Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Why New York?

Maybe this is a super dumb question but why does it seem to be every writer's goal to be published in New York? Is it magical? Does it mean you are automatically a success? I know plenty of authors who got one book published at major houses but that was it. They ended up languishing in mid-list and that was it. They never sold another.

I'll admit at the very beginning of my crazy, little journey, that was my goal too, but no longer. Admittedly, in those days, e-books were a glimmer in someone's eye and paper books and New York was the only game in town.

Things are different now and do you know what I say???? YAY!!!!!

I know many e-pubbed authors who make great money and everything is handled electronicially. There are no paper copies, manilla SASE's, and the acceptance/rejection time is much shorter and release dates are quicker. The quality of covers is also much improved.

A friend of mine once sent a requested manuscript to a major New York publisher and it took almost two years for her to get a big fat R. Fortunately for her, an e-publisher loved the story and they found a home for it. I'm sorry guys, that's just RIDICULOUS. She waited forever and never had her emails (after a year of waiting) answered. How unprofessional and impolite. How long does it take to show common courtesy? Just askin'.

So what's the appeal? Is it just having a book that you can "hold in your hand"? Or is it that we feel we need New York to get that nice little ego stroke? Is it about respect? Hope I don't offend anyone by saying what I think but I could care less about all that stuff. Maybe it's that I have reached an age where I no longer need to impress, I don't need my ego stroked, and I get checks from my publisher on a regular basis. I write what I love to write and I love my publisher, too.

As for New York? It's actually one of my favorite cities and yes, I'd go back at the drop of a hat but send them my work? Probably not. I'm perfectly happy right where I am.


Judith Leger said...

I hear you, Regina. For me, I would love having a book accepted by a NY pub and it go on to become a best seller. La, if only that could happen. Whether or not it does, isn't a priority to me anymore. I, too, love my e-publisher. My editor is great and I know she loves my writing. There's also many other e-pubs out there that are hungry for well written books. Like you said, doesn't take forever to hear back from them either. Yep, definitely agree with you!

Regina Carlysle said...

Yep. The long wait is the thing with me. I would rather get it OUT THERE and move on. Maybe it's impatience. I don't know but I'm happy and satisfied that my stories are reaching readers and that's the bottom line for me.

Kelley Nyrae said...

For me it has nothing to do with stroking ego's but the dream I've had since I was a child. I can remember hearing my named called at an school assembly in third grade where I won a writing contest, "Tomorrow's Leaders on the Move". I'd loved writing it. Winning isn't what made my love of the art but it did make me realize, "hey maybe I'm not too bad at this". I started writing for myself a little more and by the fifth grade I knew I wanted to be a writer. When I realized that was my dream there weren't all these other options of ebooks ect. (if there were I didn't know abou them because I was so young) I love that we have those choices and I know there are fantastic ebooks, and I've published with ebook publishers and enjoy it but that fifth graders dream was to be published with NY. To hold my book in my hand as you mentioned, and to (hopefully) see it on bookstore shelves. To visit the gorgeous city and hopefully meet and chat with my editor. My mom and I used to talk about going to Grinich Villiage and reading poetry. I'm following that dream for that fifth grade girl who thought being a writer was the equivalent to being a movie star or a famous singer. It was something I wanted but never thought I'd have. Yep, I do know that I'm just as much an author with epublishers and if I never get to NY like I want, I'll still be happy with my career because I know I'm so lucky to do what I love but for that fifth grader with a dream I still have to try.

Anonymous said...

I have been waiting for six years just to get one story published. I have to say my day came two weeks ago and I got my first contract. To its just to know people enjoy my stories who ever offers me a contract. Sure I would love to published by a NY Publisher, but there is so much out there. So I have to agree with you.
Trinity Blacio

Heidi said...

