To Agent or Not to Agent?

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As acquisitions editor I’ve seen these questions a lot lately, ‘Do you know any good agents?’, ‘Does your company work with certain agents?’, and ‘Where do I find a good agent?’.

I want to tell you a few things about agents:

  1. Agents, in large part, work for the traditional publishers.
  2. Agents are in the business to make money.
  3. Agents might help edit your ms, but some don’t.
  4. Agents negotiate your contract with publishers.
  5. Agents take, on average, 15% of your royalties for the run of a book.

1. I have read for agented authors. Not a single one of them submitted through their agent. Every one of them submitted to us on their own. Agents have a set group of traditional publishers they know and work with. I don’t totally blame the agents here. New presses rise and fall every day. How can they possibly get to know all the presses and be able to rely on a new presses stability? It’s something they aren’t willing to consider for now. They stick with what they know (and in my humble opinion, this is going to be their downfall along with traditional publishing).

2. and 5.  Agents are in the business to make money, by acquiring the rights to 15% of the author royalties. Everybody is in the writing business to make money, so not really a surprise. However, with most agents and traditional publishers THE bottom line is money. Small presses, such as ours, are run by self-published authors. Your small press publisher knows your struggles on an intimate level. The bottom line is often not money, but building a platform to gain steady income over a period of time. It’s one of the reasons Distinguished Press accepts only series/serials and we accept the entire group, not just a single book. If you go with an agent and find a traditional publisher, they’ll give one of your books a shot, but chances are you are going to be going through the shopping process again for book two.  Your book meets the monetary demands of publishing or you’re dropped. This has happened to the likes of Stephen King, so don’t think for a second your series is special.

3. Agents will form your manuscript into what they know is acceptable to the publisher they will be submitting to. I’ve beta read for traditionally published authors and have been shocked at the requests agents/editors have asked of them, sometimes adding story lines, sometimes taking out entire story lines. Small presses are not generally interested in receiving those type of pre-edited manuscripts from agents, so we don’t seek agents out. Our press in particular wishes to read the story the author intended to tell, not a fabricated story by an agent who isn’t even an author. Chances are, if an agent did approach me, I’d ask the author if they have a pre-agent version of their story I could read.

4. Agents negotiate your contract. This is one place that agents are needed, because contract jargon can get confusing, cause headaches and make a grown man cry. BUT I’m here to tell you, you have a choice. Of course, as editor, I strongly believe in my own company. I love our publisher and the authors are awesome. Despite my bias, I tell new authors to go to a lawyer instead. A lawyer can easily read the contract and explain what you are signing. A lawyer charges a one time fee, which varies depending on who you see. Agents will do the same thing but their fee is 15% of your profits. All royalties go to the agent, who take their cut, the write you a check for the balance. This 15% is for the life of the book. Until it goes out of print, you’ll be paying that agent for negotiating your contract. Plus you get to pay them for each subsequent book. The fun never ends does it? It’s a big deal, especially when you’re signing for an entire series. The choice is up to the author, but you should stop and think about how much it’ll cost you in the end to hire an agent (especially when the author has already sold the book and acquired a contract).

The choice to agent or not to agent is up to each individual author. It really depends on which road the author wishes to go: traditional publishing or small press. If you’re planning on working with a small press, take a chance, send off your manuscript and see what you can accomplish on your own before seeking an agent. You might find you don’t really need to pay someone else.

 

gravel-drivewayIt’s your road to pick.

 

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Nebula Nights Goes On Tour

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Today marks the start of the Nebula Nights Box Set Blog Tour! It is an absolute delight to be able to feature so many talented authors, 11 to be exact, including our own Catrina Taylor and K.G. Stutts. We wish all of the contributing authors well and we celebrate their success.

More About Nebula Nights:

11 Sci-Fi Romances that’ll sweep you away!

If you like your science fiction blazing with adventure and your space opera spiced with romance, this boxed set is for you. From first contact to battles for survival and love on war-torn planets, this collection from bestselling & award winning authors, including Cathryn Cade, Veronica Scott, PK Hrezo and more, will leave you sighing with satisfaction.

Her Cyborg Awakes by Melisse Aires
Her gentle cyborg servant helped her escape violence–but now he’s changed into a warrior! Is he safe?

