Query Question: editor interest but no agent

20 August 2014

From Janet Reid, Literary Agent:

I recently parted ways with my first agent (amicably, of course) and have had requests from editors at mid-size and larger houses to see my future work. I have a manuscript that has been polished and is ready for submission. Should I send to those editors while I’m querying, or should I wait to see if I can secure an agent before doing so?

Don’t send your work to editors before securing an agent.  If you do so, you’ll find getting an agent is MUCH harder because you’ve trampled all over the crime scene and contaminated the evidence.  

Link to the rest at Janet Reid, Literary Agent and thanks to Amy for the tip.

PG is curious to know what makes this a crime scene.

Amazon’s fan-fiction portal Kindle Worlds is a bust for fans, and for writers too

20 August 2014

From GigaOm:

It sounded like a good idea: fans of cultural figures like Kurt Vonnegut and G.I. Joe get permission to use their favorite characters to create new stories under the umbrella of Amazon, and everyone gets a cut of the profits. So how it did turn out?

So far the results of the project, known as Kindle Worlds, appear lackluster at best. Take the popular series Pretty Little Liars, which became available as an Amazon-licensed fan fiction title last year.

In the month of June, authors contributed 46 Pretty Little Liars works to Kindle Worlds, which sounds like a fair number — unless you compare it to the more than 6,000 such works that appeared during this time on two other fan fiction sites.

More broadly, on one of those sites, FanFiction.net, fans posted 100 new stories every hour across all categories. And Amazon? Its entire output for all 24 “Worlds” of content, which also includes franchises like Gossip Girl and Vampire Diaries, was just 538 stories over the course of more than a year.

. . . .

According to Tushnet, a big part of the problem is the creative limits that brand owners impose on the use of their work. In the case of G.I. Joe, for instance, the villain can’t wear a Yankees cap. Characters in other works can’t use drugs or employ profane language. And gay, bisexual or deviant sexual behavior might be off-limits too.

. . . .

Add it all up, and the fields of imagination and community in Kindle Worlds feel barren next to the rollicking, ribald world of the purely fan universes. The sanctioned space, it turns out, is just not as much fun as the unofficial ones. One fan fiction enthusiast cited by the paper likens Kindle Worlds to a playground of “five quiet, clean, polite children carefully playing together while helicopter parents hovered overhead … Whatever Amazon has created there is no life in it.”

For Amazon and its partners, it will be difficult to overcome such perceptions since the underlying problem is not just about licensing terms, but something more fundamental: the impossibility of having it both ways, of fostering maximum creativity while wielding maximum legal control.

Link to the rest at GigaOm and thanks to L for the tip.

Scam Alert: Editors Beware

20 August 2014

From WGB:

Iwas con­tacted by a not-so-articulate per­son who requested my ser­vices as an edi­tor for an arti­cle. I looked at his doc­u­ment and found a ten-page para­graph that needed plenty of help. I wrote a polite response explain­ing that this piece would be time-consuming and expen­sive to edit, but the author seemed intent on hav­ing me rewrite it. He read­ily agreed to my price, explained his 30-day dead­line and told me he’d send a check.

If this doesn’t sound sus­pi­cious to you, it should.

Pay atten­tion and stay safe.

In a relationship-based busi­ness like edit­ing or design, a new client is almost always a referral.

“I saw the work you did for Jim Smith. I was won­der­ing if you ….”

If you pub­lish a web­site or blog, intro­duc­tions invari­ably start with,

“I read the arti­cle you posted about ….”

This client vol­un­teered no point of reference.

. . . .

Real clients want to know what they’re get­ting for their money. They don’t want to spend it; they want to invest it. In this case, the client showed lit­tle inter­est in the piece being edited. He vol­un­teered no infor­ma­tion about the type of pub­li­ca­tion, audi­ence, or intended result of the piece. He agreed to a high price with­out ques­tions or negotiation.

I work with clients all over the world. The far­ther away they are, the more likely it is they’ll pay me elec­tron­i­cally. I get paid by check about 10% of the time; the rest is PayPal. If your check doesn’t clear, my bank charges me—the victim—a $35 fee. I accept checks from trusted sources only.

. . . .

The next day, my “new client” wrote to tell me the pay­ment was on its way, but that it had “acci­den­tally” been writ­ten for an amount much larger than the agreed price. Would I be so good as to deduct my fee and send back a check for the difference?