I think we'd all like to make it big, let's be honest. We write because we love to write, but we also write because we hope our works will be read. We want an audience. If we didn't, we'd all just keep a private journal. I, for one, am very grateful to my ebook publisher for taking a chance on me. The biggest lesson I learned about major publishing houses is the following catch 22 - and it has nothing to do with talent. The big publishing houses won't consider an unagented author and agents won't consider taking on an unpublished author, so as an aspiring writer you're screwed either way. I don't fool myself into thinking I'm capable of writing the next great American novel, but I read constantly and I know darn well my books, and yours, are as good or better than a lot of stuff the big houses put out there.

Unknown said...

Personally, I'd love to have my works as accessible as possible--not just in the ebook world, but available in B&N and Amazon as well. Is that possible with epubs? With some yes, but not all.

I love ebooks and am a huge tech geek. But I know people who don't even own a computer--how can they read my book then? Not everyone is tech savvy, or wants to read on the computer--or even owns one. Until ebooks become sold in regular bookstores side by side with print books, we won't be mainstream for a while.

Anne Rainey said...

Ego? Respect? No, not for me. It's not about any of that. It goes back to my dream. My ultimate goal is to find my books at Barnes and Noble. To be able to walk in and see my books on display there. I want to show my kids that if you work hard enough you can achieve your goals.

I'm grateful to companies like Samhain for offering me a way to share my stories with readers. I love seeing one of my books out there at Fictionwise and all the other ebook stores. It's a great feeling to know that other's are enjoying what I write. But, I want to expand that audience. I want those who don't read ebooks to read my books and find joy in them.

Anyone who knows me knows that it's never been about ego. I'll always doubt myself. Worry that I'm not good enough. Worry that I just suck and should throw in the towel. Being published with a NY publisher won't erase those fears either. I'll always worry and wonder if I'm just a hack. But, it won't stop me from my dream, which is to spread my stories across the globe in whatever formats I can.

Even IF I get published with a NY publisher, I'll still enjoy publishing with my ebook publishers, because it's like I said, I want to reach as many readers as I can.

I promote epublishers every chance I get, but I also support print publishers. In my mind I don't respect one over the other.

Kelley Nyrae said...

That's a good point, Adrianne. I know a couple people who are obsessive readers but hate computer and tech stuff. They wouldn't even have know about ebooks if it wasn't for me telling them.

Regina Carlysle said...

First of all..congrats Suzanne/Trinity on your contract! Please allow us to celebrate the moment with you!!!! YAY!!!!! We all know how it feels to finally feel we've ARRIVED. My own journey took 15 yrs. so I understand the thrill completely.

There are pros and cons with this issue. The availability of e-readers will continue. Sony has just made some very nice improvements on their device and wireless technology like the Kindle will help too but the prices must come down.

It's cool to be in a book store BUT the shelf life is much shorter than with ebooks. The short HQ books are only on the shelves for one MONTH and then they're taken down.

For me, it's about sharing my work in whatever format but there is longevity in ebooks and money, too, if you are with the right e-publisher.

I personally think both formats (print and e) can co-exist but NY is just not my ultimate goal. I like my place in the publishing world. It's just a matter of what we want.

Judith Rochelle said...

Oh, honey, you are so right on. Can you hear me clapping all the way from Texas?

Anny Cook said...

For some of us * cough * there isn't TIME for New York. I write both because I love to write and because it's my JOB. My royalty money goes for our retirement--which is around the corner. My hubbie is 62. We don't have two years to fiddle around waiting to hear whether or not they want my book.

The other thing that I have observed is that nearly every writer that went from e-pubs to NY changed so drastically in their voice and creativity that I no longer buy their books. After talking to many of them at RT, I found that if they could do it over, they wouldn't. One author--after seven edits--voided her contract. There was nothing wrong with her book, except that she didn't have the "voice" for that particular publisher. I'm too cranky to try to be someone I'm not. So for me, it will be an e-pub as long as I last.

Anonymous said...

New York, LA, Samhain, Freya's Bower, I don't care. I just want to be published.