Removed (The Nogiku Series, #1) by SJ Pajonas
In this Japan-inspired tale, one woman’s family destiny is key to the survival of the last city on Earth.

Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc. by PK Hrezo
Welcome to Butterman Travel, Inc., where time is always in your hands.

Noelle In His Heart by C.E. Kilgore
Noelle wishes for someone who understands she has love to give but commitments to honor. Stranded on Earth, Steve longs for someone who will understand that his alien heart can love just as deeply.

Stark Pleasure; the Space Magnate’s Mistress by Cathryn Cade
Kiri te Nawa survives the perils of the galaxy on her wits … although when it comes to space magnate Logan Stark, she’d rather use her body.
But can she trust him with her secrets?

Birth of an Empire: The Beginning by Catrina Taylor
Three former genetic experiments chose peace over war in a sector that’s known only war for a century. As each one squares against their governments they will question the experiences that guide them.

Escape From Zulaire by Veronica Scott
When the planet erupts into war, Sectors Special Forces Captain Tom Deverane must decide whether to save Andi Markriss, the intergalactic businesswoman he loves, or sacrifice her to save Zulaire.

Solia’s Moon by Lyn Brittan
SFR Galaxy Award Winner! When Dr. Solia uncovers her company’s foray into creating humanoid life, she enlists the help of her handsome ex, Sheriff Sable, in bringing a little justice to the universe.

The Key by Pauline Baird Jones
Her orders are simple: do the impossible and do it yesterday. But this time the impossible might actually be impossible. The only way it could get worse? If her heart starts beating for the wrong guy.

The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy by Greta van der Rol
The Galaxy teeters on the brink of war. Can ex-admiral Saahren persuade the woman who hates him to help him prevent the coming conflagration? And perhaps even love him?

Mirror Image by KG Stutts
Maddie’s entire world is turned upside down when she finds out that she is a clone. Now she must work with her counterpart to protect Earth.

Purchase Links: 

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

All Romance eBooks

Kobo

Come back on Monday for Day 2 of the tour! We’ll be kicking things off over at KPWrites.net. We hope you’ll join us over the next three weeks!

 

Don’t miss a day — Follow along with the tour:

Here!
KPWrites.net
TaraQuan.com
LizaOConnor.com
IWAssociation
AmyBeth Inverness
Reader’s Retreat
The Council Blog
Osier Publishing
AmyBeth Inverness
Pandragon Dan
Charles O’Keefe
 Jen Leigh
And back again!

 

Upcoming Book Tour: Spots Available

Hi everyone, there’s an upcoming tour for Nebula Nights and it’ll be running from 8/15 to 9/5, and we’ve got plenty of spots to fill, including weekends if there’s enough people. If you’re interested in hosting, please email me at twnbooktours@gmail.com and we can get started.

Thanks!

Synopsis for Nebula Nights:

11 Sci-Fi Romances that’ll sweep you away!

If you like your science fiction blazing with adventure and your space opera spiced with romance, this boxed set is for you. From first contact to battles for survival and love on war-torn planets, this collection from bestselling & award winning authors, including Cathryn Cade, Veronica Scott, PK Hrezo and more, will leave you sighing with satisfaction.

Her Cyborg Awakes by Melisse Aires
Her gentle cyborg servant helped her escape violence–but now he’s changed into a warrior! Is he safe?

Removed (The Nogiku Series, #1) by SJ Pajonas
In this Japan-inspired tale, one woman’s family destiny is key to the survival of the last city on Earth.

Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc. by PK Hrezo
Welcome to Butterman Travel, Inc., where time is always in your hands.

Noelle In His Heart by C.E. Kilgore
Noelle wishes for someone who understands she has love to give but commitments to honor. Stranded on Earth, Steve longs for someone who will understand that his alien heart can love just as deeply.

Stark Pleasure; the Space Magnate’s Mistress by Cathryn Cade
Kiri te Nawa survives the perils of the galaxy on her wits … although when it comes to space magnate Logan Stark, she’d rather use her body.
But can she trust him with her secrets?

Birth of an Empire: The Beginning by Catrina Taylor
Three former genetic experiments chose peace over war in a sector that’s known only war for a century. As each one squares against their governments they will question the experiences that guide them.