Here’s how the scam works:

The oper­a­tor sends a fake check—one that looks authen­tic. You deposit that check and it clears quickly. With cash in hand, what do you have to lose? You send the oper­a­tor his “refund” (less your gen­er­ous com­pen­sa­tion) and move on with your life. Weeks later, the bank detects the fraud and pulls the money out of your account. You’re offi­cially hosed.

I politely explained I’d be happy to return the check and wait for a new one to be cut for the cor­rect amount.

Link to the rest at WGB and thanks to Elka for the tip.

PG encountered this same technique when he was selling an item on eBay. It didn’t work on him either.

Changes at Ellora’s Cave

19 August 2014

From Dear Author:

To All Ellora’s Cave authors:

You are probably aware of the quick, sharp decline of ebook sales via Amazon in recent months. EC is not the only publisher experiencing this sudden decrease, and interestingly, we are not seeing the same drastic dip from other vendors. But Amazon is our largest vendor, so we are having to make some fairly large changes quickly to deal with the situation until we can understand it and turn it around.

We have already cut staff, special EC projects and other expenses, but the drastic drop in sales has resulted in large net short-term variable production losses and slow and often negative return on investment for EC on almost every new book we publish, with the exception of a handful of the highest sellers. For that reason, for the foreseeable future almost all manuscripts will be edited by in-house editors, and covers designed by in-house artists.

We know that many of you love your current editors and covers, and we are very sorry to lose this dedicated group of talented people (and hope to be able to offer them other opportunities in future). The good news is that our staff editors and designers are highly skilled and deeply experienced, and will bring new perspectives to your books. We are looking forward to this creating a more direct relationship with our authors so we can be more aware of and thus more quickly responsive to your needs, questions and concerns.

If you have a book currently in edits or awaiting edits with a freelance editor, Managing Editor Whitney Mihalik will contact you within the next few weeks about its status.

Ellora’s Cave has weathered storms before and we will this one as well. We are aggressively adjusting our business to the current publishing environment. We will fill you in with our endeavors as they are unveiled­hopefully with the first exciting news later this week.

In the meantime, since these declines are primarily related to Amazon, it is a good idea to encourage your readers to purchase ebooks from the Ellora’s Cave site because it benefits you and your readers. Prices of books on our site are often lower, your royalty rate is higher and you get paid faster for books purchased through our site. You and your books are also much easier to find on our site.

Even readers with Kindles and Nooks can purchase on our site and load onto their devices. The process is not difficult. Our site has instructions on how to do it: http://www.ellorascave.com/downloads-support/. We are also working on some fun videos to show people how to do it and will put them on YouTube so you can link to them when they are done.

It is also important to support and promote Barnes & Noble and All Romance Ebooks as well until we are able to determine the reasons for Amazon’s declining sales. Hopefully we will be able to work with Amazon to correct the inconsistencies quickly. However, in the short run your net royalties per book are consistently higher in the following order: 1) Ellora’s Cave, 2) Barnes and Noble, AllRomance, and probably Kobo 3) Amazon, and 4) Google. It would certainly make fiscal sense for you to send your fans to those first venues.

This is by no means meant to be a statement about Amazon. We are not at this time coming to any conclusions regarding the many negative rumors and articles about Amazon­ the Gazelle Project, their disputes with Disney and Hachette, and the 900 authors’ open letter in the New York Times­ which we have been made aware of over and over again. For many years we have had a reasonable business relationship with Amazon, up until this drastic drop in sales, and we are certainly hoping that it will all be resolved as we present discrepancies that we are identifying. We have not completed our analysis at this point and therefore have not had any direct communication with Amazon regarding these issues. We are just saying in the meantime that it makes sense for you to promote your books to be purchased through the venues that are most profitable to you on a per-copy basis (and of course to Ellora’s Cave). This benefits all of us. That way you will make more per sale and, in the unthinkable event that the sales at Amazon continue to decline, your fans will be aware of other venues that are out there for them. Hopefully though, this is temporary and not a continuing trend and Amazon will go back to being as profitable for us as it has been in the past.

I know that there has been some discussion and concern about a new project announced by Jaid Black. We will make an announcement soon with details, but please be assured that no EC funds are being invested in this venture, that it is in no way a publishing company, and that my full attention and loyalty remain to Ellora’s Cave and its authors. We are looking at the new venture as a means to enhance the opportunities and options that are available to our authors­not to take away funds from Ellora’s Cave ­and are very excited about releasing the news to you soon. We are always looking at new projects and interests as they present themselves to us­some connected to the publishing industry and some not. Please be assured, however, that EC always has been and remains our main focus. With the help of our fantastic staff and authors, we are working very hard to adjust to the current publishing environment and remain the premier publisher of erotic romance.

