• Mark Meier

For those who haven’t seen the posts, I’ve been actively working toward finding a venue for The Brotherhood. I submitted to four or five publishers, which have all let their “respond by” dates expire. “If we don’t get in touch within XX days, assume we’re not interested.”

So on March first I began submitting to agents. Many publishers don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts from authors. An agent is needed. So back in December I identified a dozen or so agents who I thought might be a good fit for The Brotherhood.

I’m submitting to two agents per week, and will until I work through that list. Should take six weeks to query a dozen agents, right?

Wrong.

At least two agencies have closed up. At least one agent I identified is no longer with the agency I’d located. So I’ll be done considerably sooner than six weeks.

Not to worry. I haven’t stopped writing. I haven’t stopped looking for agents and publishers.

Anyone familiar with The Brotherhood will recognize the name Mastema. That Brother is going to be featured in at least two other stories. And the Brother called Pop is already written into another story.

There’s more to come from The Brotherhood. Even if nothing comes from this round of effort, it’ll still be there for future use. Inevitably an editor or agent will ask a potential client, “What else do you have?”

If The Brotherhood isn’t my breakout story, it’ll join Ravid. Perhaps I’ll work on Ebony Sea: 1 again. That was kinda left languishing and unread.

Some of those stories are still available on Kindle, but I think only one story was actually purchased, so if I decide to publish that as a collection it’ll be brand new.

Then there’s Ebony Sea: 2. That was largely plotted out, though not outlined.

There’s so much to write, and so little time.

Then there’s The Archives.

OY!



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  • Mark Meier

A couple of months ago I found a few publishers that would accept submissions without having an agent - those are rare, BTW. Finding a publisher of Thrillers with that limitation even more so. I think there were initially five, but one turned out to be a subsidy publisher. They want money, and they’ll publish the book. I’m not at a point where I’d do that.

Sure, that publisher has a great package. Their reach into social media is massive, they have audiences in the hundreds of thousands (if not millions), and they could have been a great asset. Or would they?

Their client list includes a lot of big name authors. Those books would sell millions of copies based on the author’s name alone. That publisher broadcasts Another Book by Big Author, and a million copies sell in the first month. That’s certainly worth a five thousand dollar investment.

If they broadcast Unknown Title by Author U. Nvr. Heardof, would a $2,000 investment ever pay off? Probably not. Even without doing complex math we can see that. Cover price of $15 might mean a $5 profit margin, so to break even means 400 copies selling.

When was the last time you’ve bought a book written by an author you’ve never heard of before? An author might (MIGHT) do that, but the average reader probably wouldn’t. Maybe one in a half-million might, so if two million people see something about a new book, that would be four copies sold.

Let’s not belabor that point, though. There were four other publishers who received submission packages, and the listed reply times are winding down. I figure if I don’t hear anything by March I’ll assume a “no.” That is, unfortunately, the standard these days. “If you don’t hear from us in X number of weeks (or months), assume we couldn’t care less about your project. In fact, we care so little we can’t even be bothered to send a TBNT (Thanks, But No Thanks) email that would literally take five seconds.”

To be honest, I understand that policy. With pretty much everyone thinking they’re good enough to write a novel, publishers have been buried in submissions. If you get a hundred submissions every day, even one full time employee couldn’t send that many TBNTs in a day. I joke that it takes five seconds, but it might take ten minutes to find the email submission. Then click “reply,” write “TBNT” or paste the standard rejection message, and a hundred replies takes more hours than are in a workday.

Anyway, with the reply time expiring it’s time to hunt for agents. They’ve been getting hammered, too. I may have mentioned I’ve identified twelve agents who might accept a project like The Brotherhood. I’ve decided to submit to a pair of them each week starting on March 1st. That means my last pair of submissions will be on April 5th.

That’s all predicated on not hearing anything back from agents or publishers. If I get a nibble on any of those submissions I’ll send the rest of them out that day or the next. I’ll update the email packages I send out to include information about the possible good news, and inform the agents who already received my submission about the development.

So, a flurry of submissions will be going out soon. I’m confident in the quality of the book produced, though professional editors will no doubt push it to a higher level before the book gets printed.

“But Mark, what happens if nobody picks it up?”

We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. I have a lot of hope it will get picked up by someone, and probably this year.

But keep this in mind: it usually takes a couple of years for a book to go from “acceptance” to “available for purchase.”

Publishing takes time.



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  • Mark Meier

As The Brotherhood nears a final polishing, I’ve been preparing a query letter. Sure, I’ve taken the long-shot attempts at submitting to select publishers w/o an agent, but I doubt publication will happen that way. Hence the query letter.

As I’ve worked through getting that letter finished I’ve identified a couple of issues I’ve had in my mind that didn’t - quite - make it into the story line. Things like, what’s the value of Grambic Tiles to The Brotherhood? Why are they working so hard to get that business? It’s never been overtly stated.

In creating the query letter for agents to read, I’ve had to think more clearly about motivations. In my opinion, those motivations need to be addressed in the story.

So, back to the editing process for The Brotherhood. I’ve had several people critique the story. They’ve done wonderful things for me and that project. They’ve been a great help, and I thank them again here. There’s too many to name individually, and I don’t want to risk missing anyone by trying.

My advice to those working toward publication is this: before counting your project as carved in drying concrete, write your query letter. You might find issues which need to be fixed.

In my particular case, I’ve had so many people look it over already that I’d hesitate to ask for them to look again. After investing a month (or more) of their “free” time, it’s not a request I can comfortably make.

I’ll have to take the risk of my edits not destroying the existing storyline, that they won’t include horrible spelling or grammar errors, or some other factor the agent will look at and think, “What is this idiot trying to write?”

As I’ve discussed before, I don’t believe those kinds of errors will stop someone from taking on a project. If the story idea is unique and developed enough, I think a publisher or agent will take the time to polish it into something really great.

The Final Spell, I know, was enhanced greatly by a professional editor before it hit print.

If The Brotherhood gets professional help, I’m sure it will be greatly improved as well.





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