Escape From Zulaire by Veronica Scott
When the planet erupts into war, Sectors Special Forces Captain Tom Deverane must decide whether to save Andi Markriss, the intergalactic businesswoman he loves, or sacrifice her to save Zulaire.

Solia’s Moon by Lyn Brittan
SFR Galaxy Award Winner! When Dr. Solia uncovers her company’s foray into creating humanoid life, she enlists the help of her handsome ex, Sheriff Sable, in bringing a little justice to the universe.

The Key by Pauline Baird Jones
Her orders are simple: do the impossible and do it yesterday. But this time the impossible might actually be impossible. The only way it could get worse? If her heart starts beating for the wrong guy.

The Iron Admiral: Conspiracy by Greta van der Rol
The Galaxy teeters on the brink of war. Can ex-admiral Saahren persuade the woman who hates him to help him prevent the coming conflagration? And perhaps even love him?

Mirror Image by KG Stutts
Maddie’s entire world is turned upside down when she finds out that she is a clone. Now she must work with her counterpart to protect Earth.

Nebula Nights is available for only $0.99 (a $25 value).

A Grand Send-off for Heralds of the Crown: Poison

PoisonTourBannerJuly2014

At long last, the final day of the Heralds of the Crown: Poison Tour has arrived. And now, on this last stop on the tour train, The Writing Network team would like to take a moment to show our appreciation and gratitude to the author, and also give Poison the send-off it deserves.

It has been an absolute pleasure to host the ever-talented Ashley Bazer these past two weeks. This tour has certainly been a great deal of fun and we look forward to running more tours with Ashley in the future. So, thank you for having us!

For those of you wanting to read more in the Heralds of the Crown universe, the adventure will continue in Heralds of the Crown: Fusion!

Poison Cover 300DPI

Synopsis:

As part of a sect called the Strages, Marcella is ordered to execute fierce assaults on the Logia—gifted believers in the triune deity known as the Crown. After receiving a vision, she begins to question her allegiance and finds herself seeking counsel from a leader in the Logia faith, whom she was sent to annihilate.

When her mentor, Thaed, uncovers her betrayal, he orders her to do the unthinkable—kill the Logia leader who has become her friend. Her choice will result in either the destruction of the Logia or her own death.

The series of Strages attacks call the Logia to prepare for a major battle. In doing so, Gaultier Lassiter is enlisted. When he discovers an unconscious young woman buried in a snowdrift, his world is turned upside down. She has no memory and no ability to speak—only a strange symbol carved into her chest.

The question of her identity leads to a journey of legendary proportions. Between his own personal struggles with his estranged brother, his unmet potential, and the murder of a close friend, Gaultier fights to cling to his faith. And once the mystery is solved, will Gaultier be prepared to face the truth?

Heed the Crown’s Call–pick up your copy of Poison today:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

About the Author:

headshot Ashley Image

Ashley Hodges Bazer is often decked out in bellbottoms and grooving out on the lighted dance floor. Okay, not really, but she does have a thing for the BeeGees. She lives in Colorado with her husband and three children.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in theatrical stage management from Arizona State University, she went on to work for Disneyland in that capacity. A love affair with books led her to work for several different bookstores.

Currently a producer for an international daily radio program, she’s learning to balance working, writing, and momming duties. Her debut novel, Asylum, was traditionally published by WestBow Press in 2012. When she’s not writing, she’s crocheting or belting out Broadway show tunes. And she’s a real duchess!

Connect with Ashley and stay up-to-date with her upcoming projects:

Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Google+ | Official Site

 

Heralds of the Crown: Poison Book Tour

PoisonTourBannerJuly2014

 

Author: Ashley Hodges Bazer headshot Ashley Image

Title: Heralds of the Crown: Poison

Synopsis: As part of a sect called the Strages, Marcella is ordered to execute fierce assaults on the Logia—gifted believers in the triune deity known as the Crown. After receiving a vision, she begins to question her allegiance and finds herself seeking counsel from a leader in the Logia faith, whom she was sent to annihilate.