Also, please note that almost all the royalty checks have been mailed, with the exception of a handful that should be out by end of week. We are not bankrupt (rumors) and are not in any kind of shape to even file bankruptcy. While we have had some issues getting the royalty checks out as quickly as we have in the past, we are still within our contracts. We certainly understand why you are concerned and appreciate those of you who have asked questions rather than spreading conspiracy theories and propagating rumors that are only detrimental to fellow authors. We hope all of this does not detract from what all of you do best­WRITING. Rumors are distracting and disconcerting and all of you deserve better.

Thanks for your support and understanding. We do appreciate all of you and respect your talents, your pride in your work and your concern for your careers. Please do not EVER sell yourselves short! What you do is valuable to everyone who comes in contact with you through your stories.

Link to the rest at Dear Author and thanks to Amy for the tip.

Let’s count the red flags:

the quick, sharp decline of ebook sales via Amazon in recent months

the drastic drop in sales has resulted in large net short-term variable production losses and slow and often negative return on investment for EC on almost every new book we publish

Amazon is our largest vendor, so we are having to make some fairly large changes quickly to deal with the situation until we can understand it and turn it around.

we have had a reasonable business relationship with Amazon, up until this drastic drop in sales, and we are certainly hoping that it will all be resolved as we present discrepancies that we are identifying

We are not bankrupt

[We] are not in any kind of shape to even file bankruptcy

we have had some issues getting the royalty checks out as quickly as we have in the past 

PG has no inside information about what’s going on at EC and he doesn’t deal in rumors.

That said, PG has not not heard of any other publisher or any significant number of indie authors who have experienced a sharp decline in ebook sales via Amazon in recent months.

As a general proposition, a small business person doesn’t want to be involved with a business that is experiencing financial problems.

The problem with self-publishing: “Just because there are lottery winners doesn’t mean playing lotto is my retirement plan”

19 August 2014

From Salon:

Anonymous asked: Is there a good reason to seek to be published through Little, Brown and Co. rather than self-publishing as an e-book?

This is a question I initially skipped because it seemed a little too practical, and I am by no means a publishing expert, or anything close to it. But then I found myself talking out my answer in the shower, and again at night before I drifted off to sleep, and I guess that’s an indication that there’s a lot more to this question than I initially thought.

So here are my initial, practical responses, the ones I would probably cite at a dinner party if we’d just met, Anonymous, and it seemed like maybe you were making chitchat since you’ve heard a lot about how digital technologies are disrupting traditional publishing and I maybe get the sense that the subtext of your question is that it’s a little old-fashioned or backward-looking to be doing business with a company that still primarily traffics in paper and glue (a scenario that, for me these days, happens about every other month):

1. Money

Yes, there are bestsellers that are self-published on Kindle, where the author ends up making enormous amounts of money on royalties because there are so few middlemen involved, and every time I hear one of these stories I’m enamored with them, amazed and filled with a kind of wild optimism about writers and readers and the narrowing gap between them, and the ability for words to find their proper homes in other people’s lives, despite things like the retail supply chain and its gatekeepers in tall glass buildings.

But just because there are lottery winners doesn’t mean playing lotto is my retirement plan. The fact is, a traditional publisher will pay you an advance — they’ll put their money up as a gamble and a gesture of their belief in the book — but more important, they’ll cover all the considerable expenses involved in getting the book to readers. As I’ve mentioned before, I had no idea how much work it was to get a book into stores (both physical and digital). It takes an enormous amount of person-to-person communication for this to happen, which requires relationships and trust and a reputation for not leading people astray, and all sorts of other intangible things that take time to forge. Also: money. It is possible to do this on your own, through social media, or by building a community of readers with a series, but I wasn’t writing a series, and working on a single book sucked up pretty much all of my time. So given the option, I’d still rather spend the time I have writing another book and let a huge, experienced company take care of a lot of the rest.

. . . .

3. But, really, money

There’s just no replacement for not being broke. And an advance allows you, on a very practical level, a chance to get started on the next thing. It buys you time.

