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So Baen books rejected my manuscript, who should I try next?

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by ClearDragon, Sep 23, 2019.

  1. ClearDragon

    ClearDragon Minstrel

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    It was a pretty long shot with almost no chance as my manuscript was a lot shorter than what they want.
    So what other publishers should I look at now?
    Also what about tck publishing, are they any good? I read that some people suspect they are a complete scam of some type.
     
    Jan Conradie likes this.
  2. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Staff Leadership

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    Jan Conradie likes this.
  3. ClearDragon

    ClearDragon Minstrel

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  4. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Staff Leadership

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    These are collections of not just places to submit and articles on publishing, but where to find submission guidelines as well as tips for each individual house/agency. And it's always a good idea to call a place to make sure the person you're about to address still works there. Agents and editors can move around a fair bit.
     
  5. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Where? Everywhere!

    But you said something about length. How long is your manuscript? You'll want to make sure you're within the requirements (and not for length only). Also pay attention to whether or not you can make simultaneous submissions and how long their turnaround time is. Hitting all possible publishers can take years.
     
  6. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    No offense, but in this day and age I have a hard time encouraging any author to pursue traditional publishing.
     
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  7. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Staff Leadership

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    I go back and forth on the issue. On one hand, I was raised go trad or go home by my writer mother. On the other hand, I let my wife talk me into going indie. On the other hand we're intending to shop our next series, which will be an epic fantasy, so I'm deeply interested in this thread since it's been a few years since last I followed trends in traditional publishing. (I seem to have a lot of hands lol)

    I think a big question OP needs to ask themselves is why did they pick Baen in the first place? What was so attractive that that they thought their manuscript would be a good enough of a fit to try?
     
  8. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    I checked this against ALLi's database, here: Best and Worst Self-Publishing Services Reviewed & Rated by the Alliance of Independent Authors - Alliance of Independent Authors: Self-Publishing Advice Center
    They show up as Mixed, which means they're ethical but don't match up with ALLi's code of standards.

    The list is pretty long, so it shouldn't be too hard to find approved alternatives.

    One thing to look out for is scams. It's pretty common these days to hear horror stories of hopeful authors who forked out thousands to a company who claimed to publish their book and who don't have anything to show for it. I had a look around for resources on that and found this page: Vanity Press: How to Dodge Scams & Self-Publishing Companies to Avoid
    The general rule of thumb is that if a company asks you to pay in order for them to publish your book, you need to be very, very careful. Most likely, you'll be better off just doing it yourself.

    That said, there's also a lot of good advice out and about if you look around a bit. Hopefully you'll find something to help you along on the way. :)
     
  9. Chessie2

    Chessie2 Staff Article Team

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    I don't know. It seems pretty pointless to me. We make a higher percentage of royalties being independent, and we still have to market our books even in traditional publishing. The publication houses do have a better/higher budget for covers, editing and marketing. Yeah. But once your book hits the shelves and doesn't pay out in the meager months it's expected to sell to pay back the debt of having been published in the first place, it then gets taken down and readers don't see your work. The shelf life for an Indie book is forever. Trad, it is not. I also was raised on trad pub (my grandfather was a history author) and I tried getting published for years until finally, Indie publishing came along and I discovered I could do it all myself. With help of course. The end goal of publishing a book is to find readers. You don't need trad pub to do that.
     
  10. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I'm not trying to take sides, but a better editor is not something to gloss over. Working with a good editor can be transformative to your work and your writing in the long run. And finding / affording a good editor is the place where most indie authors for one reason or another end up cutting corners.
     
  11. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Auror

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    Trad is more a long-term process which I started and said... screw it. It’s a whole lot of rubbing elbows and meeting people and traveling, finding an agent (most likely) before finding a publisher, then on and on. Now, all of this counts in self-publishing as well! But you can do it while selling books to people rather than struggling to get anyone’s attention in the industry.

    Trad is also keeping an eye on the indie scene these days, as well, and the hybrid author is desirable. How you get there is the question.

    I should add: I had interest from three small/indie publishing houses for Eve of Snows, but when I researched them... it wasn’t they weren’t legit, it was that the stuff they were publishing didn’t feel like a fit for me and my work. Hindsight is unable to answer whether I should’ve pursued any of them further, LOL.
     
  12. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I did not cut corners in finding an editor. The real problem is that finding a good editor is like finding a good mechanic or a good doctor. The only way to discover is to pay the money, spend the time, strike out, and try again. Four novels, four editors, six years and thousands of dollars. That's a pretty big investment only to still be on the hunt.

    At a certain point, one does start to wonder whether it's worth the search. I'm still on the lookout and my next book is a year or more away. I'd say that if one is *lucky* and finds a good editor early in one's career, then that's gold. Platinum. Hang on to them. Alas, they can be just has hard to keep in trad publishing as in self-publishing.

    Just wanted to say that it's not always a matter of cutting corners. Sometimes we don't have the gas to make it around the corner.
     
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  13. Danskin

    Danskin Dreamer

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    My experience of trad publishing is that the editing is nothing to shout about. They largely expect you to do this yourself, and simply won't accept books that aren't well written. One big advantage, however, is that you don't need to pay up for any of the editing, covers etc up front. If a supposedly trad publisher asks you to do so, then they are not a proper publisher and you should run a mile.

