…

However, as November approaches, there’s a very good reason to get back into fiction writing – one that many writers find is just what they need to jump start their creative endeavours, as the cold weather settles in: NaNoWriMo!

Writing is a uniquely lonely type of thing.  For an introvert (like myself!) it is a welcome escape from the invasive outside world.  It’s therapeutic, too – a balm to soothe the raw stress from all those… people (said with the utmost disgust) intruding themselves upon me day in, day out.

However, I have found that the private nature of writing is a double-edged sword.  There are times when even this introvert (I cringe to admit) craves contact with other like-minded humans.  Specifically the writing kind of humans.

Now, writing being an activity whereby you are lost in your mind and you stare intently at a screen for hours on end, contact with other such beings can be hard to come by… unless you all share a similar goal.  Say, the writing of a complete novel in the space of one month.

Well, look no further: National Novel Writing Month has you covered!  In fact, they couldn’t make it easier for you to get involved – to whatever degree you feel comfortable with.  You fill out some information on yourself and your prospective novel, you pick the local community you’ll be writing with, and once November rolls around, you start writing!  There’s a nifty little graph that shows you how much you’ve written, and if you are on (or off) your word count goal.  There are weekly activities, both locally and across the world that you (again) can participate in, or not.

This will be my third year participating, though I’ll immediately admit I’ll be cheating just a bit – I’m aiming to complete the same novel that I started last year (an urban sci-fi mystery… thingy) – however many words that ends up being.

Regardless of my insidious plans, NaNoWriMo is just what I need to get my fiction writing kick-started again.

21 days and counting…

…in the meantime?  I’ll be getting another batch of agent queries out, and outlining the next bits of that novel that is going to write itself! 😉

Becoming an Author: Getting Started

Well, that title is a misnomer actually.  I started this whole process years ago.  It’s only recently that I’ve taken writing seriously, and it’s only tonight that I’ve taken the step to put myself ‘out there’, as it were, via social media.

Here’s a summary of what’s happened with respect to my desire to be a published author, to date:

Sept 2013:

Taking writing seriously; goal: finish the novel ‘Tale of Two Eorldoms’ (working title);

Attended my first Writer’s Fest, in Kingston Ontario (Margaret Atwood in attendance!);

Nov 2014:

Finished 1st draft of my novel, edited by my trooper of a husband, Trevor;

Feb 2015:

Finished 2nd draft of my novel, and edited by a friend (he’s still a friend, btw!);

May 2015:

Began compiling a list of potential agents to approach; and

Sept 2015:

Wrote the synopsis of my novel, and accompanying query letter.

 

And two years later, I’m just about ready to start my agent search.  I have my list, in order of preference, and the requisite ‘bits’ (which just need refining for each specific literary agency).  Over the next week or so, I’ll send out the first 3-5 queries, and then… wait!

(Patiently, of course.)

Of course, it’s hard to express in writing the excitement Trevor and I feel for this step.  Even as I write this, my heart is beating faster than normal.  It’s not every day that I get to send out my first query of my first novel, to the first literary agent in my list…

Final note for this inaugural post: I would not be doing this today if it were not for the support of my husband.  Trevor had supported and motivated me from before day one, and any success I eventually achieve from this is due in very large part to him.  I love you, Trev!!  <3

 

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