But say I got the sense, at this dinner party, somewhere around the main course, that you’d decided to self-publish a few books of your own, books you were proud of but felt were maybe underestimated by the traditional publishing establishment and particularly the authors it supports. And say I liked you, which I probably would since in my little fantasy here you’re taking such an interest in me and we’re really getting along and genuinely laughing at the other person’s jokes and like some of the same books — in that case I would probably add:

4. I’m not sure I have the gumption to be my own book’s salesman, publicist and marketer

From my limited experience, publishing is about 10 percent making a book available and 90 percent talking about it. If it were just a matter of uploading a file onto Amazon and calling it a day, this would be different, but I know enough to know it’s a whole lot more than that, requiring time and skills, not least of which is a healthy dose of entrepreneurial salesmanship. If there’s anything in this world that seems to run counter to the persistent low hum of my natural self-doubt, it would be having to also constantly pitch people, to convince strangers one at a time that they should spend their hard-earned money on my writing. Nothing makes me quite as uncomfortable as being pitched (“Excuse me, sir, do you have three minutes for the environment?”), and the idea of doing that to other people about a book I wrote myself makes me want to just evaporate into a thin mist.

Link to the rest at Salon and thanks to Marc for the tip.

Amazon Responds to German Authors’ Protest

19 August 2014

From Publishers Weekly:

Over the weekend, the New York Times reported on a letter of protest, from authors in Germany, about a terms dispute between Amazon and the local publisher, Bonnier. The dispute, the Times noted, mirrors the issue Amazon is having with Hachette in the States and, just as U.S. authors have spoken out about the situation here, German authors have now responded with their own open letter to the tech giant.

. . . .

[A]n Amazon spokesperson said the company issued a response late Friday. Amazon’s response reads:

“For the majority of their titles, Bonnier have chosen to set terms that make it significantly more expensive for us to buy a digital edition than it is to buy the print edition of the same title. This is a poor choice because with an e-book, there’s no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out of stock, no warehousing costs, and no transportation. E-books can and should be less expensive than print books, and this should be reflected in the terms under which booksellers buy their books from publishers. The fact is Bonnier’s terms are out of step with other major German publishers. We are working diligently with Bonnier to reach a new agreement more in line with typical industry terms in Germany.”

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

PG wonders if the 1% authors have stopped caring about their readers. Or perhaps, they’ve reached the point where they take readers for granted.

Low-priced ebooks allow more books to reach far more readers than any conceivable print-based system. For all their virtues, physical libraries don’t have nearly the reach that the Internet and smart phones have.

Publishers and 1% authors are delusional if they don’t believe that books compete with other entertainment options like movies and television and videogames.

Books priced high to support the profit margins of huge media conglomerates and their 1% managers will invariably lead to less reading and fewer readers. Mercedes prices for ebooks will certainly destroy literary culture.

Indie authors seem to be the only authors who are really thinking about their readers and their ebook pricing reflects that.

Amazon focuses on readers and other individual consumers because it’s not Tiffany. It rises or falls on purchase decisions made by the 99%.

Amazon would go broke if it made its business decisions to please 1% purchasers. Or 1% publishers. Or 1% authors.

When in doubt

19 August 2014

For those who are new to The Passive Voice:

1. Welcome! During the last few weeks, we’ve picked up a nice collection of new visitors. Newbie or old hand, PG is happy to see everyone who comes to The Passive Voice

2. Once per day, PG posts a quote that strikes his fancy.

3. From time to time, Raymond Chandler has struck PG’s fancy and will probably continue to do so in the future, so prepare yourself for several days of Chandler quotes. PG hopes you enjoy them. If you have a favorite that doesn’t show up, send it on through the Contact page.

When in doubt have a man come through the door with a gun in his hand.

Raymond Chandler, Introduction to Trouble is my Business

Inkshares Looks to Marry the Old with the New

19 August 2014

From Publishers Weekly:

In early 2013, Thad Woodman, a manager at an economics consulting firm, reached out to Larry Levitsky, previously the publisher and general manager of the computer book publishing division of McGraw-Hill, about developing a startup that would combine the services of a legacy publisher—editing, marketing, design, and distribution—with the ever-growing model of crowdfunding. That company, Inkshares, was incorporated in April 2013, with Levitsky as CEO and Woodman as chief product officer.

“It occurred to Thad that there had to be a better model [than traditional publishing],” said Adam Gomolin, who joined Inkshares shortly after Levitsky, as chief legal officer, “one that is more remunerative for authors, more sensibly disperses risk, and does not diminish quality in an age of already abundant digital content.”

. . . .

Inkshares functions on an “all or nothing” model—a project doesn’t move into publication until it has raised the critical mass of funding, determined by Inkshares, required to cover the costs of editorial, design, and an initial 1,000-copy print run. If a book isn’t funded successfully, contributors are fully reimbursed.

