Friday, January 29, 2021

Writing: Publishing


It seems that publishing is not so simple anymore. Years ago, there were several ways to get your manuscript to a publisher--"over the transom," by meeting them at a venue and getting an invitation to submit, etc. Gradually (and I really don't recall when), agents became the gate-keepers for editors. First you acquired an agent, then he/she submitted it around to the various publishers who were deemed the best bets, etc. At some point, the option of "independent" publishing lost the reputation it had (with reason) acquired, and it became okay, even sometimes fashionable, to publish without benefit of a publishing house.

What is the current status of an agent or a publisher? No one really seems to know, but to me, having been on both sides of the equation, I think they have their points. For the author whose work has never been published, it will be helpful to have a publishing house behind you. Usually, the house signs supplicants (and I chose that word on purpose) to a contract for two or three books. If the books sell well, they may repeat the process, but with rare exceptions (and they exist), you're only as good as the sales record for your last few books.

I'd love to hear your opinion. Agent or not? Indie or publisher? Let me hear what you think.


Priscilla Bettis said...

I think the lag time between querying and publication is so LONG that going indie is more attractive. I suspect the big 5 and agents and editors will strive to streamline the process over the next few years or risk losing even more fabulous authors.

Richard Mabry said...

Shortening the lag time will help, but whether agents and editors will address this remains to be seen. We'll see.

Patricia Bradley said...

Hmmm. My agent has been helpful with the indie novellas I've published--she once was an editor and I pay her for that since she doesn't get a commission for the indie stuff. And I love the editors I have with my publisher. But it's always a year from when I submit my manuscript before it releases. That might make indie very attractive. :-)

Richard Mabry said...

My agent had such differing views from me I had to bite my tongue several times, so when she went out on her own I took advantage of the change and now I'm merely represented by the agency she left but don't really have an agent. Of course, I'm still staring at my next WIP, but since it's indie-published there's no timetable. Agents vary, editors vary, and the only thing certain is that they'll change.