I already have my name attached to all kinds of Technical Writings, but that's not what I want. Tech is easy:

1. do this
2. do that
3. start over

Fiction, that's a different story and I have a bunch of them to tell.

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Okay, Reg, I feel like you're ragging on me, so here goes:
1) more money. Not always true, but often.
2) legitimacy: there are those who don't feel e-books count, adn some people want that validation of going into Borders and finding their book on the shelf.
3) print and distribution: yes, we all have friends and relatives who want to hold our physical books in their hands, and will never read one on a computer screen.
4) style. Some types of books just do better in the paper format. For erotic romance, E-pubs are great. But mainstream still sells much better in the big bookstores.

Just my take. Doesn't mean I don't love what I'm doing for my current publishers. But those other things are considerations as well.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're happy where you are, Regina, but it's not for everyone.

Just as New York is a hard place to get published, it can be just as difficult to make serious money with the POD/e-book publishers.

While many writers want New York publication because that's what they haved dreamed of all these years, just as many want New York publication because that's the only way they'll get to quit their day job.


Kelley Nyrae said...

Really good point about the differences with erotic and mainstream, Cindy. It's a lot harder to get sales with ebooks if they aren't erotic. I know people who write both erotic and mainstream romance in ebooks and their erotic's sell WAY more than mainstream. For those who would like to quit their day job, if they don't write erotic the e sales aren't as good.

Kealie Shay said...

I think that the major draw of NY for me would have been that I could hold my book in my hands and sign a copy for my friends (&/or family who know). But, most e-pubs put out print copies as well if your book sells enough.

I've actually seen the print books of the e-pubs in my local Borders. So, I don't really have as much of a need for the NY dream.

It would be nice to have my books read by so many people... but I have young kids. No way could I travel around promoting all the time. I'd just like to be published ANYWHERE right now.

Nightingale said...

I tend to agree with Heidi on the making it big idea (maybe it is just a hangover idea from when epub wasn't as big). One of my reasons is the tremendous amount of promotion involved with epub. I realize a lot of that is the same with a big NY publisher but if you find an editor with whom you can work and relate, I suppose big or epub is great.

Anonymous said...

As for me, I can understand your opinion, and the reason behind it. But when it comes to me, I have certain people that are following my writing, and wanting to buy each book when it comes out. Some of them don't use computers and wouldn't know what an E-Book is, let alone be able to buy one. This is whjy I want to have a book to "hold" I don't care if I use a big publishing house...or a small one, I just need that book to hold on too...for the people who don't use computers. If it weren't for that I would jump at the E-Publishers. E-Books are on the rise, everyone who uses computers or the new fangled Kindle devise from Amazon buy books by the dozens this way. It's just that sometimes, a print book is the only way some people can read a book. My name is Laurie Sorensen (author name) and my only book out so far is Ravenwood: Night's Salvation, in print as well as electronic (for the Kindle) through Amazon.com www.freewebs.com/lauriesorensen

Tessa Rae said...

Reg, for you, epub is great. You're with the biggest in Erotica. Their print books go to the brick and mortars. Heck, even NY pubs have offered to buy EC from its owner.

For my erotica stories, epub is great, too, but I'd like to see my next mainstream book come out of NY. NY sales are much better for the other genre I write.


Nice Girls Play Naughty!

Anne Rainey said...

Tessa, I've seen this with my "A Diamond at Midnight" story. It's not erotic and I know it hasn't sold nearly as well as the rest of my stuff. I've gotten ALL good reviews on that story, but because it's not erotic it just hasn't sold. As a result, I'm probably not going to continue that series. Too much time to spend on something that doesn't pay off in the end. I'm sticking with my erotic stories for now, that's what sells best.

Susan Macatee said...