. . . .

Gomolin described the Inkshares concept as an amalgamation of two popular platforms for independent authors. “If we can’t help you crowdfund, we’re CreateSpace,” said Gomolin. “If we can’t edit, market, or design, we’re Kickstarter.”

. . . .

Inkshares sets the price of the book, and, once it’s published, writers receive 70% of net receipts, for both physical and digital titles. Inkshares will release titles in print and digital, and writers can opt to publish in digital only, which has a lower funding floor. The company is currently negotiating with Ingram Publisher Services on a distribution agreement.

. . . .

All of the money raised by authors on the platform goes to editorial, design, production, and marketing. “We don’t make money unless a book sells,” said Gomolin. “Just like a traditional publishing house.”

Inkshares sets the price of the book, and, once it’s published, writers receive 70% of net receipts, for both physical and digital titles. Inkshares will release titles in print and digital, and writers can opt to publish in digital only, which has a lower funding floor.

. . . .

Though Gomolin said that Inkshares will inevitably hire more editorial staffers, at present, the startup utilizes a team of freelance editors, many with experience at traditional publishing companies.

. . . .

Goldenberg worked on children’s lists at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Clarion Books, and designed and directed art for five Caldecott Medal–winning titles. “I am a dyed-in-the-wool printed book devotee and once vowed never to get involved with anything that lived online,” said Goldenberg.“But working with Inkshares has been exciting.”

Keller also worked at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for nearly 10 years, as both a children’s editor and managing editor. Speaking to Inkshare’s different acquisitions model, Keller said that she “liked the challenge of making a book the best that it can be, knowing that it already has readers behind it.”

With a traditionally published author penning its first title, editorial and support teams made up of industry veterans, and the potential for a major distributor to handle its list, the aim of Inkshares, according to Gomolin, isn’t to abandon all that has been built by the existing model, but rather to integrate new ideas into what works in legacy publishing. “We’re not going to boil the ocean,” predicted Gomolin. “And we’re not out to overthrow publishing. Everyone [at Inkshares] has a very romantic conception of reading that was incubated by the great writers and the great editors of legacy publishing. But there is a clear need that has been validated by crowdfunding.”

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

So, Inkshares utilizes Kickstarter, freelance editors and designers and Ingram – resources that are already available to indie authors and have been successfully used by many – to publish a book and keeps 30% of the revenues the book generates (or perhaps more, read this contract carefully).

PG also expects that Inkshares will keep all the money from the Kickstarter campaign, ostensibly to pay for “production costs”. What could go wrong with that?

PG didn’t excerpt a paragraph in the article mentioning that one of the financial backers of Inkshares is a rap star.

PG has heard that the model is based on the author doing all the work to promote the Kickstarter campaign and raise the money. And of course the author also has to write the book.

PG suggests this project is one of the answers to the question, “What happened to all the people who have been downsized by tradpub?”

The Inkshares website explains it all:

Our model is simple:
Authors pitch,
the crowd funds,
we publish.

PG suggests a better model:

Authors pitch,
the crowd funds,
the author publishes
and keeps all the money.

However, the author will have to do this without a rap star.

Delaware Passes Law Which Makes eBooks and Other Digital Content Inheritable

19 August 2014

From The Digital Reader:

Do you know that clause in the TOS for the Kindle Store and many other digital content stores which says that the content is licensed to you and is nontransferable?

The state of Delaware just negated that clause (in part). Last week Governor Jack Markell signed House Bill (HB) 345, “Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets and Digital Accounts Act”, giving heirs and the executors to estates the same rights over digital content which they would have over physical property.

. . . .

Delaware is the first state to follow the latest suggestion from the Uniform Law Commission, a non-profit group that crafts model legislation and lobbies to enact it across all jurisdictions in the United States. Last month the ULC adopted a new legal standard, the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA), which laid out what rights heirs should have over digital content belonging to the deceased.

. . . .

The new law in Delaware only affects Delaware residents and will being probated there. It does not affect the tech companies registered in the state, according to one spokesperson. “If a California resident dies and his will is governed by California law, the representative of his estate would not have access to his Twitter account under HB 345,” Kelly Bachman, a spokesperson for the Delaware governor’s office, said by email.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader and thanks to SFR for the tip.

PG did a quick scan of the Delaware law and is skeptical that it permits ebooks to be inherited.

Instead, it appears to be designed to permit an executor or designated agent access to electronic accounts for things like ID’s/passwords, email, financial services, social media, domain registration, online store accounts, health insurance, etc.

