Not All Agents and Editors are Honest

Business Musings: Writers, Scam Artists, Agents, and More by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

I’ve been following Kristine for many years. She often has a lot to say about the writing business, writers, agents, publishers and everything else regarding the publishing world. This post is no different. We may enter a relationship with an agent, editor or publishing company thinking this is the best thing ever only to learn months or years down the line that it was the worst thing ever.

Here’s what Kristine writes…

Just when I thought it was safe to get back into the water…

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I’m editing a lot these days. I only edit short fiction projects. Anthologies, anthology series (Fiction River), the occasional nonfiction book, and some magazines. I’m also consulting with the fine folks at WMG Publishing, because they’ll be handling the contracts for the revival of Pulphouse next year. Dean’s vision for Pulphouse includes reprinting some of the older stories, which means we have to deal with estates.

Too often, estates mean agents.

But even some lazy-ass living writers give their agents control of everything. It took me one year—one year—to get my hands on a non-fiction reprint that I wanted for a project of mine. The centerpiece for that project was an editorial written more than 20 years ago by a writer who had forgotten they had even written it. This writer, a friend of mine, doesn’t do email, and mostly stays off-line. (I know, I know.) I didn’t know about their tech phobia when I started into this, and had sent five different emails before I asked another editor friend how to reach this writer.

The editor advised snail mail.

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The Cost of Hiring a Traditional Publisher

Throught of the DayHave you ever had one of those Ah-ha! moments? Those times in your life when you believed one thing only to find out the opposite was true?

Everyone has them. Some probably have them more than others. I like to refer to these Ah-ha! moments as thinking outside the box. That’s been a catch-phrase of the past two decades, so now it doesn’t have the same power as it did before. It has lost its edge from overuse and misuse. Thinking outside the box to some might be ordering muffins for a meeting instead of the doughnuts that have been ordered for the past ten years.

That’s not really thinking outside the box. That’s just making a change.

One way of thinking outside the box to me means someone has taken a truth that is generally known in society and flipped it inside out to reveal the actual truth. It’s like viewing something from a different angle and learning it is “B” instead “A” like everyone else thought.

This sort of discovery is thought of as innovative thinking because it was never before realised.

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Beware of Sneaky Publishers

What a tangled web they weave … In the past two months, I’ve worked with several private clients and fielded numerous phone calls/emails from authors who have issues with their “publishers.” In all cases, they’ve been duped. They’ve been lured, hooked and now are sinking. The cause: a publishing predator is in their midst.

Their publishers are really not “publishers,” at least in the sense that they have the infrastructure to create and support a quality book and its author or that they have their internal team—from editing to some semblance of book design and publishing marketing and publicity and that they are accountable in the critical accountability departments of actual book sales and responsibility.

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Do readers care if you’re traditionally or independently published?

Diane Lynn McGyverThe debate rages on. Which is better? Being published by a traditional company or publishing your own work?

Your answer will depend on where you are in your publishing career.

Many times, travellers on one route are looking down at the other, but there’s no reason for this. We’re all in this together, and one path is right for some while the other trail is right for others.

Unfortunately, mud-slinging has become a popular sport these days between publishers (large and independent) and between authors (both traditionally published and self-published).

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