I'm with you, Regina! I had almost the exact experience your friend had with New York publishers for my first romance, a time travel. After getting a request for a partial off my initial query letter, they took 2 and a half years to reject it. I wrote in the interum asking for the status and was assured they had it and it was under consideration. After more time went by, they didn't even answer my letters, so I gave up on them only to finally get that rejection. But by then I'd moved on. I did land a contract for that same manuscript with The Wild Rose Press and am so happy with them, I submitted my next manuscript and got another contract. I also have a short story and another under contract with them.

Happy to be an epubbed author.

Amy Ruttan said...

I am happy being e-pubbed by the dream and lure of Harlequin is too hard to resist. Mainstream doesn't sell as well as the spicier stuff in e-book.

I've always had the dream of seeing my name on a Harlequin cover. I am not giving up.

Regina Carlysle said...

I know exactly what you mean, Anny. It's about getting the books out and moving on. I just don't have to wait TWO YEARS for someone to tell me no and I'm not going to do it. Publication is publication. Crank em out and move forward.

At first, I thought "wow, how cool" when I held my first print book but you seriously don't make any money on them if you are peddling them yourself. Now if you're lucky enough to be with an epub that sells to the brick and mortar stores, then FINE. That's great.

Catherine Bybee said...

I'd like to see a marriage between NY and e-pubs. I completely understand the desire to walk into a bookstore and see your work displayed for all to pick up, smell and read. I also see how e-pubs are changing not only how we read but what we read. If making money is why you write, than you need to read a few more articles on the starving authors out there.

I think we will see a different face of NY houses. Their two year waiting game to get a rejection is rude. I know they get hundreds of submissions a month, but with the world at your finger tips it doesn't take much to have manners. Who sends snail mail anymore? Fax this, e-mail that. This is the new generation.

I like the freedom of shopping on-line. No gasps from the lady in line next to me when I pick up a steamy title. Now long stares from the guy behind the counter licking his lips. I also like how e-pubs are helping writers write what they want to, not what 'fits the trend of the moment'

Anyway, thats my 2 cents on the subject.

Phyllis Campbell said...

Well...I'm an author who will probably never sell to Ellora's Cave. Unless you write erotica, you cannot make good money in this e-business. At least that is what I've seen in my seven-year journey. I'm still trying to get an agent. I have three writer friends who have agents, and they do sell more than one book. So that's what I'm hoping for. I can't knock it unless I've tried it, ya know. LOL

I would really love the opportunity to be with a publisher whose books automatically go to the bookstores. The small publishers I'm with do not do this. Sure, I have a print copy. Doesn't mean every book store in the US is going to have it on their shelves, though. For just once, I want to experience the thrill of knowing my book went to X amount of stores all over the globe, and I didn't have to call each store owner and beg him to put me there.

That's my take on it...


Kelley Heckart said...

I totally agree with you. Most e-pub authors I talk to are trying to get agents so they can get published in NY. No thanks. For one thing you have zero control over your work. You have no say over your cover and your book title. Also, they hire a marketing person to write the back cover blurb. One author friend of mine who is published with a NY publisher said she was almost in tears by what was written for one of her back cover blurbs. Great post!

Linda Banche said...

Well, I agree with Phyllis. e-pub makes money for erotica, but not for mainstream. We mainstream writers work hard, too, and want to be compensated for our efforts. e-pub is great, but NY is still the main avenue for mainstream.

And as for the writer who waited 2 years for a reply? I certainly hoped she tried multiple houses. If you're looking for a job, you have multiple interviews, and you keep interviewing until you get a job. Selling a book is the same thing.

Anonymous said...

The big publishing houses won't consider an unagented author and agents won't consider taking on an unpublished author...

Absolutely not true. I know plenty of pubbed authors without agents and a good friend just landed a top-notch agent without being published. It's all about the quality of writing.

I've never even considered e-publishing because I've seen so many bad books come out of it. And I've had friends who sign with an e-publisher only to have them go under or just disappear in the night.

For me it's ALL about selling to a NY publisher and the respect and money that go with it. I'll just keep writing and submitting until I do. I'm not going to sell myself short just to see my name in e-print.