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Literary Insight

    Traditionally from the Old School


    Definition: According to the dictionary, Publishing (Traditional Publishing) is defined as

    1. Preparing a book, music, or other material for public distribution, especially for sale.
    2.  To prepare and issue a work or works by (an author).
    3. To bring to the public attention; announce.


    1.  Authors get an advance
    2. The publisher pays for editing, design, printing, and distribution of the book.
    3. Publishers have experienced staff to support the needs of the book
    4. Traditional publishers will  improve an author’s book making sure it is ready for the public.
    5. Authors can get media appearances
    6. Traditional publishers can guide an author in regards to supply and demand and ensuring there are copies in circulation.
    7. May be able to score a book tour through the publisher’s team


    1. It can take several book agents for an author to land a publishing deal.
    2. It may take  several years for an author to get published
    3. Advances , if given, are may not be large for new authors
    4. If an advance is given then it must be paid back through the sale of the book
    5. If an author’s book doesn’t sell well the books can be taken from bookshelves.
    6. Bookstores can  return a book at full discount.
    7.  If an author’s book sales are bad, publishers may not given the author a second chance at a deal

    Final Thoughts

    Traditional publishing has always been a staple in the big bad world of publishing. For years, authors around the world have fought tooth and nail to get their works in the hands of what is known as the big six.

    Although there are great pros there are also cons to traditional publishing. Having an agent is great in regards of having someone to assist the author, watch their back. I see it as someone invested in you as the author and in your work that you love. Having someone in your corner such as a publisher or agent is key to the success of an author.

    Although it can take several years to get a publisher’s interest and several disappointing rejections, it is all apart of the process. It is a learning experience that can help an author and eventually you will garner an approval and a person in your corner, giving you their full support.

    Traditional publishing gives you a back and forth between the agent and the author. You can contribute, if the contract allows, and bounce considerate ideas around in order to improve the book’s value in the eyes of the reader.

    A great place to start for any author, new and old, Traditional publishing has been around for a long time and will remain for some time to come.


    What does it mean to publish in 2015?


    For a long time Traditional Publishing was known as the only single equation that all authors had to learn in order to get published. The equation was:

    Complete manuscript + query letter + submission = consideration for publishing

    For many of the big houses, this is still the traditional way to embark into the world of traditional publishing. For many, including myself, we are brought up as this being the only way to truly see our books out into the hands of others around the world.

    However, this is 2015 and there are more ways to publish then ever before.

    The king of publishing, traditional, now has to share the spot light with three other contenders for the crown.

    As seen on the chart above, publishing has gone a long way, introducing digital, self and print on demand publishing.

    Over the course of the week I will take an in-depth look at all four of these avenues that authors travel down and will discuss the following:





    Final Thoughts

    I look forward to reviewing the options authors have and learning something new along the way.  Look forward to the first post, Traditional Publishing coming soon…


    Sign on the dotted line…


    One area that all writers may or may not be familiar with is dealing with contracts. If a writer can obtain a contract with a publisher, big or small, then that is a huge accomplishment. With this accomplishment comes great responsibility and learning about them.

    On a recent trip I was given the privilege to listen to a lecture on contracts and how anyone whether they be artist, writer etc., should be familiar with the different terminologies.

    There are different types of contracts but with all of them there must be the following:

    1. Grant of Rights: Granting rights to print book. 

    2. Subsidiary Rights: language, format, digital rights

    3. Delivery and Acceptance: keep right to changes. Have it say fit for publication.  Have it say right to fix it.

    4. Publication: Have a say in what happens

    5. Copyright: make sure contract shows it will be provided

    6. Advance: incentive to be published. You may or may not get this.

    7. Royalties: get on retail price. 

    8. Accounting and Payments: right to review records once a year

    9. Out of Print/Right reversion clause: It will discuss what happens if the book goes out of print.

    10. Competing Works: Some publisher do not want you to write items that could compete with what you have already in the market. Keep an eye out for this.

    11. Foreign sales: Will discuss what happens if the book gets translated for overseas.

    The contract between both parties must be between individuals who fall into the following:

    1. Capacity: must be able to sign contracts

    2. Offer and Acceptance: must have a clear and definite response 

    to contact. Has to be clear acceptance. 

