Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Miss Snark made an oops, a cartoon for Kim & an update for anonymous

Yesterday I dropped by Miss Snark’s blog, and found this comment in regards to a question about how to know a publisher is legitimate:

“Are there specific but standard QUERY guidelines? No publisher who is legitimate as far as I know, will take full manuscripts on the first go round.”

I must say, Miss Snark’s is wrong here.

NeWest Press says “We are accepting only complete manuscripts at this time. Please send us your manuscript along with a covering letter.”

And you can find them in the Writer’s Market, another good sign someone is legitimate.

Ronsdale Press says, “What to send?: If you are in doubt, send a query letter with a sample. If you are persuaded that Ronsdale is the press for you, then you can choose to send the entire manuscript. That's fine with us.”

Dundurn says to send, “Either a complete manuscript or at least three sample chapters. In either case, we require a hard copy of the material. Please use Times New Roman (or comparable font), 12-point type, double-spaced, standard margins (1"-1.5"). It is not necessary to bind the manuscript.”

Mundania Press says to send:
Mundania Press is open to all unsolicited manuscripts. PLEASE DO NOT SEND A QUERY ONLY! Queries without a full manuscript will be ignored. Do not mail us a printed manuscript through the post office. We only accept electronic submissions as an email cover letter with your manuscript as a file attachment.

Why am I taking the time to make this point here? Because this is a good example of the fact that, as much as you can get really good advice online, sometimes the experts even get it wrong.

No matter who gives you advice, you should always check it out. Always.

And for the benefit of anonymous, the publisher from Orion said they take unsolicited manuscripts when speaking at Harrogate last summer. And they most certainly have books on the shelves in both Canada and the UK, as they're a UK publisher - the publisher of Ian Rankin and Lesley Horton, to name a few.

Okay okay, alright already. So Miss Snark made a mistake. Nobody’s going to sentence her to thirty lashes with a wet noodle or anything.

In my experience, people only want to hear what they want to hear anyways, no matter what a professional says. You can share from your own experience, but still many people will remain skeptical until they’ve heard it a zillion times, or from someone “famous” or until they’ve found out the hard way themselves.

One of the things about me is that I want to shield people from the pain of bad choices. And I have often referred people to Miss Snark’s blog, and will continue to do so.

But I do trust people to know not to jump blindly based on the decisions of others.

This issue has come up for me on a few things lately. I’ve had people question me about submitting work to my publisher. In the end, it’s their choice. What works for one person might not work for another. Everyone is different in this regard. Some will thrive on being with a large publisher and it will work well for them. Others have had extremely positive experiences with small publishers, even new publishers.

Then there’s been the writing group discussion. I still have friends there. And as far as I’m concerned, they don’t need to know the ‘who’ and ‘what’ in nitty-gritty detail. Only a couple people could even know from my post which person I was speaking about and they were part of the group argument, so it wasn’t a secret there.

But as far as I’m concerned, they don’t need to jump ship to be my friends. I’ll only say that this was my issue, and that there were a number of factors that played into it that have been going on for over six months. What happened most recently was the proverbial straw, and it doesn’t discount what I learned during my time in the group, or that others may find tremendous benefit from it.

It speaks more to me getting actively involved and participating on boards and giving of my time and energy and consequently, being sucked into the politics at play. The politics were bad enough. It was when it got personal I had an issue.

So I would always encourage people to keep an open mind to some extent. Just because you read something here, or at Miss Snark’s or JA Konrath’s, it doesn’t make it necessarily right. Especially Konrath’s. He is, after all, a man. Which means he lacks inborn wisdom and needs help from his long-suffering wife.

Oh, did I type that? I only meant to think it…

Another picture to consider. Gawd, you poor, poor people. See thread below to cast your vote...

And here’s a little joke for you. Especially you, Boy Kim. Because even the people who elect you can do an about-face. Which says more about them, doesn’t it? After all, if they elected you and end up not liking you, it means they were wrong…Right?

Did you vote for Bliar? Well, you can convert the joke whichever way you want...

Canada Post has created a new stamp with a picture of former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.

The stamp is not sticking to envelopes, which enraged Chrétien, who demanded a full investigation.

After a month of testing, a special government commission presented the following findings:

1) The stamp is in perfect order.

2) There is nothing wrong with the applied adhesive.

3) People are spitting on the wrong side.


Anonymous said...