When her mentor, Thaed, uncovers her betrayal, he orders her to do the unthinkable—kill the Logia leader who has become her friend. Her choice will result in either the destruction of the Logia or her own death.

The series of Strages attacks call the Logia to prepare for a major battle. In doing so, Gaultier Lassiter is enlisted. When he discovers an unconscious young woman buried in a snowdrift, his world is turned upside down. She has no memory and no ability to speak—only a strange symbol carved into her chest.

The question of her identity leads to a journey of legendary proportions. Between his own personal struggles with his estranged brother, his unmet potential, and the murder of a close friend, Gaultier fights to cling to his faith. And once the mystery is solved, will Gaultier be prepared to face the truth?

Purchase Links:

Amazon

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords 

buttonpoisonjuly2014tourAuthor Bio: Ashley Hodges Bazer is often decked out in bellbottoms and grooving out on the lighted dance floor. Okay, not really, but she does have a thing for the BeeGees. She lives in Colorado with her husband and three children. After earning her bachelor’s degree in theatrical stage management from Arizona State University, she went on to work for Disneyland in that capacity. A love affair with books led her to work for several different bookstores. Currently a producer for an international daily radio program, she’s learning to balance working, writing, and momming duties. Her debut novel, Asylum, was traditionally published by WestBow Press in 2012. When she’s not writing, she’s crocheting or belting out Broadway show tunes. And she’s a real duchess!

 Social Media Links:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/duchesswriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AshleyHodgesBazer

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/duchesswriter

G+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/115495024106657895693/posts/p/pub

You can find her next stop and the chance to win a free copy of Poison at http://KPWrites.Net tomorrow! 

You can find the rest of her tour stops below! Hope to see you over the next two weeks! Make sure to come back here at the end of the tour to enter to win a grab bag of goodies!

http://thewritingnetwork.com
http://kpwrites.net/?p=142
http://www.osierpublishing.co.uk/
http://jenleigh8.blogspot.com
http://iwassociation.com
http://www.lizaoconnor.com/
http://readersretreat.com
http://cheekypeereadsandreviews.blogspot.co.uk/
http://thewritingnetwork.com

Marketing Monday: Blog Tours

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Virtual blog tours are a very popular method of promotion for authors, independent and otherwise. This is for good reason. The ability to guest spot, or visit another website provides an author with new venues to reach readers they might not have reached otherwise. This is a fantastic plus for any author. The success of a tour is often reaped for weeks after the tour, but there are some things to keep in mind.

What authors are typically looking for is a quick sales pick-me-up. This isn’t what a tour will provide. They provide you resources for meeting new readers, and avenues to build your personal connections with a new potential fan base. Cultivating your tour, before, during and after the event encourages lasting growth. The longer your tour is, the more likely you are to see a larger ‘during tour’ boost.

I’ve experienced this through a variety of tour developments, companies, and events. This has been the same through each new contributor, and book. The longer tours increase visible sales, however the shorter tours help grow readers in the long run if they are cultivated correctly. Because there are many ways to cultivate the tour prior to, during and after I’ll provide a short list of suggestions.

Many tour companies provide images prior to the event. A good tour company will have the images at least a week before the tour begins. Use them to talk up the event beforehand. By sharing the images provided on social media you’re able to develop a connection for your current readers. The given image on the proper background means it’s your tour. When someone else shares the image, or a link to your tour, your readers will recognize your image on the page.

If you’ve got a giveaway with the tour event, discuss it with every opportunity at each stage of the tour. Give people enough time to support you, and win something fun.

Make sure to keep your own blog, or website up-to-date with all of the tour links. This provides a one stop spot for those who do follow your work, and a place for them to share all of your stops for you.

Respond to every comment, and engage potential readers on every single blog as professionally and honestly as possible. Then share your comment, with a link to the tour stop through your most engaged social media outlets.

 

As  I said, this is a short list but it proves valuable for maximizing the results of your book tour.

When is the best time to go on tour? Any time you want to expand your readership, and notability. A book launched on tour may result in a slight boost along side the rest of the tour prep. A book that’s been on the market for a while may reach a new audience through visiting a variety of book stops. A book that’s been on tour every day for the last month, can still reach new people with new stops, and new posts.

Basically, blog tours are your long term investment in your creative future.