Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Publisher's Panel Discussion

I took notes at the LUW Publisher's Panel Discussion and will pass them along with one change. I will not specify who said exactly what, but will lump the comments together by subject. This will get the points across in the least space possible. If you want specifics, make a comment and I'll dig deeper. Participants included: Agents Katie Grimm and Blair Hewes, commercial fiction author John Gilstrap, LDS editors Kathryn Jenkins and Cory Maxwell, and LDS author and Precision Editing Group owner Heather B. Moore.
Current changes in publishing:
   1. Volume of submissions increased, expectations raised.
   2. Electronic book sales up 3 to 1 over published books.
   3. Internet and blogging used for book reviews, making connections.
   4. Book still needs a hook.
   5. Nonfiction is bigger than it has been.
   1. Much more falls to the author. It's a business, learn it.
   2. Twitter/FB/Blog to connect with audience, to get known.
   3. Be patient. Don't expect huge first novel success.
   4. How much marketing an author can do is factored into picking up a book for LDS market, some others.
   1. Process is different for LDS market. Agents not needed. Agents needed for bigger, national houses.
   2. Internet and blogging essential.
   3. Agents lunch with publishers to connect on personal level so they will know better who to try to fit you with.
   4. Precision Editing will give you free query advice.
   5. New authors generally should have their MS finished when pitching. They want the whole thing but will look at partials. For a series, first should be complete, then an indication of the next ones.
Common Mistakes:
   1.First page with backstory or no hook. Focus on hook first.
   2. Know your central plot and action.
   3. Can't have a sagging middle. Make all compelling.
   4. Know what the publisher/agent currently wants. (Example--Historical wanted more than modern romance.)
Where do you get clients?
   1. Mostly from queries, some referrals.
   2. You need to stand out. If you talk with them at a conference, mention it in your letter, etc.
   3. Tell in query how your book is different than what is out there, especially LDS market.
   4. Be professional.
   5. Incorporating MC's voice in query can make it stand out.
   1. Should have more than cosmetic changes.
   2. Publisher will ask for rewrites if they are interested so use judgement before deciding on your own if the story merits a redo.
   3. Give a little time before a resubmission. Be upfront in query and tell what changes have been made.
   4. There are lots of agents out there so why walk into the same propellor?
   5. Rejection doesn't mean don't try them again. They will always look at what is sent.
Critique Groups:
   1. Get lots of feedback whether through a CG or alpha readers. Need readers who can look critically.
   2. The CG has to work for you. Don't stay in it if it doesn't.
   3. Reader shouldn't tell how to fix it, just what doesn't work for them. Casual input can be damaging.
   4. Skilled writers make the best groups.
   5. Don't ignore publisher guidelines when considering feedback.
Picking Genres:
   1. Start with one genre until becoming known before diversifying. There are advantages to diversifying but it's harder when starting out in a new one.
Timeline from Agent to Publishing:
   1. There are usually 1-2 revisions. Condition of MS plays a part.
   2. LDS market--Decision within 6 months, 8-12 months or longer to publish.
   3. Known authors might have the same time slot for release every year until something happens to mess up the schedule. Writer is given deadlines for the next outline, etc. until release.
   4. Covenant's fiction line is planned through 2012. It can depend if the market is up or down. Generally 18-24 months to turn out a book. (They used to turn out 4 fiction books a month, it went down to one a month, and is now back to 3 a month.)
What feedback was the biggest help to you?


Tamara said...

Great notes, thanks for sharing!

Peggy Urry said...

Those are great notes and included a lot of helpful information. Thanks!

RaShelle said...

Thanks Renae. Looks like you received a lot of information.

Renae W. Mackley said...

We all learn from each other so why not share? We can't attend every conference and I hope to glean what others pass along as well. Thanks for your comments.

kbrebes said...

Great work, Renae. Thanks for sharing!