Jayne Hitchcock here. I’m pretty disappointed with my publisher – my last book, True Crime Online, hasn’t been selling well and when it first came out, I did a flurry of radio interviews, but then that was all they did for publicity. I had to rely on my media contacts and contacting local media when I did speaking engagements or book signings (which I also scheduled myself) to promote it.
I was ready to give up on writing when I got an email from a publisher in Maryland in October. They wanted to know if I’d be interested in writing a book about online crimes. Would I?! Of course! Before replying, I did my research, found them to be reputable and with a good lineup of books and authors. I cautiously replied, talked to the publishing agent who had contacted me over the phone, wrote a proposal for a book about cyberbullying and sent that off to her, along with a copy of True Crime Online and my previous book, Net Crimes & Misdemeanors 2nd edition. She got back to me with what they provide for publicity/promotional events and I was pleasantly surprised at how invested they are in their authors.
I was psyched and posted on Facebook that I might be writing a new book. While most of my friends congratulated me and wished me luck, several (who mainly messaged me privately) asked if the publisher could look at their book as well.
I was a bit affronted. First, my books are mainly non-fiction and all of the people who contacted me had written a “novel.” They obviously didn’t know anything about the publishing business. I patiently explained to each one that there are different kinds of publishers and mine was strictly non-fiction looking to branch out into the technical/Internet areas. A couple of them actually got upset with me that I wouldn’t 1) Share the name of the publisher or 2) That I wouldn’t help them get published
I patiently guided them to the Writer’s Digest web site and guide to literary agents and publishers, then let it go.
The publishing agent asked if I had five peers who could vouch for my expertise, so I set about contacting some Internet-savvy folks I know, some dealing with social media, and asked if they could be used as a reference for my new publisher. One was “too busy,” another wanted to know who the publisher, but I was hesitant to share. Is that wrong? But I did finally get five people who will vouch for me.
Now I have to sit and wait until the first of the year to see if my book proposal is accepted. I am thinking it will be, since they *did* invite me to provide one to them.
Some friends have been asking, online and in person, if I’ve written the book yet. I honestly almost laughed out loud. I had to explain that my proposal has to be accepted first, then a contract signed, then I will start writing, which probably won’t be until January or February at the earliest and again, only *if* it is accepted and approved. Then I have a year to complete the manuscript, then it goes to editing, proofing, etc. It probably won’t be out until 2016 if it all goes well. People are just boggled over that. They think getting a book published happens like magic!
Have any of you experienced this? Friends wanting you to help get them get published and not understanding anything about how it is really done? How do you handle it?
Cross your fingers for me and have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!
I’m always a little stunned at how unschooled people are in how this all works, particularly since it’s fairly easy to learn about. In my experience, people who come to me looking for shortcuts — and it must just w because I seem like I’m have pull because I have yet to get a mystery novel published — tend to also have truly awful manuscripts. There are just a lot of people out there who don’t understand the amount of work that needs to go in both with the writing or after the writing is done. And anyone who asks you to reveal the publisher just doesn’t understand how the business works.
The one who wanted me to tell her who the publisher is already has a book published. It made it sound like she wanted to try to pitch something to them, which I thought would be pretty rude. I have stories from book signings where people would bring their manuscripts with them wanting me to read them. And all were novels. I write non-fiction, lol.
Good luck, of course. And have a great holiday.
The one’s who drive me nuts are those who want you to recommend their work sight unseen! Truth be known these very same people would ignore anyone seeking their help.
BTW the above comment was from Vaughn Hardacker
Best of luck, Jayne.
Referring to Writer’s Market is generous advice. When I felt ready to put my writing out in the world, and asked authors how to go about getting involved, I was directed to attend conferences, and to join or build a writing community – generic advice and very useful.
When I’m asked similar questions, I do the same thing, recommending New Hampshire Writer’s Project, SINC, Crime Bake, etc. I’ve directed ‘askers’ to the public library. I also recommend Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller ‘Outliers’ which explains the 10,000-hour rule –10,000 hours developing writing craft, then another 10,000 of learning the business side of things!
Thanks Jayne and best of luck with your projects.
I’ve found the Writer’s Digest web sites are the best for new writers. I took their correspondence course when I was living in Japan back in 1992 and I got my first writing gigs while there as a result. Thank you, everyone, for the comments!
Just wanted to update – heard from the publisher. My proposal has been accepted and a contract being emailed to me today. I’m not super happy with the advance they are offering, but the publicity they are planning for it sounds great. I have to have the book done by January of 2016 (I think I’ll have it done before then, though). I am very excited!