Writers Taking on 2011: Part I

writers taking on 2011

by Melissa BondMelissa Bond started writing Sweet Lucidity in 2008. She wanted to create a paranormal fantasy novel for adults; something with a complex plot, characters, and world… but without the graphic sex scenes so common in the genre. She finished the novel in 2009, excited to begin the process of finding an agent. Of getting her manuscript published, seeing her novel on bookshelves everywhere. “At first I thought it would be pretty simple. Get an agent, get it into print, get it sold,” she says. “But I came to see pretty quickly that agents really take control of the book from you and market it to a specific formula.”

Welcome to the publishing world. Competition kills, agents act as gatekeepers for publishing houses, and those houses select what they feel readers want. And it’s a very small selection. Bond found out the hard way that agents have very specific book formulas in mind when looking through the thousands of manuscripts they receive each month. “I’ve run across some agents that just automatically say it’s too complicated,” Bond says. “It was really  insulting to be asked to dumb it down just so they can sell it easier. Cheaper. With less risk.”

It’s getting harder and harder to find an agent, a writer’s primary connection to the publishing houses, Bond says. “90 percent have closed their doors to submissions. The other 10 percent are open, but you’re competing with thousands of other authors. You really have to sell yourself.”

Writer, blogger, and Young Adult Fantasy website owner Stacey O’Neale agrees. “It’s harder. When I interviewed Sara Megibow of the Nelson Literary Agency, she told me that she received 37,000 query letters in 2009. That’s a lot of competition.”

But with the increase in competition among writers through the traditional channels of getting a book sent to print, new methods have arisen. “Authors today have an amazing opportunity with the internet to reach thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of readers,” Bond explains. “Don’t be cautious. You can totally bypass agents. That may be what I have to do.”

Frustrated with the response from the traditional channels, Bond took the publishing process into her own hands. With an established fan base of more than 500 people on Facebook for a book that doesn’t even have an agent, she set a goal for herself: if nobody would accept the book as it was by Thanksgiving 2010, she’d go through the process of self-publishing Sweet Lucidity. She announced her decision on December 7, 2010 via her Facebook fanpage: “The novel will be available as an illustrated e-book edition on the 25th of December. At this time I have yet to find a publisher who is willing to publish a book so large, even in two parts, a vampire novel for adults that is NOT pornographic. However, the success of the e-book just might change their minds.”

Bond has released her own book trailer, started her own website, Facebook page, and Twitter account to market the book, as well as received an offer for her own line of bath and body products that align with her characters. ” I’m not giving up being published in print…but I’m willing to self-publish digitally first,” she says. “If you make it with an ebook, you can get your foot in the door with a publisher.”

As of February 14, 2011, Bond’s book is available on all major eBook platforms. “It’s official! Sweet Lucidity is now available on all the major e-book retailers! Now you can read read Sweet Lucidity on all e-readers, Apple products and some Smart phones. Of course, Sweet Lucidity is also available for the PC or MAC,” she writes on her Facebook page, which now supports over 700 active fans.

Part II

5 Responses to “Writers Taking on 2011: Part I”
  1. Hi Ashely!
    The number of queries agents receive never ceases to astound me. I cringe to think of all the excellent books that are being passed up in favor or “simpler” ones that “sell better”, especially when I can’t find anything on the shelf I want to read.

    Best of luck Melissa!


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  1. […] by adchristiano on March 23, 2011 · Leave a Comment  (Part I, Part II, Part […]

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