So, remember my post about Twitter? Well, two days ago I discovered a new hashtag, and I was just in time to use it! It’s called #pit2pub, and it’s a 12 hour event that connects publishers directly with authors. Basically, you post a pitch, and if a publishing house likes your premise, they’ll favorite the tweet. If you’re favorited, it’s an open invitation to query them, and maybe get a book deal. No agent needed.
In a mad rush, my sister and I created 5 separate pitches for Occupational Hazards, then scheduled them to post throughout the day. (Look at me, being all Twitter-savvy.)
Here’s the most popular pitch for my novel:
In the end, I wound up with 8 favorites, each representing a different publishing company. Not too shabby!
But I worked hard on this book, and I have a vision to see it in bookstores across America. I won’t query just anyone–their business model has to match my overall publishing goals.
And looking at these publishing houses, it quickly became apparent that they… didn’t.
Take Blue Moon Publishers, for example. A google search revealed an Absolute Write forum that spoke in-depth about the company, and the general consensus was that their requests (an outline for every chapter of the novel, two non-consecutive chapters to showcase your writing, etc) seemed rather odd for industry standards.
Another was Divertir Publishing, which clearly states in their “For Authors” page that they “do not pay advances and do not make exceptions to this policy.” That’s an issue for me, since every article I’ve read has made advances (however small or large) seem fairly typical.
The list went on, but every single publishing house I researched had some red flag. And to be honest, publishing with small houses like these makes me nervous anyway; not for the lack of exposure in mainstream bookstores, but for my retention of rights.
That’s a scary word, right? (Haha. Get it? Ahem.) But it’s something authors desperately need to know about. Basically, you have to sign away some rights to get published. But if you aren’t careful, you’ll be underpaid (or worse, not paid at all), and could potentially lose ALL of the rights to your precious novel.
(Check out here for a great guide on publishing rights.)
So if I went with one of these 8 publishing houses, and they liked me enough to offer me a contract, and I signed over my rights, I’m at their mercy with that novel. And if, god forbid, that publishing house goes out of business (happens all the time), they might take my book rights with them.
And then Occupational Hazards would be buried for years, if not forever.
Obviously, this is why an agent comes in handy. Because agents negotiate for better book contracts. They find the best publishing houses, the ones that will get your book everywhere. And while they take a cut of the pay, I definitely think it’s a worthy cost to have a professional batting on your team.
Long (super long, whew) story short, I’m going to pass on all of the garnered interest from #pit2pub. But it was a cool experience, and if nothing else, I gained about 15 new followers.
How’s that for your Twilliterate author?
(Haha. Twilliterate. Twitter Illiterate. Get it?)