The powers of the executor or agent are specifically limited to the relevant EULA’s which, in the case of ebooks, place limits on ability to transfer ebooks.

As mentioned, these conclusions are based upon a fast skimming of the legislation and PG could be wrong about his conclusions.

As Kris Rusch has mentioned, authors should pay attention to what’s going to happen to their literary properties after they die and make appropriate arrangements to avoid lots of expense and hassle after their death.

PG is not an estate planning lawyer and the laws of inheritance are state-based in the United States so they will vary from state to state.

Trusts are commonly used planning tools. The author’s assets, including copyrights and publishing contracts, are transferred to a trust, which can be created either while the author is alive or upon the death of the author, and the trustee – someone the author designates – manages those assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries of the trust – the author’s surviving spouse, children, etc.

If the author creates a corporation or limited-liability company (LLC) to operate the author’s self-publishing business, transfer of the author’s shares in the corporation to the author’s heirs will transfer all assets in the corporation and the business will continue without interruption upon the author’s death.

There are tax implications for various estate planning tools and, while there is a federal estate tax, many states also have state inheritance taxes, so estate planning also includes tax planning which will vary from state to state.

How Tortellini Came To Be

19 August 2014

From author Lauren Orbison:

Tortellini was originally intended to be just a couple of blog posts. Writers are told over and over again to blog. Because blogs sell books. The more you post, the more people you reach. But a lot of writers write about writing. And I didn’t want to give the same advice that everyone else was giving.

So what else could I write about?

Dragons, of course!

The intent behind the story was a dragon anthology of flash fiction and dragon names going from A-Z. We called these “drabbles” if they were 100 words or less in the fanfiction world.  I thought Dragon Drabbles was an adorable name for a blog.

. . . .

My writing mentor Holly Lisle held a contest to showcase student work with her anthology How to Think Sideways class. The theme of the contest was “creation.” The word count had to be 2500 words or under. Tortellini expanded right at the maximum word count allowed. The competition was intense. There were a lot of entries. And there was only room for 33 stories. I didn’t win in the top 3 for the cash prizes, but I got a spot.

. . . .

My mother loved the story. Now normally, as an independent author, that’s not a good thing to mention, because parents usually love everything their children write. “Good job, sweetie, I’m so proud of you!” is a typical reaction.

My mother isn’t like that. She is a National Board Certified 4th grade teacher.

. . . .

She loved Tortellini in short story form so much she begged for it in picture book format so she could read it aloud to her class. She talked about it at conferences she went to and got other teachers interested.

And kept asking. And asking. For years.

I agreed with her that it would make a great picture book.  It only took one line of editing to make it suitable for children rather than adults. But, I thought the only way to get my book published in picture book format was to keep querying agents and publishers.

. . . .

I queried even more. But querying felt an awful lot like I was a hamster spinning my wheels. Who knew how long this process could take? I needed to be writing. These weren’t easy letters. It was a drain on my health, too. Sometimes crafting one letter took an entire day or more, depending on the agent I had in mind. And then after that, it took a little bit to recover from the intensity of the pressure involved.

I had always wanted to be published by the folks in New York, but then I got to thinking about the fact that once I gave the manuscript over to them, I would have no control what happened to it afterwards. Now, that doesn’t bother me so much with regular print material.

But for picture books? After the edit requests, I didn’t like the idea as much.

I would have no input in choosing the illustrator. I would not get to approve the illustrations. And I would be expected to market it anyway even if I hated how it turned out.

Not to mention the sheer amount of time involved.

I didn’t have the patience to wait another two years to put out my first book. Who knew what my health could be like by then? I couldn’t afford to wait another two years.

I went back to Holly Lisle for advice. Holly encouraged me to go independent.

. . . .

There was an awesome illustrator I wanted to hire, Theo Nicole Lorenz.  I am a huge fan of her coloring books Unicorns Are Jerks and Fat Ladies in Space. . . . Her rates were too expensive for me to afford on our meager budget and she was swamped with other work until September.

She did give me a tip on how she found her first client, though. She told me someone had emailed her art professor and asked if students needed summer work and suggested that I explain my budget situation and that that’s what I should do.

So that’s what I did.

. . . .

We submitted our manuscript to CreateSpace on Amazon.com. It took about a week or less for us to get our proof copy. We made a scant few changes, most in the Author’s Note section and then re-submitted.

It was online live in 24 hours.

Link to the rest at Lauren Orbison

Here’s a link to Tortellini

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