    3. Consideration: both parties must give something. Exposure is consideration

    4. Meeting of the minds: both parties must agree

    5. Legal purposes: cannot violate law

    When dealing with a contract:

    1. Investigate the publisher – In the year of technology you should be able to find as much as you can about the publisher by doing a simple search online.

    2. Get it in writing – Now a days writing is the key, email, text, anything that can be traced back and can not be labeled he said/she said.

    3. Keep it simple – No need to make things difficult. Simple is better.

    4. Spell out all the details – time and money and work – Everything that you want in the contract should be in the contract. Time, effort, money, everything should be documented.

    5. Specify payment obligations – This one is a no brainer. How you want to be paid should be specified. Make sure everything is accurate

    6. Agree on circumstances that terminate the contract – Both parties should agree on ways to end the contract. It doesn’t help if the publisher feels one way and the author another.

    7. Agree on a way to resolve disputes – In the event a dispute comes, which we all hope never happens, both parties must have in writing what can happen to figure out a dispute.

    8. Pick a state law to govern the contract – In the event that both parties are in different states the contract should legally show which state will be the one where the dispute will take place. Research which state can provide the best outcome as each state has their own rules regarding disputes.

    9. Keep it confidential – It is no ones business what happens in your contract. Unless you hire a lawyer, you should keep your contract between yourself and the publisher.

    10. Read the entire contract including reference documents – People often joke that no one ever reads the fine print or the entire print on a contract whether that’s when you buy a car or agree to the terms on your phone. Don’t let your contract with a publisher fall into that category. Read the entire contract from top to bottom. 

    There is more to dealing with contracts but this is what I felt was the most interesting to know.

    If this helped let me know in the comments below or tell me if you’ve experienced any ups or downs when dealing with contracts.


    How NOT to Start Your Book

    285/366 - once upon a time. . . . .



    When I was a little girl I knew that when a story began with the words ‘Once upon a time’ I was about to read a fantasy book. Something along the lines of a Disney epic. I always thought this was the best way to start a story because it was true. All stories start at a specific time and what better way to show it then to start with those words.

    Having never published a book or worked on a full manuscript before, I was unsure how to start. I knew I wasn’t going to use Once Upon a Time because:

    1. It’s too cliché
    2. I put it more toward fantasy then fiction

    I thought of a few ways to start the book. Start with a scene or conversation, which could work. I decided to start with a conversation for the manuscript I am writing right now. Did I love it? No, not really. But I wanted to start somewhere. Now that I am near the end of my manuscript I already wrapping my mind around editing which means going back and looking at the beginning and saying “How can I fix this?”

    I researched and decided to pay attention to what not to do for the beginning of my novel. One saying that seems to float around the writing community in regards to the beginning of the novel is: “Good writing hooks the agent in” The beginning of my manuscript should hook the agent or whoever I want to read my book.

    As a book reader myself, I know personally that when I read a book I want the first few lines to grab me, hold me tight and never let me go until I realize I’m at the end and there is no more to read.  In writing for myself I have realized that it is not easy to hook someone, really pull them in, to wanting to read your story.

    I decided to go to a few friends who are avert readers. I wanted to see what they thought when they begin a book. What made them turn away from a certain book before getting started? This is what I heard:

    • Very slow writing. Not getting to the point
    • Starting out strong and then it turns out it was all a dream
    • Cliché openings such as once upon a time, a daydream, a fight scene
    • Characters immediately described and given off as Mary Sue’s/Stan’s
    • Giving backstory before the actual story begins
    • A cheesy hook that’s been done before

    The biggest area from the feedback above is to avoid cliché’s. Grammatical errors and awkward dialogue aside, cliché’s are the best pet peeve of most agents. As a writer you must be conscious of what is being written and what a cliché is and what isn’t. The best way to do this is to give your writing to a friend who knows their way around a good book. Someone who isn’t a reader may not know one cliché from another but a person who spends half of their day with their nose in a book will be able to give you better insight on what has been used before and how you can catapult the beginning of your writing.

    Sit back, look at what you have written and think about what you want to convey to the writer. What is the best way to get the message across that this character(s) is important? Make the reader care about him/her/them right off the bat. If you can grab their interest right away then the reader will want to find out what happens to that character(s). The emotion will fly off the page and that’s what you want. You want the reader to feel sad when the character is sad, mad when the character is sad and happy when the character is happy.

    If you can do this within the first few pages or the first chapter it will make your book one that the reader cannot put down.