Wednesday, October 1, 2014

IWSG: Get Your Game Face On: Publishers vs Agents




Come join me in the IWSG group created by Alex Cavanaugh. We post the first Wednesday of each month! http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/p/the-insecure-writers-support-group.html

Name: Jennifer L. Hawes and I write upper middle-grade fiction.
Website: http://www.jenniferlhawes.com/ or on my Bloghttp://www.jenniferswritingrevolution.blogspot.com/
Title: Publishers vs Agents
I give the Insecure Writer's Support Group permission to use all or part of this blog post.

When signing with a small to medium sized publisher (or self-publishing), you will most likely design your own book marks, plan book signings and school appearances. Be prepared to do a lot of work. You must make contacts with other writers, libraries, book clubs, bloggers and organizations to promote your book. There were many things I enjoyed about having a small publisher for my debut novel, but many things I'd do differently. Publishers represent your book (to some degree) while agents represent you, your book and your future books.

For my current, finished novel, I am seeking a literary agent. My experiences have left me feeling like I just won the lottery to losing the State Championship game in sudden death overtime. Let me warn you. You will be forced to play the WAITING game. This game is NOT fun. It freaks you out every second of every minute that you WAIT for them to read your requested full. (And the dozen or so other ones they've requested from other writers.)

Don't settle and don't quit. Put your best work out there. Follow agents and Writer's Digest on Twitter. Don't forget to be professional with agents. Always address them by name. Always include some of the qualities that match your book to their #MSWL (Twitter hashtag for "manuscript wish list") or go to their website. And for the love of all that is holy, follow submission guidelines. If they are closed to submissions, DO NOT QUERY THEM.

BE PATIENT. This is not for the faint of heart. You must be strong--warrior strong, line-backer strong. Paint your game face on and race to the line of scrimmage and WAIT for the big game to start. You CAN do this!
(I tell myself this every morning.)


Tell me about your experience with publishers vs. agents. What do you like/dislike about both? Do you enjoy self promotion? How do you handle the "waiting game"? 

24 comments:

  1. I'll have no problem being patient. I've been working on my story for six years, so I'm not about to start worrying about hearing back from agents in less than a couple of months. I'll be too busy working on the next book.

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    1. Good for you! I'm the most impatient person on the planet. Yes, I'm working on other books too:)

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  2. The waiting game IS hard. Even if you have an agent, then you wait on editors, publishing houses, and all that. I try to spend as little time possible speculating while I wait, and instead either read in my genre or write the next thing.

    And with self pub, like you said, you need to know yourself and what you are capable of. Also, knowing your genre. I have friends writing romance that are going self publishing route because there has been so much success with that genre in ebooks and self pub. When you write for kids, you have to consider the current atmosphere that certain kids books are still selling in print more than ebook, and distribution in what few bookstores we have left in our country still matters--for those genres.

    Anyway, here's to your success while you play the submit and wait game. And best of luck in Pitch Wars!

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    1. Thanks!!! I've been reading tons of books to take my mind off this agonizing time of waiting. But you're right, there will be more waiting in the future! I believe kids and teens prefer hard copy books. My boys are both teenagers and NEVER read e-books.

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  3. But wait, aren't you writing the next thing? =) I had several fulls out to agents a few years ago and ended up going with a small pub rather than waiting on an agent. One day I wouldn't mind switching gears and finding an agent, but I'm not anxious to jump back into that waiting pool of anxiety. I've decided contests are the only way to go when trying to land an agent.

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  4. I'm doing both. Playing the waiting game with agents and I'm in this little contest called #PitchWars ;-) Yes, I'm immersing myself in writing my next two books. Keeps me busy, well, that and my three kiddos.

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    1. No kidding! I'm right there with you. I did PitchWars in 2012, and it's what launched my career! (Thank you Brenda Drake!)

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  5. Patience is crucial for a writer. Thanks for sharing your great advice for the anthology.

    Great to visit today as a co-host of IWSG.

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    1. It really is. We should write "extremely patient" at the top of our resume.

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  6. Awesome they requested a full!
    My publisher did do things like make bookmarks for me, but I did have to do a lot of my own marketing. At the moment, I'm all right with that.
    Thanks for contributing to the book.

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    1. Yes, it's a love/hate thing! Love that it's being considered and hate the wait to find out;)

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  7. "When signing with a small to medium sized publisher (or self-publishing), you will most likely design your own book marks, plan book signings and school appearances."

    Actually, when you sign with one of The Big Five, you will also design your own swag and plan your own events, too. My first publisher was a small one, and they were the only ones to design bookmarks, posters, and schedule me for events. My second book went to a mid-size and well known publisher. They got me a guest post on Huffington Post, but that was all. My third book was published with a BIG ONE. And I've been pretty much entirely on my own for promotions.

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    1. That is so interesting! I guess each publisher is different. It's probably safe to say you will be doing a ton of marketing and self promotion no matter what size the publishing house:)

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  8. I'm waiting on two manuscripts I submitted on my own and some agents who are looking at a different manuscript. I always have several things out there to keep my options open.

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    1. I agree! I have a few agents looking at my ms, but I'm also a contestant for #PitchWars which will have an agent round the first week in November. The key is ("wait for it") patience.

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  9. I have heard that its best if a writer works on another project during the waiting game/time. Its better to have as many books written as possible. That's what I am doing. We never know which book will get us noticed.

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  10. They say patience is a virtue. But it's so hard...

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    1. Agreed. Grrr. I get antsy just thinking about waiting!

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  11. It's been my experience (and my CPs') that most publishing deals and agent offers come through 50% hard work and 50% luck, being in the right place at the right time. It also helps to be very determined and query till hell freezes over. I will agree with you about being thick-skinned though. That's a necessity in all areas of writing - or being an artist in general. Good luck with your queries!

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    1. So true. Be determined. Never quit. Good luck to you as well!

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  12. Yes, we need a lot of patience, don't we?The waiting game takes forever!

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  13. Persistence is key when it comes to pretty much every aspect of writing. Best to learn that early on!

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  14. Very true!!! All of it. I will say, though, these days no matter whom your publisher is, you're still responsible for most of the publicity you mentioned. I'm spending this morning designing a postcard to send out to promote my next book and it's with Simon & Schuster. I do my own bookmarks, book my own school visits, set up my own bookstore appearances, etc.

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  15. I'm learning to like self-promotion. I wish I had more time to do what I enjoy most, which is write, but I realize there's no reason to write if I don't tell people about my books.

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October #IWSG

Come join Alex J. Cavanaugh and the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We discuss our fears, insecurities, ups and downs of the writing p...