• 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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  • Mark Meier

From what a FB friend of mine has indicated, FB, the Big G, YT, and others are going to be suppressing certain concepts. Apparently that’s already started. And I don’t really care.

There are alternatives to the big tech giants’ platforms, and if those giants try to suppress the others it’ll only make the whole system better in the long run. I’ve been told that G has already removed P from their app store. “Go get ‘em, G!” That’ll eventually result in another platform that WILL have P in their app store.

“They’re shutting down our servers,” I heard someone from P say. I wanted to scream, “Find someone who can create a new OS and carry your P app!” It’ll happen, eventually.

For every need there will be someone to fill it. Did the Founding Fathers have G, or P, or FB? No, because the infrastructure wasn’t there. In the same way, as long as you could get whatever you wanted from G there was no need for an alternative. Now that G is playing politics with what’s available, there’s a need for someone to have what G refuses to have.

Enter the entrepreneur.

Back in the day when computers filled whole rooms, there was no need for something smaller. As soon as the space race happened, there was a need for micro computers. Suddenly they were there, and everyone needed them. When mainframe computers were The Thing, programmers were stingy in writing code because every calculation took valuable CPU time. Now a tablet has more capability than the entire Mission Control computers during Project Mercury.

I look forward to seeing who comes up with alternatives to G and what that will end up being. It can only be better, otherwise G will continue to dominate.

There are also alternatives to YT being created. Streaming services are blossoming. Television networks aren’t needed these days.

Linda and I used to watch NCIS. When we dropped our satellite system we watched on NF. Then we dropped that, too. The show is available on the CBS streaming service, and eventually the television network will be obsolete. It’ll simple be a streaming service.

YT, G, A, and others, are simply creating the need for alternatives. Sure, there’ll be some decrease in our ability to see or hear what they’re trying to suppress.

Eventually, like computers, there’ll be OSs to bring whatever we want into our homes.

So go ahead, G. Cut your own throat. You’re creating a need that will get filled eventually.

I can’t wait to see what will happen next.

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