    What you should expect is a copy-edit process which will highlight things like inconsistencies, and then a proof reading. Both of these are variable in quality in my view (despite my having worked with a big name publisher) because the publishers increasingly outsource it these days. What's more, you have no say in who they choose to hire for this. If you want your own people, they'll take it out of your royalties.

    I'm also not taking sides - I've published both ways, and think there are valid reasons for doing either. But if people think that they are going to get an editor in perhaps the way that happened in the past, someone who will carefully sort out problems in their book, they are in most cases mistaken. The margins are too low in trad publishing, and you are (probably) not a big enough name to get special treatment.
     
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  14. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    DanskinDanskin, thank you for that. I didn't mean to overstate the quality of the editing. If your book isn't worth that much to them, the editing won't be that great either. If I were to talk up the merits of traditional publishing over self publishing I would still point to the editing first, though. Because of the upfront cost of editing, just having an editor at all is an advantage over most self-published books. And if they think your book is good enough they have access to some of the best editors in the industry.

    Of course self-publishing has plenty of merit too, especially if you're the entrepreneurial type. You get more control and higher profit margins, which can be terrific if you have the ability to make the most of it, and especially if you have more faith in your work than anyone else does. But you're absorbing all the risk and may not even realize when you're setting yourself up for failure. For example, if a freelance editor looks at your work and immediately thinks, "This book is going to fail miserably," they might not even let you know that because they still want the work. It's in their interest to convince you into letting them help you polish the turd, so to speak. And so a self-publisher has to really know what they're doing in order to make all these risky expenses work for them.
     
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  15. Danskin

    Danskin Dreamer

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    That's a fair point, DevorDevor . Particularly when it comes to risks and up front costs.

    The publisher is motivated to make money from books including yours, but they are not motivated to take risks particularly, and may just decide to put a lot of books out there and hope that some of them stick, rather than sink a lot of money into great editing and marketing for a smaller number of titles.
     
  16. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Auror

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    Trad editing has evolved, from what I’ve heard from agents and editors. The age of Max Perkins helping to hone Fitzgerald’s skills is mostly gone if not entirely. The relationship Perkins had with Fitzgerald, Wolfe, and Hemingway and others were obviously amazing ones, but to find anything in this ballpark these days (in particular what Perkins did for young and unpublished writers?) you probably aren’t going to see these days. Agents CAN try to do this, but horror stories abound of these sorts of agents, LOL. Going on memory here... but I think it was Sanderson’s agent who worked with Brett on Warded Man to get that into shape for pub.

    Now days you have to purchase that relationship, heh heh. And it’s going to be hard as hell to find. Today, it is writing coaches and whatnot, the value of which are dubious.

    In general, publishers are expecting to see a more refined product these days, something damned close to pub ready, not some raw material to work with. It’s a crapshoot out there... or maybe skeet shooting is a better visual.
     
  17. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Auror

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    If you are still looking for Trad publishers, I believe that DAW and Tor still accept unsolicited manuscripts. I think DAW tends to prefer longer ones, depending on the sub genre.

    I understand the long shot. With Tor had a manuscript get out of the slush pile to one of their editors, but was rejected. With Baen, made it out of the slush pile, and past the slush editor up the ranks, but was finally rejected at the last stop. So, it is not impossible. If I can get close, no reason to say for you it's impossible it over the top.
     
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  18. gia

    gia Scribe

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    I agree!
     
  19. ClearDragon

    ClearDragon Minstrel

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    Ok, I've been off of here for a while, but I've read through all the answers here.
    My problem with self publishing is that I really can't afford to print many books, and most self publishing places just look like scams to me.
    I also almost got scammed a few years ago the first time I was looking into publishing.
    My manuscript is forty thousand eight hundred and eighty six words. I'm kinda getting the feeling it's simply too short, but I really couldn't make it longer.
    I was interested in Baen books because they accepted online submissions and seemed to be a really neat place.
     
  20. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    If you want to see your book sold in brick and mortar book shops, then you're probably better off going the trad pub route. It's still possible to get your books into book stores even as an indie author, but it's a lot more difficult than if you're with a traditional publisher who already has a a distribution system set up. At least, that's my impression. I know indie authors who have their books in the shops, but the majority of them does not.
    If you don't have an urge to see your books in a shop, you can still sell print copies through various print on demand services. (kdp, lulu, etc.)
    That way, the book isn't printed until the customer orders it, and the cost for the printing is taken out of the profit you make from the sale. You won't make much money off of it, but you also don't pay anything for it.

    I'm pretty sure that's accurate, but I'm also biased. Anyone that asks you for money in order to publish your book is more than likely to scam you.
    The key to remember is that self publishing is something you can do by yourself. You don't need someone to do it for you.
    What you do need (if you can't do it yourself) is someone who can edit the book, someone who can format it, and someone who can create a nice cover. This can cost anything from a few beers to several fortunes of money - depending on the person.

    A manuscript of just above 40k words is only just above the length of a novella, and for a commercial fantasy novel that's probably a bit short. In a bookshelf next to other fantasy novels it might look a bit thin.

    That said...
    If you want to go the traditional route, and if that's what you're comfortable, then do it, I'd suggest looking into whether getting a literary agent is an option or not. I checked two resources on this, and while I didn't read both pages fully, they seemed to be well informed and sensible:
    How to Find a Literary Agent for Your Book | Jane Friedman
    10 Steps To Getting A Literary Agent

    Finally, I think the most important piece of advice for anyone trying to get a publishing deal is to stay patient. Even big name authors get rejected, so keep querying, and don't give up.
     
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