Those publishers don't have books on shelves in a bookstore.

Sandra Ruttan said...

They most certainly do in Canada, and even Mundania gets a 'recommended' from preditors and editors, for what it's worth.

Though I must say it's pretty easy to hide behind the anonymity there and say whatever. Doesn't exactly give you credit.

Boy Kim said...

Awww, gee thanks for the cartoon.

But everyone knows it just doesn't go in properly when it's floppy. Even me.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Thanks for the... uh, benefit of your experience.

Sela Carsen said...

I think a lot of that experience translates just fine to American bookstores. It's not like there's some marketing line that stops at the Great Lakes.

And I'm a Veggie! Thanks! *note to self -- really, REALLY have to update sidebar*

Sandra Ruttan said...

I know what you mean Sela! I've got to buckle down and get stuff done!

kathie said...

Thanks for the info about the publishers. There's no doubt,this business feels like a crapshoot to me, but I'm muddling through it. Thanks for having another view on the topic at Miss Snarks. I love both places.

S. R. Hatcher said...

I love Ms. Snark's blog--the bottom line. But there are a variety of reputable resources that give conflicting information. So you are absolutely right--you have read, research, check things out. It seems the only real given in this process is to have your novel complete and as polished as possible! Good post.

lyfe said...

I think people write what they know and sometimes what they know is limited. Thanks for the info. I found your site via Miss Snark. There's never too much info.

Sandra Ruttan said...

kathie, lyfe, nice to see you! I'm glad it helped, because I certainly believe in the value of Miss Snark's blog and have emailed her questions that have ended up being addressed in posts.

And fortunately, not as the nitwit of the day.

It should also be noted that the times, they are a-changin'. Publishing goes through cycles. So as much as you can get good advice from Miss Snark and even Konrath, you should also check out the Writer's Market, talk to authors and talk to people in the business.

I'll actually be interviewing a publisher for Spinetingler, and that will come out likely in August. I'll definitely put the link here - a smaller, independent publisher in the UK. I met the woman who started it last year at Harrogate and I think her insight will benefit everyone, which is why I asked for the interview.

Miss Snark said...

Look I WAS wrong, I admit it freely. I'd never heard of some of these publishers that people mentioned but that doesn't make me right.

One of the best things about this blog is that there is a collective brain at work. I try to get most stuff right; I think I do. But, if I "oops", there are folks who set me straight. I"m glad they take the time to read the blog and write in.

And the advice to check everything: good advice even if I didn't say it myself.

Erik Ivan James said...

Good post. Thank you.

M. G. Tarquini said...

I love Miss Snark's blog also...

But there's no way I'm swinging a dead chicken over my head.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Miss Snark, I'm sort of scared that you dropped by, because I really hope that my post carried off the fact that this advice was an oops but that your blog is wonderful and I will still go and read it regularly.

And I have advised MANY people to read your blog, and will continue to do so. Because your blog is one of the best sources of info in the business. Okay, the odd oops, but 99% perfect is nothing to snuff one's nose at!

lyfe said...

See, I'm enjoying the interaction of those who know the publishing business. Its good to see those footsteps I'm hoping to follow work collectively in providing novice such as myself some good advice. I will definitely be back for more, keep up the good work.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Thanks so much - my blog is a bit more tongue-in-cheek on the average day, but I'm starting a new thing called Tuesday Tips where I'll address specifically writing and business-of-writing topics.

I'm open to suggestions. And the rest of the time there'll be the usual mix, with some tasteless jokes thrown in to boot.

I'm nothing if I'm not up for some cheap entertainment!

James Goodman said...

Good advice, Sandra. But, take that for what it's worth, I am a man afterall. :D And apparantly the Soup de Jour. How cool is that? Thank you kindly...

Sandra Ruttan said...

And I should point out that I'm very fond of soup.

I buy it by the case.

Dana Y. T. Lin said...

Yowsers, you got Miss Snark to apologize!

And I love the cartoon.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

OMGosh...~blush~...and believe me that's hard for me to do!!

Nope still like the third pic from the below group!

Trace said...

Ms. Snark also said that ebook publishing isn't real, but only hobby publishing. I emphatically disagree with that.

I really like the last pic you posted. I love black and white, and you look so mysterious. Very cool.

Trace said...

Oh, and I also love Ms. Snarks's blog :) You can't agree with everyone on everything.